Friday, May 6, 2016

5 Melmark Programs You Need to Know #FiveFriday


Established in 1966, Melmark has spent the last fifty years becoming one of the most well-known and significant nonprofits in the Delaware County Area. They are a comprehensive multi-service agency, providing residential, educational and therapeutic services for children and adults with autism, intellectual disabilities, brain injuries and other neurological and genetic diagnoses. With a combined staff of 905 people, they currently serve over 1,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Melmark has a wide variety of programs and services that help promote independence, increased self-awareness and confidence, along with their residents making lasting friendships. With Melmark currently celebrating its 50th Anniversary and obtaining a new CEO, Rita M. Gardner, they are truly a member to watch. Here are five programs you need to know about.


1.    The Meadows


The Meadows is one of the most popular and well-known programs that Melmark offers. It is
a day program for younger and older adults that combines vocational activities and creative arts. Participants in the Meadows Program are members of the Country Guild and share in the overall profits from sale of their products. The program’s artists create wonderful pieces including knitted stuffed animals, mosaics, and decorative housewares. With all of these pieces available for purchase, you can have a one-of-a-kind work of art that helps support this amazing program.




The Vocational Program serves adults 21 years of age and older, and assists each individual in identifying a job opportunity that allows them to grow and enjoy their work. After assessing skills and interest, adults are provided with a variety of work and instructional experiences ranging from on campus training programs to independent paid employment. This program has provided some wonderful success stories like Patrick:

Through the program Patrick developed job skills that helped lead to his employment at AMC in February 2013. He started with a job coach, and when he was ready, that coach was faded out. Now Patrick works independently and has just celebrated three years with the company. “Working at AMC makes me happy,” said Patrick. “It’s an accomplishment.”


3.    Adult Workshops

Melmark’s Adult Services focuses on integrated programs for adults 21 and over who are diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Each of the programs match the persons’ abilities and desires, while emphasizing wellness, daily living and communication skills. Programs can include physical therapy, pet-assisted activities, campus employment, Special Olympics, and swimming. Also for those members that want to get “their country on”, Melmark has their own barn on the campus.  Residents are allowed to engage with farm animals and horseback riding, while learning vocational skills involved as a “farm-hand”.




The Melmark School is an approved private school licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education that serves children and adolescents ages 5 to 21. The educational program focuses on the needs of students with learning difficulties and challenging behaviors secondary to a broad range of intellectual disabilities. Melmark's innovative program is defined by its collaborative clinical service delivery model with individualized education plans. The school has created major success stories with students like Michael:




Michael was thirteen years old when he arrived at Melmark, and had severe difficulty behaving in a classroom setting. Melmark’s behavior analytic team paired Michael with two staff who worked to identify why he was reacting negatively to his environment and helped him learn to more clearly communicate his wants and needs. Michael is a wonderful example of the success of the Melmark School. His life is richer, as his family’s.





Melmark’s residential setting for children and young adults is a 7-day/365 days-a-year service that includes programming based in applied behavior analysis, educational services, 24-hour on-campus nursing services, healthcare and rehabilitative services, and parent training. About 50% of attendees at Melmark are members of the residential program. The goal of the residential program is for the resident, when appropriate, to return to the family’s home or a less restrictive environment as soon as possible. The program allows for residents to gain both communication and vocational skills, living with roommates and participating in household chores.


Located on a beautiful 80-acre campus, Melmark is definitely a place to visit. When you step on the campus, residents greet you with such cheer and enthusiasm that you feel like part of the family. Come participate with so many volunteer opportunities for yourself or your entire company. Also help celebrate Melmark’s success at their Spring Festival and 50th Birthday Bash on Saturday, June 11th. Come experience the “Melmark Difference” and  see how incredible they certainly are.



About the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce:


Founded in 1887, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce represents businesses' interests and issues affecting the community. We help Chamber members succeed through proactive outreach and partnering with all levels of government and community organizations through education, networking and collaboration to achieve a healthy economy to drive business forward. For more information on membership and how you can get involved, visit

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