Congratulations to Family Services of NW PA's 2023 Annual Meeting Award Winners
Legacy Award: Kirk Hardner
Kirk Hardner began working at Family Services of NW PA in 1990. He spent his entire tenure working in the Family Based Mental Health program. Kirk started as a therapist and eventually became the Program Director. He retired in 2018 but continued to provide consultation to the program for several years.
Kirk was known for providing excellent support and supervision to his employees. His unique skillset and leadership have impacted countless families and therapists.
Kirk brought attention to self-care, meditation, and yoga. He is well-connected and liked in the community. His impact on staff, clients, and other community providers and collaborators continues to this day.
According to one nomination, "Kirk was synonymous with Family Based Mental Health. The program was strong, large and the teams were engaged and stable. Kirk was well-respected and supportive of his team."
"Kirk is a true champion of Family Based Mental Health and Ecosystemic Structural Therapy," noted another. "He
built the program to its greatest capacity as a supportive, compassionate, and approachable supervisor. He was a
strong advocate for the agency, program, and his staff."
Philanthropy Award: Marquette Savings Bank
Marquette Savings Bank has supported Big Brothers Big Sisters and other programs at Family Services of NW PA for many years. In addition to supporting Bowl For Kids' Sake, Marquette has also supported the agency through Erie Gives since its inception.
Stella LaPaglia, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Marquette, joined the Advisory Board in 2015 and served as a fierce advocate for many years. When Stella resigned from the Advisory Board in 2021, she recommended a replacement – Erin May, Assistant Vice President at Marquette.
Erin has done an outstanding job connecting Marquette employees with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Marquette had 58 employees on 11 teams participate in this year's Bowl For Kids' Sake event and all employee donations were matched by Marquette. Overall, Marquette and its employees brought in nearly $6,000 to support Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Agency Champion Award: Erie United Methodist Alliance
Erie United Methodist Alliance (EUMA), led by CEO Kurt Crays, is a wonderful partner and strong champion of Family Services of NW PA and the individuals served. In 2018, the Erie County Independent Living Program (ILP) at Family Services of NW PA began a partnership with EUMA to provide housing for the young adults enrolled in ILP. The project started with three apartment units near EUMA's The Refuge. It has grown to include multiple sites with a total of 10 apartment units that offer two levels of housing support: Supported Living Apartments, which offer an onsite Resident Assistant employed by EUMA, and Transitional Living Apartments, which are a step on the path to independence.
With EUMA's expertise in housing assistance, together with the support of ILP Case Managers, youth learn how to budget, take care of their own apartment, and find employment. Employees from EUMA ensure that the youth are safely housed and are learning valuable skills to maintain their own housing as they transition to adulthood.
The project has served over 40 youth since Its inception. Additionally, EUMA sought and was recently awarded a substantial grant from the Erie Women's Fund of the Erie Community Foundation to further enhance these housing opportunities.
Outstanding Volunteer: Kim Normandy
Kim Normandy joined the North Star Mentoring Program in February 2022 and was matched with Makenna. North Star Mentoring is part of the Erie County Independent Living Program (ILP) at Family Services of NW PA.
Kim and Makenna enjoy going out to eat, getting their nails done, cooking, visiting zoos, going to ball games, and just spending time together. Kim has taught Makenna about saving money and knowing the difference between wants and needs. She has helped Makenna every step of the way through some tough times. Makenna is a teen mother, and she loves that Kim loves her son as if he was one of her own. "Kim Is like family to me now and we have grown so much together," said Makenna. "I love Kim so much and I'm so thankful to have her in my life."
Makenna recently graduated from high school and brought Kim as her guest. "Kim is truly invested in supporting Makenna and making a positive difference in her life," said Kellie Tate, Mentoring Specialist with North Star Mentoring. "Kim's favorite part of mentoring Makenna has been watching her grow up to be a responsible young adult and mother."
In addition to volunteering for North Star Mentoring, Kim collects socks and coffee for the Upper Room, walks for the American Heart Association, and participates in Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl For Kids' Sake.
Congratulations to all of the 2023 award winners!