There is nothing more important to providing transformational care to at-risk youth and families than the quality of the staff who deliver those services. Adelphoi is fortunate to have an exemplary team of steadfast, compassionate individuals who are fully invested in the health and welfare of our young people. Adelphoi team care for every child as if they were their own. Through their passion and commitment, we are able to provide the highest level of service to our youth and families.
Starting her career with Adelphoi more than two decades ago, Sharon Hayden is no stranger to what it means to be a teacher at Ketterer Charter School. “The most unique part about working for Adelphoi is the fact that each day is so different. Some days are definitely more challenging than others, and there is never a dull moment, that’s for sure.” Hayden says that the variety of each day is what she looks forward to the most. “I also love to see the ‘aha’ moment with my students in the classroom,” she says, “when they learn something new or realize something they never understood before. That’s the best!”
Hayden holds a degree in Elementary Education, as well as a secondary English certification. Throughout her years teaching, she has learned that patience is a key skill. “Remembering that most of our students have not had a fair chance at finding success puts things into perspective. Having patience, along with the ability to be understanding and adapt to change, makes a world of difference with the students I teach.”
Like most other Adelphoi employees who work directly with the youth, Hayden finds the most success in her job when she gets to watch her students grow into productive members of society. “Receiving a random email or phone call from a former student telling me what they’re up to currently or simply thanking me for helping them in some way makes my job worthwhile.” She talks about Alumni Day at Adelphoi, and how this is another example of where her former students return and show off their own success. “When former students return to share their stories… and how Adelphoi saved their lives in a sense, [that] makes me feel like I have found success in my job.”
Being a teacher goes beyond a classroom full of students, and sometimes, coworkers make all the difference. “My teammates are the absolute best,” Hayden exclaims. “Each and every one of our faculty members support one another on a daily basis.” Even though Hayden’s team has changed throughout the years, “we work together like a well-oiled machine.” This is especially true when days don’t run as smoothly as expected. Hayden says, “when crises arise, every single one of us pitches in and resolves issues as quickly as possible.”
Hayden feels lucky to have spent her teaching career with Adelphoi. Working at Ketterer Charter School has many benefits, including “having fantastic colleagues, supportive administration and staff who aid in the classroom environment on a daily basis. Every one of them is willing to lend a helping hand without question at any time.” She says, “Not all organizations can say they have all three of these benefits, but that’s a huge reason why I have stuck around for twenty-six years!”
Hayden encourages others to consider Ketterer Charter School if they are looking to pursue a career in education, as well as having Adelphoi as their future employer. “They have made tremendous strides over the years in providing competitive salaries and benefits to their employees.” Consistent classroom support is another key factor for teachers in their day-to-day work. “No other environment provides the classroom support like [Ketterer] does,” Hayden states. Whether it is the success from her current students, her former students, or the overwhelming support she feels from her colleagues, Hayden believes that Adelphoi is a place that encourages success for both their employees and their youth. “Adelphoi is truly a family-oriented organization.”
Mandi McKeever is nothing short of experienced when it comes to working in foster care. She has worked at Adelphoi for almost twenty-two years, and half of her time has been spent helping kids find permanent homes with biological or adopted families.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, McKeever spent time at Adelphoi prior to graduation. She worked with the company to complete an internship and decided to return after her degree was finalized. “I fondly recall the agency mission statement when I first started… It was to assist children, youth, and families to overcome social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties.” McKeever reflects on finding that mission statement and how it affected her personally. “I enjoy helping others in my church and community setting. [That] mindset at Adelphoi assisted me in deciding to apply for a counselor job when I first started out.”
This same mindset is what keeps McKeever fond of her work on a daily basis. When asked about finding success in her job, McKeever answered, “helping a client achieve permanency.” No matter if the family is biological or adoptive, McKeever’s main focus is finding the home that will be safest for the child.
McKeever has a handful of responsibilities on a daily basis, including providing case management services in foster homes. “I ensure that service goals and safety standards are being met within the home.” Along with overseeing her foster care clients, McKeever also attends court hearings or county meetings to review progress of her clients. In addition to completing documentation and paperwork, McKeever says, “there may be days where I need to be available to support a client and family through a crisis situation.” Though she may never know what the day consists of, McKeever knows that Adelphoi has trained her for any situation. “I feel the trainings offered by Adelphoi as well as the knowledge gained by everyday experiences has greatly assisted me with effectively completing my job.”
