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Leadership W-B groups develop projects to benefit the community

March 18, 2018 | The Citizens’ Voice Online

Leadership W-B groups develop projects to benefit the community

The Citizens' Voice

The Citizens’ Voice

Another year and another group of Leadership Wilkes-Barre projects are underway to benefit the community.

Leadership Wilkes-Barre is a year-long community service program that educates and trains emerging leaders in the Greater Wilkes-Barre area and encourages networking opportunities. The program is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the area, as class members are tasked with working in teams to develop civic projects.

This year there are six projects:

• Team Bookworks will renovate the children’s activity room of the Osterhout Library in Wilkes-Barre.

• Health Care Heroes painted the waiting area, offices and examination room of the Wilkes-Barre Free Clinic at St. Stephen’s Church in Wilkes-Barre.

• Trails for Tails is putting in a walking path at the Luzerne County SPCA for volunteers and prospective adoptive parents to be able to walk the dogs.

• McGlynn Quest is renovating part of the McGlynn Learning Center in Wilkes-Barre and is buying sneakers for the kids for Christmas.

• Headbangerz is seeking to raise awareness of safety against concussions in youth sports/mini-football.

• Phoenix Rising is renovating the Phoenix Theater, a performing arts theater in Duryea.

Group name: Team Bookworms

Group members: Amanda Casem, Guardian Elder Care; Kelly Chamberlain, Luzerne County Head Start; Meghan Flanagan, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce; Diane Fritz, Prudential Retirement; Matthew Hinton, Misericordia University; Tabitha Inman, Best Western Genetti Hotel & Conference Center; Dawn Keifer, Dallas School District; Santina Morreale, Cohen & Haydu Chiropractic Clinic and Andrew Nebzydoski, UGI Utilities.

Who’s answering these questions: Matthew Hinton

Why did you choose this organization to benefit?

We chose the Osterhout because of their unending contribution to the community, its families and especially the children of Wilkes-Barre and NEPA. To renovate the children’s activity room of the library is also a tangible project that, when complete, will make for a comfortable environment for kids to learn, imagine, grow and socialize.

What is your project and how did you come up with the idea?

The Osterhout Library actually came to Leadership Wilkes-Barre with the proposal of renovating its children’s activity room. They were in need of clearing and cleaning the space, putting some color onto the walls and replacing the carpeting, which one can imagine gets a lot of little foot traffic. As a team, we decided to take on this project for the reasons listed above. The library is worthy of our praise, and the room is most in need of a facelift.

What will your team do to make it happen?

We will be repainting the walls (which are currently an off-white) to a sky blue. We will refloor the room with a colorful, fun carpet in the theme of children’s literature and bookworms and we will also create some storage solutions for the many donated items to the children’s department, including the many arts and crafts materials used.

To raise money, we held a raffle event with food and drinks at Rodano’s on March 15.

Group Name: Phoenix Rising

Group Members: Angeline Abraham, Educational Opportunity Centers, Inc.; Nicholas Argot, Borton-Lawson; Alicia Bond, Wilkes University; Marleny Encarnacion, Wells Fargo; Cassandra Fiume, Diamond City Partnership; Ruth Lovett, CVS Caremark; Kelly Rava-Osborn, LSW; Michelle Reilly, Benchmark Mortgage; and Brittany Quinn, District Attorney’s Office.

Who’s answering these questions: Ruth Lovett

Why did you choose this organization to benefit?

Our group chose to do our project for the Phoenix Preforming Arts Centre in Duryea. We had a list of criteria that we wanted our project to meet. We wanted it to impact a large population of our community, we wanted it to have a lasting impact and we wanted to impact the children of our communities, to help build future leaders. We felt renovating the performing arts centre checked every box on our list.

What is your project and how did you come up with the idea?

Our project will expand the seating area, refurbish the stage, which currently has some dangerous weak spots, refresh the lobby area and give new light to the signage and front exterior. Phoenix will be celebrating their 10th anniversary in May of 2018, but the building they are located in is over 100 years old. One of our team members has a personal tie to Phoenix. Her daughter had participated in summer camps there and she brought the idea of renovating the theater to our group.

What will your team do to make it happen?

Our project is already about half completed. The construction of the new seating and stage area is near completion. We have painted the lobby area and will be installing new carpeting soon. We will also be giving the exterior of the building a facelift in the spring. We held a Calendar Raffle fundraiser to raise the funds for the project but we are still in need of many in-kind donations. We are asking local businesses and community members for help with the materials we are still in need of to make our project successful. Some of those item include furniture for the lobby, paint, signing for the front of the building, molding, a large folding table for basket raffles in the lobby, a quiet air conditioner for the theater area.

