Tobyhanna Army Depot Marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) marked the occasion by raising awareness of the experiences of employees with disabilities.

Currently, 10% of employees working at Tobyhanna identify as having some form of disability. In addition to traditional federal hiring practices, Tobyhanna utilizes the Schedule A Hiring Authority, which provides non-competitive pathways to employment for qualified applicants with disabilities. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 61 million adults — one in four — in the United States live with a disability.

“At some point in their lives, most people will either have a disability or know someone who has a one,” said Coleen Boyle, Ph.D., director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “Learning more about people with disabilities in the United States can help us better understand and meet their health needs.”

TYAD strives to continuously improve when it comes to providing an inclusive workplace for employees with disabilities. According to Equal Employment Office Chief John Sutkowsky, TYAD is continuously searching for ways to provide individuals with disabilities the best possible means to fulfill their work. One such example is through the use of screen reading technology for blind individuals, which he explained gives blind employees much more independence when performing their work as they don’t constantly need to rely on someone else to read their screens for them.

“The disabled person has a whole lot more independence at work than they ever did before,” said Sutkowsky. “The embracement of technology has really allowed for accessibility and possibilities that were thought impossible many years ago.”

Sutkowsky explained how over the years, disabled individuals have proven over the years that they are just as capable of achieving the same kind of success as those who are not disabled. Despite this fact, there are still those out there who operate under the misconception that someone with a disability cannot perform their duties to the fullest. One method TYAD uses to combat these misapprehensions is through strong and extensive training programs that detail how individuals should not have preconceived ideas of what disabled people are capable or not capable of doing.

“When given the chance, disabled individuals will surprise others with what they’re capable of doing,” said Sutkowsky. “TYAD has seen many great employees with disabilities be completely self-sufficient throughout their entire careers, even in roles others wouldn’t stereotypically think possible for them. We always aim to challenge the idea of what a disabled person can or can’t do, because they’re capable of a lot more than you’d think.”

Dionne Bash, a deaf employee working in the EEO Office, offered her firsthand perspective as to how hearing people can effectively communicate with their deaf co-workers during a presentation to the workforce on October 5.

Using a sign language interpreter, Bash touched on several topics including best practices for communication with deaf employees, interpreters, American Sign Language and more. Bash said Team Tobyhanna is strongest when working together.

“Communication is a two-way street. What (deaf people) want is mutual respect. We need to work together to make it work. The more flexible we are, the better it is for everyone.”

Attendees raved about the presentation, noting how it helped them understand diverse experiences.

“Because I don’t work directly with anyone at Tobyhanna who is deaf or hard-of-hearing, it was good to learn Dionne’s preferences for how to communicate with co-workers. I’m glad I was able to attend this presentation, and I hope to learn more on this and other topics about my co-workers in the future,” said Jeffrey Esposito, an electronics mechanic in the C4ISR Directorate. Jose Collado agreed.

“The presentation was filled with a plethora of useful information. However, the highlight for me was that we should make it a habit to make eye contact while communicating with the deaf and hard-of-hearing for them to read our lips,” he said.

Tobyhanna has proudly partnered with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) since 2012, providing meaningful career and internship opportunities to their students. Depot personnel work directly alongside NTID instructors to ensure the school’s curriculum aligns with operational needs.

One of nine colleges on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus, NTID has more than 1,200 students enroll in its programs every year. The organization named Tobyhanna Army Depot with the “Center on Employment Outstanding Employer Partner Award” in 2019.

Individuals interested in learning more about Schedule A employment can call (570) 615-5410. Anyone interested in career opportunities with Team Tobyhanna can apply through USAJobs at

Fostering employment for employees of all abilities is a TOBY2035 Invest in Our People initiative. TOBY2035 is Tobyhanna Army Depot’s long-range strategic plan and strives to position Tobyhanna for success in the coming years as the Department of Defense’s premier worldwide C5ISR readiness provider.

TYAD is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, postproduction software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 3,200 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.

Marywood University to Observe National School Psychology Week

During the week of November 7-11, 2022, schools throughout the country are celebrating National School Psychology Week (NSPW) to highlight the important work school psychologists do to help students thrive. Every year in November, school psychologists, professors, and graduate students gear up to bring awareness to the field of school psychology and highlight the work that school psychologists do to help students thrive. 

The theme for our 2022 National School Psychology Week is “Together We Shine”. This theme encourages us to see hope after a series of challenging years. It’s about offering hope as students move forward from the difficult COVID-19 pandemic. We have all faced difficulties created by the pandemic, social injustice and inequity, economic stress, and challenges to mental and physical health. For some, it has been a time of real challenge, and finding light is critical to building resilience and hope. Though each of us has our own inner light, when we bring together our ideas and actions to uplift each other, we shine even brighter, both as individuals and as a community. During the week, school psychologists will connect with students and staff to highlight how each person’s contributions can move us forward. Just as we continue developing our own skills individually and with support from others, we in turn can help others foster resilience and support those who need it as well. School psychologists are particularly skilled at assisting students and staff in thriving and working together, whatever the challenge.

With expertise in both education and mental health, school psychologists are uniquely qualified to help address the needs of students and schools. This means addressing challenges such as poverty, academic underachievement, mental and behavioral health issues, bullying, homelessness, increasing cultural and linguistic diversity, record high student enrollment—to name just a few. All argue for the critical importance of the services provided by school psychologists. School psychologists throughout the country are empowering students to deal with mental and behavioral health challenges, to connect with others, and to discover endless possibilities for academic success, as well as social and emotional well-being. 

