Archived News & Events, October 2020


Reconnecting with Friends

Reconnecting with Friends

Nathan, Rusty, Mike, and Chris enjoyed a virtual visit through Zoom with Sister Jeanette and Luke from Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, PA, where they frequently volunteered before the pandemic. They heard about everything going on at the convent and Luke showed them the chickens and coop that the guys helped to care for. Nathan, Rusty, Mike, and Chris talked about their upcoming Special Olympics games and the events they will be participating in. The guys teased Luke about how long his hair had gotten since the pandemic started. Sister Jeanette and Luke said they missed seeing the guys and can’t wait to have them back in the future!


Fall Photo Shoot at Merakey AVS

London, from Merakey AVS, recently enjoyed the weather and changing leaves on a beautiful fall day by participating in a photo shoot at a nearby lake.

Fall Photo Shoot at Merakey AVS
Fall Photo Shoot at Merakey AVS

Respiratory Care Week – October 25 - 31

It took almost 40 years for Respiratory Care Week to become a vehicle to raise awareness about respiratory illnesses and why we need trained respiratory therapists in the healthcare industry. In 1943, Dr. Edwin Levine established a no-frills inhalation program at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. This program provided on-the-job-training for respiratory therapists to assist post-surgical patients with their respiratory needs. By 1973, the organizations involved in this work became today’s American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC).

Driven by the AARC, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation declaring the last full week in October as National Respiratory Therapy Week. The proclamation on September 15, 1983 spells out why this week is so important. “Chronic lung diseases constitute an important health problem in the United States. They afflict nearly 18 million Americans and cause nearly 70,000 deaths each year, many of which are the direct result of cigarette smoking.”

Respiratory Care Week not only shines a spotlight on efforts to reduce disabling lung conditions like asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) but the week is devoted to panel discussions and special events to help raise public awareness about what they can do to reduce devastating lung conditions. Additionally, this week is designed to boost interest on the part of people who might want to become respiratory therapists or other health professionals working in the area of respiratory care. For more information about Respiratory Care Week, click here.

Merakey is grateful to the Respiratory Therapists who work at Merakey AVS locations in Pittsburgh and Patricia Hillman Miller Campus, and the important services they provide to individuals in our care.


A Virtual Pumpkin Decorating Contest

This year’s Pumpkin Decorating Contest at the Slippery Rock Program Center at Merakey AVS was held virtually with special guests, Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street!

Those pumpkins are looking sharp and ready for Halloween! ​​​​​​​


Merakey AVS DSP of the Quarter Awards Go To …

Congratulations Jenny Boyer and Mandy Drebot, Merakey Allegheny Valley School’s Central PA Direct Support Professionals (DSP) of the Quarter! The award has been made possible through Steven’s Fund, which 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.

“Thank you for this award,” commented Jenny. “Steven holds a special memory and place in my heart, with his infectious laugh and charming personality.” Jenny has been with Merakey AVS in Hummelstown for 25+ years and was nominated for her creativity, commitment and the way she is seen as a role model to others.

“Mandy was very grateful and appreciative for being selected for the award, and thanked Merakey AVS numerous times,” commented Administrator Terri Noss-Staley. Mandy has been with Merakey AVS for 6+ years and was nominated for her initiative, compassion and ability to self-manage.


Fall Happenings at Merakey AVS

The ladies at the Malcolm Home decorated for the season with a “fall wall”. They also had an arts and crafts night and learned how to make fluffy slime.​​​​​​​

The gentleman at Willow Acres Home are ready for a ghoulishly Happy Halloween! They painted pumpkins and are having fun enjoying the outdoors while it’s still nice out.​​​​​​​

The ladies from the Nolte Home spent the day having a fall photo shoot with the beautiful trees and décor in the area. Great pictures, ladies!


HP’s Official Cleaning Guide in Response to COVID-19

HP wants customers to have the information they need to effectively clean HP devices and to assist them in maintaining a healthy work environment.

Click here for details on how you can effectively and safely clean your tech products.


Connecting Talent to Opportunities

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Helping to educate others and to advocate for individuals with disabilities, Merakey AVS resident, Liz, is participating as a panelist in two sessions for an Employment Support Symposium on October 21 and October 28.

On October 21, Liz will join a panel of people with visible and invisible disabilities, as they share their thoughts and opinions about disability disclosure in the workplace and, possibly, beyond. The panelists will provide their own perspectives on all aspects of disability, and will share their opinions for workers with disabilities, employment professionals, and employers.

On October 28, Liz will share her achievement of a life of her choosing, and her personal experiences on her "Person-Centered Journey"!

Merakey is incredibly proud of Liz for sharing her personal reflections and for her commitment to help others achieve their dreams.

For more information about these upcoming events, click here.


Fall is in the Air

Thanks to one of Merakey AVS’ very special nurses, the residents at the Hummelstown Campus in Pittsburgh have been busy painting pumpkins and embracing the changes of the season.


Getting Ready for Halloween!

The guys at the Nyetimber Home at Merakey AVS are busy getting their house decorated for Halloween. They’re also continuing to use their Cricut machine to make clothing, like matching pullovers for Special Olympics. Great job, guys!