Novella is a 16 year old young lady who attends Lackawanna Trail High School. She has been working at Keystone Konfections twice a week since July 2017, as part of a Work Based Learning Experience. While Novella is at the bakery, she works as a bakery assistant, completing responsibilities such as stocking, light cleaning, and most important to her, baking! Novella truly has a passion for baking and loves to learn new recipes, specific baking techniques and now cake decorating. The bakery staff are very kind and have developed a wonderful relationship with Novella, especially Linda Brown, Bakery Manager. When Novella graduates from high school, she says she’ll most likely attend culinary school.
Congratulations to Novella for decorating her first cake, especially making those beautiful blue roses!
Submitted by Stephanie Chunca, Senior Coordinator of Community Employment Service'
For more information about our Work Based Learning, please contact our Admissions Coordinator at email@example.com
Pictured Left: James Bonchonsky, R. Michael Cortez, Esquire, Legal Counsel & Executive Director Health & Human Service committee office of Senator Lisa Baker, Jimmy Bonchonsky & Paul Emark, Day Program Participants of Keystone Community Resources and Don Barney, M.A. Director, Clinical Services at Keystone Community Resources
Scranton, Pa, Keystone Community Resources, (KCR) recently went to the Disability Funding Rally at the Pennsylvania Capitol Building in Harrisburg to support funding for PA and rallied the “ Choice, I Love my Job, I Love my Program!” initiative. KCR joined advocates in and around PA to advocate for fair funding for individuals with intellectual disabilities, (ID) and autism. KCR program participants with intellectual disabilities, family members, KCR employees and advocates got a chance to visit Senator Lisa Baker’s office to discuss issues that individuals and companies have that provide services.
Kaitlyn Klinges, Program Manager/Program Specialist at Keystone Community Resources Bridge Street Adult Day Program was one of the 11 local business leaders, who graduated from the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce inaugural Leadership Wyoming program.
This new program joins more than 50 professional leadership programs throughout the state whose goals include building and improving leadership skills within local communities. The nine month program exposed Kaitlyn to key industries in our economy such as agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, and natural gas. Kaitlyn received a behind the scenes look at area facilities including Tyler Hospital, United Methodist Homes – Tunkhannock, a natural gas drill site, compressor stations, the Wyoming County Courthouse and much more.
Over the course of the class, Kaitlyn and her team members were also tasked with completing a community service project at the Tunkhannock Public Library. The project, “Take the Library Outside,” will allow the library to utilize a portion of their back yard for special events and will allow people of all ages to enjoy.
This was a great opportunity for Kaitlyn and KCR, please make sure you congratulate her. Programs like this helps us to build relationships with local businesses and supports our community outreach to create more possibilities for our individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism.
CLARKS SUMMIT — Darryl Davis has been promoted to director of information technology at Keystone Community Resources.
He has led the KCR Information Technology team as a manager for over a decade, continuing to meet the ever-changing technology needs. He was educated at Marywood College, majoring in radio and television communications, and holds certifications in HP, IBM, Apple/Macintosh and A+ COMPTIA.
He has been the driving force for the planning, implementing and infrastructure of the company’s IT department.
During his leadership, Keystone Community Resources has experienced a growth spanning 60 group homes and eight day programs dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities and autism in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties.
Tunkhannock, Pa, Keystone Community Resources, (KCR) Bridge Street Adult Day Service Program were gifted tickets to a private screening of Pete’s Dragon at the Wyoming County Cultural Center at the Dietrich Theater. The tickets were kindly donated from the Lake Winola Rotary Club, 50 KCR consumers were in attendance at the screening. Keystone Community Resources is an organization that is dedicated to providing people with developmental disabilities diverse opportunities to lead fulfilling lives. Lake Winola Rotary Club is a social hour service club and is currently looking for new members to join. Meetings are held on Thursday evenings 6:00 - 7:30 pm at Lakeside Grill in Tunkhannock
KCR Executive Leaders and members of the KCR Golf Committee presented a check for $3000 to the Wyoming County Cultural Center at the Dietrich Theater. This donation will help allow the theater to continue to flourish and bring more movies, live entertainment, classes and events to the community.
