dialog - diakon lutheran social ministries

of 12 /12
hree years ago, David Yung- mann liked to turn his back on responsibility. Involved with the wrong crowd as well as alcohol and substance abuse, the teenager defied authority at every turn. “I was causing trouble with my family and not spending time at home,” says the now-19-year-old Yungmann. “I was not respecting my family life; not being very responsible at all.” After a series of run-ins with the law and two failed drug tests, Yungmann’s parole officer referred him to TresslerCare’s Weekend Alternative Program (WAP) and Bridge Program, based in south- eastern Pennsylvania. “When I first got [to WAP] I was really reluctant to let the pro- gram help me,” says Yungmann, referring to the Friday-through- Sunday program based at the TresslerCare Wilderness Center near Boiling Springs, Pa. “As time went on, I grew accustomed to it and got to understand that it was more a prevention than a conse- quence. It prevented me from going farther into the world I was in.” WAP’s communication and life-skills offerings had a long-term impact on Yungmann. “They pre- sented life skills in a way that I could understand and actually like doing,” he says. “How to look peo- ple in the eye when I talked and act in a professional manner—things I should have been learning from life that I wasn’t getting a grip on.” Although seldom out of his urban city environment, Yungmann enjoyed the program’s wilderness challenge activities. “I had never really been camping a whole lot. It was calming for me, being with nature,” he says. “It was an interest- ing thing to go through.” Continuing the ministries of The Lutheran Home at Topton, Tressler Lutheran Services, and LWS of Northeastern Pennsylvania SUMMER 2002 Volume 3, Number 2 President’s Dialog Page 2 Children Bring Happiness Page 3 New Menu Plans Page 10 Yungmann becomes a young man t Dialog Please turn to Page 9 New In-School Program Pages 6

Upload: others

Post on 03-Feb-2022




0 download

Embed Size (px)


Page 1: Dialog - Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries

hree years ago, David Yung-mann liked to turn his back on

responsibility. Involved with thewrong crowd as well as alcohol andsubstance abuse, the teenagerdefied authority at every turn.

“I was causing trouble withmy family and not spending time athome,” says the now-19-year-oldYungmann. “I was not respectingmy family life; not being veryresponsible at all.”

After a series of run-ins withthe law and two failed drug tests,Yungmann’s parole officer referredhim to TresslerCare’s WeekendAlternative Program (WAP) andBridge Program, based in south-eastern Pennsylvania.

“When I first got [to WAP] Iwas really reluctant to let the pro-gram help me,” says Yungmann,referring to the Friday-through-Sunday program based at theTresslerCare Wilderness Centernear Boiling Springs, Pa. “As timewent on, I grew accustomed to itand got to understand that it wasmore a prevention than a conse-quence. It prevented me from goingfarther into the world I was in.”

WAP’s communication andlife-skills offerings had a long-termimpact on Yungmann. “They pre-sented life skills in a way that Icould understand and actually likedoing,” he says. “How to look peo-ple in the eye when I talked and actin a professional manner—things Ishould have been learning from lifethat I wasn’t getting a grip on.”

Although seldom out of hisurban city environment, Yungmannenjoyed the program’s wildernesschallenge activities. “I had neverreally been camping a whole lot. Itwas calming for me, being withnature,” he says. “It was an interest-ing thing to go through.”

Continuing the ministries of The Lutheran Home at Topton, Tressler Lutheran Services, and LWS of Northeastern Pennsylvania

SUMMER 2002Volume 3, Number 2

President’s DialogPage 2

Children Bring HappinessPage 3

New Menu PlansPage 10

Yungmann becomesa young man



Please turn to Page 9

New In-School ProgramPages 6

Page 2: Dialog - Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries


ast year, as we began more inten-tionally to promote Diakon

Lutheran Social Ministries, weintroduced an advertising cam-paign around the theme “Faith-based care you can believe in.”

We liked that theme verymuch because we believe it capturesthe difference between Diakon andfor-profit competitors in the healthcare and social service fields. Webelieve what sets us apart is ouraffiliation with the EvangelicalLutheran Church in America andour resulting core belief that allpeople are unique gifts of God to betreated with dignity and compassion.

