Archived News & Events, March 2020


Merakey Presents at Disability Summit

On March 3, Merakey participated the Disability & Mental Health Summit hosted by Representative Dan Miller. The day celebrated the 30th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act and brought together hundreds of participants for workshops and to learn about community resources.

Staff Development Executive Carol Erzen and Pathfinder Elizabeth Humphrey participated in the presentation “Living My Good Life – How It’s Achievable.” When speaking about the life she is now leading Elizabeth stated, “I am so grateful to have this. I am living my life and I’m able to spread my wings!” Community member Lisa Humphreys attended the presentation, which was toward the very end of the day, and commented, “The day has been a lot about legislation. It’s great to see people turn it around and talk about hope.”


Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Pre-Concert at Pittsburgh Campus

Max Blair, an oboist and featured soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) visited Merakey Allegheny Valley School's Pittsburgh Campus for a special pre-concert event in conjunction with the full orchestra performance on February 25. PSO’s Senior V.P. of Learning and Community Engagement Suzanne Perrino expressed an interest in making music education more enjoyable for people supported by Merakey AVS, and together with our Program Director Diana Hoeffler and Music Therapist Denise Noel, they designed this “up close and personal,” pre-concert event.

Why is there a pre-concert event? To learn about classical music and the oboe. Max also talked about the feelings a person can have while listening to music. After he played a song, he asked how everyone felt, happy or sad? Excerpts from Mozart’s Oboe Concerto made attendees feel happy; during Strauss’ Radetzky March, Max encouraged everyone to match the music tempo with clapping.

“I really like the oboe,” commented Shawn. “I like all kinds of music. My favorite singer is Whitney Houston.”

John complimented Max after the performance, “You did a nice job.”


Dancing with the Cars

The check presentation for the 2019 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP) was held at the Dancing with the Cars event on February 13. Hosted by the PVGP’s Presenting Sponsor, the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Foundation (GPADF), this event was the preview for the 2020 Pittsburgh International Auto Show.

Guests gathered at the Ford stage for the unveiling of the check to the PVGP charities. Elizabeth and Tony from Merakey Allegheny Valley School expressed their gratitude to all the PVGP supporters, and talked about being a part of the events. The GPADF then presented a $351,500 check to the PVGP, Merakey AVS and the Autism Society of Pittsburgh!

Merakey had 40 guests at the event including 5 ambassadors who are supported by Merakey AVS. Everyone enjoyed dancing, delicious food, amazing cars and great company.

Merakey AVS is grateful to the PVGP and all its sponsors, donors, volunteers, drivers and other friends for their commitment to the individuals that we support.


Partners in Kindness with Guardian Protection

Merakey Allegheny Valley School is grateful to Guardian Protection for hosting Merakey for the 5th Annual Partners in Kindness event at the Guardian office in Warrendale, PA. Jonathan, Shequala, Mark, Sharon, Cindy, Linda and Anna greeted Guardian employees as they came through the cafeteria. Everyone was handed an “I’m a Merakey Superhero” magnet, raffle ticket for The Terrible Towel® prizes and a dessert. A highlight of the gathering was Cindy playing the piano and taking requests from the crowd. Guests played cornhole and watched a slideshow of pictures throughout the years of the Guardian – Merakey partnership.

“Seeing everyone together warms my heart,” commented Guardian employee Tracey Diehm. “We’re so appreciative of our relationship with Merakey.”

Thanks to Guardian's Monica Zurawsky and Mary Lynn Moriarity and the entire Marketing Team for their dedication to and coordination of the event, and to all the Guardian employees who stopped by to say hello and to spend time with everyone from Merakey. We are grateful to Guardian Protection for its support of our mission.