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What's New at KidsPeace

News and Notes from KidsPeace

KidsPeace Healing Magazine Special Issue on Autism Available

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The award-winning Healing Magazine® is just off the presses and also available online at This issue explores many ways in which organizations and families triumph through their enrichment strategies and advocacy on behalf of children on the Autism Spectrum. Parents, clinicians, foundations, teachers and organization are singular in their desire to help individuals on the Spectrum live happy, fulfilling lives and communicate with the those they love. This special issue of Healing offers a variety of compelling articles by representatives of these groups who are all moved every day to work on behalf of those with Autism.

From the story of a model residential program in Maine to a summer camp in Pennsylvania, to mothers in several states and authors of great recognition, this issue is a guide to understanding the joys of communication, love and living with children, teens and adults on the Autism Spectrum. KidsPeace is very grateful to the authors of these articles and hopes that their stories will touch and educate many readers.

KidsPeace has been serving the needs of children since 1882, and is at the forefront of innovative programs for diagnosing and teaching children on the Spectrum. Because this issue is so special, we have both posted the articles online and provided a downloadable PDF of the magazine for readers to enjoy and share with others. For more information on KidsPeace and its many programs, please request more info, or contact a customer service liaison at 800-8KID-123 (800-854-3123) or If you know a teen who needs a safe place to discuss issues and seek advice online, direct him or her to www.TeenCentral.Net, a site that is operated by KidsPeace and monitored by Master's level clinicians.

KidsPeace Shows Appreciation to Local Volunteers

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KidsPeace has been providing services to children since 1882. At the main KidsPeace campus in Orefield, PA, an important aspect of each child's treatment is the opportunity to participate in religious or spiritual activities during their free time. Marian Schappell and Tony Jefferson are part-time spirituality teachers and chaplains to the children of KidsPeace, and they fulfill their ministry by recruiting members of the local religious community and KidsPeace associates to volunteer with the children. A diverse group of dedicated clergy and lay people donate their time and love to conduct religious services, teach spirituality, mentor and listen to the children, sing, pray, play basketball and be there for the children on a regular basis.

To thank all of these volunteers for their important contributions, KidsPeace hosted an appreciation breakfast this week to thank all of those who spend their time with the children. Among the attendees were pastors and chaplains of a number of Lehigh Valley churches and associations,  members of the Parkland Ministerium, volunteers who teach and advise the children and KidsPeace associates who are members of the Spirituality Committee. Several KidsPeace children attended as well to express their thanks to the wonderful volunteers who help them so much. One young man performed a rap he wrote encouraging others to pray and try hard, while a young woman sang a poignant song and told her story of life before KidsPeace. Another young lady told her story, thanking Marian for all of the help she provided to her in her recovery. Katya, a volunteer, sang a song she composed for the KidsPeace children that asks that all be released from the darkness and see God in others. Another young man discussed how Islam has turned him into a better person and praised volunteers from the Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley who teach teens about the Koran, prayers and how to model Islamic behavior.  One of the pastors spoke about bringing God to the children, giving them the courage to open up and trust others.

After enjoying a wonderful breakfast with KidsPeace associates and several youth, the volunteers joined into a prayer circle and sang along with Marian to give thanks for all of their gifts from God. It was a touching tribute to these unselfish men and women who work so hard to bring the kids peace and healing.

 Spirituality Breakfast

Marian Schappell joins Deacon Charles Coyle and Msgr. Robert Wargo at KidsPeace appreciation breakfast.

KidsPeace Northern VA Foster Care Office Hosts Open House

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On October 29, more than 25 referral agency representatives, community members, current and future foster parents and KidsPeace leaders spent the morning visiting the new Foster Care and Community Programs office in Alexandria, VA. KidsPeace President and CEO Will Isemann addressed the group and said he was delighted with the turnout of concerned visitors. A former foster child also spoke and told the audience about her struggles when she was in the foster care system. Pat O'Brien of "You Gotta Believe" in New York City spoke about the importance of placing older children and teens who often have a difficult time finding permanence and loving families to guide them to adulthood. In the afternoon, Pat presented a complementary training to 16 local agency members, providers and community partners who learned about Pat's successful efforts to find foster and adoptive homes for teens in New York.

Spanish TV station Telemundo covered the open house for its 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. newscasts and also posted the story on its website, spreading the message that there is a dire need for foster families in Northern Virginia, particularly bilingual Hispanic families. Also in attendance were staff from local departments of social services, members of SCAN VA (Stop Child Abuse Now), Carmen Fernandez of HACAN (Hispanics Against Child Abuse and Neglect) Rosalia Fajardo of PEATC, Barry Londeree from Congressman Jim Moran's staff and Pat Donnelly of CWLA.

Will Isemann commented that he was happy for the large turnout and hopes that KidsPeace will fill a large void in the NOVA area. "KidsPeace has been caring for children in need since 1882," Isemann said. With more than 40 foster care offices around the country, KidsPeace will fill a void for the foster children of Northern Virginia and apply our outstanding matching process to the foster parents and children in this area. We strongly believe that careful matching results in fewer unsuccessful placements and happier families."

For more information on foster parenting and children who are waiting for loving homes, contact KidsPeace Foster Care and Family Services at5100 Leesburg Pike, Suite 302, Alexandria, VA 22302, 571-403-9260, or complete and submit our online form.


KidsPeace President and CEO addresses visitors at open house

KidsPeace Associate Inducted into College Hall of Fame

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KidsPeace Mobile Support Specialist Cristie Ansbach was honored for athletic contributions by her Alma Mater, Alvernia University. Last Month, Cristie was inducted into the Hall of Fame for extraordinary accomplishments as a point guard for the teams that hold the four best winning percentages in the school's history. Cristie went 19-8 in her freshman hear, helping the team win an ECAC South Championship, and went 22-6 the following 3 years, attending the NCAA Tournament each of those years and winning a PA Athletic Conference championship in 1998.

