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Luehm Family Headed To El Salvador March 22, 2018

After spending the last eight years houseparents at Milton Hershey School, Jeff and Katy Luehm of Hershey are planning to move to El Salvador where they once served as Peace Corps volunteers. This time, they will be working with an organization called The Father's Heart Foundation to help create a sustainable home and community for orphaned children.

The Luehms are working with the founders of The Father's Heart Foundation to raise the funds needed for the next phase of the project and begin to bring kids into family-like homes with houseparents. They seeks donors who want to help provide homes to children in need. Their long-term plan is to create a completely self-sustaining community through investing in an aquaponics agriculture business that will support the operating costs of the organization.

For now, the Luehms seek donors to enable them to build the first residential building and finish the first phase of the aquaponics project. They are looking to form partnerships with individuals and faith communities. The Father's Heart Foundation seeks to raise $400,000 for this next phase of their mission. That money will enable them to build the infrastructure needed to employ up to seven houseparent couples and bring in up to 42 orphaned children.

For more information about The Father's Heart Foundation, readers may visit, or contact


Williams Joins Board Of Directors March 22, 2018

The American Heart Association, a voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease, recently announced the appointment of Lindsey Williams to its Lancaster Division board of directors.

Williams currently serves as assistant director for Visiting Angels Homecare of Lancaster. She is passionate about improving the quality of life for area seniors, helping the county's aging population remain independent, and keeping children active so that they will live healthy, long lives.

Williams holds a bachelor's degree from University of Wisconsin and is a member of the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management. In addition to her service to the American Heart Association, she is an active volunteer with the Alzheimer's Association and Manheim Soccer Club. She lives in Mount Joy with her husband, Austin, and two daughters.

For more information about the American Heart Association, Lancaster Division, readers may visit or


CASA Information Sessions Slated March 22, 2018

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Lancaster County offers an important way to directly impact the lives of children locally by providing volunteers for children in foster care. No experience is necessary. All that is required is the desire to help the most vulnerable members of the community.

CASA of Lancaster County will offer three information sessions to learn how to become an advocate and a voice for children in foster care. Sessions will be held on Tuesday, April 17, at noon at Paul Davis Restoration, 1704 Hempstead Road, Lancaster; on Tuesday, May 15, at 6 p.m. at CASA, 53 N. Duke St., Suite 218, Lancaster; and on Tuesday, June 19, at noon at Ephrata Rec Center, 130 S. Academy Drive, Ephrata.

The sessions are free and open to the public. Reservations are required due to limited seating. The program will not exceed 60 minutes. To reserve a seat, readers may contact CASA at 717-208-3280 or


Schreiber Center Announces 2018 Ambassadors March 22, 2018

A little girl who suddenly lost the use of her arms and legs when she was 8 months old. A boy born with cerebral palsy. A brother and sister each with their own set of challenges. And a 7-year-old with Down syndrome. The stories among this year's group of Schreiber Ambassadors are all different. But the families have one thing in common: They came to see if Schreiber Pediatric Rehab Center could help. They came looking for hope.

The five Ambassadors were introduced on March 24 at Schreiber's 36th annual gala, and each has a story of continuing hope. They include Kami Appleby, Paxton and Giuliana Grasso, Roberto King, and Connery Pham.

Kami is 2 years old and has been receiving services from Schreiber since July 2016, when she became ill with transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord. The illness left the previously healthy baby paralyzed from the neck down. Kami has worked through physical and occupational therapy to regain her lost mobility, increase her core strength, and improve her fine motor skills. Her mother, Juliann, says Kami now has enough strength to walk with the aid of a walker and will soon be using forearm crutches.

"Kami has had a wonderful experience so far at Schreiber," Juliann said. "We are so thankful to her therapists for always trying something new with her, to push her further in her recovery. We truly feel like it's a team effort to help her."

Paxton, age 4, was born with a brain hemorrhage that caused hydrocephalus, or swelling on his brain, and has led to him having sensory issues. He has been coming to Schreiber since early 2017 for therapy and to attend Schreiber's S.T.A.R.S. Preschool. He receives occupational therapy to help him work through his sensory issues and to learn how to calm down when he is feeling overwhelmed. Paxton has changed from a quiet, anxious little boy to an outgoing preschooler who looks forward to attending school.

Paxton's older sister, Giuliana, is 5 and was born with Trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome. Like many other children her age, Giuliana attends kindergarten and loves macaroni and cheese, playing with Barbies, and dancing. At Schreiber she has begun the work of catching up physically through physical and speech-language therapy.