Working in foster care has taught McKeever an endless amount of skills from her personal to professional growth, but she focuses on her top three – communication, empathy, and organization. “I communicate with numerous people on a daily basis regarding the care and progress of the clients and families I serve. Being able to communicate effectively is necessary in order to ensure goals are being met [in a timely manner].” Like many other Adelphoi employees who work directly with youth, McKeever says, “Showing empathy is valuable when building a relationship and earning trust in order to help a client and their family.” Without empathy, it can be difficult for youth and their families to feel supported, so McKeever emphasizes its importance in her work. She always stresses how important organization is when documenting, traveling, and filing all that needs to be completed for her job to get done properly.
It’s no surprise that McKeever feels supported by her team. “We are always willing to help each other out. It is reassuring to know that my team is here for me.” Outside of her team, McKeever emphasizes how Adelphoi has helped her to grow and learn each day, week, month, and year that she has been able to work for them. “I have learned a lot about the foster care system and how it benefits children in their time of need; when they are not safe in their biological home.” McKeever says that she adds ‘tools’ to her ‘toolbox’ every day and has been doing so ever since her first supervisor suggested it. “Throughout my years of experience at Adelphoi, I have overfilled my toolbox!”
McKeever is proud of the work she has done, and she is proud to share all of her knowledge with her colleagues. She tells others in her situation to “have an open mind and be willing to listen.” Her job requires the ability to be flexible and to understand a variety of needs from her clients. Whether it’s through her tremendous work experience, her supportive team of colleagues, or the relationships she has built with her clients, McKeever thinks, “I am always open to learning more.”
As a shift supervisor, Ken Drewery finds himself doing a variety of jobs at his unit on a daily basis. “I prioritize [checking] emails from the unit director and regional director based on needs in the secure facility. At 6:00 AM, I do a safety and security walk through the unit.” But beyond these daily protocols, Drewery finds that his favorite part is simply focused on the kids. “I get to come to work and see the literal difference I can make in a juvenile’s life.” Drewery explains that it’s nice to be a steady example of an adult male for the boys in his unit. “I am distinctly able to change a juvenile’s life just by the way I interact with him or her each day.”
Drewery’s Adelphoi career began nine years prior. Drewery started out as a youth care worker, then was promoted to two different counselor positions because of his exemplary work. A benefit of working at Adelphoi has been the way Drewery could further his education. “Adelphoi provides a tuition reimbursement program to help promote educational advancements for any employees that desire to further their education,” he explains. Drewery took advantage of the President’s Fund/Tuition Reimbursement program, which helped him obtain his Bachelor’s degree while working at Adelphoi.
Working in the boys’ unit has helped Drewery reflect on himself both professionally and personally. He explains there are many opportunities to “broaden your skills as a leader, team member, and juvenile justice professional.” Along with interacting with the kids in his unit, Drewery likes the way he is able to interact with professionals in the justice system, such as judges, attorneys, probation officers, caseworkers, etc. But even still, Drewery finds his best moments in working with the kids. He defines success as “a juvenile leaving the program, going through the step-down process, and calling back into the unit and saying ‘thank you for the lessons’.” He recalls an anecdote in which a former resident, one that Drewery remembers having significant behavioral issues, had called into his unit to thank him. He said, “Thank you for all of your help, Mr. Ken. For all of your lessons… I know I was not trying to hear it at the time, but it makes sense now.” Drewery says that same youth is now succeeding as a Marine.
Building relationships is another positive experience that is echoed by Adelphoi employees, including Drewery. “The team within Middle Creek is the tightest team I have witnessed within Adelphoi culture,” Drewery says. His specific program has gone on to win ‘Program of the Year’ at Adelphoi three times in his nine-year Adelphoi career. Specifically, in 2017, Middle Creek [Male] won the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission Residential Program of the Year award. Drewery says, “This award held significance to me, because the Middle Creek team and I put significant effort to ensure the success of the program.” Along with their shelf of accomplishments, Drewery says that forming great relationships with his coworkers is important to keeping team culture strong not only at Middle Creek, but at Adelphoi altogether.