Unfortunately, research suggests that longstanding shortages of school psychologists continue to threaten students’ access to needed school psychological services. Although this shortage continues to be a national problem, Marywood University officials are to be acknowledged and congratulated as they sought to address this critical issue shortage by recently reinstating its Ed.S. program in School Psychology. The program is directed by Dr. Stuart Badner. Under his direction and leadership, the School Psychology program at Marywood has been recruiting cadres of new school psychology students since Fall 2020 and are expecting to graduate its first class of entry-level school psychology professionals in May 2023. Moreover, the leaders of Marywood University are committed to developing a truly exceptional and much-needed program, aligned with National Association of School Psychology practice standards.

The YMCA Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and a time for all Northeastern Pennsylvania residents to assess their risk for developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Following a year of reduced activity due to COVID-19, statistics show prediabetes rates are on the rise. Currently, 96 million American adults (more than 1 in 3) have prediabetes and 8 out of 10 of them do not know they have it. In addition to the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, people with prediabetes are also at risk of developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke.
Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. To address this issue, the Greater Scranton YMCA offers the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which helps overweight adults achieve moderate weight loss through healthier eating and increased physical activity, potentially preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a group-based lifestyle intervention for adults at high-risk of developing type 2 diabetes and has been shown to reduce the number of new cases of diabetes by 58 percent overall and by 71 percent in adults over 60.

“We know that adults with diabetes do not live as long as those without it, and that their medical expenses are over 2 times greater than others,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program provides a safe and supportive environment where people can learn to change behaviors and potentially decrease chances of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.”

Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes by taking a simple 1-minute risk test at Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) led National Diabetes Prevention Program, is a 12-month evidence-based program that features a lifestyle coach who helps participants learn tactics for healthy eating, physical activity and other lifestyle changes during 25, one-hour classroom sessions. Long-term program goals include reducing participants’ body weight by 5 to 7 percent and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

Nationally, more than 70,000 people participated in the program at over 1,100 sites in 47
states throughout the country. Participants who completed the year-long program lost an
average of 5.5 percent of body weight and completed an average of 168 minutes of physical
activity per week.

For more information about how to qualify for access to the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention
Program, contact Brandon Whipple, Senior Program Director, at (570) 828-3116 or visit the
Y online at

The Greater Scranton YMCA Childhood Obesity Awareness

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 14.7 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, 15.1 % of all youth ages 0-17 have obesity, according to

“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 youth sports programs and incorporating daily physical activity into early childhood education programs, like before and after school care, summer camp, daycare and preschool.

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 sports and healthy living programs, please contact Brandon Whipple, Wellness Director, at (570) 828-3116 or

The Children’s Advocacy Center is Raising Awareness of Red Sand Project

On Friday, July 29, the Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA (CAC/NEPA) will be creating a sidewalk art installation outside of its Mulberry Center location in support of the Red Sand Project. The installation is designed to raise awareness of human trafficking that happens domestically and across the globe. 

The event, located at 1630 Mulberry St., Scranton, PA at 1pm will be free and open to the public, and attendees will be able to help spread the Red Sand Project’s iconic red sand throughout sidewalk and walkway paths. Attendees in the process will also learn facts about modern human trafficking and actively aid in the conversation to stop it by creating a unique piece of art.

The Red Sand Project was founded in 2014 by Molly Gochman to increase public awareness and engagement in finding a solution to contemporary slavery. The organization uses a symbolic approach of spreading red sand in and around sidewalk cracks, representing those individuals who fall through the cracks of our society.

(CAC/NEPA) will also leave a basket of the remaining packets of sand in front of the main center building 1710 Mulberry for anyone who wishes to take sand and add to the sidewalk art at a later date.

Since 1998, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeastern Pennsylvania has helped more than 18,000 children and adolescents by effectively assessing and treating child abuse and neglect. Often experiencing shame and guilt, these children undeniably need the special treatment they receive at CAC/NEPA to repair their broken childhood…and keep it from having a lasting effect on their adulthood. Now in existence for over twenty years, CAC/NEPA continues to strive to expand its services for child and teen victims of abuse in our region, including Forensic Medical Examinations and Assessments, Forensic Interviews, Trauma Therapy, Counseling Coordination, Child Advocacy Services, and Child Abuse Prevention Education.

If you have any further questions about the event, please contact the CAC/NEPA through the information below.

Lackawanna County Commissioners’ Proclaim March 25 as Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day

March is both National Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month with Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day being observed on Thursday, March 25. Lackawanna County Commissioners’ issued an official proclamation declaring March 25 as Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, to coincide with UCP of NEPA’s GO GREEN Campaign to help raise awareness.

United Cerebral Palsy of Northeastern Pennsylvania was founded by families of those individuals with cerebral palsy, and over the years it has grown to support individuals with all different types of disabilities, including cerebral palsy. We increase awareness of those individuals with cerebral palsy and developmental disabilities by wearing the color green on March 25.

Participating is free and simple. Dress in green, take a photo and post it to UCP of NEPA’s social media channels, tagging #UCPNEPA #GOGREEN. Community support is imperative to the success of this event to help raise awareness of cerebral palsy and developmental disabilities. It’s up to each of us to do our part and support each other in our local community. This is a perfect way for schools, businesses, community organizations, health providers, sports teams, etc. to show our support.