"Giuliana has made leaps and bounds during her time at Schreiber," Giuliana's mother, Andrea, said. "From being able to communicate her wants and needs to the ability to run and jump and play with her friends, she has become much more independent. The therapists here are exceptional. They are giving her the tools to be successful for years to come."

When Merv and Carolyn King adopted Roberto from Guatemala, they were told the baby had some physical delays because he had been in a crib so much, but it turned out that Roberto had cerebral palsy. Roberto received services through the Intermediate Unit and then through Schreiber. Through hard work, Roberto, now a 12-year-old, has learned to sit, stand with support, and walk with crutches. Sometimes the difficulty of the work can be a struggle to deal with, even for a funny, sociable kid like Roberto.

"He gets pushed to try new things," Carolyn remarked. "Everybody is friendly and understanding when your child (fights against the therapy), and they cheer him back up."

Like Giuliana, Connery has Down syndrome. She plays soccer, likes watching the television show "Max and Ruby," and wants to be a day care teacher when she grows up. Connery has made remarkable progress with Schreiber's occupational and speech-language therapy.

"The level of support and care at Schreiber is so very personal to our family," said Connery's mother, Kara. "The staff is amazing, ready, and eager to help her progress. There is always an element of fun with every session."

The 2018 Ambassadors will participate in a number of events for Schreiber throughout the year. To learn more about the organization, readers may visit and, follow @SchreiberCenter, or call 717-393-0425.


Volunteering: A Rewarding Experience March 22, 2018

While many people volunteer as a way to help local agencies that are in vital need of support, giving time to visit with individuals in the Chester County Orphans' Court's Guardianship Program also benefits the volunteers themselves, who find the experience of meeting the families personally rewarding.

As part of the program, volunteers visit those whom the court has deemed as needing a guardian due to a physical or developmental disability and their appointed guardians, who are generally their family members.

"The guardians are the unsung heroes, and the court visitors get to hear their stories first-hand," said Diane Mulhearn, program coordinator. "That's the reward of this program."

"(The visit) not only helps the incapacitated person, but also the guardian. They both need support and advocacy," added volunteer visitor James Godbold of Downingtown.

Godbold recalled the case of one woman who was incapacitated due to illness at the age of 21. "Her father and her brother were appointed as co-guardians," he recalled. "Judge (Mark) Tunnell spoke to her brother, who was 25, and said, 'You realize the road that lies ahead of you won't be easy. I commend you for doing this and taking on this responsibility.'"

Volunteer Maureen Scally of North Coventry Township also noted that the volunteer visitor program is beneficial for all involved. "The program helps individuals in the guardianship program, but it also helps the family members," she said.

Scally, who recently retired after a career in the health care field, has been a volunteer for less than a year and already has visited 40 families, taking part in five visits a month. "There is a little bit of nervousness in the beginning (of the visit), but after talking to the families, we are affirming that they made the right decision for their loved one," she said. "I find it very gratifying to see the dynamics of the whole family."

Mulhearn noted that the volunteers schedule their visits ahead of time. Some of the clients served by the Guardianship Program live in nursing homes or other facilities, while other individuals reside at home with their families.

"When I call ahead to schedule the appointment, virtually all the homes I have gone to I have been the first visitor because the guardianship has taken place within the last year. None of them had had visits before," Godbold noted. "(I tell them) I am not a policeman coming out to check up on you and to find things that are wrong. I am only here to facilitate communication."

Godbold, who recently retired from a career as a statistician in the field of medical research, was looking for volunteer opportunities. He took part in the volunteer training after reading about the program in the Community Courier. "Although I worked with physicians who did medical studies, I never had the person-to-person contact with the patients themselves," he stated. "I wanted to do something that provided me with social contact and at the same time do something that I thought was helpful and useful.

"There was a family who was the guardian of a 20-year-old (woman) with cerebral palsy," he added. "The grandfather told me, 'You found the right program to volunteer in; you are in the right spot.' That made my day. It was so gratifying."


Alliance Sets Meeting March 21, 2018

ACE (Advocating, Collaborating, Educating) Anti-Human Trafficking Alliance of Oxford will hold its monthly meeting on Saturday, April 7, at the Oxford Senior Center, 12 E. Locust St., Oxford. Refreshments will be served at 9 a.m., followed by the presentation at 9:30 a.m.

Delaware County Deputy District Attorney Michael Galantino will present "The Human Trafficking Victim and the Law." For more information, call 610-932-0337.