“Our first annual golf tournament was so successful we have decided to announce the second annual 2017 KCR Golf Open, Friday, June 9, 2017 at Shadowbrook Inn and Resort with an early morning start. This event once again will allow us the ability to get together with a great group of people for a golf competition while raising funds for another non-profit community partner to be determined.” Laura Brown-Yadlosky, President of Keystone Community Resources.
Photo Caption: Pictured Left: Nichole Werner, KCR Marketing Specialist; Kristie Baker, KCR Day and Vocational Program Manager, Bridge St. Lisa Cunningham, Senior Director of Programs & Services, Justin Yadlosly, Senior Director of Strategic Development , Margie Young, Dietrich Theater Program Coordinator and Erica Rogler, Dietrich Theater Executive Director.
Coffee Delivery Service with a smile
Scranton, Pa, Keystone Konfections bakery honored the leadership of Pompey Auto Group, Scranton Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram with an award in recognition of supporting Keystone Koffee Delivery Service, which is a weekly coffee service that provides people with intellectual disabilities employment opportunities in our local community. Keystone Community Resources is an organization that is dedicated to providing people with developmental disabilities diverse opportunities to lead fulfilling lives. Pictured Left: Ray Novak, General Sales Manager, Scranton Dodge, Donald Lewis, Keystone Community Resources Consumer, Tim Gilgallon, Scranton Dodge Parts Manager and Anita Meixner, Executive Assistant Keystone Community Resources and Nick Marcano, Keystone Community Resources Job Coach.
PA Live produced a segment on Keystone Konfections bakery and spoke to one of our bakers, Lara Garner, and asked what makes our bakery so unique.
Keystone Konfections bakery is an example of the new direction Keystone Community Resources is taking toward microbusiness opportunities.
State and local government are pushing for a change in the landscape of “sheltered workshops,” and Keystone Community Resources is working to shape our vocational programs to meet the future.
Keystone Konfections is one of our first ventures toward building new and improved programs for our consumers. Keystone Konfections currently employs two part-time bakers that started out in our vocational training program as clients. Keystone Konfections participates in various farmers markets, selling our baked goods and our newest product, Keystone Koffee. These are all new opportunities for job coaching and supported employment.
So what makes our bakery so different? Each purchase, whether it’s just a cup or a whole bag, directly supports Keystone Community Resources’ mission of “breaking down barriers.”
Watch the video clip for the full segment.
Way to go Lara, Karen and Carol -- you've made us all so proud!
CLARKS SUMMIT —Despite falling temperatures, local farms and businesses still have home-grown products available for purchase through the Abington Winter Farm Market each Saturday at the Clarks Summit United Methodist Church.
On Saturday, Jan. 9, the opening day of the market, 12 vendors from across Northeastern Pennsylvania, including many from the Abingtons, showcased products fromlettuce to jerky to pies.
Eric Garver, of Conifer Corner in Factoryville, sold out of the business’s raspberry pepper jerky during the first few hours and was thrilled with the support from the community.
“There seems to be a lot of excitement in the community,” Garver said. “There is a market in Scranton, but it has a very different setting and atmosphere. This market will be truly unique to the area.”
Garver believes the partnership between the vendors, church and patrons as well as interactive events separates the market from others in the area.
“The meals served by the church will have different items from various vendors each week,” he said. “For example, Annie’s Country Kitchen, of Newton Township, donated salsa to use in the chili sold by the church during opening day. Generally, you don’t see farms working with churches to serve meals to the community.
“It’s not strictly a market where people will pick up their produce and leave. We plan on having different events each month including a Kids Day on Saturday, Feb. 6 that will feature live baby goats from Orson’s Best Garden Center and Farmstand in Union Dale and arts and crafts projects for children.” Click here to read the full story.
TUNKHANNOCK — Keystone Community Resources always puts people first.
“Everything Keystone does, as a whole, is completely centered around the individual and creating a better life for them by giving them opportunities they never dreamed of having,” Tunkhannock Program Manager Kristie Baker said of the privately owned organization which serves the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Tangible success in action
Baker witnessed several residents make strides through programs and guidance provided by the staff.
