NeighborWorks Northeastern PA Receives Multiple Awards

NeighborWorks Northeastern PA was recently recognized with two awards at the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency‘s housing counseling awards ceremony in Harrisburg yesterday.

NeighborWorks snagged the Community Partnership Award, and to top it off, Pamela Anslinger, HomeOwnership Center Manager at NeighborWorks, was named Best Housing Counseling Specialist.

Pam’s award is all about acknowledging housing counselors who go above and beyond to provide top-notch services to their clients. Pam earned her place thanks to her extensive experience in housing counseling, her National Housing Counseling Certifications, her knack for consistently helping folks achieve goals like purchasing a home or refinancing their mortgages, and for consistently receiving positive reviews from her clients.

The Community Partnership Award goes to agencies that have made a big impact by collaborating with local community organizations. The criteria for this award focuses on the quality of those partnerships and how they enhance our ability to provide top-notch counseling. The impact these partnerships have on the number of clients we can assist is key, and we’ve seen some incredible success stories come out of these collaborations.

Marywood University Sets Programming for Sexual Assualt Awareness Through DOJ Grant

Marywood University, the first institution in the region to receive a three-year $300,000 grant from the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women on Campus, has set programing for the initiative’s final year.

The Project SHARE (Sexual Assault and Harassment Awareness Response Education) grant, originally awarded in October 2021 and which runs through September 2024, aims to combat domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking within the confines of a college campus.

The grant established a Coordinated Community Response Team, the implementation of preventive measures, and the provision of victim services. The stakeholders on campus include: The Dean of Students, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, Housing and Residence Life, the Counseling and Student Development Center, Campus Safety, Career Services, Retention and Advising, the Athletics and Campus Ministry, as well as committed faculty from the Social Work, the Physician Assistant Program, Education, and others.

Ross Novak, Dean of Students, says the grant is a boon for the community as well as for students. “The grant has allowed us the opportunity to assess and improve our operations and outreach efforts regarding issues of sexual assault, dating, domestic violence, and stalking, to ensure that they are effective and inclusive”, Novak said. “Beyond campus, the grant has provided opportunities for company partnerships, particularly with the Women’s Resource Center, which ultimately assists us in better serving our students.’  

The grant also supports advocacy events to inform students about a different topic each month. Several events are already set for the Spring 2024 semester, including a presentation on “Stalking in the Media” (January 23); Women’s Resource Center presentation/training regarding dating violence and sexual assault (January 25); Date Safe Online event (April 10); Bystander Engagement Event (April 16); Take Back the Night collaborative event with the University of Scranton (April 25), International Denim Day to Support Awareness (April 26), and other related events.

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania Seeking Local Businesses

Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania is seeking local businesses to host cookie booths!

Beginning March 9, 2024 Girl Scouts across Northeastern PA will learn valuable skills as they run their very own cookie business. The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest, girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world!

Cookie booths run from March 9th through April 14th, typically after school and on weekends.

To become a cookie booth location, businesses must complete this form:

GSHPA will then schedule booths at your location.

Please contact with questions.

Telespond Senior Services Directors Attend AmeriCorps Conference

Two Directors from Telespond Senior Services, Inc., attended the AmeriCorps Seniors Pennsylvania Directors Association (ASPDA) Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Jodi Catania, Director of the Senior Companion Program of Lackawanna County; and Colleen Garrison, Director of the Foster Grandparent Program of Luzerne and Wyoming Counties, had an opportunity to engage with other program directors from across the Commonwealth and AmeriCorps Mid-Atlantic Portfolio Managers.  They received valuable information on policies and procedures in order to maintain successful programs. In addition to the training, each director joined a committee. Catania is a member of the ASPDA Training Committee and will assist with training topics and speakers. Garrison is the Chairperson of the ASPDA Marketing Committee and will coordinate social media projects. 

For more information on Telespond’s Senior Companion or Foster Grandparent Program, call 570-961-1950.

Marywood University Partnership Boosts Animal Sanctuary’s Facilities

Marywood University’s School of Architecture (MUSOA) is partnering with Arthur’s Acres Animal Sanctuary and the University Gear Shop (UGS) in a groundbreaking initiative to enhance the sanctuary’s facilities by increasing capacity for the rescue, creating an all-season center for animal rehabilitation, and creating a multi-purpose space for education. The partnership with Marywood allows interior architecture students to play a pivotal role in helping Arthur’s Acres renovate the farm, while expanding their education.

Third-year interior architecture students will be embarking on a semester-long project to help with renovations and expansion to Arthur’s Acres. At the end of the semester, 32 students will deliver a comprehensive, multi-phase plan to enhance the existing facilities and create a state-of-the-art barn tailored to animals with special needs. Students will not only gain real world experience, but learn about the importance of choosing cruelty-free and environmentally friendly options that will hopefully impact decisions they will make throughout their careers.

