December 2020 Staff Highlight

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This month, we would like to introduce you to Gwendolyn Msolomba. Gwen has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Business from Carlow University and a Masters in Education from Ashford University. She is a supervisor for our AmeriHealth team and our Community Health Workers.

Gwen was born and raised in Johnstown, PA. Family means a lot to Gwen! She has three brothers and a loving mother, Jackie who is her biggest fan and supporter. She is also a fun and adventurous aunt and godmother to her three nephews, a great-niece, 3 goddaughters, and 4 godsons. Gwen is the glue that holds her family together. She also has a dog, Zack, and a turtle, Versace.

For hobbies, Gwen enjoys braiding hair and dancing! She teaches West African Dance at Saint Francis University and a free class at the Bottleworks in Johnstown, PA. One of her greatest passions is to see all children succeed. In fact, her biggest goal in life is to open a recreational center in Johnstown to create a safe place for youth to hang out and learn the skills they need to live on their own.

Gwen has been with AUCP for 5 and a half years.  She says she loves the team approach that we have transitioned to over the last few years. She enjoys the teams that she is a part of and the flexibility that this job offers. The most challenging part of her position is the process to match participants with the things that they need, sometimes it takes longer than we want it to. If Gwen did not work at AUCP, she would like to be a Behavioral Specialist Consultant.

All of us here at AUCP love working with Gwen! She has a great sense of outspoken humor and is able to maintain her cool in the toughest of situations. Gwen makes work fun and we are so glad that she’s part of our family.

November 2020 Staff Highlight

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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.

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.

Staff Highlight – Lindsay Vogt

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We would like to introduce you to Lindsay Vogt, a Lead Service Coordinator on our Amerihealth team. She’s been a Service Coordinator for almost 5 years, first with UCP Central and then with us after the merger. Lindsay is from Lewistown, PA, and serves Mifflin and Juniata counties. She has a Human Development and Family Studies degree from Penn State.

Lindsay and her husband have been together for 15 years and married for 10 years. Together they have 2 children. Their daughter, Quinn (6) does gymnastics, ballet, tap dance, and recently started kindergarten. Their son, Quay (4) loves wrestling, WWE, hanging out with his daddy, and goes to preschool. As a family, they enjoy watching and hosting football parties, especially Notre Dame.

Lindsay says that her biggest goals in life have always been to have a job she loves that pays well and to be a good mom to her kids. If she didn’t work at AUCP, she’s not sure what she would do. When she graduated college she worked in a nursing home for 3 years, but it became more about money and less about quality. Lindsay says that she likes the flexibility and trust she receives from her Supervisors at AUCP. The most challenging part of her job is when she has relay hard news to participants and dealing with difficult people.

Lindsay is dedicated and passionate in ensuring her participants get what they need.  Her supervisor says that she has a huge heart and shares her compassion with her participants and staff. Always diligent to get her work done in a timely manner and is quick to assist other staff with work, offer training, and support.

September 2020 Staff Highlight

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We are very excited to introduce you to our staff highlight this month, Ashley Malkin. Ashley has been with us for one year, first as an intern, and then hired on full-time as our Staff Accountant handling accounts receivable, accounts payable, and general ledger reconciliations for the agency. She has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and an Associate’s degree in Accounting from Penn Highlands.

She is from Cairnbrook, PA where she lives with her fiance, Shane, and their three dogs. Marsha, a senior dog, whom they adopted two years ago, and Yuna and Bellatrix, both 9 months old.

During her free time, she enjoys reading, cuddling with her dogs, and watching Netflix. If she weren’t an accountant, Ashley says she would like to be a librarian. Her favorite thing about working at AUCP is getting to work under Kelly, our Fiscal Manager. Ashley says she is a great supervisor and she has taught her so much over the last year.

We are all so thrilled to have Ashley as part of our family here at AUCP. Kelly says “she has quickly become a valuable team member… always willing to help out her coworkers and is a pleasure to work with.” Ask anyone that has gotten the chance to work with her and they would agree!