Cristie was PAC Player of the Year twice and an All American two times as well. She has the fourth highest career scores for the school, 1,479 points, and was Most Valuable Player at the ECAC South Championship as a freshman. She also leads in career assists, steals and is second in free throws and free throw percentage. Cristie also ran cross country at Alvernia and was named most valuable runner and All-PAC for her efforts.

Cristie is a wonderful role model for the children she support at KidsPeace, showing girls in particular that they can succeed if they work hard and persevere in developing their talents. She works late night at the KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital, averting potential crises and providing intense assistance when crises do occur. The kids respect her for her achievements and for her work with them at KidsPeace.

KidsPeace Foster Care Office Moves

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KidsPeace Foster Care and Community Programs has announced that its Columbia, Maryland, office has moved to a new location. The new address is  5575 Sterrett Place, Suite 200, Columbia, MD 21044, 410-964-9329, toll free 877-266-8460, fax 410-964-9375. This new space will offer more room for parent visits, play areas for children, training and private meetings with families, referral sources and trainees.

KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital Opens Doors to 18-21 Year Olds

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Recognizing  that these difficult economic and political times place increased pressure on young adults, the KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital has begun admitting clients in the 18-21 year old range. "It has become very evident over the past 6-9 months that this group of young people needs a place to turn if they experience psychiatric crisis," said Director of Admissions and Marketing Sean Klutinoty. "An adult psychiatric hospital can be a very scary place to this group," Klutinoty added. "KidsPeace has been serving young people since 1882, and we treat all of our clients with care, understanding and respect for their cultures and stages in life."

The KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital is located on the beautiful Orchard Hills Campus in Orefield, PA, only a short distance from all Lehigh Valley Emergency Rooms. The rolling hills and more than 255 acres of peaceful countryside add to the healing environment of the hospital, and our clients respond positively to the modern facilities and highly experienced staff.

KidsPeace offers treatment to for most DSM-IV diagnoses, as well as behavior and emotional issues, but is not equipped to provide detoxification services or to treat medically unstable clients. Referrals come to the hospital from a variety of sources, including hospital emergency rooms, private physicians and psychologists, schools and colleges, and other professionals who understand the level of acuity KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital handles. KidsPeace accepts private insurance or government funded coverage and quickly determines level of payment prior to admission.

For more information or to make a referral to the KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital, contact Customer Relations/Admissions at 800-8KID-123 (800-854-3123).


KidsPeace Plans Unique Autumn Ball

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In the Lehigh Valley, KidsPeace has been holding annual autumn balls for 8 years -- formal affairs with sit-down dinners, dancing and auctions of wonderful donated items. This event typically raises a large amount of money for the KidsPeace Children's Fund, which provides necessities and some extras to children in our care. Due to the tough economic times, we are planning a truly unique concept for our Autumn Ball. We are asking our donors to spend December 10th not dressed in gowns and black ties, but with their families and loved ones instead. Here is how it works ...

Make a donation of $200 to KidsPeace and receive coupons to pick up a hot, delicious pizza, a bottle of wine and 6 wonderful cupcakes and stay at home and share the feast with your friends and families. Pizzas will be available from one if 3 locations of Penn Pizza at two locations in Allentown or Rosanna's in Bethlehem; the wine from two Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery locations; and the cupcakes from The Flour Shop in Bethlehem. The ball takes place from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. on December 10th, and the children at KidsPeace will be having a pizza party right along with you. Additionally, your gifts to KidsPeace will help provide winter outerwear, toiletries, books and games and holiday gifts to children who will not be able to be home for the holidays, whether in one of our residential centers or in foster care.

Can't afford $200? KidsPeace will gratefully accept donations of any size to bring smiles to the faces of children who, in many cases, have experienced very little kindness in their lives before coming to KidsPeace. For more information, please contact Colleen Kulp at 610-799-7906 or

Enjoy an evening with your family and help the children at KidsPeace at the same time.

KidsPeace CEO on Local Newscast

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KidsPeace President and CEO appeared on the morning news on WFMZ, Channel 69 today to help promote "Kids of Character," a local nonprofit that is promoting instilling character in our children at a grass roots level. Isemann appeared with Gwen Pongracz, founder of the organization to explain  that parents, educators, business leaders, neighbors, community members and all responsible adults are all stakeholders in teaching our children the core values of character, which include:

  • Compassion
  • Courage
  • Courtesy
  • Fairness
  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Loyalty
  • Perserverance
  • Respect
  • Responsibility.

They advised parents to read books to their children that contain characters who portray values and take responsibility, and to use teachable moments to discuss the topic with older children. Additionally, all adults who interact with children in the community should take responsibility for teaching positive character traits to our future physicians, attorneys, educators and business leaders.

Isemann explained that, at KidsPeace, "All  associates reinforce character attributes to the children we care for in treatment and in our schools. We model character for our kids at all times and provide them with tools that will help them learn to incorporate these attributes into their lives." KidsPeace hosted a conference for Kids of Character at the Orchard Hills Campus in Orefield last month

Pongracz pointed out that character is mandated by "No Child Left Behind," and urged parents to contact their schools to learn how this mandate is being carried out and ask for more character attributes to be incorporated into curricula.

Isemann added that KidsPeace is partnering with Kids of Character because it is the right thing to do as a business and as responsible members of the community and he urged other businesses to support the organization in any way possible.

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