“Students strive to enrich lives and to inspire constructive change in the world. Their dedication for compassionate architecture serves as an influence for good in the lives of others and the world we inhabit, and this aligns perfectly with the vision of Arthur’s Acres to serve and educate,” stated Maria MacDonald, MUSOA founding faculty member.

Arthur’s Acres is dedicated to rescuing animals that have been abused, exploited, or discarded. “We rehabilitate the animals we care for through patience, love, and respect,” noted Todd Friedman, executive director and founder of the Parksville, N.Y.-based animal sanctuary.

The three partners will embark on this journey of transformation in the coming months, sharing their progress on social media. “Our goal is to leverage our expertise in marketing, social media, and technology to share the compelling story of Arthur’s Acres and MUSOA’s campaign,” said William Boney, UGS executive vice president.

Follow this journey through a young pig named Mikey, who is symbolically “going to college” to provide a pig’s perspective to the MUSOA students, as they design the Arthur’s Acres Barn. To learn more about the work being done at Arthur’s Acres Animal Sanctuary, visit or follow their social media channels at @arthursacres on Facebook and Instagram, as well as their YouTube channel (@arthursacres).

AAF NEPA to Host AI Panel Discussion

On November 1st, 2023 from 7-9 PM, AAF NEPA is hosting an AI Panel Discussion regarding the use of AI in the Workplace. This event will be held at the Wilkes-Barre THINK Center (7 S Main St, Wilkes-Barre). The AI Panel Discussion is free and open to all professionals and students. 

Brittany Watt, Market Share Consulting
Paul Capoccia, Posture Interactive
Kevin Jones, VizVibe
Dan Kimbrough, Park Multimedia
Jenny Hetro, Jennifer Lee Hetro, LLC

Bethany Staples, Market Share Consulting 

The link to RSVP or for more information is:

PennDOT and Shapiro Administration Honor School Bus Safety Week

Today, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Driver and Vehicle Services Director of the Bureau of Driver Licensing Dios Arroyo joined the Pennsylvania State Police and Pennsylvania school bus safety advocates to honor nine students for communicating important school bus safety messages through their submissions to this year’s School Bus Safety Poster Contest and to recognize three school bus drivers for their superior driving skills.

The ceremony complemented the Shapiro Administration’s work to support and enhance Pennsylvanians’ safety, including Governor Shapiro proclaiming October 16-20 School Bus Safety Week in Pennsylvania in conjunction with the federal observance. The week recognizes the potential to save young lives by raising awareness of the daily challenges faced by students being transported throughout the commonwealth.

“Students’ return to school has meant the return of school buses to our highways, and the Shapiro Administration is focused on everyone getting home safely,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “School Bus Safety Week gives us all an opportunity to pause and realize just how much our own actions behind the wheel can affect our most precious asset – our children.”

The students, in kindergarten through eighth grade, were recognized for their winning entries in the 2023 School Bus Safety Poster Contest. The theme for this year’s contest – “Safely Rolling To My Destination” – reminds everyone of the important relationship between students and their school bus drivers, who are responsible stewards of our children as they deliver them safely to and from school and school-related events.

“By using their talent and creativity, these young artists help us share important safety messages through their creations,” said Arroyo. “This year’s entries reinforce the importance of school bus drivers in delivering students to and from school safely and the role they play in students’ well-being every day.”

This year’s winners were chosen from 127 student entries from schools across Pennsylvania. The first-place entries will move on to the national competition, which will be judged at the end of this month.

2023 School Bus Safety Poster Contest Winners include:

Kindergarten – Grade 2

1st Place: Ananyasri Boddupalli, Franklin Elementary School, Sewickley, Allegheny County

2nd Place: Sophia Stroman, Gwynedd Square Elementary School, Lansdale, Montgomery County

3rd Place: Lorelei Troutman, Gwynedd Square Elementary School, Lansdale, Montgomery County

Grades 3-5

1st Place: Ava Tsao, Marshall Elementary School, Wexford, Butler County

2nd Place: Emina Bernice George Michle, Gwynedd Square Elementary School, Lansdale, Montgomery County

3rd Place: Mya Carter, Sugar Valley Charter School, Loganton, Clinton County

Grades 6-8

1st Place: Arjun Kairi, Boyce Middle School, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County

2nd Place: Alexionna Kephart, Bald Eagle Area School District, Wingate, Centre County

3rd Place: Musfika Turi, Oak Park Elementary School, Lansdale, Montgomery County

There were no qualifying entries submitted this year for the Special Education and Computer Aided categories.