August Staff Highlight

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For June, we would like to introduce you to Amanda Urban as our staff highlight. Amanda is a Lead Service Coordinator on our UPMC Community HealthChoices team serving the Bedford and Somerset counties. She is from Berlin, PA, and is the oldest of 3 children in a family of five, plus 2 fur-children of her own (pictured).

Some of her favorite activities include going to farmer’s markets, thrifting and repurposing furniture, cooking, and baking. Her biggest goal in life is to simply love her life.
Amanda attended the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown to receive her Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She says that if she was not in the social work field, she would work with dogs owning her own grooming business.

Amanda has been a Service Coordinator at AUCP for a year and a half. Her favorite part of working here is the people that she interacts with daily and that no day is ever the same. The most challenging part of her job is organizing the chaos that comes along with the job.

Her supervisors and coworkers always have wonderful things to say about her.  Amanda is diligent and organized. Always willing to go out of her way to assist her coworkers, serve her community, and provide well-thought feedback. We are so glad to have Amanda as part of our family.

July Staff Highlight

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This month, we are excited to introduce you to Service Coordinator, Jennifer Myers. Jenny has been a Service Coordinator for a total of 13 years. 3 years at AUCP and 10 with South Central Service Coordination before we merged with their agency. In 2007 she moved to Shippensburg, PA from a small town in Maryland. She currently serves the South Central, PA area.

Jenny and her husband, Sam, have been married for 11 years. She has 3 step-children that are now all grown and are living in various states from California, Idaho, to Pennsylvania. Together Jenny and Sam have 2 dogs (pictured below) that are like children and keep them on their toes.

Jenny enjoys being outside doing things like camping, hiking, kayaking, gardening, and then resting by picking up a book and reading. Her biggest goal in life is to be happy with whatever road she takes in life and keep her family near.

If she wasn’t a Service Coordinator, Jenny would like to be a Marine Biologist working with whales, dolphins, seals, and the like. Her favorite part about working at AUCP is meeting the participants and building friendships with them. The most challenging part is when one of her participants passes away. She says it has been a great pleasure working at AUCP. Everyone shows great teamwork and stands by each other and supports each other.

Jenny has been a phenomenal addition to our company. She is able to connect with her participants in a very unique way. She always makes it a point to go above and beyond for the coworkers and team. We are so glad to have her as part of our work family.

June Staff Highlight

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June’s Staff Highlight is Tom Lawson, a Programs Manager here at AUCP for the OLTL and Adult Autism Waiver programs. Originally from Western New York, Tom moved to New Jersey when he was 21, and last June he relocated to Ligonier, PA. For college, he attended State University of New York (York) majoring in Sociology with a concentration in Law, Justice, and Society.

Tom and his “saint” of a wife, Wendy, celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary last month. They have a 19 year-old son, Jared, who just completed his Freshman year at the University of Alabama. They also have a 4 year-old husky named Truman who keeps them active.

Tom would describe himself as a sports “junkie,” specifically of the Buffalo Sabres, Cleveland Indians and the Buffalo Bills. If he’s not watching sports on T.V. or live with his friends, he might be watching the Weather Channel or ALF. He is also a fan of music, both listening to and attending concerts. He saw Metallica twice last year in a three day span!

His biggest goal in life is to be the best father to Jared and husband to Wendy that he can be. He likes to make people smile and bring humor to as many aspects of life that he can. Tom also finds fulfillment in serving his community, whether it is serving meals on Thanksgiving, coaching youth hockey, or being active with a Bulldog Rescue.

His dream job would be  to work as the General Manager of a sports team and put together a group of players with a common goal of winning a championship. His favorite part of working at AUCP is being able to meet so many awesome people and to see great work done on a daily basis by our dedicated employees. Since relocating here from New Jersey, the biggest challenge has been getting to know all the nuances of the programs. Yet, he says he has great people to rely on for guidance!

