Current News & Events


Staff Appreciation Day at Merakey AVS on Verree Road

On September 11, staff at Merakey Allegheny Valley School on Verree Road in Philadelphia were treated to lunch prepared by Lintons Managed Services and they were given t-shirts with the acronym DSP imprinted on them, but with a different and equally important meaning: Dedicated, Supportive, Professional.


Merakey AVS Rotarians at Roxtoberfest

McKees Rocks Rotarians from Merakey Allegheny Valley School volunteered at the annual Roxtoberfest fundraiser. Rotary member Wendy greeted each guest as they walked through the door and pulled the winning 50/50 raffle ticket. Greater Mckees Rocks 15136 Rotary Club supports Merakey AVS programs in Kennedy Township, PA.


DSP of the Quarter at Merakey Allegheny Valley School

Mary Cavender

Congratulations Mary Cavender, Direct Support Professional of the Quarter at Merakey Allegheny Valley School!

“Mary is a very dedicated staff person; always smiling and putting the needs of the gentlemen she supports as her priority,” commented Administrator, Donna Stuckey.

The DSP of the quarter award has been made possible through 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.


Consumer Advocacy Picnic

The Consumer Advocacy Groups (CAG) from the Western Region of PA gathered at Moraine State Park for the 2nd Annual CAG Picnic. Everyone was glad to reconnect with members they had met the previous year and get to know new members. The day included a brief meeting, lunch, carnival games, fishing and a concert.


Motorcycle Charity Ride benefits Merakey Allegheny Valley School

On September 22, the Crafton-Ingram Rotary hosted its first Annual Motorcycle Charity Ride to benefit Merakey AVS. The ride began at the Merakey AVS Kennedy Program Center and included 40 motorcycles, 1 Slingshot and 1 Viper. Tiny and Jim from Merakey AVS greeted the bikers and posed for photographs before the ride began.

The ride included a visit to Merakey AVS Pittsburgh Campus, where many were outside cheering on the riders with "Thank You" signs. The 50-mile ride took turns throughout Allegheny County, making its way to Merakey AVS Patricia Hillman Miller Campus (PHMC) where a porch and balcony full of people were clapping and cheering. Ken and Stephanie joined the bikers at the end of the event at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Crafton.

The event raised $1,475 for Merakey AVS programs that support adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Pennsylvania.

Merakey bikers included - Sr. Manager of Recruiting Jim Battaglia, Motor Development Specialist Jen Morse and Development & Community Engagement Coordinator Amy Rocini. Bikers were also represented by the following rotary clubs: Crafton-Ingram, McKees Rocks Area, Pittsburgh and Rich-Mar. Many thanks to the Crafton and Ingram Police for providing an escorted ride from PHMC to the Knights of Columbus Hall.

We are so grateful to the Crafton-Ingram Rotary Club and to Rotarians Joe Orbovich and Don Wolbert, Jr. for coordinating the event, and plan to make the 2020 event even larger!

Thanks to the following Merakey AVS employees for assisting with the event: Cathy Engleka, Jean Germain, Jan and Dennis Harvilla, Michelle Miller, Amy Rocini, Leslie Sprawls and daughter Rylie and Sydney Hails. We are also grateful to the food prep crew at the Edward J. Zapp Program Center for providing mini muffins for the sendoff. And a big shout out to everyone at Pittsburgh Campus and PHMC for greeting the bikers and for showing their Merakey pride.

Click the following links to see videos from the event: Clip #1 | Clip #2


Friends of Merakey Allegheny Valley School Golf Open

On September 16, Merakey AVS held its 28th annual golf open at Chartiers Country Club. Chaired by Rick Mongiovi from Mongiovi & Son, the day was a huge success, raising more than $130,000 for Merakey AVS programs that support adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Pennsylvania.

Merakey AVS Pathfinder Elizabeth Humphrey co-emceed the dinner event with Executive Director, Development & Communications Dorothy Gordon. Elizabeth shared with the 175+ dinner guests the amazing opportunities that have opened to her during the past year, and shared her original poem, “I Can’t be Put Down”.

During dinner Linda Fabian received the 2019 AVS CHAMPion award. Linda retired this past May after 44 years with Merakey AVS. Western Regional Executive Director Gary Hoffman presented the award, and Chief Executive Officer Joe Martz offered his gratitude to Linda for giving her heart and soul to Merakey AVS for 44 years.

Congratulations to our golf winners:

  • 1st place team (score of 55) - Kent Foster, Mark DeWitt, Dave Penz and Tom Reading
  • 2nd place team (score of 56) - Matt Kerr, Kellen Lovejoy, Dan Labuda, Aaron Laverick
  • 3rd place team (score of 56) - Kevin Seigworth, Brian Sanders, Brett Adelman and Tanner Ivol
  • Longest Drive: Jon Lodovico and Elaine Hoffman
  • Straightest Drive: Dan DelBianco
  • Longest Putt: Chad Teasdale
  • Closest to the Pin: Chad Teasdale
  • Putting Contest: Steve Knightlenger

We are so grateful to all who contributed to the success of the 2019 Friends of Merakey Allegheny Valley School Golf Open!

Friends of Merakey AVS Golf Open 2019

Merakey Allegheny Valley School Attends The Lion King

74 individuals and accompanying staff members from Merakey AVS attended a sensory performance of The Lion King at the Benedum Center. Thank you to the Walter F. and Ellen H. Nicoden Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation for providing funding for these tickets.

Attendees from Galey and Robinson celebrated the special day with dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe Pittsburgh after the show.

The Lion King

Local Astronaut Takes Terrible Towel to International Space Station

Terrible Towel Astronaut and avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan Drew Morgan brought a piece of Pittsburgh with him to the International Space Station. Merakey Allegheny Valley School is proud to be represented in space!

Check out the news coverage by clicking here!


Michael Tours the Police Station

Michael, an individual supported by Merakey AVS, recently visited the McKees Rocks Police Department. Staff member Jackie Harrison arranged the trip for Michael (a.k.a. Sarge). Chief Deliman showed Michael a police car with lights flashing and took him to the file room, where Michael quickly declared there was too much paperwork. He even experienced being in a jail cell! Michael was so happy with the opportunity that Jackie and Chief Deliman provided, and he even received his very own official police patch badge.

Thank you, Jackie, for setting up this special visit for Michael.

Michael visits the Police Michael visits the Police Michael visits the Police Michael visits the Police