Templeton and Sgt. Michael Pavelko, Division Supervisor for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Division of the Bureau of Patrol for the Pennsylvania State Police, presented certificates and small gifts provided by the Pennsylvania School Bus Association to the students in recognition of their efforts to help communicate this important safety message.

Time was also taken during the ceremonies to recognize the winners of the 2023 Pennsylvania statewide school bus competition, held June 24-25 at Mount Nittany Middle School in State College. The event hosted more than 30 drivers locked in competition to determine the top school bus drivers in the state. The winners in the conventional bus category this year were: First place – Tara Herman with Krise Transportation in Chester County; Second place – Ruth Del Vecchio with Krapf School Bus in Chester County; and Third place – Patricia Carey with Krapf School Bus in Chester County. This year’s competition was the first to be held in three years. There was no competition for the Transit style buses this year.

“Bus drivers do an extraordinary job every day ensuring the safety of our children as they travel to and from school,” said Sgt. Pavelko. “Their continuing dedication to the safe delivery of their precious cargo reinforces the trust parents have in them.”

The ceremony built on safety initiatives across the state. As part of School Bus Safety Week and in a collective effort to enhance students’ safety, local and state law enforcement agencies, school districts and student transportation agencies united for one day last week to raise awareness of the consequences of improperly passing school buses through “Operation Safe Stop,” a safety initiative conducted statewide. Police officers watched for motorists who violated the school bus stopping law. School bus drivers also documented any illegal passes occurring on their routes and will file reports with local police.

State law requires motorists approaching a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended, to stop at least 10 feet from the bus. Motorists approaching from all directions are required to stop. However, motorists who encounter a school bus stopping on the opposite side of a divided highway are not required to stop when a divider, such as concrete barriers or grassy medians, clearly separates lanes of the highway.

In 2022, more than 500 motorists were convicted of violating Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping law. One hundred forty-eight law enforcement agencies and 45 school districts combined efforts last year to report violators of the School Bus Stopping Law during Operation Safe Stop. School bus drivers in Pennsylvania traveled over 412 million miles during school year 2021/22, transporting more than 1.4 million students daily.

For more information about school bus safety, visit PennDOT the School Bus Safety page on its highway safety website.

Allied Services Receives Donation from Scranton Region Antique Automobile Club

Representatives from the Scranton Region Antique Automobile Club of America (SRAACA) recently presented Allied Services Integrated Health System with a $1,500 donation to benefit pediatric patients with disabilities served by the health system. The funds were raised at The Club’s 52nd Annual Car Show and Flea Market held July 16th on the grounds of Allied Services’ Corporate Center in Clarks Summit. This year’s show featured more than 150 antique automobiles. 

NeighborWorks NEPA Receives Multiple Awards

NeighborWorks Northeastern PA (NeighborWorks) was honored with two awards at the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s (PHFA) housing counseling awards ceremony in Harrisburg on October 18, 2023. NeighborWorks won the Community Partnership Award, and Pamela Anslinger, HomeOwnership Center Manager at NeighborWorks, received the Best Housing Counseling Specialist award.

The Best Housing Counseling Specialist Award recognizes counselors who provide value-added housing counseling services to their clients. Agencies are encouraged to submit nominations for their counselors who have completed all PHFA-based training prior to the nomination.

Pam was selected based on her experience in the housing counseling industry, holding National Housing Counseling Certifications, consistently achieving outcomes such as “purchased home” or mortgages refinanced,” consistently receiving positive feedback from her clients, and initiating innovative ways for NeighborWorks to achieve desired results or improve efficiency in workflows.

“I am deeply honored and grateful to receive this award from PHFA. This recognition is a testament to the dedication of our team at NeighborWorks and the incredible clients we have the privilege to serve,” said Pam. “It is our mission to empower individuals and families to make informed housing decisions, and I am proud to be part of this transformative journey.”

The Community Partnership Award recognizes an agency whose outreach efforts to local community organizations have helped improve its program effectiveness and delivery. Selection criteria is based on the structure of the partnerships, how the partnerships enhances ability to provide quality counseling, the impact the partnerships have on the number of clients counseled, and client success stories that occurred as a result of the partnerships.

We also wish to congratulate all of our fellow award recipients, including our fellow NeighborWorks America and NeighborWorks Association of Pennsylvania member agencies in NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania and Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks.

Housing counselors from across the state attended the ceremony, representing 63 counseling agencies. These counselors help PHFA achieve its housing mission by assisting state residents with questions about homeownership, home foreclosure, budgeting, personal money management, and their personal credit score so they can make better informed housing decisions