Current News & Events


Special Olympics Summer Games

In May, athletes from Merakey Allegheny Valley School (AVS) participated in the 2018 Allegheny County Special Olympics Summer Games. Individuals competed with their fellow athletes from around the area in various track and field events, wheelchair races, a Motor Activity Training Program and more! Merakey AVS has been a part of the annual summer games for more than 35 years, with the first games hosted at the Pittsburgh Campus in the late 70’s. Thanks to all the athletes and staff members who participated in this wonderful day!

Special Olympics Summer GamesSpecial Olympics Summer Games


Pittsburgh Campus Prom

On May 22, Merakey Allegheny Valley School’s Pittsburgh Campus held a prom at the Sheraton in Moon Township. 188 individuals and staff members gathered in the ballroom to enjoy lunch, photos and dancing to the band American Pie. All the participants were dressed in their finest which were topped off with a boutonniere or corsage. It was a magical event that could not have happened without all the departments working together.

Special thanks to the Walter F. and Ellen H. Nicoden Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation for its support of this event.


Merakey AVS Night at the Pirates Game

Friends, family members, consumers and staff members gathered in the Iron City Skull Bar at PNC Park on June 5 to see the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite a rain delay, supporters gathered to socialize and enjoy the beautiful views of the city and PNC Park.

To kick off our 4th annual event, guests cheered on Benjamin Pollon as he was recognized as the On-Field Honorary Pirate Parrot Sidekick. Ben is the son of Merakey Foundation Board Member Dorothy Pollon. He was joined on the field by his mother Dorothy Pollon, Merakey COO Ted Dallas, Merakey Foundation Chairman Mike Mitchell and Executive Director Sylvia Purnell.

We are grateful to the following underwriters who helped to make the event possible!

  • Blackburn’s/Har-kel
  • Climatech
  • Delta-T Group
  • Flagstar Staffing
  • Guardian Protection Services
  • Donna and Terry McNelis
  • Mongiovi & Son
  • Carol and Richard Patterson
  • The Pollon Family
  • Dan Taylor Interiors, Inc.

Thank you to our event donors: Homer Nine and Sons, Inc. and McElroy Paving Co., Inc. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Capital Development Fund, helping to maintain and improve the services we provide to 800 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Pennsylvania.


Takeeia Thomas Receives DSP Award

Takeeia ThomasCongratulations to Takeeia Thomas who received Merakey Allegheny Valley School’s Direct Support Professional award for the Spring 2018 quarter! Takeeia was nominated by five of her colleagues who spoke about her compassion, commitment to the individuals, reliability, strong work ethic, and more. Takeeia has been with Merakey AVS for 20 years.

“This is a great morale booster for staff,” Takeeia commented, who was very surprised by the award and started to cry when presented with the plaque.

The DSP of the quarter award has been made possible through the Steven’s Fund to recognize Merakey Allegheny Valley School Direct Support Professionals. The fund was created in 2017 in memory of Steven Garlick by his mother Betsy Friedman.

To contribute to the fund, visit and include “Steven’s Fund” in the “other” and/or “comments / instructions” box.


Italian American War Vets Host 260 on the Three Rivers

Italian American War Vets Host 260 on the Three Rivers Italian American War Vets Host 260 on the Three Rivers

The Gateway Clipper is one of my favorite outings,” Tim said.

More than 260 people from Merakey and Clelian Heights School for Exceptional Children enjoyed a cruise on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh as guests of the Italian American War Veterans (IAWV). The June 7 journey aboard the Gateway Clipper Fleet’s Empress, was the 31st IAWV “Sail for Smiles” cruise.

Guests were greeted by members of the IAWV and the Gateway Clipper staff as they boarded the vessel and settled-in for a 2-hour cruise that featured music by the Red Letter Hymnal Band of Christ Church at Grove Farm, Sewickley.

The warm and sunny weather brought participants to the top deck of the boat to dance and enjoy the city views. The vessel cruised past Station Square, the Carnegie Science Center, PNC Park, Heinz Field and many other well-known spots.

