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Monongahela Valley Hospital Lights Up for the Holidays On Monday, November 21, Monongahela Valley Hospital (MVH) flipped the switch on their holiday decorations. The 32nd Annual Light-Up Night had members of the community gathered around the MVH campus to watch the lighting of the two-story tree and several acres of decorations throughout campus. “I look forward to this event every year because it truly is the start of the holiday season in the Mon Valley,” said Louis J. Panza Jr., MVH's president and CEO. "Light-Up Night is an opportunity for all of us to gather as a commuAt Monongahela Valley Hospital’s Annual nity. It is a time for our employees, Light-Up Night celebration, 6-year old Leah Rowland and 9-year old Gordon Altamare physicians, board members and volunflipped the giant light switch to turn on teers to welcome our friends, family and the holiday decorations throughout the neighbors to enjoy fellowship on our campus of the hospital. campus.” The moment of illumination came when two lucky children, Leah Rowland and Gordon Altamare, flipped the giant switch to turn on all of the lighted decorations. The children were chosen at random from among MVH employees' children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews ages 5 to 10. The Charleroi High School Show Choir entertained the crowd before the lights were turned on. The festivities continued when Mr. and Mrs. Claus made a visit to the hospital’s campus bringing a toy for all the children in attendance. Throughout the evening, members of the Auxiliary of Mon-Vale Health Resources, Inc. sold baked goods and hot dogs. All of the spectacular interior and exterior decorations were produced by Joseph’s Nursery and Garden Center in Monessen. Visit MVH’s Facebook page at to view pictures from the event.

South Park Historical Society Christmas Party Planned for December 13th The South Park Historical Society (SPHS) is holding its annual Christmas party on Tuesday, December 13 at the Library Fire Hall, 6581 Library Road, South Park. The party is open to all Society members at a cost of $15; cost for each guest is $20. The festivities include a wonderful buffet prepared by Cyd West of Comfort Catering, entertainment by Mr. Jim Felix with ‘Sounds of Elvis’, door prizes, a 50/50 raffle, a money tree raffle, and a bake Sale. This event is a BYOB. Doors open at 6 p.m. and dinner is served at 7 p.m. All reservations must be received by December7. For questions and reservations, call Ruth at 412-835-9529 or Jean at 412-835-2631. All proceeds benefit the SPHS Museum Building Fund. For more information about the SPHS and the history of South Park, visit

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‘The Reality Tour’ Comes to Belle Vernon High School as Drug Prevention Program By Colette Dell On November 7 at 6 p.m., the Belle Vernon Reality Tour was held at Belle Vernon High School, where parents and their children came to learn the realities of drug use and the negative consequences one can face when abusing them. The international award-winning and evidence-based Reality Tour began in 2003, when a resident of Butler, PA, Norma Norris, envisioned how she wanted to reach the kids in her community about drugs. She took notice that there were a number of youths in her area that were either addicted or dying from drug use. She put together a presentation that begins with a narrative that depicts a teenager’s life and death from heroin use. There are five major scenes that are acted out by volunteers: first there is the peer pressure scene, then an arrest, a jail scene, an overdose scene in an emergency room and a funeral scene. After the narrative, a few speakers step up to share their knowledge and experiences with drug use. A police officer shares first, which was Westmoreland County Sheriff Jon Held at the November 7 presentation, then a parent spoke of his experience with his affected child, followed by an individual who is currently in recovery. The target audience is for kids 10+ and they are to come with a parent. On, Norris explains why she requires parents to attend with their kids, as well as how she wishes to reach them through the presentation: “I felt that parent and child need to be on the same page, with the same information. That information had to be delivered in an engaging manner; it had to be true, emotionally charged and consequence driven,” Norris said. The Belle Vernon Area Reality Tour Director, Celeste Trilli Palamara, added that it helps that the parents are in the know. “The parent is the best prevention factor when they are educated about the dangers of drug use. National statistics show that it takes an average of two

Pictured is a teenager in a jail scene during the narrative part of presentation.

Pictured is a teenager in an emergency room scene after an overdose.

years for parents to recognize their kids are abusing drugs,” Palamara said. The Reality Tour is currently presented at six locations throughout Westmoreland County. It also has branched out to several other Pennsylvania counties, 16 states and Canada. Palamara hopes the program will be in more communities. “The Reality Tour is needed in every community. It is my goal to have this program moved into Washington County and beyond,” she said. The Reality Tour at the Belle Vernon location presents once a month, in the evenings. Upcoming presentations have been scheduled for December 12, January 9, February 13, March 6, April 10 and May 1. There is a registration fee of $5 per person and anyone who plans to attend must pre-register. Attendance is free for children who receive free or reduced lunches. Please, go to to print a registration form or to find presentation dates, times and locations.

South Hills Mon Valley Messenger December 2016  

South Hills Mon Valley Messenger December 2016

South Hills Mon Valley Messenger December 2016  

South Hills Mon Valley Messenger December 2016