Current News & Events

June 11, 2018

Merakey Foundation's 20th Annual Golf Classic

Despite the wet weather on May 22, the Merakey Foundation’s 20th Annual Golf Classic was a hole in one! Over a hundred golfers came out to the Ace Club in Lafayette Hill, PA to support the Foundation and the services provided at Merakey. The Ace Club provided a delicious lunch and dinner for all those in attendance. By the end of the day, the Merakey Foundation raised more than $322,000 in support of Merakey’s programs and services. This year’s event focused on Merakey Foster Care services and individuals aging out of the programs. The Foundation’s funding offers the ability to provide a college semester of tuition and books, rent for two months after leaving the program, and other everyday resources. Special guest Valentina Hollinger, a former individual who received services at Merakey, used this platform to be a voice for those still facing challenges in the system. She received a standing ovation for her speech and posed for lots of pictures with guests! We thank Valentina for her participation and words of action.

Special thanks to Board Chairman Mike Mitchell, CEO Joe Martz, members of the Merakey Foundation and Parent Boards, and all the contributors for their incredible support over the past 20 years, helping to raise more than $3 million from this event for Merakey programs and services.

June 11, 2018

IDD Clinical Team on the Move

IDD Clinical on the Move!

Significant achievement is happening for the IDD Clinical Team consisting of Clinical Directors, Behavior Specialists and Clinical Specialists. From April 4 (while celebrating Merakey rebranding) till May, IDD Executive Clinical Director, Dr. Tim Barksdale taught a series of eight-hour courses to ensure that the entire team of over 50 professionals from PA, NJ, and DE are now certified in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). With this skill and training, the team is now better able to support people exhibiting various forms of mental illnesses. This effort moves the IDD Division closer to achieving NADD accreditation which will further distinguish Merakey as a national resource for providing treatment to people with an intellectual disability and co-occurring mental illness. In addition, congratulations to Clinical Director, Christi Amato, for receiving her Clinical NADD Clinical Certification, the sixth clinician in the IDD Division to achieve this clinical milestone. Go team!

June 11, 2018

Merakey Supports Christiana Rotary in Delaware

Christiana Rotary The Merakey Education and Autism Division supported the Christiana Rotary in their annual golf outing on Thursday, May 21. Heather Godwin, Senior Director of Operations for Delaware, collaborated with the Christiana Rotary throughout the year to enhance connections within the community. With these connections, Heather has secured free trainings from Microsoft for students and staff, as well as a photographer who will be donating their time to take pictures at the 2nd annual Merakey Strides4Students 5k walk/run on June 16. In addition to sponsoring a tee-sign at the golf outing, Heather prepared an auction basket that included two free entries to the upcoming 5k, Merakey swag, and a $50 New Balance gift card that was donated to support Christiana Rotary.
June 11, 2018

Employment First at Merakey

Employment 1stMerakey’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Division congratulates the following staff for successfully completing the Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE) approved course and being awarded the ACRE Basic Employment Services certificate in May:
  • Katie Montello, Program Specialist
  • Rita Christner, Social Service Director
  • Emily Nickles, QIDP/Program Specialist
  • Norine Thompson, Program Instructor
  • Courtney Sargent, Program Instructor
  • Eric Patterson, Program Instructor
  • Carole Snyder, Program Instructor
  • Mary Loos, Program Instructor
  • Amber Wilson, QIDP/Program Specialist
  • Linda Fowler, QIDP
  • Dana Boyer, QIDP/Program Specialist
  • Sarah Cerminara, QIDP/Program Specialist

Obtaining this certificate is no small task, as it requires dedication and time management. These staff members committed to this course so that they can be better allies for the people we support. The course consists of discussions, papers, and other activities to engage in effective learning. Thank you for all you do! Our goal is to support staff with training opportunities, such as this one, so that we can continue to empower people in taking meaningful steps toward reaching their fullest potential.

For more information on ACRE (Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators), please visit:

For more information on Employment First, please visit:

June 11, 2018

Laughter and Love: A Funny Fundraiser

Join us on August 1, 2018 for a Funny Fundraiser, presented by The new Merakey Foundation Junior Board!

Location: Helium Comedy Club
Date: August 1, 2018
Time: 7-9:30
Tickets: Starting at $25,
Cash bar available during show

For more information, check out the event on Facebook:
June 11, 2018

Starbucks Training

Starbucks training Starbucks trainingMerakey and the Philadelphia Alliance teamed up to participate in a training for Starbucks employees held at the Loew’s Hotel in Philadelphia on May 29.