“There are two folks who stick out to me who have had a very difficult history and there weren’t a lot of people who were still willing to give them a chance,” Baker said. “We looked at it as a challenge and we’ve supported them.”
As a result of training through Keystone Community Resources, the individuals were recognized by Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Mental Health & Development Services at a Celebration of Abilities event this past June at the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock.
“Being part of Keystone has brought me a sense of pride for our individuals and what they have been able to accomplish,” said Director of Community and Employment Partnerships Dean White.
The mission of the organization is to provide people with developmental disabilities diverse opportunities that lead to fulfilling lives.
“The services we offer definitely give them a reason to get up every day,” Baker said. “Whether it’s coming here to work or participate in an art, music or bakery class, we offer such a wide variety of services,” Baker said. “It gives them something to look forward to every single day. It could be as simple as seeing friends they meet through the programs.”
One of the most poignant moments for Baker during her time at Keystone was when the individuals with disabilities received their first pay checks.
“It was quite a party,” she said. “They were just blown away with how much more they could actually make.”
Keystone’s Tunkhannock office opened in August 2004 and, although it was initially met with uncertainty, it has proven to be a valuable asset to the community.
“When Keystone moved into Wyoming County, there were a lot of folks who were a little hesitant because they hadn’t heard of us before but, in very short order, we made a very positive impact,” Baker said.
The organization is making a big push to prepare individuals for community employment through its supportive employment program.
“We’re encouraging local businesses to give us a chance by letting us come into their business and show them what our folks can do,” Baker said. “We did a presentation with the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and we’re also talking to the Tunkhannock Kiwanis Club.”
According to Baker, when given the opportunity, Keystone’s workers have excelled in various assignments.
“So far, we’ve been very widely accepted,” she said. “Everyone that has given us a chance with bulk mailings and other tasks has been very pleased. We’ve kind of gone above and beyond what they expected as far as quality, timeliness and pricing.”
According to Baker, many aspects of her job are rewarding on a daily basis.
“There was a need for these services for a long time in this area,” she said. “It’s fulfilling to know we’re creating a positive and lucrative work environment for the individuals, and see everyone so happy and content.”
In addition to preparing individuals for the workforce, Keystone Community Resources also helps them develop social skills.
“We’ve had some folks come in who were afraid to say a word and were very shy because they didn’t know anybody,” Baker said. “Two weeks later, they’ve found their best friend and are going full force in a music class.”
Real life experience
In the bakery class, in addition to learning how to make a variety of items, the individuals also learn how to wash dishes, stock shelves, price and label items and learn proper kitchen etiquette.
“The class gives them the ability to learn skills that can be adapted to so many different jobs,” Baker said.
Carol Fulkersin, 44, of Tunkhannock, has worked in the bakery of Keystone Konfections for a little more than a year and has already found a niche in the kitchen. She enjoys baking pies, cookies and brownies.
“I’ve learned how to roll the dough back and forth, and we have a list on the wall of all the job duties each day,” she said.
Fulkersin felt a sense of pride when Keystone Konfections was chosen as the winner of the People’s Choice Award at the Keystone College Cupcake Challenge last February.
“It made me feel proud and happy,” she said. “I showed the whole staff the award on the wall.”
Karen Frey, 38, of Tunkhannock, enjoys stocking shelves, cleaning and making peanut butter pies in the bakery.
“I can make it completely by myself,” she said of making the specialty pie. “I’ve learned how to be more independent with different things and I’m learning how to do things by myself.”
Frey’s self confidence has also been boosted through participating in many of the programs Keystone offers.
“I’m just so proud of myself that I can come to work, do my job and be happy,” she said. “I just love Keystone. If we don’t have work up in production, they make sure we have stuff to do and keep us busy.”
Best in show
Each of the artists enrolled in classes at ArtWorks Tunkhannock participated in the Wyoming County Fair last year. One individual placed first and many others placed in the top five from among the general public.
“I’m impressed by everything they make, everything they experience for the first time and their overall excitement for the programs,” art instructor Kaitlin Bobrovcan said.
Their art was also featured in a show at the Dietrich Theater prior to Christmas and the artists earned a commission for each item sold.
“The support from the community was awesome,” Baker said. “We were selling artwork left and right.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.