When Drewery thinks of the skills he has learned over his years at Adelphoi, compassion comes to mind. “Understand that juveniles with significant trauma, mental disorders, and behavioral issues [all] require care and compassion… regardless of their behaviors.” He also emphasizes a “real desire to see the juveniles leave the unit better than they came.” Drewery says the importance of small things, like telling the kids he’s proud of them or simply keeping his word can mean all the difference. This compassion can be seen in the work that Adelphoi does with both kids and staff. Drewery praises the open-door policy of Adelphoi and the way it promotes a family-oriented and caring culture. Being surrounded by such a positive atmosphere, Drewery continues to carry Adelphoi’s compassion through his own work in his unit every day.
The search for Kelly Smith’s perfect career boiled down to one important and personal aspect – working in adoption. “Life is really full circle, and I never quite understood what that meant until I started this position.” Being adopted herself, Smith says her mother was the one who convinced her to apply. “When I found out it was adoption work, I said I needed to do this,” she says, “and the company has been phenomenal to me ever since.”
Smith holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Organized Psychology and a Master of Science in Human Services, concentrated in family-based services. She has worked at her current position, a permanency specialist, for just about two years this summer. “A lot of my day is consumed with writing and typing up documents, family approval documents, things like that. We plan for child prep sessions or pick activities to work on with the kids… in between everything, we’re working on looking for homes and children in need of homes so that we can find their forever families.”
Overall, Smith’s favorite part of her job is getting to work with the kids. “You create such a strong bond, and I feel like I’m able to help them in a different kind of way,” Smith speaks more to her adoption story. “I like that I have the personal experience to be able to relate to the kids on a level that some of my coworkers might not be able to, but then again, they all have their own experiences, too. It’s nice that we can all use that insight to bounce ideas off of each other.” When she has conversations with her coworkers, Smith explains that she loves being able to help with an inside perspective that might be the same as some of the kids in their program. “Families are comfortable with me, too,” she explains. “They open up when we’re having regular conversations, and sometimes that’s because of my personal background.”
Communication is the biggest key factor in Smith’s work, because in order to best serve her client, she needs to be able to work with multiple departments. “We work closely with visitation staff, foster care staff… a lot of our kids are already in the foster care system, so that staff already knows them best.” As well as communication, Smith talks about a strong sense of teamwork being needed to succeed in her work. “There is a lot of sharing within our team,” she says. “We send our emails out to everyone, even our supervisors when they don’t need them. It’s just a great way to be supportive of each other… sharing ideas for our prepping sessions and things like that.” This kind of support is what Smith loves so much about working in a team. “You’re never alone in a team. If you have questions, there is always somebody to ask or clarify. It makes me feel safe and comfortable to just double check with one of my coworkers.” Even more than professionally, Smith feels that her team has touched her personally, too. “They bring such a sense of belonging to me. It really is like a second family.”
In the two years since joining Adelphoi’s team, Smith has learned a lot in her position. “Coming into this field, I didn’t know much about what any of the units of service were that Adelphoi did. I was completely new to everything.” Smith explains that she relied on her team a lot; getting her comfortable, using them as a resource for information that she didn’t have. “My supervisor and coworkers were phenomenal about helping me understand some of the court system stuff that I really didn’t know when I first started.” Finishing her Master’s degree while working also helped Smith to really gain insight on what her degree was all about. “Just based on my day-to-day work life, [my degree] made me start to think about what I was doing every day. It makes you stop and think.” Smith learned that work in adoption and permanency made her consider thoughts and feelings that had never surfaced before. “I learn so much about interacting with children… learning about trauma and how it can affect kids. You even learn about your own personal trauma when looking through the child’s lens as an adult.”
The most important piece of advice that Smith now carries for future employees of Adelphoi is to not be intimidated. “Don’t be scared. I was worried when I first started about what I was getting into and not having the background… you learn along the way, and you’ll have a fantastic team that is always there to help.”
Despite working with challenging cases at times, Smith never gets tired of the feeling of being able to help kids through this position. “Not many people realize how rewarding this job is,” she says. So, whether it’s the rewarding aspect or the growth she has found within her team, Smith has found her home working in adoption.
In all of her twenty-five years at Adelphoi, teacher Josie Shepard knows one thing is for sure – “From the moment I walk in, my kids are there.” Some aspects of teaching happen outside of the classroom, but Shepard is grateful for the moments she has inside. “I share snacks, tears, attitudes, and laughter daily. We share opinions and lessons all day long.”
Like most teachers at Adelphoi, Shepard understands how impactful the moments with students really are. “I have learned more from my students than I could’ve ever learned from textbooks, professors, or student teaching.” She believes that patience, along with flexibility, is how she makes every day different, special, and important. And perhaps more important to Shepard than those two skills is being able to put the students first. She puts them first “even when they don’t put themselves or their education in the top 20 of their priorities!”
It’s no surprise that along with her priorities as a teacher, Shepard also finds success in the accomplishments of her students. “When I see a student who was formerly truant student showing up for school, a child getting along with peers to work on assignments when they have never succeeded in a classroom before, or when a student returns to tell me about their life after Adelphoi… those are my successes. It reminds me that what we do here is important – even if we don’t see it at the time we are with our kids.”
Shepard says that it is important to build trust with her students, which can be difficult if students have not been comfortable trusting any adults in their life. “We may be the only positive things they have in their lives and that helps me want to continue learning and trying new things with them and that is what makes me grow.” Shepard reflects on a past student, one who wasn’t sure of her relationship with her teacher. But, a few years after she left Shepard’s classroom, the student returned with flowers to thank Shepard for how she helped shape her into a “better” person. That one act from one student left Shepard speechless, and she still recalls the story to this day, proving the impact of her students on her, no matter who they are.
At Adelphoi, Shepard has found a second family within the Ketterer Charter School. “We support each other personally and professionally,” she says. “When we work together and create a more positive environment together for ourselves, the kids pick up on that and they are more positive too – with us and with each other.” Along with the support of her co-workers and students, Shepard says that Adelphoi has also allowed her to be aware of strengths and weaknesses within her work. “One of the biggest things that Adelphoi has taught me is that life is short, enjoy the positive and you can’t hold a grudge – because nothing can be accomplished if second, third, fifteenth chances aren’t given… we all can learn from each other and my kids have a lot to teach me that has nothing to do with curriculum.” The Charter School’s environment has allowed Shepard to offer those multiple chances, and she believes that it helps to change attitudes – both within herself and with her students.
Overall, Shepard has created a positive and welcoming environment inside and outside her classroom at Ketterer. Working for Adelphoi has earned her great support, flexibility, and genuine friendships that can be created amongst colleagues. And, for Shepard, what’s most important is watching her students leave the classroom as successful individuals of society. “My favorite part is seeing them leave us – to go to another school or graduate – and later having them return to tell us their successes due in part to our guidance.”
Supervising at Middle Creek means that Emily Thompson wears many hats on a daily basis. “By working with youth, staff have to play many different roles in a day… I am not only a shift supervisor, but at times, I have to be an authoritarian figure, I have to be a mother or older sister figure, I have to be a counselor and a friend who is just here to listen.” It’s one of the most unique aspects about working at Adelphoi, Thompson says.
After receiving her Bachelor’s degree, Thompson applied for a position at Adelphoi. “I was drawn in by their work with the youth population… and by the fact that they were a non-profit company.” Thompson explains that after she was hired, she found the culture of Adelphoi to be extremely welcoming – especially by her staff at Middle Creek. “[They] are all very caring individuals.”
Thompson has had a positive experience within her team, going on to describe their work relationships. “All the staff here are very friendly and will do anything that they can [to] help a peer succeed.” Even in aspects of each other’s personal lives, Thompson explains that as coworkers, they do their best to ensure that everyone gets the help and support needed to succeed. “Whenever we have a bad day at the unit, I know that regardless of whoever is working, that we will handle the situation professionally and that everyone in the building is going to be safe.” Like other employees of Adelphoi, Thompson feels that she has found a family away from home within her colleagues. “No matter what may happen… I have them in my corner for support.”
There are many skills needed to work in Thompson’s field every day, but she focuses on those that she has found most important. “Patience, a strong work ethic, positive communication skills… both verbally and in writing.” Thompson circles back to the idea that there are so many roles when working as a shift supervisor at Middle Creek. “The ability to be flexible” is necessary to be able to get her job done and become successful in her work at her unit.
The focus of Thompson’s work has always been and will continue to be the youth that she works with every day. “My favorite part of my work here at Middle Creek Female Secure is getting to see the girls grow up from the time that they get here to when they leave.” At Middle Creek, Thompson helps to oversee lessons and skills to the girls that they will need once they are discharged. She admits to feeling success when the girls are able to apply those skills to their everyday lives. “It makes me so happy whenever I am sitting in a family session with a youth, and they are able to step back from the conversation and handle themselves in a mature manner.”
