NEPA Health Care Foundation, Administered by SACF, Announces Careers in Care Nursing Scholarships

In response to the acute shortage of nurses across the region and its effect on the health and wellness of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation, administered by the Scranton Area Community Foundation, announces it has awarded $189,622 in its first year towards nursing scholarships for local students as part of its Careers in Care initiative.

The Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship Program has awarded 21 scholarships to students in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wyoming Counties who plan to pursue or who are pursuing nursing and who will practice in Northeastern Pennsylvania. These scholarship opportunities come during a time where the strains on the healthcare workforce in Northeastern Pennsylvania have been significant. In response to the significant interest and need in the region, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation has decided to double the amount available for scholarships in 2022 to $400,000.

The Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship Program accepted applications earlier this year and, through a rigorous and competitive application process, identified a variety of qualified nursing students.

Recipients include Brooke Bird, Luzerne County Community College; Sarah Bonser, Walden University; Jacqueline Cicardo, Luzerne County Community College; Michael Clark, Penn State Scranton; Caity Colan, Luzerne County Community College; Jason Conrad, Luzerne County Community College; Jacqueline Earley, Lackawanna College; Austin Emenyonu, Misericordia University; Elizabeth Hernandez, Luzerne County Community College; Casey Hughes, Luzerne County Community College; Holly Hughes, Marywood University; Nicole Lubash, Marywood University; Brittany Marcinkevich, Lackawanna College; Mary McFadden, Penn State Scranton; Tiffany Megotz, Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County; Anne Murdoch, Penn State Scranton; Samantha Rosselli, Lackawanna College; Laura Slivinski, Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County; Rosa Vazquez Nunez, Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County; Ariana Velez, Wilkes University; and Sabrina Weidlich, Luzerne County Community College.

“Over the past year, we have seen just how timely the Careers in Care initiative really is,” said James Clemente, NEPA Health Care Foundation Board Chair. “The Foundation’s Board understands the strains that the regional healthcare workforce is facing and strives to make an impact to address these critical issues through these important scholarships.”

“I think the fact that the Board of the Northeastern PA Health Care Foundation has decided to double the amount of scholarship support available for nurses in year two speaks to the great need and interest in the program,” said Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. She adds, “I think the Foundation board was very innovative in their planning of these scholarships which are made available to nursing students from CNAs through nurse educators at the graduate level.”  The Scranton Area Community Foundation administers the NEPA Health Care Foundation.

To qualify for a Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship, individuals were required to show they have had a permanent address in Lackawanna, Luzerne, or Wyoming County for the last three years. Scholarships were available to those interested in obtaining a CNA and entering the healthcare workforce. Scholarships are also for anyone employed in the healthcare field in either Lackawanna, Luzerne, or Wyoming County and looking to advance as an LPN or RN/BSN. Additionally, students were invited to apply if they were in their third or fourth year of a four-year nursing degree and looking for financial assistance. Scholarship recipients were also asked to demonstrate a commitment to stay in the Northeastern Pennsylvania region. The Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation also invited ‘nontraditional’ students or those looking to go back to school to obtain a nursing degree to apply for a Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship.

Additionally, through Careers in Care, the NEPA Health Care Foundation will provide grant support totaling $830,000, to a variety of organizations including Lackawanna College, for its three-year plan to enhance the pipeline of local healthcare professionals and increase the number trained and retained in the region; United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA for its Upward Economic Mobility Program; and Saint Joseph’s Center for direct support professional wage increases. The Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation’s Careers in Care initiative is a $1.7 million commitment over a three-year period (2020-2023).

In addition to the Careers in Care initiative, the NEPA Health Care Foundation is also in the seventh year of a $3.2 million commitment to the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) for scholarship support for incoming first-year medical students from Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties.  The NEPA Health Care Foundation Scholars program covers full tuition for these scholars, who indicate a commitment to practice medicine in Northeastern PA.

Northeastern PA Native Returns as New CEO of Scranton Counseling Center

After a national search, Scranton Counseling Center has selected Sarah Wodder, Psy.D. as the organization’s new President and CEO. Dr. Wodder, a northeastern Pennsylvania native, will be returning to the area to lead the community based, non-profit behavioral health organization.