Nonprofit Plans Awareness Event March 21, 2018

Sparrow Place, a local nonprofit looking to open a specialized trauma informed restorative residence for survivors of sex trafficking, will host a human trafficking awareness event on Thursday, April 19, in the auditorium at Grace Church Shrewsbury, 473 Plank Road, New Freedom.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for mingling with representatives of various community outreaches, followed by a documentary screening, presentation, and question-and-answer session with local anti-trafficking advocates from 6 to 8 p.m. Among the groups slated to be present is Communities Against Trafficking of Central PA, which will share the steps it is taking to be part of the solution to human trafficking.

This is an adults-only event, as mature content will be presented. Parents will leave with information they can share at home at their discretion.

Sparrow Place aims to be a residential restoration program in York County for survivors of domestic sex trafficking. Part of its mission is to help end the demand for sex trafficking by spreading awareness and education. For more information, readers may visit


Guardianship Program Sets Training Session March 21, 2018

Volunteers who are good listeners, have good communication skills and are compassionate are currently being sought to visit those who have been placed under guardianship through the Chester County Orphans' Court's Guardianship Program. Prospective volunteers are invited to attend a free training session that will be held on Thursday, April 12, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Chester County Justice Center, 201 W. Market St., Suite 3300A, West Chester. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

"The informational seminar will provide (attendees) with a sound understanding of what guardianship is, when it is necessary and how to obtain it," explained Diane Mulhearn, program coordinator. She added that attendees will also learn their responsibilities as visitors to individuals under guardianship and their guardians, who frequently are family members.

As part of the legal process, Mulhearn explained, the court appoints guardians for individuals who are deemed unable to manage their financial resources or meet essential requirements for physical health and safety due to serious physical or intellectual disabilities. The role of the volunteer is to check in on the guardians, asking questions such as "How do you think the guardianship is going?" and "Do you have any struggles?"

Mulhearn added that since there are currently more than 500 guardianships in Chester County, the volunteer program is a way for judges to have continuing contact with the guardian and the person under guardianship.

"Our trained volunteers are the eyes and ears of the court and help us to be alert to and deal with issues of personal and fiscal safety for those whom we have declared incapacitated," added the Hon. Katherine B.L. Platt, an administrative judge with the Orphans' Court. "I, for one, sleep better at night knowing these committed volunteers are helping me and my fellow judges protect the people we serve."

Following the training seminar on April 12, prospective volunteers can decide if they want to continue with the program. If so, they will complete an application and background check. Mentors accompany the new volunteers for the first few visits until they are ready to meet the clients by themselves.

Volunteers visit individuals under guardianship and their guardians once a year. The amount of volunteer time required is flexible. "Some visitors want to work with the elderly. Others are more interested in working with a younger incapacitated individual," Mulhearn said. "You can select as many clients as you want."

In addition to friendly visitors, the program is seeking volunteer auditors. "The guardians have an ongoing obligation with the court to file annual reports (about) the person and the estate," Mulhearn explained. "The report of the estate accounts for principle assets, income stream and expenditures. I review those reports, and if I find discrepancies in them - either mistakes or they are completed incorrectly - (the reports) get sent to court auditors to review them to determine why and what those discrepancies are."

A financial background is not required but may be helpful. "Most of the volunteer auditors have some sort of CPA or accounting experience, or they are good with numbers," Mulhearn noted.

For more information about volunteering or to request an application for the upcoming training, readers are asked to contact Mulhearn at 610-344-5212 or


30th Annual York Heart Ball Slated March 20, 2018

The American Heart Association invites business, health care and community leaders from across York County to attend the 30th annual York Heart Ball on Saturday, April 21, at 6 p.m. at the Out Door Country Club, 1157 Detwiler Drive, York. The theme will be "Ante Up Against Heart Disease."

The evening will be hosted by television news anchor Amy Lutz and co-chaired by Brock Hively and Josh Smeltzer of The Sides Group of RBC Wealth Management. Hively currently serves as first vice president and financial adviser of the consulting group, and Smeltzer serves as senior vice president and financial adviser.

Hively also serves as a member of the board of the Executive Referral Network. He is a native of York and a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania.

Smeltzer is also the past president and treasurer of Central Pennsylvania Professional Referral Exchange and is involved in York Young Professionals. He is a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania and remains active in the school's alumni association.

The York Heart Ball will include live entertainment by Clockwork Band, along with dinner, dancing and other activities. The event will raise funds for the American Heart Association's mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Guests will have opportunities to support the mission by bidding on silent and live auction items and making a gift during the Open Your Heart appeal, featuring the story of heart disease survivor Travis Martin of New Oxford.