Of course, faith is a very per-sonal issue. Faith-based is not aneasy concept to convey accurately.And faith means different things todifferent people.

How, then, do we convey thisvital mission and message? Webelieve one important way involvesconnection with our “moral owners.”

Who are our moral owners?

Moral owners are those whowould re-create you if you did notexist. Diakon’s board of directorshas defined our moral owners as thechurch in its many forms, particu-larly congregations, pastors, synods,conferences, and mission districts. Akey role of our board is connectionwith those moral owners.

Will developing this connectionbe easy?

Not necessarily. What thechurch and its congregations needfrom us varies significantly fromregion to region. Resources to meetthose needs are always an issue.

And the process is fraught withchallenges that arise from our history.

Both Lutheran ServicesNortheast and Tressler Lutheran

Services—the agencies that created

Diakon in 2000—have begun proj-ects with congregations that, forvarying reasons, have not gone asplanned. We have, in the past, cre-ated expectations that we may nothave fulfilled.

We do not want to do that thistime.

We are therefore being verydeliberate as we take specific stepsto make initial connections. FamilyLife Services has been very success-ful in the Northeastern PennsylvaniaSynod in responding to the needs ofpastors and parishes as they encounterlife’s challenges.

At our May board meeting,for example, Northeastern Pennsyl-vania Synod Bishop David R.Strobel, a parish pastor, and anEpiscopal canon spoke eloquentlyon the impact Family Life Servicesprograms—counseling, pastoralcare team, professional consultation,custom-designed programs, support

groups, and more—have had onlives. Tearfully but joyfully, awoman detailed how Family LifeServices counseling had broughther up from the depths of depression.

We are now expanding FamilyLife Services into the Upper andLower Susquehanna synods and,eventually, into the Delaware-Maryland Synod. Family LifeServices programs are beingphased into existing TresslerCounseling & Education centers inthe Upper and Lower Susquehannasynod and are, in fact, reflectingTressler’s history of having hadcongregationally based counseling.

Already, the impact has beenfelt, notes Mark Basinger, whodirects Family Life Services in theUpper Susquehanna Synod.

“A teenager in crisis is nothingnew,” he says, “but it is if it is yourteen. And coming from a ‘goodhome’ is no longer a guarantee thatthe life of your child (or your family)will go smoothly. ‘Beth’s’ parentswere doing their best to provide asecure, loving home but it didn’tseem to be enough.

“Through their congregation,”he continues, “Beth’s parents becameaware of the counseling availablethrough Family Life Services. Itturned out to be a life saver forthem. Severe depression, entry intodrug and alcohol abuse, and astring of poor choices had placedBeth in danger. She and her parentswere strengthened by the supportof their pastor and by the professionalcounseling services of Family LifeServices in the Upper SusquehannaSynod. Problems were met head onand there has been a steady return tothe life that we hope for our children.”

Volunteer Home Care isanother significant opportunity forproviding services to and with

Making an important connectionl



The Rev. Daun E. Mckee,Ph.D., President/CEO


Please turn to Page 7

Page 3: Dialog - Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries

Mission: In response toGod’s love in Jesus Christ,Diakon Lutheran SocialMinistries will demonstrateGod’s command to love theneighbor through acts ofservice.

Diakon serves some 50,000persons annually in Penn-sylvania, Maryland, andDelaware through adop-tion, foster care, refugeeservices, volunteer homecare, retirement villages,housing accommodations,congregational ministries,hospice services, and more.

Board of Directors

The Rev. Philip S. Bendle IIIEmried D. Cole, Jr., Esq., chairLynn Cromley Jack H. DreibelbisAlan B. GrafRobert Hobaugh, Jr., Esq.Peter L. Kern The Rev. Wayne MuthlerWilliam Plavcan, M.D. Mitchell G. Possinger Debra Price J. Douglas PriceDr. James RaunCecile Reid Susan T. SchellenbergSusan Ebbert Wambaugh

olanda and Alfonso Kempknew they would work with

Tressler Adoption Services ofDelaware when the time was right

to add to their family.The parents of three biological

sons had worked closely with theorganization, now part of DiakonLutheran Social Ministries, whileproviding foster care for their niece.They had told their social workerthey would be in touch when theywere ready to adopt a girl.