Dr. Wodder most recently served as an Executive Director of Edison Court, Inc., a Doylestown, PA child and adolescent residential and outpatient treatment facility for those with behavioral health issues. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, and her Master of Science in Community Counseling from the University of Scranton. She was awarded her Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia. She will assume her new responsibilities on September first, relieving Sal Santoli, the interim CEO, who will remain in a senior management position with the Center.

“We are delighted to bring in Dr. Wodder to lead Scranton Counseling Center,” said Karen Clifford, chair of the CEO search committee. “Sarah’s commitment to quality, collaboration and team building, and her inclusive approach to partnership development will serve the Center and the community we serve well as we continue to grow and evolve in our new campus,” Karen concluded.

“Having grown up in the Scranton area with deep roots in this community, I am thrilled to be chosen to lead Scranton Counseling Center and its professional staff of behavioral health specialists,” related Sarah Wodder. “My previous outpatient and residential experiences will be valuable in leading the devoted team at the Center in providing exceptional service to those in need,” she added.

Dr. Wodder was selected after a four-month selection process that provided the search committee a significant number of regional and national applications for consideration. Philip Condron, the board chair of Scranton Counseling Center, relayed, “Dr. Wodder’s focus on our client services, staff training, and quality improvement enabled her to stand out among an outstanding list of applicants for the CEO position. Her background, experience and previous successes positioned her as our strong selection. We’re thrilled she accepted our offer.”

Scranton Counseling Center is a community based, private nonprofit behavioral health provider serving children, adolescents, adults and families with mental health and substance abuse issues in Lackawanna Susquehanna and surrounding counties. The center recently moved into a new $15 million campus of facilities on the corner of Cedar Avenue and Cherry Street in South Scranton.

Northpoint Development Breaks Ground on New Warehouse

NorthPoint Development, a commercial real estate developer specializing in industrial development, joined political and business leaders, the design and construction team, and the local community on July 28 to break ground for a new 432,640-square-foot warehouse. The $19.5 million, single-load industrial building, located in Forks Township, Pennsylvania, will promote and encourage development opportunities within the township for office, service, and manufacturing uses. This area will support residential growth in the community according to the zoning code and create 430 direct and indirect jobs and tax revenue to the township.

Eric Watts, Director of Development for NorthPoint Development opened the groundbreaking ceremony stating, “This development will provide a lasting value for the community through job creation, tax revenue, and a capital investment of $38.6 million dollars. We are at the starting line of construction with anticipated excitement to announce we pre-leased the project to a confidential Fortune 50 company. Forks Township provides a competitive landscape with a strong supporting labor force, energetic community members, and the ambition to collaborate with private entities like NorthPoint.”

Projects like Commerce 33 require execution and hard work from many partners who attended the groundbreaking; Forks Township, Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, Quandel Construction, and Schlouch Incorporated.

Pocono Farms Country Club Association, Inc. Awards Scholarships

At their Member-Member Memorial Dinner held on 7/23/21, the Pocono Farms Country Club Golf Scholarship committee awarded 4 Pocono Farms graduating seniors with a total of $5,500 in scholarship funds. The scholarship applicants were scored on their academic record, extracurricular involvement, community service, and their personal interview. Of all the applicants, Nikayla Phillips, Brianna Joseph, and Tyler Mui received the highest scores and were each awarded a scholarship. Emily Lesh was also awarded the Neil P. Carlson Memorial Scholarship.

Pocono Farms Country Club Association has been awarding scholarships to deserving high school seniors since 2004 with a total of over $66,500 awarded during that time. Contributions to this fund are made by individual members through various golf outings held throughout the golf season, along with personal donations made. Scholarships have also been awarded through funds set up memorializing past golf members of the Club that gave so much of their time and effort to the Club.

Golf is an integral part of the community at Pocono Farms.  The golf scholarship committee and the golf members are proud to award these scholarships to these deserving high school seniors.

Performance Construction Services, Inc., A Quandel Company, Merges with Subsidiary, Susquehanna Supply Company

Performance Construction Services, Inc., a Quandel Company, announces their merger with subsidiary, Susquehanna Supply Company, to form Performance Construction Company. Integrating the two companies offers an established history of heavy civil contracting and construction services solutions to their clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic market.