Martin learned he had a congenital heart defect called ARVD after his sister, Becky, collapsed and nearly died on the tennis court from a dangerous arrhythmia caused by the same condition. By that time in his life, Martin had amassed many athletic achievements, including marathons and an Ironman competition.

He received an implantable defibrillator and was told he would have to give up sports and strenuous physical activity. Even with these restrictions, Martin experienced an arrhythmia episode severe enough that he was shocked 39 times. He knows the condition is progressive and genetic. He continues to work as a physical education teacher and coach and holds out hope that more advances may be made in treatment for future generations.

For more information and to purchase tickets, readers may visit or call 717-207-4281.


Fair To Discuss "All Things Home" March 17, 2018

"This event truly is a one-stop shop for anything related to purchasing or maintaining a home, and this year, we've incorporated a renters' segment, as well as invited some nonprofits that specialize in promoting livability in Lancaster County," said AJ Eckman, co-chair of the All Things Home Fair that Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership (LHOP) will hold from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 7, at Bright Side Opportunities Center, 515 Hershey Ave., Lancaster. "Having all the players at the table is important when investing in something as big as a home, and we want attendees to feel engaged," he added.

The topics planned for the event are based on what the organizational committee feels people need.

"Many people want to buy a home, but maybe their credit is not quite there to be able to purchase, so that topic will be covered by a representative of Tabor Community Services," remarked co-chair Carole Kirchner. "'Ten Secrets to Homebuying' will educate people on the process and things to prepare for. 'How to Become a Real Estate Investor' was chosen because we also want to reach people who have an interest in being a landlord and building wealth through owning real estate."

The various sessions will be taught by LHOP staff members and industry professionals. Additionally, attendees will be able to meet representatives from a variety of home-related businesses, including mortgage lenders, banks, attorneys, home inspectors, home security firms, pest control companies, real estate companies, rental companies, and insurance brokers.

"My goal is for people attending to realize that many of these vendors are here to help you," Kirchner commented. "If you want to become a homeowner, we can help you achieve that dream and provide you with the information to start that process. Never be afraid to ask for help."

Helping with housing is LHOP's purpose. LHOP director of development Laurie Moir noted that the organization's mission is to cultivate partnerships and resources to increase the availability of quality, fair, and affordable housing throughout Lancaster County. LHOP offers monthly classes in English and Spanish to help folks gain an in-depth understanding of the homebuying process. It also offers down payment assistance to first-time home buyers and aims to empower residents who rent their homes. Additionally, LHOP offers loans for the purchase and rehabilitation of blighted properties into affordable housing, and it has facilitated county-wide housing studies and promoted the urgent need for quality affordable housing.

"LHOP is dedicated to the belief that all families deserve a quality, affordable home, either to purchase or rent, with a continuum of choices in housing sizes, types, locations, and prices," Moir said.

Everyone is welcome to attend the All Things Home Fair free of charge. Attendees may enter to win door prizes, such as a drill, gift cards for groceries and local restaurants, and event tickets. Aspects of the fair will be offered in Spanish as well as English.

For more information about the All Things Home Fair, readers may call LHOP at 717-291-9945, email, or visit


Watershed Alliance Receives Donation March 16, 2018


YWCA Seeks Nominations For Award March 14, 2018

YWCA York is accepting nominations for the Dorrie Leader Advocacy Award, which each year recognizes a woman in the community who is making a difference in the lives of others.

Nominees must live or work in York County; support advocacy for racial justice, civil rights, empowerment for women and girls, or health and safety for women and girls; actively engage in the community through volunteerism or their profession; and promote YWCA York's mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, strengthening families, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Nominees may not be currently employed by YWCA York.

To nominate someone for the Dorrie Leader Advocacy Award, readers may visit to obtain a form and instructions. The deadline for all emailed submissions is 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 22.

YWCA York's board advocacy committee will make the final selection, and final notification of the decision will be made to all nominating individuals by the end of March. The honoree will receive the award at YWCA York's Lessons From My Mother Luncheon on Tuesday, May 22, at the Country Club of York.

YWCA York created the Dorrie Leader Advocacy Award in 1995 to honor women advocates working to bring about change in York County. Dorrie Leader dedicated her life to the fight for civil rights, the empowerment of women, and advocating for social justice. Leader was present in 1963 at the March on Washington, accompanied by her two oldest daughters, to hear Dr. Martin Luther King speak of his dream for America. She was commited to helping achieve that dream nationally and in York. Leader served as YWCA York's president in the early 1950s before going onto serve on the national board of the YWCA from 1958 to 1976.