Comments include:
  • Thank you to the Veterans for the invitation. One person commented that he wishes he could go boating all the time. Employees were flattered by the ship captain’s compliments calling Merakey employees… “heroes” – Merakey Greensburg Day Program.
  • “The Veterans came to each table and shook hands with everyone, truly making us feel special,” shared House Manager Diane Sollinger.
  • Lisa, BJ, Della, Andrea and employees shared they had a fabulous time listening to the band and sightseeing our great city! - Merakey AVS Patricia Hillman Miller Campus
  • I loved everything,” Kacey said.
  • I enjoyed the music and listening to the band,” Tess shared.
  • I loved dancing on the boat, and can’t wait to go next year!” exclaimed John Wayne.
  • The gentlemen enjoyed the cruise so much that they were smiling from ear to ear about it and were still talking about it among each other over breakfast the following day,” House Manager Tammy Smith shared.
  • I loved going on the boat with all of my friends,” Petie said.
  • I liked to look at all the buildings they pass in the city,” Dan said.
  • One of the nicest trips ever and we were thrilled to receive a Pirates t-shirt. – Merakey AVS Cedar House.
  • “I want to do it again,” Randy said, who was one of the last ones off the boat!

Patty relayed several times, “This is awesome!” She took many pictures from the top deck and couldn’t wait to tell her friends! This outing was made possible by the Italian American War Veterans and their sponsors and underwriters. We are grateful to the Veterans for their service and for their support of the event. A special shout-out to IAWV National Commander Tony Ficarri for his efforts with the event!


PHMC Executes Emergency Preparedness Plan

PHMC Executes Emergency Preparedness PlanFrom Wednesday evening May 30 to the wee hours of the morning on May 31, Merakey Allegheny Valley School Patricia Hillman Miller Campus (PHMC) executed the Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP) seamlessly.

Leslie Hill, 3rd Shift Supervisor, without hesitation, initiated the EPP when the entire west end of Pittsburgh was without water due to a water main break. A quick check of the building while calling John Weber, maintenance supervisor, Michelle Miller, Administrator and a quick review of the EPP started the ball rolling. Assisted by John Johnson, IM/RSS, Joe Scrutchins, DCS and Rashawn Green, DCS, Leslie was able to get the water supply quickly distributed from the PHMC warehouse for residents to drink and to take medication. Additionally, large garbage cans were filled with water from the PHMC pool and taken to restrooms for the residents to use.

A “shout out” to the entire 3rd shift staff for their professional, organized and safe response to the water being off while still providing the residents with the appropriate care throughout the night!


Merakey IDD in Western PA Embarks on Program Innovation and Transformation


Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

Merakey Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Western PA (M/IDD-WPA) is embarking on a challenging and exciting project to innovate and transform its programs and services. This effort is inspired by our obligation as a quality provider to embrace higher levels of individualization and inclusion in community life for the people with IDD that we support.

Through a grant from Polk Foundation we have engaged consultants Christopher Liuzzo and Candy Vazquez who bring unique knowledge, resources, experiences and perspectives to this important initiative.

Liuzzo’s work is grounded in values informed by Social Role Valorization (SRV) and person-centered practices. He has played numerous advocacy and administrative leadership roles since the mid 1970’s. His work includes the co-founding of advocacy organizations dedicated to individualized supports. For our initiative, Liuzzo has developed a Learning Institute that is bringing the top experts in the field to support our investment in transformational change.

Vazquez has worked in the disabilities field for more than 25 years, including serving individuals with disabilities and their families to ensure that they are receiving appropriate services and supports to live self-determined and person-centered lives. Located in Western PA, Vazquez is the local lead consultant and implementation agent for the project. Vazquez’s efforts include conducting trainings and forums for individuals we support, their families and our staff, and identifying “pathfinders” for whom new service prototypes will be developed. (Pathfinders are people with developmental disabilities who want more in their lives than their communities and available forms of assistance currently offered and choose to risk a quest in search of a better life.)

Liuzzo came to western PA in January to gain an overview of M/IDD-WPA by visiting our programs and meeting our leadership. Liuzzo stressed to those he met that, “True transformation involves a serious challenge to existing practices and assumptions about supports for persons with disabilities. That it often means turning those assumptions on their heads and disrupting familiar practices and rituals. It does not mean tinkering around the edges.” Our meeting confirmed for us and for him that M/IDD-WPA is ready for true transformation.