Where can people learn more about your project? You can visit our Facebook page, Phoenix Rising (@PhoenixRisingLWB) for updates on our project.

Group name: Health Care Heroes

Group members: Timothy Athey, Mohegan Sun Pocono; Jeffrey Boam, Lightspeed Technologies Inc; Christine Bodnar, Commission on Economic Opportunity; Tim Cotter, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP; Michael DiMare, Geisinger Health System; Hilary Mihoch, Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Group; Scott Napkora, Sordoni Construction Services Inc.; Holly Pilcavage, and Kelley Zionce, FNCB.

Who’s answering these questions: Jeffrey Boam

Why did you choose this organization to benefit?

One of our group members, Michael DiMare, brought it to our attention. He had heard about it through a work colleague at Geisinger. Run solely by the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who generously volunteer their time, the clinic serves individuals who do not have health insurance, are without homes, have little to no money and are in desperate need of health care, health education and wellness. It is currently open on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The fact that the clinic benefits an underserved segment of our community, is completely volunteer-run and is in need of some time and attention gave us a huge sense of purpose. The fact that Michael works in the healthcare field alongside my wife gave us a personal stake as well. Among the group, the decision was unanimous.

What is your project and how did you come up with the idea?

Earlier this month, our group painted the waiting area, offices and examination room of the Wilkes-Barre Free Clinic. This latest round of sprucing up comes after our group already secured many in-kind donations for the clinic, including a stethoscope, latex gloves, and bandages courtesy of Medline, as well as filing cabinets courtesy of Commonwealth Health and assorted waiting room furniture courtesy of Mohegan Sun Pocono. Next up, we will be raising funds to provide an important piece of equipment to the clinic. Through our endeavors, we also hope to make the community, as well as prospective healthcare volunteers, aware of the great and vital work done by this clinic.

What will your team do to make it happen?

The Healthcare Heroes held a Wilkes-Barre Pub Trivia event at Bart & Urby’s, 119 S. Main St. in Wilkes-Barre on March 7 to further benefit the clinic

Where can people learn more about your project?

For more information on the Healthcare Heroes, visit our Facebook page at

Group name: Trails for Tails

Group members: Mark Angelo, Mohegan Sun Pocono; Justin Brown, Community Options Inc.; Margaret Farrell, King’s College; Stacey Golembeski, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP; Donna Keyes, Luzerne County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Edward Kowalski, NBT Bank; Amber Loomis, Family Service Association of NEPA: Aimee Newell, Ph.D., Luzerne County Historical Society and Connie Toporcer, Luzerne County Community College.

Who’s answering these questions: Amber Loomis

Why did you choose this organization to benefit?

Our team is made up of animal lovers so when the SPCA approached Leadership Wilkes-Barre with this project idea, we were instantly all on board.

What is your project and how did you come up with the idea?

Trails for Tails, a 2018 Leadership Wilkes-Barre project group, is creating a new walking trail and path of reflection at the SPCA of Luzerne County. The path will be a quarter-mile long and encircle the SPCA cemetery, offering a walking trail for people and their pets, with benches and doggie waste stations.

“The construction of this walking trail will provide our volunteers with a safe place to walk and socialize these dogs as we work to move them toward their new forever homes,” said Todd Hevner, executive director, SPCA of Luzerne County. “The trail will also help our passionate team of volunteers reach our goal of walking every dog, every day.”

The SPCA of Luzerne County approached Leadership Wilkes-Barre with this project idea.

What will your team do to make it happen?

The Trails for Tails team plans to begin construction on the project in April, once the cold weather breaks and will hold a red-carpet reveal in May, which will be open to the public. Monetary donations would be greatly appreciated to help cover the costs of items and supplies needed like doggie waste stations and tools. Volunteers will also be needed to help with the construction of the trail. Trails for Tails has also been dedicating time to showcasing many of the pets at the SPCA of Luzerne County that are looking for their forever homes by sharing pet photos and stories on their group Facebook page. While our project is creating a new walking trail and path of reflection for the SPCA, we also want to help as many pets as possible find the loving homes they deserve.

We recently held a fundraising event, Cocktails for a Cause, on Feb. 18 at Kevin’s in Kingston to help raise funds for the project. Over 150 were in attendance.

Where can people learn more about your project?

For more information on this project as well as volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, email or visit the team’s Facebook page at

Group Name: Team Headbangerz

Group Members: Laura Haden, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble; Kevin Halchak, GWC Warranty; Dawn Hazeltine, Luzerne Bank; Jamie Johns, M&T Bank; Devon Nicoletti, CTC Manufacturing, Inc.; Martha Seiger, Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre; Brian Troiano, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Jamie Walsh, DMG – Design Management Group.