Thompson defines the overall success from her work when “I can look at a girl and see an improved version of who she is now compared to who she was whenever she walked into our door.” Thompson emphasizes that those moments, along with watching the girls grow in their lives outside of the unit, are the heart of why she does what she does.
Thompson tells future Adelphoi employees “Find your voice and [don’t] be fearful.” Walking into the unit can be intimidating at first, but Thompson reassures that nothing about her work is as scary as it may seem. “If you come in with strong boundaries and a positive and respectful attitude, you can be successful.” Like every job, days come in all shapes and sizes, good or bad. Thompson advises not to let the bad outweigh the good. “Develop a good work-life balance so you don’t get burnt out. Make positive relationships with your co-workers… those are the people who you are counting on to keep you safe.” No matter what role Thompson finds herself playing on a daily basis, she knows that she has found comfort, safety, and family with Adelphoi.
After four years with Adelphoi, Ashlee Diemert is ready to jump headfirst into the 2022-2023 school year with her students. Building rapport has become her specialty over the past four years, and it’s what she looks forward to the most when teaching. “I make changes and differences in students’ lives every day.”
Right after receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education (PreK-8), Diemert joined Adelphoi’s team as a substitute teacher. “I knew that these students needed someone to be a positive role model, someone to trust, and a consistent person in their life,” she says.
Of the group of students she sees every day at Adelphoi, Diemert says, “The population of students that we work with is so unique. They each have their own different stories [and] set of needs and experiences with school when they come to Adelphoi.” Some of her students struggle with their relationship with school. “Many students say that they hate school and have had issues with attendance, but then they come to me and say that school can be fun and they come to the program every day.”
After substitute teaching, Diemert was asked to teach Extended School Year services at Adelphoi’s Partial Program. “I was hesitant but was so glad that I said yes. My love for teaching, having fun, and building rapport was what I went to work to do every day.” She also describes what she has learned throughout her teaching at Adelphoi – including important skills like patience and communication. “You need to have great communication skills with the students, families, districts, and co-workers. You need to be able to be flexible. You never know what can happen.”
Diemert was also able to expand her skills with Adelphoi’s tuition reimbursement program. The program provided the funds that allowed Diemert to return to school during the 2020-2021 school year and receive her Master’s degree in Innovative Instruction.
In addition to the skills she has learned, Diemert reflects on her takeaways, saying, “I have learned that I need to not be so hard on myself… Everyone around me is trying to help me improve the skills that I have so that I can be the best educator for my students.” Diemert appreciates the help she gets from her team. She says, “The team that I work with is amazing. They are always there to listen, give advice, and be supportive no matter what.”
Like most teachers, Diemert’s favorite part of her job is working with her students. She says it’s the moments like “getting to create new memories with new students every year” that are most meaningful. “I have seen students that I had years ago when I first started, and they tell me they miss me and hope I am doing well. Instances like that let me know that I am right where I should be and doing the right things with these students.”
Diemert describes her success as “seeing where students start when I first get them in my classroom, and then reflecting on where they are when they leave me.” As a part of the Partial Program, Diemert works on transition plans for districts of students returning to their home schools. She finds fulfillment in watching these students carry out their full potential when they are able to return, and finds her own success is marked by the success of her students.
Overall, Diemert has a great appreciation for all that Adelphoi has helped her with. She enjoys the small class sizes with her students, saying it helps most with classroom and behavior management. But most of all, she appreciates Adelphoi for their programs. “I love the culture and why Adelphoi does what they do. I have the chance to grow professionally every day with the best support system behind me.” Through the challenges and the unpredictability of teaching, Diemert is just glad to have a team that is like family at Adelphoi.
The Independent Living program at Adelphoi is the last service provided for youth before they step out into the world on their own. The IL program helps youth gain the skills needed to live independently.