In December of 2000, the coupletook the first step and enrolled inthe adoption program’s 10-weekpreparation course. In their excite-ment to proceed, the Kemps madecertain to include their sons in theprocess as well.

“They were a part [of theadoption process] from beginning to end,” Yolanda adds. “Every time

we went to our classes, we came back and talked to them abouteverything we learned in class. Theywere prepared like we were. Theywere with us from beginning to end.”

Many of the families thatwork with Diakon’s adoption serv-ices programs have birth childrenand need to deal with the same con-cerns, says Michelle Miller, adoptioncase manager.

“We need to determine howmuch the families have involvedtheir birth children in the adoptionprocess and if the kids realisticallyunderstand how the adoption willaffect their lives,” she says.

The Kemps “are very openpeople and they were open withtheir extended family, too,” Milleradds. “Not necessarily in asking forpermission, but in saying, ‘This iswhat we are going to do and we areasking you to support us.’ Their

family was overjoyed.”

House full of childrenbrings happiness

On The Road To 3,500 Adoptions in 30 Years



Bernadette and Lakeema, both center, are now members of the Kempfamily of Delaware, one of the nearly 3,500 adoptive placements Diakon'sadoption programs have made since 1972.

Dialog is published quarterly byDiakon Lutheran Social Ministries.

William Swanger, APRV.P., Corp. CommunicationsEditor(717) [email protected]

Diakon LutheranSocial MinistriesOne South Home AvenueTopton, PA 195621-888-582-2230


Please turn to Page 7

Page 4: Dialog - Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries


n the days and weeks followingthe terrorist attacks on the World

Trade Center, people across the coun-try and around the world reachedout to help the victims and families,and the City of New York itself.

Now, some say life is beginningto return to “normal.” But the commu-nities closest to the site still struggleto cope, their losses personal andprofound.

In a concerted show of supportfor theses communities, a group ofsome 200 Lutheran pastors fromnearly every state traveled to NewYork City recently as a show of soli-darity with their colleagues in localcongregations.

Since Sept. 11, New YorkCity area pastors have been minis-tering to traumatized congregationswithout pause, particularly reluc-tant to disrupt the traditions of theChristmas and Easter holidays.Lutheran Disaster Relief chose theweekend of April 6 and 7 to providea timely and much-needed respite.

Among the clergy were threeDiakon staff members, the Rev. LisaLeber, Esq., corporate complianceofficer, and two retirement villagechaplains, the Rev. Kathy Kinneyand the Rev. Ted Cockley.

Leber served at the ELCAcongregation closest to the WorldTrade Center, Trinity Lower EastSide, which houses a large soupkitchen and provides basic necessities.

“This is an amazing congrega-tion with an incredible social min-istry focus,” says Leber. “Theirworshipping community is sodiverse, from every race, culture,socio-economic group—that’s whatthe kingdom of God looks like.”

While everyone was assignedto a congregation for Sunday-morning services, those who madethe trip also participated in a joint

worship service in Manhattan onSaturday afternoon.

“The sense of the worshipservice was very uplifting,” saysLeber. “The visiting pastors sat sur-rounding the New York City clergyand church members to demon-strate our support. People were soglad to be there—it truly was a realincarnation of the gospel and apowerful experience of the church’sunity and solidarity in Christ.”

Kinney, chaplain at PennLutheran Village in Selinsgrove,spent her time with the pastor andmembers of St. John’s LutheranChurch in Jersey City, N.J.Situated across the Hudson Riverwith a clear view of the WorldTrade Center towers, the city andmany of its residents were unwit-ting eyewitnesses to the attacks.

“When I first went toJersey City, I was a little skepticalabout what good all these pastorswho were descending on the areacould do,” Kinney says. “After all, ithad been months since the eventhappened. Now I know that the

basic fact of collegiality, just knowingthat someone cared and supportedthe pastors and congregations ofthe metro New York area, truly washelpful and meaningful.”