Performance Construction Services, Inc. began in 1995 as the self-performing provider for Quandel Construction Group and has evolved over the years as a general contracting company specializing in heavy concrete, bridges, dams, and water and wastewater treatment plants. When Susquehanna Supply Company joined the Quandel family of companies three years ago, Performance Construction Services, Inc. added a long history of bridge construction, some of the most visible bridge projects in Northcentral and Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Over the past three years, both Performance and Susquehanna Supply were managed by the same management team and shared many of the same administrative, labor, and equipment resources. The merger of Performance and Susquehanna Supply will allow them to:

  • more effectively manage their business, their manpower, and their equipment to provide heavy civil contracting and construction service solutions to their clients, and
  • continue to be a regionally recognized heavy-civil construction company implementing innovation and technology in water and wastewater, bridges, dams, concrete, and site development.

“With the merger of these two companies into Performance Construction Company, we are in a stronger position to offer our clients construction solutions they need to address the challenges they face,” said Jerome Urban, president and chief executive officer of Performance Construction Company. The merger positions us to focus our combined industry experience and resources to help clients generate new value and succeed in today’s increasingly competitive market.” As they move forward together under one name, Performance Construction Company, they continue to deliver resilient, flexible solutions that improve their clients’ operations. While their name is changing, their core values remain the same – safety, integrity, exceptional service, commitment to excellence, and team. They are committed to leading, making a difference, and building a better future.

Pittston Resident Selected as Hometown Scholar Endorsed by the Wright Center

The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education has announced that Moriah Bartolai, Pittston, has been selected as this year’s Hometown Scholar and will attend A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA).

She becomes only the second area resident – and second Wright Center-endorsed candidate – to enter The Hometown Scholars program. 

As a Hometown Scholar, Bartolai’s training at ATSU-SOMA will be unique from other medical schools. After spending her first year on campus in Mesa, Arizona, she will return to Scranton, training in the classroom while also rotating through The Wright Center for Community Health’s clinical settings at least once a week. Bartolai, 23, began her studies this month.

Through a partnership with A.T. Still University, The Wright Center’s Hometown Scholars Program targets and recruits future physicians, dentists and other medical professionals from Northeast Pennsylvania who want to serve as an aspirational example for young people in our region.

The program was created to support the applications of compassionate, community-minded individuals interested in becoming a doctor or other medical provider who want to serve the region they grew up in.

Along with meeting the rigorous requirements to apply to medical school, a Hometown Scholar must spend time in a community health center and receive the recommendation of a community health center leader. In Bartolai’s case, her endorsement came from Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and chief executive officer of The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education.

“Moriah is dedicated to becoming a highly skilled, compassionate primary care osteopathic physician and healthcare leader who will both serve and advocate for vulnerable populations, communities and humanity,” said Dr. Thomas-Hemak. “Notably, she is to become a first generation physician.”

Bartolai, a 2016 alumna of Scranton Preparatory School, began working at The Wright Center’s Mid Valley and Scranton practices last year, serving as a medical scribe. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, she earned a bachelor of science degree in microbiology.

“I’m excited and thrilled for this Hometown Scholars opportunity,” she said. “When I received the call, I realized I would finally be able to move forward in achieving a major milestone … a milestone I’ve been working towards for the last few years.”

One of about 160 medical students in ATSU-SOMA’s Class of 2025, Bartolai will gain exposure to clinical settings sooner than many of her counterparts at other medical schools, which typically don’t offer clinical rotations until the third year.

“It does give you a leg up,” said Bartolai. “I’m going to get a lot more patient experience than I would at any other medical school.”

The Hometown Scholars program at ATSU-SOMA was developed to address the workforce needs of the nation’s community health centers, which provide affordable care to traditionally underserved populations, including low-income individuals and people who face other barriers to healthcare.

Today the program is helping to create a pipeline of exceptional, community-minded medical and dental students who are committed to serving in America’s health centers.

Educational opportunities are available for aspiring physicians, physician assistants and dentists. To learn more about these Hometown Scholars opportunities, please contact The Wright Center’s Office of Clerkships at 570-591-5132 or email

Human Resources Center, Inc. Becomes NADSP Members

Human Resources Center, Inc. is becoming a NADSP Member organization with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP), which demonstrates a dedication to Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), other employees, and people receiving services. Through NADSP Membership, HRC is taking proactive steps to invest in staff development and allocate resources to elevate the status of DSPs, by providing the tools needed for success in their work.

