Archived News & Events, October 2017

October 30, 2017

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul2Soul World Tour

More than 80 individuals and staff from the IDD Division from NHS/AVS, NHS Allegheny Center, and NHS Woodland Center attended the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul2Soul World Tour concert at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on October 12. “The staff at the Arena were phenomenal, helping everyone to have an amazing experience,” says IDD Regional Director Renda Cypher. The individuals were actively engaged in the concert, and danced and sang the night away. One of the guys said, “I had never been to a concert before and knew that Faith Hill was sure going to call him.” Lorraine asked the following morning if she and her friends were going to go to another concert the next day!

We are grateful to PPG Paints Arena for making this opportunity possible. THANK YOU!

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul2Soul World Tour
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul2Soul World Tour
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul2Soul World Tour
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul2Soul World Tour
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul2Soul World Tour
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul2Soul World Tour
October 30, 2017

Celebrating Mardi Gras at the NHS/AVS Fall Festival

Mardi Gras was the theme for the 2017 Fall Festival at the NHS/AVS Pittsburgh Campus. Each residence displayed bright flags, and the buildings were decorated like a New Orleans street. Purple, green, and gold decorations, floats, large paper maché jesters, a dragon’s head, and a street café were set-up around the campus. As everyone arrived, they were greeted with games, beads, food, and laughing staff. The band American Pie played in the gym and got everyone dancing. Delicious treats at the picnic included cotton candy and snow cones. The beautiful fall weather added to this great annual event!

Celebrating Mardi Gras at the NHS/AVS Fall Festival
Celebrating Mardi Gras at the NHS/AVS Fall Festival
Celebrating Mardi Gras at the NHS/AVS Fall Festival
Celebrating Mardi Gras at the NHS/AVS Fall Festival
October 30, 2017

Creating an Eclipse of their Own

Inspired by the recent eclipse, several gentlemen at the NHS/AVS Pittsburgh Campus Brown House participated in an eclipse experiment. Learning about this project from the Weather Channel, Joe, Kenny, Carl, and Bill worked with staff members to reflect crescent shaped images that came through the leaves of the red maple tree in front of their house. The images were then projected on to a white sheet of paper. The men were very pleased with their results!

Creating an Eclipse of their Own

October 30, 2017

Taryn Barnes Celebrates 30 Years at NHS

Taryn Barnes Celebrates 30 Years at NHSTaryn Barnes, House Manager in the NHS/AVS Single Family Residence (SFR) program, began her career with the NHS in 1987 as a direct support professional. She was promoted to Resident Manager and then Shift Supervisor at 9990 Verree Road in Philadelphia. In the early 90’s, she transitioned to the community program as a House Manager. In addition to being a reliable and consistent Manager, she has planned and carried out countless activities including fashion shows, Halloween events, community track meets at St. Joseph’s University, trips to Atlantic City and other vacations. She has become a Certified Investigator and completed any task asked of her in addition to carrying out her regular duties. Her work is evident in the lives of the gentlemen she supports. She has created a “home environment” in her SFR. Over the years, she has added to her own family with children and grandchildren but considers the men she supports “her family” as well.

Taryn says, “My 30 year anniversary with NHS/AVS was September 14. Thank you for laying a strong foundation in me that still sustains me today. I am forever grateful for the opportunity you gave me. There have been many challenges, but through it all, God gave me the strength to endure. The individuals that I support are a blessing to me. Today, I'm a better person, more caring of others, more patient and more understanding.”

October 20, 2017

NHS/AVS Participates in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk

NHS/AVS Participates in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk Led by Administrator Amanda Thomas, 33 individuals in service, staff members, and friends from NHS Allegheny Valley School joined Team NHS/AVS for the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's® in Beaver County on October 7.

Participating for the second year, they walked two miles and were joined by 54 other teams to support the cause. “It was so inspiring to see all the participants from NHS/AVS,” commented Amanda. “The group, which included consumers from Galey, Malcolm, Maratta, Nolte and Windy Ghoul, brought their enthusiasm, energy and commitment to helping others to this wonderful community event.”

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.