Tess Zakrzwski and Dannett Candelaria represented Merakey Philadelphia Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services by setting up a resource table.

About 500 people attended the training, and participants stopped by to discuss Merakey services and receive Merakey swag. Tess and Dannett took this great opportunity to also network with other providers of services who attended the event.

June 11, 2018

20 Years of Dedicated Service!

20 Years of Dedicated Service
Congratulations to staff members from the corporate office who celebrate 20 years of service this month. Staff were treated to a celebratory lunch and cake with their colleagues on May 24. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to support Merakey employees around the company!

Pictured, L-R: Barbara Kelly (Accounts Payable), Terry Juhas (Purchasing Manager), Mike Gavin (Director of Corporate Accounting), Lizanne Klinges (Manager of Financial Support Systems), and Jackie Schiele (Workers’ Compensation Claims Manager)
June 11, 2018

Merakey Participates in 2018 NAMIWalks

Kim Caton, executive director of Merakey Bucks and Montgomery Counties, attended as an Event Sponsor at the 2018 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Walk at Montgomery County Community College on May 5. Kim proudly shared our new company name and story with walkers, family members, and individuals supported by providers similar to Merakey. NAMIWalks celebrates its 16th anniversary this year, making it the largest and most successful mental health awareness and fundraising event in the country.
Thank you, Kim, for representing Merakey and helping to share the great services we provide every day!
June 11, 2018

Celebrating Mental Health Awareness Day at Citizens Bank Park!

On May 21, the Long Term Structured Residence (LTSR) at Iris House in Philadelphia celebrated Mental Health Awareness Night at Citizens Bank Park during the Phillies game.

The Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health also attended the event to promote awareness and share information about this very important initiative. A good time was had by all, especially after the Phillies won!

Great job and thank you to Iris House LTSR residents and staff for your participation.

Citizens Bank Park Citizens Bank Park Citizens Bank Park
June 11, 2018

Employment First Works - Ed

“I’m Lovin’ It” is a slogan we all know and what Ed represents as he goes to work at the Golden Arches three days a week. Ed began his employment with McDonald’s in New Stanton over 25 years ago when he lived with his family. When Ed moved to Coraopolis, Pittsburgh in 2007, support was provided to gain employment at the local McDonald’s. Ed’s success continued.

Ed is currently a Crew Member at the McDonald’s in Kennedy Township. Over the past 10 years, Ed has come to know the regular customers. According to Ed, “Everyone talks to me." McDonald’s manager Rick Littleton stated, “I wish I had 10 more guys like Ed. He does his job. He is on time. He doesn’t call off. One of the best employees I have ever had.” In June, at the McDonald’s awards banquet, Ed will be recognized for his 10 years at the Kennedy Township location where he will receive a 43’’ flat screen tv he picked out himself.

In 2012, Ed began a second job working at Lintons Food Service Management as a kitchen/dishwasher aide at the Merakey Pittsburgh Campus location. He shared that he enjoys working at Lintons and stated, “I like the teamwork.” As any good employee does, Ed works very hard, is flexible with his work assignments and eagerly assists others as needed. According to Michael DiBuono, Food Service Director, “Ed is always here, always ready to work and always has a good attitude. He sees what needs to be done and is able to take action.” Ed joined his coworkers from Lintons at this year’s Merakey Bowling Tournament, held in March at Zone 28, where he enjoyed the competition, food, and fun.Ed

In addition to his employment, Ed leads a very active life. He lives in Coraopolis with housemates where he enjoys grilling. He attends various activities in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. Through Exceptional Adventure Tours, he has gone to Cleveland for a Steelers game, Hershey Park, indoor amusement park in Ohio, a basketball game, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, as well as a dude ranch for five days in New York.

Ed spends a lot of time with his family, playing sports and dining out. He also owns a riding horse, which he enjoys caring for. This year, he will be heading to Atlantis Bahamas with his family. Ed takes much pride in his Catholic faith and regularly attends mass at St Malachy’s, where he is known by many parishioners. He tells his mom all the time “I’m never alone; Jesus is with me”. His parents shared that Ed has always taken pride in the USA, having his freedom, and his Catholic faith. Ed and his parents are very happy and proud of the Everyday Life Ed lives.