Tom is a fun and energetic leader here at AUCP. He is always making us laugh and is willing to go out of his way to support staff and our participants. We are glad that he is part of our team and for his role in enhancing the quality and culture of our agency.

May Staff Highlight

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Our May Staff Highlight is Georgiana (Anna) Smith. Anna will be at AUCP for one year this month and has quickly worked herself into a Lead Staff position for our PA Health and Wellness team. Anna earned a degree in Psychology from Carlow University. She serves participants in Beaver County and parts of Pittsburgh.

Anna has been with her husband, Zach, for ten years and they will be celebrating their 5 year wedding anniversary this month! (Happy Anniversary!) Together they have 2 children, Sienna (4 years old on May 21st) and Roman (a little over a year old). Anna is usually found playing with her children or hanging poolside over the summer. When she has the time, she enjoys reading, gardening, decorating, and shopping.

Her biggest goal in life is to know that she has been able to help someone who needed it. She also hopes to raise her children to be kind, compassionate, generous and loving people who are accepting of individual differences no matter what.

If she did not work at AUCP, she’d like to try her hand at being an interior decorator or an adoption counselor. The way that we work as a team across the agency is what she likes the most about working at AUCP. She says that recently, the most challenging part of her position is being able to assist her team members that are still in training as all training needs to take place via video chat.

Her supervisor and coworkers describe her as hardworking and willing to go above and beyond to help her participants. Always quick to assist and help where she can, Anna has definitely become a reliable and trusted coworker on her team and across the agency. We can all agree that our agency has been positively impacted by having her on board and we look forward to what the future holds!

April Staff Highlight

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Service Coordinator Tara Herwig is our Staff Highlight for April. Tara has been with our agency since August of 2019 when we took over  UCP Connections to Independence where she had been working for about 9 months. She attended Mount Aloysius College and received a B.A. in English.

Currently, Tara lives in Lewistown, PA with her husband Jeremy and their four children; Emma, Evelyn, Benjamin, and Lillian. They also have a dog named Mollie and a cat named Whiskers. Tara enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and trying new recipes, growing her own food, and traveling to new places .  Her family especially loves going to the beach!  She also loves to read and try new things, or find a good movie or Netflix series to watch.

She says that if she didn’t work at AUCP, she would like to write a blog or start her own business. Her biggest goals in life are to question everything in life and make her dreams come true.

Tara likes that she gets to work with like-minded individuals who are passionate about helping others here at AUCP. Also, the flexibility this job offers allows her to work and be at home with her kids. The most challenging part of the job for her was transitioning from an office to working remotely and then trying to outline boundaries at home.

In the short time Tara has been with the agency, we have learned that she is always willing to step up and assist her coworkers. And in everything she does, she does it well. We are so pleased that she is now part of our work family and we want to thank her for all the hard work she does!

March Staff Highlight

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Our March Staff Highlight is Hollie Orris, a AmeriHealth Coordinator serving our nursing home participants in Cambria and Somerset counties. She has been with AUCP for 2 years working out of the Johnstown office. Hollie graduated from Mount Aloysius College with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.

One thing you will quickly learn about Hollie is that she loves dogs, especially her own. Pictured to the right are her two rescue dogs: a German shepherd named Max (2) and a shepherd collie mix named Bowzer (9). Hollie enjoys reading, everything Harry Potter, spending time with her friends, and shopping and going on bus trips with her mom. She and her boyfriend like taking weekend trips, going to trivia, and trying new restaurants.

In her free-time, she manages fundraisers to help raise money for the St. Michael Fire Hall. Hollie is also on AUCP’s Fundraising committee where she attributes her time and talents to raising money for our Community Fund.

Her favorite things about working at AUCP are her coworkers and being able to assist our participants in living their best lives. The most challenging part of her position is that everyday is different. and sometimes you can’t provide an answer to the participants right away. If she weren’t a Service Coordinator, Hollie would like to work as a Vet Tech.

Hollie always works hard and goes out of her way to help others. We are thankful to have her as part of our team.