Past honorees include Meg Brubaker, Carla Christopher, Ruthe Craley, Cynthia Dixon, Helen Elfner, Traci Foster, Deborah Gable, Genevieve Ray, Delma Rivera, Stephanie Seaton, Doris Sweeney, Jane Zarfoss, and Jerri Zimmerman.


Aaron's Acres Marks 20th Anniversary March 12, 2018

On Feb. 15, Aaron's Acres kicked off a year of special events to mark its 20th anniversary with a concert in downtown Lancaster sponsored by Music For Everyone. To celebrate the milestone anniversary, Aaron's Acres has planned a special fundraising event for each month. "We tried to have a spread of different events, with some that would be focused on our families and others on our donors. The idea is to get all of these groups together," explained Alexander Gawn, communications coordinator. "We want to thank the central Pennsylvania community for helping us reach this milestone."

Gawn recounted that Aaron's Acres began as "a tiny organization" running out of people's homes. "The idea was that we saw a gap in recreation programs for children of different abilities," noted Gawn. Today, Aaron's Acres is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves children and young adults with developmental disabilities through year-round, therapeutically based recreation and socialization programs, with offices at 1861 Charter Lane, Suite 114, Lancaster.

Aaron's Acres' summer camp takes place annually from June to August at the Manheim Community Pool, 504 E. Adele Ave., Manheim. The camp has grown from serving 11 campers in 1998 to more than 200 campers in recent years, Gawn said. Youths participate in games, crafts, and activities such as swimming, music therapy, horseback riding, and more with the support of professional staff.

This summer, Aaron's Acres will offer transportation for participants for the first time as a way to bridge the geographical gap for participants. In recent years, the camp consolidated from three locations in Berks, Dauphin, and Lancaster counties to one main site in Manheim. "We are excited to be able to assist families by offering transportation in Berks and Dauphin counties," said program director Elaine Burnett. Buses will run from Denver and Swatara. Each bus will be staffed with two professionally trained staff members to assist participants during the commute. Registration is now open for Aaron's Acres summer camp at, where applications for counselors are also available.

The next Aaron's Acres anniversary event will be a sensory-friendly fundraiser on Wednesday, March 21, at Sky Zone Trampoline Park, 1701 Hempstead Road #102, Lancaster. Individuals and families are invited to jump from 5 to 7 p.m. Interested individuals may print a form available at to bring along to show so that a portion of the entry fee will benefit the work of Aaron's Acres.

Additional events will include the Hershey 10K on Saturday, April 7, when Aaron's Acres will be one of three nonprofits that runners may direct their contributions toward, as well as a sensory-sensitive movie showing at Penn Cinema, 541 Airport Road, Lititz, at 10 a.m. on April 7. A complete schedule of events is listed online.

Aside from the yearlong event series, Aaron's Acres has set a goal of raising $20,000 online to support its year-round programs through a #20for20 campaign. Gawn said that Aaron's Acres supporters are encouraged to share stories about the organization on social media and use the hashtag #20for20. The total amount will be revealed at the Aaron's Acres 20th anniversary gala set for Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Emerald Foundation, 2120 Oregon Pike, Lancaster.


5K Fundraising Total Announced March 7, 2018

As part of Chester County's collaborative approach to fighting opioid and heroin addiction, District Attorney Tom Hogan and members of the Chester County Drug Overdose Prevention Task Force provided an update for the county commissioners at the Feb. 28 sunshine meeting work session. The presentation noted the progress made in Chester County's battle against opioid and heroin addiction since the formation of the task force, and it was followed by an announcement by commissioner Michelle Kichline that the November 2017 Chester County Color 5K event raised $38,000.

The 5K's purpose was to raise awareness and money for actions recommended by the Drug Overdose Prevention Task Force. The second Color 5K event brought in 50 percent more money than the previous year's event. More than 900 people took part, and the money will be used to fund the county's new Community Outreach and Prevention Education (COPE) initiative.

The COPE program's purpose is to better ensure opioid overdose survivors being treated in local emergency departments are personally encouraged to enter treatment. An on-call engagement team that includes a project coordinator and certified recovery specialist will provide one-to-one support in the hospital emergency department and after emergency department discharge for opiate overdose survivors and their family or friends. COPE will also provide overdose prevention information and outreach to first responders, hospital staff, and the survivors' family and friends. It will begin as a pilot in Brandywine Hospital and Chester County Hospital later this year.

