What are the specific requirements that an individual must meet to be supported by Merakey AVS?
To be eligible for admission to Merakey Allegheny Valley School (Merakey AVS), an individual must meet the following criteria:

  • Primary diagnosis of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)
  • 19 years of age or older
  • Pennsylvania resident
For more information on the admissions process, please visit the Admissions page.

What is discussed in the interview with the Director of Admissions?
This interview is a meeting for Merakey AVS’s team to determine how we can support the individual. This is where we begin our life long relationships with the individual and his/her family and friends. For more information on the admissions process, please visit the Admissions page.

How can families get involved with Merakey Allegheny Valley School?
Merakey AVS encourages family involvement. There are two family groups that meet regularly and participate in a variety of activities. The Merakey Allegheny Valley School Parents Association meets in Western PA and the Combined Parents Association meets in Eastern PA. For more information about how to join, please contact the Development Department at 412-299-7777.

What is Merakey Allegheny Valley School's policy on home visits?
If a person is supported residentially home visits are very important and we encourage them. The individuals are given 75 therapeutic leave days each year. If an individual is not gone for a full 24-hours, it is not counted as a leave day.

What is your staff/individual ratio?
This depends on the needs of the individuals. In most cases the staffing ratio is somewhere between one-to-one and one-to-four individuals.

How much training is required of the staff?
Before working with the individuals, our new employees go through a two-week training and orientation program, during which they learn how to provide the individuals we serve with the supports they need. In addition, all staff must attend 24 hours of additional training each year.

Do all of the individuals that attend day programming at Merakey Allegheny Valley School live at one of the homes or larger facilities?
The only locations that currently provide day services to non Merakey AVS residents are Hummelstown Campus and Slippery Rock Program Center.

How do I make a tax deductible donation to Merakey AVS?
Donations can be made online through our secure online donation form, by calling the Development Department at 412-299-7777 or by mail at:

Merakey Allegheny Valley School | Attn: Dorothy Gordon
1996 Ewings Mill Road, Coraopolis, PA 15108

For more information, please visit the Contributing to Merakey AVS page.

How does Merakey AVS benefit from The Terrible Towel®?
In 1996, Myron Cope gave the ownership of The Terrible Towel trademark to Merakey AVS. Since then, the royalties from the sale of all officially licensed "Terrible Stuff" (including towels, ties, ornaments, lapel pins, flags, bibs, cookies, temporary tattoos, and more) have come to Merakey AVS. Read more about the history of the relationship between Merakey AVS and The Terrible Towel®.

What is Merakey AVS’s relationship with Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix?
Merakey AVS is one of two charities that benefits from the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP). The 10-day event includes car shows, parades, a gala and wraps-up with a two-day vintage race through Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park. Read about this past year’s events and how Merakey AVS consumers are charity ambassadors for the PVGP. For more information about the PVGP, please visit pvgp.org.