Independence Insider: November 2020

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November 2020

Alleghenies United Cerebral Palsy Service Coordination


FOSTER LOVE PROJECT Throughout the month of September, we held a donation drive for the Foster Love Project in Pittsburgh. The Foster Love Project is a donation center that doubles as a "store" for foster kids and parents. Since 2014, they have provided 12,000 placement bags that are used to ensuring that kids are able to take a bag of new belongings with them when they change homes. Additionally, they have had around 2,000 kids come through the center where they are able to shop for clothing, toiletries, toys, and other necessities!

Carrie Hynds Team UMPC Central

AUCP staff participated in the donation drive by purchasing items off of an Amazon wishlist. The agency agreed to double their donations, plus $100. We ended up donating over $800 worth of items (shoes, toys, and toiletries, etc.) On October 15th, we made the trip to their facility in Pittsburgh to drop off the donations. While there, they gave us a tour of their facility and allowed us to take a few videos to take all of you on a little virtual tour. We invite you to watch the video on our social media pages.

Tiffany Rachau Team UPMC Central

If you would like to learn more about the Foster Love Project, volunteer, or make a donation, visit their website at They are always looking for support in order to continue providing love in action to foster youth.


As the 2020 Presidential Election closes in, be sure to have your vote counted. This election is one of the most important elections that our country has ever faced. Your vote matters. Skylar Brown Team UPMC Southwest

If you have any questions about what to expect or where to go, follow this link to learn more:


Diabetes is one of the top diagnoses of our participants. It is part of our mission to raise awareness and advocate for their well-being. World Diabetes Day 2020 happens on November 14, 2020. Let’s help the International Diabetes Federation draw attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keep diabetes firmly in the public and political spotlight. Visit for more information.

AUCP continues to hire in multiple counties across Pennsylvania. If you or someone you know are interested in becoming a Service Coordinator, please visit for a job description and to apply.




• 3 cups cooked macaroni • 1 (5 ounce) can tuna, drained • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese • 1 ½ cups French fried onions

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Step 2: In a 9x13-inch baking dish, combine the macaroni, tuna, and soup. Mix well, and then top with cheese. Step 3: Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 25 minutes, or until bubbly. Sprinkle with fried onions, and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve hot.


STAFF HIGHLIGHT - CHRISTY BERZONSKI This month for our Staff Highlight, we are featuring one of our new Community Health Workers, Christy Berzonski. Christy was the HUB spotlight for the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health. Below are some excerpts from her interview. You can read the full article on their website at Tell us about yourself: I am a mother of three with a boy and two girls. I was a young mother at 21. I always wanted to be a mother, but never knew what I wanted to do with my life. I was a nursing assistant for a year and then did retail for over 20 years. I went back to school in my 30’s and got a certificate in coding and billing. My real passion, though, all these years has been helping people. My husband had cancer when he was in his early 20’s, and I learned real fast what a great community I had living in Somerset County. Friends and strangers came together to raise money for my family since my husband couldn’t work. People we didn’t know were sending us gift cards and dropping off food. It was then that I decided Cancer was my main outreach. I wanted to give back to the community that helped me, that was also going through this terrible disease. So I started fundraising. I have helped kids with cancer and adults by organizing bike runs, basket parties, spaghetti dinners, Walmart Heart program, and painting parties. I enjoyed searching for resources and meeting new people and learning their stories. We all have a story or a purpose and I believe mine is to help others. I encourage my daughter, Analeigh, to do the same by taking her for volunteer opportunities with Johnstown Food Truck and Windber Community Kitchen. I also love to scrapbook because I feel they tell your family story and I love capturing memories. What drew you to the CHW position in the first place? When I learned of this position, I was drawn to it. They wanted someone from the community for the community. It didn’t require a degree. They wanted someone who has walked similar walks and that could pull experiences and relate to the participant. I am a mother, so what better way to relate! I also had to use a lot of the same resources when I had my first two children and again when my husband got cancer. I am excited to make an impact and empower these women. I loved that we aren’t telling them what to do, but listening to them and putting them in charge of their own life plan. We are just there to give them the tools to accomplish the things they want. What is the most challenging part of being a CHW so far? The hardest part of this job is hitting a roadblock: To find a gap in resources or have a safety concern and not be able to instantly protect them.

AUCP’s RE-USE IT PROGRAM accepts donations and redistributes medical equipment and assistive technology to the public for free.

COMMUNITY PROGRAMS The UCP ELSIE S. BELLOWS FUND is a national program providing funds to individuals with disabilities for assistive technology.

AUCP’s SCHOLARSHIP FUND grants scholarhsips to two high school seniors pursuing a degree in the human services field each Spring.


TOLL FREE: 844.819.4455 LOCAL: 814.619.3398 FAX: 814.262.7174



@AllegheniesUnitedCerebralPalsy @AllegheniesUCP

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