Kinney also found a “kinder,gentler approach to strangers.” Sheand her husband got lost in the sub-way system, since the trains wererunning differently from what theiroutdated map showed.

“Everyone we met, and wespoke to business people, obviouslystreet people, teens, Latino youth,everyone across the board, respondedto our inquiries with kindness andopenness,” she says.

Visiting Ground Zero was“shocking” for Kinney. Having seenthe site, she says she considers it amiracle that more people weren’tkilled or injured. And she wasmoved by “the incredible silence.No work was being done, so therewas no engine noise,” she says, “butafter coming from Port Authority,and walking down from ChambersStreet, the hustle and bustle of thecity devolved into an eerily still and

Time for relief and reflection: Diakon Pastors Aid New York City-Area Congregations



The Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries staff members took this photographof the altered New York City skyline in the area of Ground Zero.

Page 5: Dialog - Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries

quiet group of people staring inamazement at what seemed to me agaping wound.”

On Sunday morning, Kinneyled and shared in more than fourhours of worship and fellowship.There was talk about death, shesays, and issues of mortality. Thepeople of St. John’s reflected on theloss of friends and family through-out their lives and the horror ofwitnessing the violence of Sept. 11.

The Jersey City High Schoolis in a direct line of sight with theWorld Trade Center. When the firstplane hit, Kinney explains, teachersallowed and encouraged students towatch because, not realizing what wasreally happening, they thought itwas an accident, history in the making.

“Many of those young peopleactually saw the second plane hitand then the towers crashingdown,” she notes.

As a whole, Kinney says, theexperience was “incredibly mov-ing.” She has invited the pastor ofSt. John’s and his family to gocamping with her and her familythis summer in Juniata County.She feels a special bond now.

“Our neighbors have sufferedgreatly,” she observes. “They aremaking it a day at a time but thereremains an air of uneasiness alongwith a heightened sense of mortali-ty among the people.”

Chaplain at Buffalo ValleyLutheran Village in Lewisburg,Cockley aided the congregation ofOceanside Church in Long Island.

But a chance encounter on acity subway put the Sept. 11tragedies into even greater perspec-tive for him. Traveling with the pas-tor from Oceanside Church to viewGround Zero, Cockley encoun-tered a group of men dressed inScottish garb.

Striking up a conversationwith one young man, Cockleylearned they were all members of apipe and drum corps headed intothe city for a parade. The young

man gave up his seat for Cockley,who noticed he had the photo of aNew York City firefighter on thefront of his drum. The firefighter,he learned, was the young man’sbrother, killed in the aftermath ofthe terrorist attacks. The youngman told the pastor that he displayshis brother’s photo and marches inevery parade he can as a way ofpaying tribute.

“To meet someone firsthandwho was directly affected broughtit home on a personal level for me,”Cockley says. “What that youngman is doing is his way of copingwith his tragic loss and a remark-ably decent thing to do. It was anexperience I didn’t expect to have,but I am so grateful for momentslike that.”

Cockley’s visit to GroundZero touched him deeply as well.“I’ve heard it referred to as sacredground, as a cemetery, as a shrine.It is, in fact, all those things.”

During his sermon for theOceanside Church congregation,Cockley noted how he is constantly

surprised the way the world closesin on him. He referred to a “com-mon bond” that connects his cornerof the world with the Long Islandarea, that being the crash of TWAFlight 800 carrying MontoursvilleHigh School French Club studentsnearly six years ago. The planecrashed just south of Long Island.

A speech he heard from a FireDepartment New York official—afellow Lutheran—on the impact oftheir losses within the firefighting“family” underscored the depth andextent of the tragedy.

“I was reminded of the JohnDonne verse that ‘No man is anisland’ and even more so that, ‘Anyman’s death diminishes me becauseI am involved in mankind,’”Cockley says.

Yet he would go again withouthesitation. He was proud, he says,to be part of the church’s nationalshow of solidarity.