Angela Rugh has worked with Adelphoi’s Independent Living program for over six and a half years, and is currently a Shift Supervisor. “We help [them] with skills like getting a driver’s license, finding an apartment, and budgeting to name a few.” She explains typical work in this position includes “taking youth to and from work… transport to and from any county meetings, appointments, and what we call Community Time,” when the kids are permitted to spend an hour on their own out in the community. “We try to put together fun day trips for the youth to enjoy,” Rugh explains. “In the past, we have done bowling, Keystone State Park, Kerber’s, Ohiopyle, and Overly’s Country Christmas.” In addition to these activities, Rugh says her position is in charge of completing weekly counseling sessions and monthly reports for the youth. Rugh also helps to facilitate cooking classes so the kids are more familiar with making homemade meals for themselves and others.
With her degree in Psychology, Rugh was looking to make a difference in someone’s life. She applied to Adelphoi and worked her way to Shift Supervisor. “Everyone I work with gained experience and worked up through the ranks. Some started on midnight as non-clinical youth service worker and others started as a clinical youth service worker, Advisor I, Advisor II, Senior Advisor, etc.” In addition to working her way through different positions, Rugh says that working for Adelphoi has helped her grow in many aspects of her life. “Over time, my self-confidence greatly increased… I have learned to come out of my comfort zone by being less shy and more outspoken. I have acquired leadership skills.”
Culture is an important aspect for any job, but Rugh explains that working in her unit is like working in a family. “We are there for each other and help out anytime someone needs it. We are able to make a fun shift, yet get things done within the work day.” As well as having a healthy and established relationship with coworkers, Rugh emphasizes the importance of having strong bonds with the youth in her work. “They generally need someone to just listen to them and not treat them like ‘criminals,’” she says. “Success for me is when you spend months working with a youth in IL, teaching them what you can, then seeing them leave the program successfully.” She explains that they will help them acquire a place to live, a job, and sometimes, even a car. “The best feeling is a few months later, they call the unit and tell you how well they have been doing since leaving the program.”
Rugh’s appreciation for Adelphoi boils down to the differences they have made and will continue to make. “You realize that the world would not be as good of a place to live in without Adelphoi,” she explains. “We are making a difference in the lives of the at-risk youth within our care.” The Independent Living program offers youth that last bit of support before being on their own, and Rugh believes that’s the most unique part of her job. “We are the last step before they enter into adulthood. We help them to be successful members of society.” Whether it is the skills and experience she has gained herself or the skills she has helped youth acquire in the IL program, Rugh says she has found the difference she was looking for.
A day-in-the-life for Adrianna Berry’s job doesn’t quite exist. “It really just depends on the day,” Berry laughs. “I’m doing anything from taking kids to their drug and alcohol appointments, talking to county workers, or just calling families if they need to talk.” Mondays are the busiest for Berry, but she gets to do what she loves the most. “Hanging out with the kids,” she says. “I’m talking to them all the time and it’s what I love… going over files with them, taking them to their P.O. visits or doctors’ appointments.” After all, Berry admits that it was the kids that attracted her to work at Adelphoi in the first place.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, Berry wasn’t really sure what to expect when she applied for her first counseling position at Adelphoi. “I’m not from this area, but I really wanted a job because of the kids.” She moved her way through positions in Adelphoi – starting in 2015 as a counselor, then becoming a youth service worker, a shift supervisor, a clinical coordinator at Vincent Home, a unit director at Anchor House, and finally her current position as a clinical coordinator at Sweeney Home. When asked what she has learned about herself since starting at Adelphoi, Berry answers, “Every aspect of my life has grown since I’ve been here… my relationships and just the way that I get to know people. I used to be a quiet person, and I didn’t have any friends. I’ve learned to build those relationships with my coworkers.”
Berry believes the best skills for her position as a clinical coordinator include communication, good organization, and a willingness to listen. “You’re around kids all day,” she explains, “to get the job done, you really just have to listen to them.” Berry also agrees it’s best to be able to take criticism in your work, because it’s how you will grow both professionally and personally. Defining her own success, Berry was more than happy to explain that it starts with the kids. “It blows my mind when I go into a unit on a Monday morning, and they start talking to me… ‘I’m a level one now!’ or ‘I’m a level two and I get a go-home pass!’ They get so excited about their own accomplishments,” she says. “Ultimately, a successful discharge [from their group home] is what we want. That’s what makes me feel like I’ve done my job right.”