Returning to his NY home, he developed an aggressive plan that embraces our organization’s willingness to take the challenging path and invest in transformational change. In very short order, Liuzzo had developed the Merakey Learning Institute, confirmed the speakers, and from March 8 to May 31, there have been eight full-day learning sessions.

40 staff members are a part of the Learning Institute including direct support professionals, program directors, administrators, medical professionals and support staff. This is a significant investment in resources and participants have the full support of their supervisors and the highest levels of Merakey IDD leadership to be a part of and fully engaged in the effort. Participants are committed to bringing to each session an open mind for learning and their commitment to challenging the way we do things so they can help the people they support to live the Good Life.

Session leaders and presentation topics to date:

Dr. Guy Caruso: Introduction to Social Role Valorization and the Typical Life Experiences of Persons with Disabilities
Social Role Valoriza¬tion (SRV), originally formulated by Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger, de¬scribes and explains the ways that persons with disabilities are socially devalued and offers a theory that guides practitioners and orga¬nizations to address that devaluation and help achieve the Good Life for those persons.

Dr. John O’Brien: Reflections on Current Reality and the Change That Is Necessary
Participants considered current practices and structures in light of SRV and current trends expressed in Pennsyl¬vania’s Everyday Lives framework and the CMS settings and person cen¬tered planning rule.

Christopher Liuzzo: Agency Transformation
Participants defined organizational transfor¬mation by considering real life examples and tools to cultivate trans¬formational capacity. They increased their understanding through exercises in identifying existing service practices to leave behind and new ones to develop.

Carol Blessing: Person Centered Planning
Participants learned about the practice of person-centered plan¬ning and its fundamental role in transformational work as well as how to differentiate between genuine person-centered planning and practices which might appear to be genuine but in fact are not and actually undermine it.

Joseph MacBeth and John Raffaele: Creating a Culture of Competency
Participants explored the evolving role of the Direct Support Profes¬sional (DSP). They were introduced to the Nation¬al Association of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), its definition of DSP competencies and the NADSP’s Code of Ethics, “a roadmap to assist us in staying the course of securing free¬dom, justice, and equality for all.”

Dr. Michael Kendrick and Christopher Liuzzo: Right Relationships, Imagining Better and Distinguishing Between Wants and Needs
The following four major themes were explored: (a) The meaning of “human fulfillment” and how Merakey can help the people it supports to lead more fulfilled lives; (b) How many human service agencies fail to “Imagine Better” on behalf of the persons they support, and the steps and processes provider agencies can take to imagine and then create more fulfilled lives for those persons; (c) Decisions that have been taken by provider agencies in the United States and around the globe in their quest to transform from group and congregate based services to individualized supports; (d) Key decisions, including policy changes, that organizations should take early in their transformational journeys.

Dr. Beth Mount and Christopher Liuzzo: Reflections on Learning to Date; Discovering Your Leading Edges; Identifying What Needs to Be Left Behind
This two-day session provided participants with numerous examples of persons with very complicated support needs who are living the Good Life in a highly individualized fashion and often in difficult circumstances. During the sessions participants identified behaviors that need to change on the path to transformation, including those that need to be stopped and those that need to be newly created. An eye-opening “community mapping” exercise was undertaken to identify the many resources and assets available in local communities which could help support creation of the Good Life for Pathfinders.

The Learning Institute will continue in its intensity throughout the remainder of 2018. For eight participants, this will include completing a 12-week online curriculum in Citizen Centered Leadership through the Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University. A group is also being identified to make a Learning Journey to meet with personnel from another provider organization that has been successful in its transformation efforts.

This is an exciting time for Merakey IDD and we are most grateful to have the opportunity to thoughtfully and carefully transform our programs and services to make impactful changes that will improve the opportunities and the quality of life for the individuals that we are honored to serve.

Watch for additional information about our Innovation and Transformation project in The Pulse.

Participant feedback is solicited after each learning session; comments include:

  • Really informative and some great ideas as well as new perspective – eye opening!
  • [The session] made me think about how I do my job – really made me think!!
  • It really laid a basis and understanding for what the future is going to hold.
  • [I like] knowing I’m not the only one wanting and understanding the need for change.
  • Participants [are] truly opening up with honest feedback.
  • [It’s] starting to seem like it will work.
  • The presentation gave me an increasing amount of hope and perspective that it can and will work if we follow these suggestions and ideas through to the end.
  • My passion is to help the individuals I serve to be happy. If it is in their community, then I want to be able to open my thinking. You inspire me to be better.
  • This session has continued to be thought provoking and this transformational challenge seems less daunting.


Merakey AVS is Off to the Races!

A big thank you to Heather and Paul Siffri for hosting their 6th annual Kentucky Derby Party to benefit Merakey Allegheny Valley School. This year’s event brought the six-year total to more than $70,000!

Heather’s sister is supported by Merakey AVS in the Slippery Rock, PA area. “My sister, Brooke, loves her life at Merakey AVS,” Heather commented. “I am so grateful for the excellent supports she receives, and the compassion and dedication of the staff members. This is one way I can give back to support this organization that means so much to our family.”

With donations contributed by the Siffris’ friends and family members, the Slippery Rock Program Center has expanded their sensory garden, built a walking path, acquired a wheelchair accessible glider, appliances, bikes and much more. Funds from the annual event also support projects at the Merakey AVS home where Brooke lives with her friends.

Hands down, this is one of the best parties of the year!


Allegheny Valley School Parents Association - Spring Meeting

The Allegheny Valley School Parents Association held its semi-annual meeting on April 29. The meeting included updates about Merakey, legislative affairs, coming events, recruitment and more. Merakey Assistant General Counsel Michelle McCoy led a discussion about guardianship mechanics, alternatives and the benefits and challenges to the appointment of a legal guardian.

AVS Parents Association President Tom McGrail announced that Stephan Strunk will be taking over as President. Tom was presented with an award to thank him for his 11 years of service as President of the Parents Association. For more information about the Allegheny Valley School Parents Association, contact Amy Rocini at or 412-299-7777.


A Night to Remember

“I met a new guy and danced with him!” said Kacey.

On May 6, individuals supported by Merakey Allegheny Valley School put on their prom dresses and tuxedos and headed to a Night to Remember formal evening presented by Discovery Christian Church & Diehl Automotive Group.

Every guest entered the complimentary event on a red carpet to a cheering crowd and friendly paparazzi. Once inside, they were given the royal treatment, played games, and danced the night away!

“We played UNO and cards,” commented Olivia. Jessica added, “We played the Wii game and took pictures at the booth.” Cheyan and Kayla shared that they liked the balloon hat they received.

We are grateful for this event which enriched the lives of the individuals supported by Merakey AVS.


Celebration of Success Luncheon

Congratulations to Dyrue McGee and Genevieve Verbonach who were honored at the Richard C. Frech Celebration of Success Luncheon on May 9. The luncheon honored and shared the successes of 21 people and recognized the positive aspects and accomplishments of those who live and work in the community. Dyrue and Genevieve each received an Achievement Award.

Jennifer Edwards shared with guests that Dyrue is an extremely happy individual who likes to dance and laugh throughout the day. His eyes light up when others communicate with him. He now maintains eye contact throughout a conversation and seems to have an increase in attention span. Dyrue enjoys going out and meeting new people!

Thank you to Marge Campbell, Brittney Collins, Laura Cox, Jennifer Edwards, Julia Kenzevich, Kim Sonafelt and Armand Zottola for coming to the event to cheer on Dyrue.

Emily Nickles shared with guests that Genevieve’s personality is blossoming and she is developing friendships with her housemates. During the day, she attends CARES day program where she volunteers in the community and explores educational and recreational ventures. Genevieve works at TJ Maxx where she accepts guidance and applies it on the job. Her goal is to one-day work with children or to open a bakery. Genevieve’s brother, Aaron Verbonach, and uncle, Ron Verbonach attended the event and commented that Genevieve is a caring and loving person. Her hugs will always cheer you up!

Genevieve’s friends, Cierra and Wendy, along with Emily Nickles, Tracy Olivani, Susan White and Amy Rocini shared in Genevieve’s honor.

We are so proud of the accomplishments of Dyrue and Genevieve!

Success Luncheon #1 

Communication Technology Visits Phipps

Merakey AVS Individuals from the Communication Technology Program at the Zapp Center got to explore the Spring Flower Show at Phipps Conservatory.

Everyone loved finding their favorite flowers and learning all about new and exciting plants and their "funny names,” as some commented. Individuals also socialized with one another while eating lunch at the Phipps Café.

Thanks are due to the Walter F. and Ellen H. Nicoden Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation for helping to fund this amazing outing.


Representative Kulik Visits Merakey Allegheny Valley School

Merakey Allegheny Valley School was delighted to host Pennsylvania Representative Anita Astorino Kulik on April 25. It was a wonderful morning spent visiting the Zapp Center, Pittsburgh Campus, and the new Merakey AVS Smart Home. The programs thank her for spending the morning with them and for her interest and support.


Best Buddies Friendship Walk

Merakey AVS
The Friendship Walk was held on April 21 at Highmark Stadium, Home of Pittsburgh's Riverhounds soccer team. The event kicked-off with a delicious breakfast. After the opening announcements and awards, the crowd began their one mile walk along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. As they walked, they enjoyed the views of downtown Pittsburgh and cheering from supporters along the way, including cheerleaders from area schools.

After the walk, everyone enjoyed a cookout-style lunch donated by Sysco. Our group soaked in some sunshine as they shared some laughs with their friends and talked about their week. They enjoyed being on the Riverhounds field shooting hoops, dancing as the DJ played popular dance music, visiting different team booths for Best Buddies bracelets, cups, noise makers and more.

The Buddies enjoyed the Friendship Walk - and other events throughout the year, making it a year of creating memories, sharing laughs and building friendships that count!

The Merakey AVS team was thrilled to wear their new Best Buddies t-shirts which were funded through the Walter F. and Helen H. Nicoden Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.


2018 Swim-A-Thon Raises Over $2,000!

Merakey AVSThe annual Swim-A-Thon “splashed off” at the Merakey Allegheny Valley School Pittsburgh Campus indoor pool on April 2. Ten students from Seneca Valley High School were paired with individuals supported by Merakey AVS to swim laps while making new friends. This year, the event was run by Seneca Valley senior Sophia Gaguzis, who raised over $2,000! Funds will support the purchase of recreation and sensory equipment.

It is inspiring to have students from Seneca Valley run a swim-a-thon each year to raise funds to support our programs,” commented, Executive Director of Development and Communications, Dorothy Gordon. “Swimming is a fantastic activity for the individuals supported by Merakey AVS as it develops strength and provides those who utilize a wheelchair for mobility to move freely in the water. The interaction between all the participants is wonderful.

The project began six years ago when a Seneca Valley senior Jackie Curtz had an idea to combine her senior year service project with her love of swimming. The individuals supported by Merakey AVS at the Pittsburgh Campus have enjoyed a fun-filled day of recreation ever since. The total raised over the years from the program amounts to more than $9,200.

This project brings high school students and individuals together to work towards a common goal, and I think it is important to interact with individuals of all ages and stages of life to fully understand the world in which we live in today,” Jackie said. “The most rewarding thing is to see the positive impact that this project has on the individuals and volunteers who participate,” Jackie commented. “It is awesome that each year a new student has put their own touch on the project. I have loved watching it grow and impact so many people.

Merakey AVS   

Good Deeds Day at Merakey AVS

Good Deeds DayOn April 15, members of the Angels from the Heart Charitable Foundation visited Merakey Allegheny Valley School for Good Deeds Day 2018!

Dressed as princes, princesses and superheroes, members performed for nearly 60 individuals supported by Merakey Allegheny Valley School, staff and family members. The audience sang along to familiar songs and couldn't stop dancing in their seats. The cast members invited the crowd to participate, and encouraged them to dance and sing along. After the performance, everyone in attendance enjoyed meeting and posing for pictures with the cast. The individuals had a great time, as did the rest of the audience. The individuals and staff are grateful for Angels from the Heart for sharing their talents and time with them.

Good Deeds Day is a global initiative that unites people from more than 75 different countries to do good deeds to benefit others and the planet. For more information, you can check out the official Good Deeds Day website here.


Merakey Allegheny Valley School Celebration

Merakey Allegheny Valley School in Hummelstown had a wonderful week celebrating our new name! On April 2, a luncheon was held for the individuals and staff, complete with an afternoon snack and cake. Throughout the week, posters were made and hung around the building. Everyone was celebrating our new name with great excitement!


Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Performs at Merakey AVS

On March 20, musicians from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) held its outreach concert for more than 100 guests from Merakey Allegheny Valley School (AVS). The program included songs from Bach, Ravel, Haydn and Mendelssohn. After the performance, musicians and attendees mingled and posed for pictures. This was Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong’s last concert at Merakey AVS as he is leaving Pittsburgh for Oregon where he will be the Music Director with the Eugene Symphony Orchestra. We are grateful to the PSO musicians for sharing their time and talents with us!

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Performs at Merakey AVS

SPRC Hits a Home Run for Merakey

Inspired by the Pittsburgh Pirates’ opening day, the Slippery Rock Program Center celebrated the new Merakey name with an opening day of their own! In honor of the name change, the entire building was decorated with a baseball theme and an indoor game of baseball. Marci Mustello, attending on behalf of Third District Representative Mike Kelly, threw the game’s first pitch.

Baseball activities continued throughout the day, including the decoration of Merakey team pennants, a wiener toss, a baseball card photo booth and the day’s most popular event: The Wiener Race. Staff members Mary Loos, Jade Gindy and Kelsey Lackey donned hot dog costumes and raced through the program center. Kelsey Lackey won the race, but everyone had a blast.

Butler County Commissioner Kevin Boozel also attended the event, issuing an official Celebration Proclamation and presenting it to SPRC administrator Theresa Cox and program director Vicki Doverspike. Kevin stayed and enjoyed the baseball themed lunch with clients and staff, comprised of hot dogs, baked beans, perogies and nachos. He also had the honor of cutting the first piece of the cake, which he helped serve to everyone.

For the Slippery Rock Program Center, “Merakey Day” was definitely a home run!

SPRC Hits a Home Run for Merakey

SPRC Hits a Home Run for MerakeySPRC Hits a Home Run for Merakey


Snow No Match for Kennedy Program Center's Merakey Celebration

With a cheer and the wave of Terrible Towels, a parade of clients and staff braved a spring snow to launch the Merakey brand at the Kennedy Program Center on April 2. State Rep. Anita Kulik was on hand for the sign unveiling. Long-time Merakey employees Gary Hoffman, Mary Wilson and Lori Tyson and several clients assisted. Rep. Kulik expressed her congratulations and thanks to Merakey Allegheny Valley School for not only being in the community but being a part of it, noting how involved Merakey is in her district.

Inside, the hallways were decorated with paper chains and spinners in the colors of the new logo. Doors featured creative Merakey themes – all prepared by clients and program staff. The centerpiece was a wall-sized puzzle of the word Merakey, with clients assembling the numbered pieces. Everyone donned a Merakey t-shirt for the day, too!

Merakey officials Gary Hoffman, Regional Executive Director – Western Region; Carol Erzen, Staff Development Executive; Janet Harvilla, Program Director; Dorothy Gordon, Executive Director, Development & Communications; and Rep. Kulik joined in a celebratory signature green punch toast while the outdoor grill was firing up for a ball park themed lunch for clients and staff. SInce Merakey shared the launch day with the Pirates home opener, lunch fare rivalled the ball park’s -- hot dogs, nachos, pierogies, baked beans, soft pretzels, cotton candy, and a Merakey cake!

The fun-filled day wrapped up with baseball songs, videos and games played throughout the service areas and on the Promethean Board, enjoyed with Babe Ruth candy bars, Big League Chew (gum), and Cracker Jack snacks!

Snow No Match for Kennedy Program Center's Merakey Celebration 
Snow No Match for Kennedy Program Center's Merakey Celebration
Snow No Match for Kennedy Program Center's Merakey Celebration

Merakey/AVS Takes the Leprechaun Challenge

The Leprechaun ChallengeDuring the month of March, the AVS Psychology Department presented the Philadelphia Program Center with a challenge, “How do you trap a Leprechaun?” The question was presented on the Psychology office door, and staff who had their picture taken were made into leprechauns themselves! Each of the program areas participated in the activities, which included a Leprechaun photo booth, story reading of “How to Catch a Leprechaun” by Adam Wallace, and crafting Leprechaun traps.

To the staff, the project exemplified what it means to “put your whole heart into your job.” Staff and clients were nominated and voted for different superlatives, such as “Most Creative”, “Most Likely to Trap a Leprechaun” and “Sneakiest Trap”. Each of the departments had a blast, dressing up in tchotchkes, green beads and tiny Leprechaun hats and shades.