Current News & Events

October 20, 2017

Walking for a Great Cause

In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, more than 89 consumers and staff participated in the second annual walk for breast cancer at the NHS Allegheny Valley School (NHS/AVS) Philadelphia campus. A donation of $1,000 was presented to Dr. Sidney Grobman of the Philadelphia Chapter of Susan G. Komen, and Bernadette White, Director of Research in the Philadelphia Chapter. Dr. Grobman said, "Thank you very much for all your efforts. The donation will be put to good use." The walk, first held in 2016, is in memory of a resident who had Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and who past from breast cancer. Funds raised by NHS/AVS consumers and staff will assist with funding local programs, including education, screening, and support, community grants that provide free examinations, and research. "After talking with staff, I realized that breast cancer is an issue that has touched all of us one way or another. It was only natural that we started to fight as a team," said Annette Dixon-Thurmond, NHS Shift Supervisor and walk organizer. The walk began at the NHS/AVS Philadelphia campus located at 9990 Verree Road, and continued southeast to Glenn Street.

Thank you to all who participated, but a big thank you to Annette who initiated the event two years ago.

Walking for a Great Cause Walking for a Great Cause Walking for a Great Cause
Walking for a Great Cause Walking for a Great Cause Walking for a Great Cause
October 20, 2017

NHS/AVS Employees Enjoy a Sweet Treat

Employees at NHS/AVS Pittsburgh Campus and Administrative Office enjoyed a sweet treat on October 10, when family member Mike Pendleton and his crew of volunteers made more than 250 funnel cakes for all to enjoy! Mike stated, “This was one way that we could show our appreciation to the NHS/AVS employees. We just wish we could have visited every location!”

A big "thank you" goes out to Mike and his volunteers, Ron and Nathan Pendleton and Susie and Jenna Suffern, and also to Our Lady of Grace Church for the use of the funnel cake machine. "What a special treat to have Mike on campus, frying up delicious funnel cakes on a beautiful fall day," states Campus Administrator Cathy Engleka. "Mike and his crew brought a lot of joy to the staff members who were appreciative for this acknowledgement of their efforts. It was a perfect day!"

NHS/AVS Employees Enjoy a Sweet Treat
October 3, 2017

2017 Friends of NHS/AVS Golf Open

The 26th Annual Friends of NHS Allegheny Valley School Golf Open was held on Monday, September 18 at Chartiers Country Club. A golf scramble was enjoyed by 129 golfers while raising funds to support NHS/AVS programs and honoring Blackburn’s/Har-kel as the 2017 AVS CHAMPion. Event chairperson Rick Mongiovi, of Mongiovi and Son, brought many new golfers and friends to the event which helped us to exceed our goal! Support from sponsors, golfers, underwriters, donors and auction participants resulted in more than $136,000 in proceeds from the day! Net proceeds from the event are contributed to the Capital Development Fund and will help NHS/AVS to maintain and improve the services it provides to nearly 850 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Pennsylvania.

Before the golfers teed off, members of the NHS/AVS Pittsburgh Campus Choir performed the National Anthem. Rick then led everyone in a golf towel wave as the carts took to the course. The sunny day kept golfers in good spirits as they participated in contests around the course. New this year was a twist on a putting contest. Golfers were blind folded and listened to a sound machine next to the hole. Throughout the day, 13 golfers made a hole-in-one on the blindfolded contest. During dinner, the AVS CHAMPion Award was presented to Blackburn’s/Har-kel. The AVS CHAMPion Award recognizes those who go above and beyond to promote and support NHS/AVS. Ron Rukas and Skip Katich from the Blackburn’s/Har-kel team accepted the award on behalf of the company. 

Golf prizes were given at the conclusion of the evening. Congratulations to all the winners of the day!

  • 1st place team (score of 58) Mamaux Supply: Frank Lodovico, John Lodovico and Tony Aucuri
  • 2nd place team (score of 59) CentiMark: Jim Gasper, John Heisey, Dennis When, and Mark Rubenstein
  • 3rd place team (score of 59) Dollar Bank: Jim Wheeler, Gennaro DiBello, Tom Bakaitus and George Hric
  • Longest Drive: Dan Martin and Michelle Miller
  • Straightest Dive: Justin Skerbetz
  • Longest Putt: Jeff Holzerland
  • Closest to the Pin: Gary Rudzik
  • Putting Contest: Ron Rukas

We are so grateful to all who made the 2017 Friends of NHS Allegheny Valley School Golf Open a huge success.

September, 2017

Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals!

In celebration of Direct Support Professionals Week, the IDD Philadelphia Waiver Programs at NHS/AVS and NHS TAIG management team made gifts of appreciation for more than 600 employees. The bags of goodies included: Tootsie Rolls, Life Savers, Rice Crispy Treats, and “Thank you” phone stylus pens. A card was enclosed with each bag saying “Thank you for the Roll you play; You are a Life Saver; Working with you is a Treat!!!” All gifts were hand-delivered to the dedicated and incredible DSPs working within NHS homes and day programs.

Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals! Thank You, NHS Direct Support Professionals!
August 22, 2017

2017 Steelers Family Fest

2017 Steelers Family Fest NHS/AVS consumers and accompanying staff members attended the Steelers Family Fest at Heinz Field on August 6. They watched an open Steelers practice, met the team mascot Steely McBeam, participated in fan activities, and more.

Thank you to the Pittsburgh Steelers for donating the tickets for this event!

August 22, 2017

Trip to Kennywood Amusement Park

Trip to Kennywood Amusement Park On August 9, nineteen individuals from NHS/AVS enjoyed a beautiful day at Pittsburgh’s Kennywood Amusement Park in West Mifflin, PA, along with Team Friends. The group had a fantastic day in the festive environment and enjoyed the Team Friends picnic. Kevin, pictured with Susan White on the Jack Rabbit, had a great time and really loved the coasters. NHS is a participant in Team Friends activities, which provide social and learning opportunities for adults with IDD.

August 22, 2017

Team Building Event Held in Pittsburgh

Team Building Event Held in Pittsburgh Amanda Thomas, administrator at NHS/AVS, recently hosted an event for managers from the community group homes she oversees at IQ Escape Pittsburgh! The crew worked together to successfully crack the code within the time limit provided. “It was a fantastic day of teambuilding,” commented Amanda. “I was happy to be able to spend time with my colleagues doing something unique and really fun!” Amanda oversees 15 homes in Allegheny and Beaver Counties.

August 22, 2017

NHS/AVS Visits the Andy Warhol Art Museum

The Communication Technology group from the Edward J. Zapp Program Center at NHS/AVS travelled to the Andy Warhol Art Museum to explore his collection of art. In a featured group class prior to the trip, individuals learned about the history of this Pittsburgh born pop art icon. Everyone enjoyed painting their own pop art in class for a real hands-on experience. The Warhol Museum has seven floors and holds the largest collection of a single artist in North America. At the museum, favorite works of art included Marilyn Monroe, Skulls, Campbell’s Soup, and various movie stars. The group had lunch at the Warhol Café after their museum tour, thanks to the Walter F. and Ellen H. Nicoden Fund.

NHS/AVS Visits the Andy Warhol Art Museum

August 22, 2017

Learning How to Garden

From power tools to plants, individuals from the Communication Technology group in Pittsburgh enjoyed creating a garden of their own. The group created an Upcycled Garden using recycled items. Consumers brought in items from either their homes or the Zapp center to use as planters. They learned how to use power tools safely, how to garden, and creative ways to reuse materials. Upcycled Gardens transform products, waste materials and useless or unwanted products into new materials, or products of better quality for increased environmental value.

Learning How to Garden Learning How to Garden
Learning How to Garden Learning How to Garden
August 7, 2017

Inaugural NHS/AVS Day at the Races

Kart racing and fundraising were the focus for the first ever NHS/AVS Day at the Races on Saturday, June 24. More than 75 people gathered at Pittsburgh International Race Complex to compete, enjoy great food and company, and participate in amazing auctions. After a practice and preliminary round, teams karted in a 60 minute race, with the team of Rudy Agras, Lil Rudy Agras and Vaughn Glace coming out on top.

NHS/AVS is grateful to all the participants for making it a great day, with special thanks to Raymond Mikesell of Café Raymond, James Rich of Pittsburgh Taco Truck, the entire Pitt Raceway team led by Dave Hois, and the amazing UBS Walnut Wealth Management team of Denise Arndt, Debora Kuzmanko, Lisa Lucas, Louis Sforza, Lee Oleinick, Chris Butsko and Jack Greenberg.

Inaugural NHS/AVS Day at the Races

August 14, 2017

NHS/AVS on 'It’s Your Turn with Dave Malarkey!'

wisr logoClick here to listen to Vicki Doverspike, Program Director at the Slippery Rock Program Center, Marsha Schoedel, Staffing Specialist, and Dorothy Gordon, Executive Director, Development & Communications as they are interviewed about the great services provided at NHS/AVS on WISR 680 AM. Great job and thank you for representing the organization so well!

July 31, 2017

Zapp Consumers Visit Caring Heights

Zapp Consumers Visit Caring Heights On July 21, individuals and staff members from Edward J. Zapp Program Center at NHS/AVS participated in a community service project at Caring Heights Community Care & Rehabilitation Center. The NHS/AVS individuals joined Caring Heights residents in doing a craft, painting and decorating summer door hangers. Everyone had a great time interacting and visiting with those who they’ve had a friendship with for several years. Thanks to the Walter F. and Ellen H. Nicoden Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, the group was able to enjoy a lunch at Pizza Hut after the visit.