Who’s answering these questions: Jamie R. Johns

Why did you choose this organization to benefit?

We chose our project because we all realized early on that we had a passion for sports and children in our local community, specifically the NEPA youth football community. With Jamie Walsh’s already dedicated role in the Wyoming Valley Junior Football Conference (WVJFC) as Lake Lehman Knights’ president and the conference’s desire to protect the players with new protective head gear, we decided to choose the WVJFC as the beneficiary of our project.

What is your project and how did you come up with the idea?

Our project mission is to educate the youth football community of NEPA through promotion of preventative measures, equipment, and concussion awareness. We came up with the idea for our project because we have a number of group members who have/had kids in youth sports, especially football, and most other members have seen/heard the recent concerns of the increase in number and severity of concussions in the NFL. With the recent increased news coverage and many members’ local involvement in youth football, we decided on a project that would not only educate the community on concussion awareness and safety, but also help a local youth football conference purchase protective equipment for future seasons.

What will your team do to make it happen?

To accomplish our mission, we will be working in conjunction with the WVJFC and hosting a Punt, Pass, Kick, Speed Competition on April 8 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Wyoming Valley Sports Dome, 131 Bear Creek Boulevard, Plains. Most importantly, the event will also feature educational discussions hosted by the Geisinger Sports Medicine department to create a higher awareness of concussion symptoms and treatment. The concussion education and awareness session will take place each hour during the event, and is free and open to the public. Participation in the event is not required; Parents and youth athletes from all sports are welcome to attend. This fun and competitive event will allow us to engage both kids and parents in the sport of football and provide a venue for everyone to become informed on the importance of concussion awareness.

We will also be hosting a Community Fundraiser Event at Grotto Pizza in Wilkes-Barre (outside the Wyoming Valley Mall) and Harveys Lake on Friday, March 23. For the entire day of March 23 (11 a.m. – close), any customer who brings with them a paper voucher to those two Grotto Pizza locations will have 20 percent of their food bill donated to our cause. You can find that voucher on our Facebook page which you can then print at home and bring with you.

Where can people learn more about your project?

For additional information on our event, our restaurant fundraiser or how to become a sponsor or make a donation, please contact Laura Haden at or visit the Team Headbangerz Facebook page at

Group Name: McGlynn Quest

Group Members: Gary Allegrucci, Riann Decesaris, Samira Dugan, Sean Hadley, Paul Rodella, Katrina Wallace, Lori White, Rachel Wiernusz and advisor, Ben Eaton.

Why did you choose this organization to benefit?

We were passionate about helping area kids in some way, after some research we found the McGlynn Learning Center. The center provides after school tutoring, recreational and cultural activities in a safe environment at no cost to the children at the Boulevard Townhomes and Mineral Springs Village. The McGlynn Center is a totally donation funded project, and during its nearly 30 years of service no child/youth attending the center has been involved with the Juvenile Justice System. They have been open since 1988 and serve about 150 children and youth each year.

What is your project and how did you come up with the idea?

After we found The McGlynn Learning Center, we spoke with their director, Sister Eleace King. We asked her how best we could make an impact on the children she serves and what addressable needs the Center had. We were heartbroken when we learned that some of their students were in desperate need of shoes. We held a fundraiser, and with the help of The Barn in Dallas and Gino’s shoe store in Dallas, we were able to get a brand new pair of sneakers for every student at the Boulevard Townhomes location. We now move forward to raise some funds to provide the Center with new computers, printers and software to improve their overall ability to teach and serve. We will also be providing new shelving and giving the Center an overall makeover. Last month, Peggy Nork became the new Director of the McGlynn Learning Center and, as a Leadership Wilkes-Barre alumna, has been helpful with the scope of the project and how to help ensure we are able to provide the greatest impact to the children’s needs.

What will your team do to make it happen?

On Feb. 21 we hosted an event called Weekend Wednesday at Rodano’s. We then plan to have a few team work days, where we will go to the center to clean, paint and install the new computers and materials that we have obtained. Special thanks to Benco Dental for hosting a jeans day, Valley Chevrolet for their generous monetary donation and offering free oil changes as part of the sneaker fundraiser, Rodanos for hosting our Weekend Wednesday fundraiser, as well as several generous donors in our community.

Where can people learn more about your project? We have a Facebook page, We highly suggest checking out the McGlynn Center’s website as well, as they will continue to need help moving forward: