Archived News & Events, January 2017

January 13, 2017

2016 Polar Plunge

In early December, a small but mighty team of NHS/AVS staff members took the plunge for the sixth year to support Special Olympic athletes across Pennsylvania. Team AVS raised nearly $1,000! Team captain Carol Erzen commented “although it took some time to thaw out, our team committed to participating once again next year! Thanks to everyone who took the plunge or donated to the team.”

Clients and staff members joined the event by watching and cheering on plungers at the Super Polar Plunge at Stage AE. They were welcomed with open arms by the Special Olympics staff, and visited with groups and sponsors inside Stage AE before heading out to cheer on the plungers. The Pittsburgh Police Department kicked off the event, and after jumping into the frigid water, participants warmed up in hot tubs. "I never knew so many people could fit into a hot tub,” said NHS/AVS client Ken. Spectators from NHS/AVS were very excited to cheer on the plungers, and were dancing and giving high fives to anyone brave enough to plunge into the icy waters. It was a great day with priceless smiles!

2016 Polar Plunge

2016 Polar Plunge
March 30, 2017

Holiday Happenings at NHS/AVS

The holidays were a fun and busy time for the clients and staff members at NHS Allegheny Valley School. We are so grateful for our many friends in the community who brightened up the holiday season for us. 

  • Hummelstown Day Program had a visit from Santa, Mrs. Claus, Elves, a Ginger Bread Man and Captain America, sponsored by DAS Companies, Inc. This is the 3rd year for the visit and the new additions of the Ginger Bread Man and Captain America was fun for all! The visitors passed out homemade greeting cards to all the residents, as well as snowmen snow globe and magnet activity kits. Individuals were excited to share their Christmas wishes with Santa, who definitely had to check his list twice for our gang!
  • Holly and Greg Carpenter provided the meal for participants at the Breakfast with Santa held at the Hummelstown Campus. Sixty (60) NHS/AVS staff members, along with their children and grandchildren attended the event. Following breakfast, Santa arrived driving an old fashion Ford Model T which thrilled the crowd. Santa delivered gifts to all the children and provided rides in the Model T. It truly was a special time for all!
  • For the 20th year, Guardian Protection Services distributed holiday gifts to more than 180 residents of NHS/AVS Pittsburgh Campus and nearby community group homes. In addition to receiving presents from their wish lists (including CD players, nail polish, sports team apparel, magazine subscriptions, and so much more!) the visit included caroling, and meeting and posing for pictures with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Guardian employees. We thank Guardian's Communications Manager Mary Lynn Moriarity and her team members for their coordination and tireless efforts! Thanks are also due to Guardian employees in western PA and in Arizona for bringing holiday cheer to so many residents at NHS/AVS.
  • The Bright Star Touring Theatre visited the Pittsburgh Campus for two seasonal performances. During “Holiday Songs from Around the World,” the group shared songs and stories from Africa to Mexico and everywhere in between, creating a magical wintertime show.  “A Dickens Tale” was a recreation of Charles Dickens’s classic stories. Some of the NHS/AVS residents were honored to participate in parts of the productions, which added creativity, humor, and fun. Funding for this project was made possible by the Walter F. and Ellen H. Nicoden Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.
  • Members of Community Service Group at the Zapp Program Center visited Caring Heights to perform a Christmas program which included caroling and the use of sign language to recite poems. There was also a poinsettia raffle for the residents of Caring Heights and a cookie social. When asked what their favorite part of the visit was, Rose said “I liked talking with the residents.”
  • St. Margaret Mary Youth Ministry invited residents and family members to sing carols at its location in Moon Township. Residents from the Pittsburgh Campus and community group homes attended and sang along with the students, and received home-made cookies. We appreciate the youth for sharing their talents with us!
  • Santa and the Greater McKees Rocks Area Rotary visited and provided gifts for the 54 consumers who attend the Kennedy Program Center. Sto-Rox High School Student Choir was a part of the celebration and sang several holiday songs in each of the classrooms. Rotary members helped the clients to open their gifts which included coffee, jewelry, puzzles, clothing, movies, CDs, headphones, and so much more! Resident Trudy thanked the students and the Rotarians at the end of the visit and distributed home-made ornaments to each of the guests.
  • Members of the Crafton Ingram Rotary Club visited and delivered gifts to the 59 residents of the Patricia Hillman Miller Campus. Rotarians also delivered cookies for the staff members and surprised PHMC with the Spirit of Service award! The plaque reads:

    Spirit of Service
    The Rotary Club of Crafton-Ingram would like to recognize the staff at the Allegheny Valley School Patricia Hillman Miller Campus for their outstanding service to its residence. Thank you for demonstrating Service Above Self

  • Members of the Robinson Lions Club delivered gifts to the 13 clients of the Pittsburgh Campus Stucco House. Club president Joseph Erdeljac presented a check in appreciation of the staff members which will be used to host employee gatherings at the home.
  • Members of the Western Valley YMCA Teen Board and Executive Director Kimberly Black shared a holiday moment with the ladies of Ewings Mill I. The students and residents decorated cookie trains together and the visitors gave gifts to the residents. 
  • The Ambridge High School Choir visited the residents of the Zapp Center. Individuals requested their favorite carols and sang along with the students. The Center was filled with singing, clapping, and smiling faces.
  • Through an Angel Tree hosted by St. Malachy Catholic Church, 165 consumers of the Pittsburgh Campus received gifts.
  • PHMC employees sponsored an Angel Tree for the residents.
  • CentiMark Foundation made a generous donation to purchase holiday gifts for NHS/AVS residents.
  • Residents received homemade blankets from the Parishioners and Neighbors of St. Margaret Church. NHS/AVS family member Lynne Gross led the effort which contributed 97 blankets to be shared with clients throughout Pennsylvania.
  • Holy Trinity Catholic Church and The Women’s Committee, Carnegie Museum of Art provided holiday parties for the residents.
  • Students of Holy Trinity Catholic School shared sweet treats with the clients and staff members.
  • PHMC and Pittsburgh Campus hosted Light Up Nights. Special thanks to Janoski's Farm & Greenhouse which donated a tree for Pittsburgh Campus celebration.
  • Pittsburgh Campus held its annual Christmas Concert. More than 20 members of the choir sang carols. Music Director Denise Noel thanked the choir members for their hard work preparing for the event, and the many employees who assisted in making the event a huge success. Program Instructor Ashley Hirsh performed sign language to one of the songs, and many of the residents sang solos.  
  • The Middletown, PA office of ICF has a holiday tradition of collecting donations for a local charity. In 2016, NHS/AVS Hummelstown Campus was the fortunate recipient of this generosity! We are grateful to the many ICF employees who contributed to support the work of the organization.
  • The Zion Women of Zion Lutheran Church of Union Deposit donated mittens and clothing to 21 residents of the Hummelstown Campus.
Happy New Year!