“As a member of NADSP, we can now offer our direct support professionals an increased opportunity to expand their knowledge and to further develop new skills sets as they support individuals with disabilities,” says Darlene Glynn, HRC’s CEO.

HRC is initiating its NADSP Membership in 2021, which will continue throughout the calendar year. HRC will use NADSP Membership to advance its mission to serve and support individuals with disabilities in the Northeast Pennsylvania region.

“Especially in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s critical that we show DSPs that they are essential,” says Joseph Macbeth, President and Chief Executive Officer of NADSP. “NADSP Membership means that organizations are going from praise to promise – not just acknowledging the work of DSPs, but especially providing tangible support and advocacy.”

HRC is a 501(3)c nonprofit organization based in Northeast Pennsylvania providing support and services to individuals with disabilities in Wayne, Pike, Carbon, Monroe, Lackawanna, and Susquehanna counties. Established in 1973, HRC began as a passion project to serve an underrepresented group of the community by promoting inclusion and acceptance. Over four decades later, HRC has grown into a devoted institution of over 400 caring and qualified individuals with a shared goal in mind: serve and support.

With its NADSP membership, employees of HRC will be able to access a robust library of archived webinars on subjects important to DSPs, receive e-newsletters, take advantage of discounted rates for the NADSP E-Badge Academy and the annual NADSP Conference, as well as apply a 10% discount for NADSP Training offerings. Along with these member benefits, HRC will be featured on NADSP’s website, highlighting their dedication to the people they employ, and the in turn, the people they support

Greater Scranton YMCA Helping Youth Achieve a Healthy Weight

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and as children and families start their new school-year routines, it’s a perfect time to reflect and refresh your family’s healthy habits. Many families, though, need support changing their habits together in order to help children who are overweight or obese reach and maintain a healthy weight. That’s why the Greater Scranton YMCA — a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving health — wants to help families through improved eating habits and increased physical activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity affects about 13.7 million, or one in five U.S. children and adolescents. Obesity can increase risk for health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers. Here in Pennsylvania, 14.5 percent of youth ages 10 to 17 have obesity, giving the state a ranking of 26 among the 50 states and D.C., according to the State of Childhood Obesity.

“Experts are more aware than ever that families need support to change their eating and physical activity habits,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “At the Y, we’re happy to partner with families and offer support as they work to incorporate changes to help kids grow up at a healthy weight.”

The Y also encourages families to talk with their health care providers about their children’s health. “You cannot determine whether a child is at a healthy weight simply by looking at them,” explains Fisher. “Working with a health care provider ensures that families receive the proper guidance when it comes to health and their children.” The Greater Scranton YMCA is helping families improve their health and help youth grow up at a healthy weight through incorporating daily physical activity into early childhood education and school age programming, as well as through youth and family memberships, swim lessons, youth sports and more.

While outside support is key, developing healthy habits begins at home. The following tips are some great ways to incorporate healthier eating habits and more physical activity and into your daily family routine:

  • Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice and encourage everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. As a family choose a new fruit and veggie every week to taste together.  Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals and allow children to pour their own water. Keep full water bottles available in the car and back packs.
  • Play Every Day/Go Outside: Children should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving.
  • Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.
  • Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, charge electronics/screens in the kitchen overnight, go for a walk after a meal, set a timer to remind you to power down the screen).
  • Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to soft music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night and seven to eight hours for adults.

To learn more about the Greater Scranton YMCA’s youth and family programs, please contact Brandon Whipple at (570) 828-3116 or, or visit the Greater Scranton YMCA’s website at

The AZEK Company Participated in Backpack Giveaway

The AZEK Company participated in McNichol’s Plaza Elementary School’s Annual Back to School Fair in the south side area of Scranton, PA.

Together with other local business and community organizations we were able to ensure that each of the 300 students received a new backpack, school supplies and other essential items and information.

McNichol’s Principal Mina Ardestani said “What a privilege it is to work in such a giving community. We can’t thank you enough for the generosity of so many. Our students are ready (and so are we) to get back to school!”