Working for Adelphoi has brought Berry such positive changes in her life. “It’s made me a better person,” she explains. “I’ve developed better skills to grow… not just in work, but as a person. I’ve learned to work in different atmospheres just based on where my placement is.” She says that working for Adelphoi is a job that requires the effort you put in if you want the same volume of reward. “You need to be willing to put in time and work. It’s not something you can just go home and forget about… you need to be willing to work at it if you want to progress, and you can always progress at Adelphoi. The company is good, it’s a great job.” Berry goes on to explain that Adelphoi has always shown appreciation for their employees, no matter the department. They also compensate in forms of promotions or pay raises, which is simply an added bonus to the fulfilling work she is already completing.
Once feeling out of place and intimidated by a company with such great rapport, Adrianna Berry now feels at home with Adelphoi. She has been able to work in many different positions, watching herself grow personally and professionally, and she has found success working with the kids in her unit. So, even though her days may be hard to summarize in just a few sentences, Berry wouldn’t have it any other way.
For several decades, employees of Adelphoi have been taking advantage of the Tuition Reimbursement Program, a fund available to both full and part-time staff at Adelphoi, in an effort to promote further skill and educational support by the company. Originally titled the President’s Fund, employees may request up to $5,000 annually to cover the costs of tuition and book expenses for earning credits towards their degrees.
Recently obtaining his Bachelor’s degree with the Reimbursement Program, Ken Drewery, Middle Creek Shift Supervisor, explains how the opportunity is just another one of the great professional benefits at Adelphoi. “There are many opportunities to broaden your skills as a leader, a team member, and a juvenile justice professional,” notes Drewery. Drewery was one of ten staff members awarded funds for their tuition in 2022. In order to be considered for the Reimbursement Program, Drewery, along with other eligible employees, submitted an application displaying satisfactory performance in his role at work and a written narrative on how the degree sought would benefit his professional growth at Adelphoi.
Beth Latuch, Unit Director, is currently working towards earning her Master’s degree in Professional Counseling with a specialization in Child and Adolescent Disorders. Latuch, along with Drewery, is one of the ten staff members awarded tuition reimbursement this year, and she is excited for the future with her degree in her hands. “Having the opportunity to continue my education in the professional counseling field not only improves my abilities to work with the youth we serve, but it also creates an opportunity for me to transfer my learning to my staff and colleagues,” Latuch says.
Similar to Latuch, Megan Keys describes her experience with the Reimbursement Program as a chance to broaden and apply her skills. Keys, Community Relationship Manager, says, “On several occasions, I have implemented skills that I learned while taking my courses from designing a brochure or a website to reaching out and collaborating with others.” Keys recently received her Master’s degree in Communication with a concentration in New Media Marketing through Adelphoi’s program. Her supervisor, Karyn Pratt, had used the Reimbursement Program to obtain her MBA, which had inspired Keys to do the same. Latuch had a comparable experience, saying, “I have always been encouraged by my peers and supervisors that if I was interested in continuing my education, that the Reimbursement Program would be a great opportunity for me.”
Latuch, along with her fellow employees awarded with the fund, found that cost can be an overwhelming barrier when looking to begin or continue pursuing a degree. Adelphoi eliminated that barrier for her, and she is able to continue working towards her Master’s without concern of financial burden.
Past and present employees who have taken advantage of the Tuition Reimbursement Program at Adelphoi praise the program and highly recommend it to anyone considering beginning the application process. Latuch says she recommends the program, “because this opportunity is not common in other fields or places of employment and is a wonderful benefit to working at Adelphoi.”
Latuch emphasizes the importance of continuing education, saying it “makes a big impact on how we work with our clients, and there is always an area to continue learning and growing!” Keys recommends the Reimbursement Program because of the ability to complete her Master’s degree on her own time. “As a mom, I was busy with my kids,” Keys says, “but I was able to take one class at a time… It was something that I never thought that I would do, but now I feel such a sense of accomplishment!”
Not only does the Reimbursement Program allow for employees to further their education while they are working, it reduces barriers around cost and timing. Like Drewery, Latuch, and Keys, Adelphoi employees who have used the Tuition Reimbursement Program demonstrate great achievement in their personal and professional growth. This program will continue to provide a unique opportunity for the current and future employees who wish to continue their education in support of Adelphoi’s mission.
Adelphoi provides a continuum of quality services to children, youth, and families from Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and Delaware. Headquartered in Latrobe, PA, our 650 staff provide help and hope to over 2,000 youth and families each year.