December Independence Newsletter

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Alleghenies United Cerebral Palsy Service Coordination

December 2019

Independence Insider NEW FACES AT AUCP Courtney Hudson OLTL Service Coordinator

Travis Yahner OLTL Service Coordinator

Alissa Hull UPMC Service Coordinator

Pick your passion aucp

Last month, AUCP announced that we were going to be hosting a Month of Giving called #PickYourPassionAUCP where we encouraged staff to “pick their passion” and go out into their communities to give of their time by volunteering. Throughout November, we had 17 staff members collectively give over 113 hours in service. According to the Independent Sector’s Value of Volunteer Time that’s over $2,800 donation in volunteer time! Whether it be brightening the walls of a shelter with a fresh coat of paint, handing out winter coats to families in need, or helping feed members of the community, we believe that we should all find ways to have compassion on those around us each and everyday. Thank you to all of our staff members that were willing to take some time out of their busy schedules to give back to their community. We look forward to being able to provide more opportunities for our staff to “pick their passions” and to be an agency that is active in serving all year round. To find out more about where our staff volunteered, visit our website or search #PickYourPassionAUCP on social media.

staff highlight

2018-19 Annual Report To read AUCP’s 2018-19 Annual Report, go to: Interested in learning more about a specific topic? Have a great story to tell? Email us today at

For the month of December, we’d like to introduce you to Kristine DePalma, Team UPMC Service Coordinator, as our Staff Highlight. Kristine has worked at AUCP for a little over a year out of our Monroeville office serving the northern part of Westmoreland county and the northeast part of Allegheny County. She has a BA in Psychology from Ohio University. Kristine is originally from Ohio, but currently lives in Greensburg, PA with her husband, Aaron, and their 3 four-legged felines; Mynie, Luckee and Jonny. Just last month Kristine and Aaron celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary (Congratulations!) When Kristine isn’t loving on her family or hard at work, she enjoys going to the beach, crocheting and crafting, watching movies, reading and writing books, listening to music, and even singing! She says that her goal in life is to walk the path ahead of me the best that she can and be true to the future God has in front of her. Her favorite part of working at AUCP is the team work. She says the support she gets from her coworkers is priceless. The most challenging part of her position is both setting and meeting expectations. If Kristine wasn’t a Service Coordinator she would like to be a writer, teacher, or trainer. We’re glad she works here because she is a great team player and is active in other committees throughout the company. Kristine is known as having a friendly attitude and her kindness spreads across the agency.

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HAPPENINGS Y O R K C O U N T Y, PA Please note: Some of the events listed below are not free; we recommend reaching out to the locations to see if there is a cost to attend.

1 - Santa’s Paradise Express | Strasburg Railroad 3 - Tree of Light - York | UPMC Memorial | 7pm 5-6 - Night Before Christmas Train | Strasburg Railroad 6 - First Friday December| Downtown York | 5-9pm 6 - A Gettysburg Christmas Festival | Gettysburg, PA 7 - 2019 Light Up York | Continental Square | 12-7pm 10 - York History Storytellers | Appell Center for the Performing Arts | 7-9pm 10 - Light Up Our Lot | York County Economic Alliance | 5-6:30pm 13-14 - Christkindlmarkt | Dill’s Tavern 14 - A December 2 Remember | York Expo Center Memorial Hall | 3-4:30pm 18 - Wyndridge Farm Holiday Dinner | Wyndridge Farm | 6-9pm 22 - 2019 York County Reptile Show | Wyndham Garden York 23 - Santa’s Christmas Trolley | Strasburg Railroad | 2-5pm 28-29 - Tri-County Gun Show | York Expo Center Grandstand 31 - Welcome 2020 | Continental Square | 10pm Be on the lookout next month for events in Schuylkill County.

UCP Elsie S. Bellow’s Fund - Tracey Palmer

At 7 months old, doctors diagnosed Tracey Palmer with Cerebral Palsy on her left side. Despite the doctors reporting that she would never be able to walk, with the help of her mom, Tracey began to walk at the age of three. Starting at the age of 5, Tracey has had over 200 surgeries, and that still didn’t stop her. Today at the age of 56, Tracey walks using a left leg prosthetic, holds two degrees, one in Animal Science and the other in Medical Technology, and is very active in her church as a Youth Director. Tracey has never felt respected in public when she was using her wheelchair, so when she was presented with the opportunity to get a segway through her insurance, she was all about it. Using the segway gives her the ability to look into the eyes of whomever she’s talking to, go up and down ramps easier, and it is lighter to transport. The segway also plays a huge role in helping her keep up with the teens in her youth group when she attends youth conferences. Unfortunately, like any battery operated equipment, Tracey’s segway battery eventually died. Since the cost of a replacement battery would have been close to $1,000, Tracey knew she would not be able to afford it. When looking into assistance to replace the battery, she found out that her UPMC insurance and Community HealthChoices plans would not cover the cost of a new battery because it was not seen it as a “medical need.” This is when her Clinical Nurse Case Manager from the UPMC Community Team, Rebecca Cullen, reached out to AUCP to see if we could submit an application through the UCP Elsie S. Bellows Fund, a national program offering grants to help people buy Assistive Technology equipment. After the application was submitted and approved, we were able to purchase a new battery for Tracey’s segway and now she can keep up with the youth from her church and continue doing what needs to be done. We were delighted to work with Tracey and Rebecca and be able to meet her needs in partnership with the UCP Elsie S. Bellows fund. If you, or someone you know, is in a situation similar to Tracey, you can contact AUCP today to find out how to submit an application. Please contact, Jocelyn Hartman, at or by phone at (814) 915-4055.

december health awareness “The theme for the 2019 observance is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community”. World AIDS Day was first observed in 1988. Each year, organizations and individuals across the world bring attention to the HIV epidemic, endeavor to increase HIV awareness and knowledge, speak out against HIV stigma, and call for an increased response to move toward Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America.” Go to for more information.

community programs Our Re-Use It program redistributes The UCP Elsie S. Bellows Fund is a and accepts donations of medical national program that provides funds to equipment and assistive technology. individuals with disabilities for the purchase of assistive technology equipment.

AUCP’s Scholarship Fund granted to two high school seniors who are pursuing a degree in the human services field each Spring.

For more information on the above programs, please contact our offices today at (844) 819-4455.


TOLL FREE: 844.819.4 455 local: 814.619.3398 FAX: 814.262.7174

Office Locations: Johnstown, Hanover, Altoona, Pittsburgh, & St. Mary’s

@AllegheniesUCP @AllegheniesUnitedCerebralPalsy @AllegheniesUCP

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