Chester County's Overdose Prevention Task Force includes representatives from the commissioners' and district attorney's offices, as well as the county's Health Department and Department of Drug and Alcohol Services, law enforcement and community organizations. The task force approach includes arresting and prosecuting drug dealers, diverting addicts into treatment and counseling through Drug Court, educating children and their parents through the Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education (NOPE) program, taking drugs off the streets through the drop box initiative, working with doctors and health care providers on opioid prescribing practices, and operating the COPE program.

Hogan announced that more than five tons of drugs were deposited in the drug drop boxes located in Chester County police stations during 2017. He also noted that, for the first time in the last 20 years, the number of opioid prescriptions is down nationwide, and the number of pills per prescription has decreased.


"The Pittsburgh Of The East" February 28, 2018

Iron Furnace Walking Tour Set For April 8

With the advent of the "hot blast" anthracite-fired iron furnace in the 1830s, according to Rivertownes PA USA president Dave Haneman, the stretch of land between Marietta and Columbia became a hotbed of activity. Using the Susquehanna River as a conveyor of anthracite coal from northeast Pennsylvania, as well as the Pennsylvania canal and railroad systems, the eight furnaces provided "pig iron" for the quickly growing population of the United States.

The furnaces are just one element of the region's rich history that Rivertownes aims to preserve and promote. The nonprofit organization will host its biannual Iron Furnace Walking Tour from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 8, beginning at Breezyview Overlook, 881 Chickies Hill Road, Columbia.

The tour is free to the public, but donations for the Musselman Vesta Iron Furnace Center in Marietta will be appreciated. Individuals may preregister by calling Haneman at 717-314-4060.

After an overview of the valley, attendees will drive to the Musselman Vesta Iron Furnace Center, located in the Chickies Rock County Park.

In the fall of 2017, the Musselman Vesta Iron Furnace Center volunteer committee was nominated for and received the Community Initiative Award as part of the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards distributed by Preservation Pennsylvania. Haneman explained that the awards honor individuals and organizations that have exhibited excellence in the field of historic preservation.

The center features displays, articles, and drawings that tell the stories of the region's iron industry and the residents who made the area "the Pittsburgh of the East." Additionally, attendees will be able to view the diorama of the Musselman Vesta Furnace, which produced iron until 1931. Following time at the center, participants will step off for the walk, which will be approximately three quarters of a mile along a flat, paved surface on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail.

Walking tour attendees will visit seven furnaces, including the Marietta Furnaces, the Donegal Furnace, and Chickies Furnaces I and II, before ending at the Henry Clay Furnace. Haneman noted that the local area was also a great supplier of limestone and iron ore from the Chestnut Hill iron bank near Silver Springs, which will also be discussed on the tour.

For more information, readers may email or visit


Bingo Event To Support Brittany's Hope February 23, 2018

When Arlene Naples first began sponsoring a child through Brittany's Hope, she had no idea how much of an impact that simple commitment would have on her own life. Naples, who was born and raised in Elizabethtown, has been involved with the work of Brittany's Hope since the nonprofit organization formed as a way to aid and facilitate adoptions of children from around the world who have special needs. "The mission just gets into your skin and becomes part of you," shared Naples.

The sponsorship program - which Brittany's Hope operates in addition to helping with adoption grants and various orphan care projects - allows interested individuals to sponsor a child living in another nation for a set fee each month. The monthly payments help to provide nutrition, clean water, medical care, and education for the child.

Naples has sponsored Thu, now 19, for the past 11 years and had the opportunity to meet her on a trip to Vietnam with Brittany's Hope a few years ago. Thu went to House of Love, a children's home supported by Brittany's Hope, after her father was killed and her mother became desperately poor. Understandably shy and closed off when she first settled in at House of Love, Thu has changed dramatically, according to Naples. "She's really come into her own through the nurturing and care she's received. She's a beautiful young lady and wants to be a chef," shared Naples through tears.

Thu and Naples wrote letters to each other throughout the years leading up to their initial meeting. Naples' three children also wrote to Thu over the years. "(Thu) considers them her siblings," said Naples.

Brittany's Hope executive director Mai-Lynn Sahd attributed part of Thu's transformation to Naples being such an active sponsor. "(Thu) went from being an extremely shy girl to, by the time (Naples) met her, a confident young lady," Sahd said. "She nurtured her from afar, and that relationship deepened every month."

Although the language barrier made communication a bit challenging when they met in person, it did not deter the two from bonding and forming memories. "We communicated that night a lot through Google Translate. It felt like we were just teenagers becoming friends. The only thing missing was pizza and Mountain Dew, but we had lychee nuts and mango seeds instead," recounted Naples with a laugh.

Seeing nine of the Vietnam programs that Brittany's Hope supports, including vocational training sites in areas of extreme poverty, deepened Naples' passion for the organization.

Two years ago, Naples hosted a bingo event to raise funds to purchase bicycles that Brittany's Hope provides to students in developing nations, making it possible for them to get to school. "(A bicycle) truly is the difference between whether or not a kid can go to school or not (in some places)," explained Naples. "It's hard to picture that when you grow up over here, but that (can be) the difference between them breaking that (trend) of not having an education."

That event sold out, and this year Naples has been working to plan another food bingo to benefit the work of Brittany's Hope in Vietnam, Kenya, and Ethiopia. The event is set to take place at noon on Sunday, April 22, at the Londonderry Fire Hall, 2655 Foxianna Road, Middletown. Twenty games of bingo and a special game will be played. Prizes will include gift cards to local restaurants, grocery stores, and area attractions. Food and homemade baked goods will be available to purchase, and attendees may enter to win prize drawings.

Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling 717-367-9614 or emailing A limited number of tickets may be available at the door for a higher price. To learn more about the event or how to sponsor a child through Brittany's Hope, readers may visit


ODC Reflects On 70-Year Journey February 22, 2018

Dawn Dixon has worked at the Occupational Development Center (ODC), 640 Martha Ave., Lancaster, for more than three decades. She does quality control and applies labels to boxes of gutter screws, and she enjoys her job. Kristen Ankney, who separates and packages dental wires and bands, loves her job because it keeps her busy. Danny Ribera has done a number of jobs at ODC, but his favorite is making boxes at a facility in Mount Joy where ODC has a contract. "There's a box that's long and narrow that Danny is an expert at making," said Ken Mueller, public relations and development manager for ODC.

All three individuals are able to work at ODC because more than 70 years ago two local women felt that individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities should be educated. "In 1948, there was no such thing as special education in public schools," explained Mueller.

Marian Headrick, who had a son with developmental disabilities, and Olivia Stoner, who had a nephew with developmental disabilities, joined forces and started a school in the basement of one of their houses. The school was called the Child Development Center, and by the early 1950s, it had grown to fill two floors of the house next door to the current center. The first section of the present building was opened in 1956 as a traditional school with a cafeteria and classrooms, but not long after the move, the school became obsolete because of new legislation.

"In 1958, the state of Pennsylvania mandated special education in public schools, and there was no longer a need for what the Child Development Center was doing," explained Mueller, who added that the founders of the school recognized there was still a need for students to be trained and to find work once they graduated.

"That was when the shift was made to become the Occupational Development Center," said Mueller. "That's when we started with our mission that we have today of educating individuals with developmental and educational disabilities with job and vocational skills they can use to earn a paycheck." Mueller noted that ODC does not strive simply to keep clients busy. "The ultimate goal is to allow these individuals to have the most independent lives they can have," he said, adding that ODC has gone through a number of changes in recent years. "We offer more than we ever have before," noted Mueller. "That means one of our supervisors takes our individuals to a work site to work at the business alongside the people who are employed by the business. We want to educate the public and the businesses that we are a resource for employment."

The organization now has a career counselor manager on staff who works to identify students who will be graduating and helps them find employment. "We can help them with internships and job shadowing and to find supportive employment," said Mueller. "Our goal is to help people find jobs they enjoy (based on) passions, interests, and skills. That's where we are really focused right now."

ODC executive director Gregg Richards agreed. "We want everyone to be successful and feel they are contributing in the environment they're in," he said, adding that he hopes to see the 65 clients ODC serves integrated into the greater working community. "It should be a daily thing not only to see someone with a disability but to interact with someone with a disability," he said.

The nonprofit has planned a number of ways to celebrate the 70th anniversary, including performing 70 acts of service in the community and giving out the first Olivia Stoner Awards to a local business and to an individual. Mueller noted the attributes associated with the award will exemplify a commitment to the ODC mission. The organization will also tie the anniversary to its annual appeal and the Extraordinary Give.

Readers who would like to learn more may visit or call 717-397-4269.


Humane Society Posts Glove Drive February 21, 2018

The Humane Society of Harrisburg Area (HSHA) will hold its annual glove drive throughout February. The iniative helps offset the cost of the roughly 300 cases of gloves HSHA uses every year to reduce the spread of diseases in a shelter environment.

Readers may give monetary donations for the glove drive by visiting before the end of February. They may also order gloves through Amazon and have them delivered directly to the shelter, or they may drop off gloves in one of the bins that are available at HSHA's adoption and intake centers.

For more information, readers may contact Megan Strausbaugh at or 717-564-3320 ext. 125.


Education Conference To Mark 25th Year February 15, 2018

When the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (IU 13) held its first education conference in 1993, it was geared toward teachers and paraprofessionals who worked in special education. Over the 25 years since its inception, though, the conference has expanded and attendance has grown to at least 450 people, ranging from teachers and paraprofessionals to parents and other members of the community.

"We started with topics like literacy, behavior, autism, and math," recalled program support liaison Linda Swisher. She noted that while those topics are still important, the conference organizers have strived to offer seminars related to hot topics of the day.

"The topics are broader to get people thinking about something, to scratch the surface," said early childhood and special education services program director Kathy Rose. "It's (held at) the start of the summer, so the topics aren't deep and heavy, but new and exciting."

Rose explained that IU 13 works directly with school districts to provide professional development to its staff members. That usually takes the form of coaching with individual teachers, and many conference attendees will have the opportunity to discuss what they learn when they return to school in the fall. "With the sessions, we say, 'Here's an idea. We'll be here in September to assist you if you want to go deeper,'" Rose said.

The 25th annual IU 13 education conference will be held on Tuesday, June 19, at Lampeter-Strasburg High School, 1600 Book Road, Lancaster. Registration will open at 7:45 a.m., and the conference will get underway at 8:30 a.m. The event will conclude by 3:30 p.m. To celebrate the anniversary, a photo booth will be available throughout the day, and there will be opportunities for attendees to earn extra door prize entries.

Two-hour sessions will be offered in the morning and the afternoon. Topics for the conference include opiate abuse and drug trends, traumatic brain injury and concussion symptoms, understanding selective teen dating violence, the effects of trauma, retirement information for public school employees, building mental and physical stamina in students, pediatric sleep, school-to-career transition, and more.

Presenter Gina Scala will be back this year with sessions on behavior challenges and on building relationships with older students.

Rose expressed excitement about the presentations to be offered by twins Julie Marzano and Emily McCarthy. Marzano is an occupational therapist, and McCarthy is a speech and language pathologist. Together, the sisters created Fine Motor Boot Camp. "We are really focusing on a population of professionals who sometimes have a hard time finding professional development," Rose said.

Dr. Marcia Tate will give the keynote address "Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites - 20 Instructional Strategies That Engage the Brain," as well as two sessions on brain-compatible teaching. After working for a Georgia school district for many years, Tate currently serves as an educational consultant, providing brain-based professional development for administrators, teachers, parents, and business and community leaders.

While the education conference is primarily geared toward education professionals, attendance is open to college students, parents, and anyone who has an interest in educating children and students. Separate costs for participation have been set for school district and agency personnel and for parents, college students, and substitutes. The costs include a continental breakfast and lunch. An early bird registration discount for school district and agency personnel will be offered until Tuesday, May 1.

For more information about the conference or to register, readers may visit and click on the link for Events, Workshops, and Classes. Folks may call Swisher at 717-606-1878 for registration assistance.


PFSA Will Accept Award Nominations February 12, 2018

Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA), a child abuse prevention organization, and PSECU have launched the 2018 PA Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids Awards competition. PFSA's Champions for Safe Children-acclaimed program honors Pennsylvania residents and child welfare professionals. PFSA will announce and celebrate the award winners at a ceremony on Wednesday, April 4, at 11 a.m. at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.

In addition to honoring two child welfare professionals and two everyday citizens, PFSA this year has added a new category to the competition: Pennsylvania Blue Ribbon Media Champion for Safe Kids. Any professional working journalist or media entity that publishes content for broadcast, cable, digital, internet, photography, print, or web-based platforms is eligible. The media nominee must have demonstrated a commitment to covering child abuse and child protection-related issues in Pennsylvania in 2017.

All nomination forms, criteria, and instructions for submission are available at Entries must be received by PFSA by 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 26. A five-member, independent panel of judges chosen by PFSA will determine the winners. The 2018 Pennsylvania Blue Ribbon Champions will be announced at a celebration in April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The 2018 Pennsylvania Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids Awards evaluation panel members are Ira Weiss, chairman, WBK Weiss Burkhardt Kramer; Terry Clark, director, York County Children, Youth and Families; Steve Doerner, director, Bucks County Child Advocacy Center; Cynthia Figueroa, commissioner, Department of Human Services, City of Philadelphia; and Brenda Lawrence, program administrator, Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN).

For more information about Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance, readers may visit or call 800-448-4906.

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