“It was a privilege to go andhelp even just a little bit, and anhonor to be among people whohave dealt with so much.” ✟



Surrounded by refugees from around the world, Samedy Sok of Diakon’sRefugee and Immigration Services staff in Baltimore speaks at one of twopress conferences the agency co-sponsored in May to emphasize the dramaticslow-down in U.S. refugee admissions following Sept. 11. Participants atthe conferences, part of a nationwide effort, signed letters to PresidentBush, urging him to admit the number of refugees the U.S. had alreadypromised to resettle. “Refugees already screened and ready to travel havebeen put on indefinite standby. They live in terrible conditions, struggle tosurvive while they wait, and are desperate to bring their loved ones tosafety. With each delay, someone dies,” says Alan Dudley, executive direc-tor of Diakon’s Refugee and Immigration Services. Copies of the letter andmore information are available on Diakon’s web site at www.diakon.org.

Page 6: Dialog - Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries





Diakon Regional News

oping with grief is never easy,and it’s even harder for children.

To help them, Hospice SaintJohn developed a Children’sBereavement Program in 2000,highlighted by Camp Evergreen, aday camp that meets four times ayear in each of the program’s threeservice areas in northeasternPennsylvania.

Based on that success, HospiceSaint John recently developed anin-school program for area elemen-tary, middle, and high schools. Heldan hour a week for six weeks, theprogram includes topics such asemotions and finding supportivesystems, but it’s far from traditionalcounseling.

“The kids have a lot of fun,”says Christina Fedorko, children’sbereavement coordinator. “Theywere surprised that I didn’t sit infront of them with a notebook andask questions about how they werefeeling. Instead we played games,did crafts, and helped them findreally positive ways to express andcope with their grief.”

Hazleton Area Elementary wasthe first school to request the program.

“We had an unusual year.Several students had lost parents,and we were seeing some of theeffects—missed school days, fallinggrades, signs of depression. Wewere looking for a way to help, andsome of the parents, who were stilldealing with their own grief, hadcontacted us and were eager to findways to help their children,” saysGuidance Counselor Mary JoShellanski.

Some of the children were initially skeptical, but once theybegan participating, Shellanski waspleased with the results. By talkingwith others going through the sameemotions and issues, the childrenbegin to cope with their loss, whilecreating a lasting support system.

Hospice Saint John alsooffers in-service training programsfor teachers and school leaders tohelp them facilitate discussions andbe better prepared to work individ-ually with grieving students. ✟

The program is funded in part by grantsand generous contributions from thecommunity. For additional informa-tion, readers may contact Fedorko at 1-877-438-3511.



Small congregations—as well as largerones—can often makea big difference inDiakon’s ability toserve people in need.The Youth – YoungAdult Group at Zion’sand St. John’s (Reed’s) Lutheran Church in Stouchsburg, Pa., asmall congregation in the West Berks Mission District, holds acommunity event called the “Annual Fantabulous Fall Fest.” The2001 event raised funds for a number of community needs,including $400 for Diakon’s Volunteer Home Care.

One event at the fest featured the congregation’s ProclamationPuppets, pictured, which present messages at various congrega-tional events and often go “on the road” for other congregations’special services and programs.

New In-School Program Supports

Grieving Children

Children suffering from the emo-tional effects of the death of a lovedone are being helped by new pro-grams offered by Hospice Saint John.

Page 7: Dialog - Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries

congregations. Long a service in theNortheastern Pennsylvania Synod andportions of the Southeastern Pennsy-lvania Synod, this ecumenical program,which provides non-professionalhome- or chore-related assistance topeople in need, is now operating inupper Dauphin County and is expand-ing rapidly in central Maryland.

Still another example is Con-gregational Health Ministries,which began in two different formssome years ago in the UpperSusquehanna and NortheasternPennsylvania synods. Significantexpansion has occurred in theseregions as well as, now, in theDelaware-Maryland synods.

And we plan to do more.The essence of Diakon, we

believe, is that, in response to God’sword, affirming our Christian iden-tity and Lutheran heritage, and witnessing to the goodness of God’s creation, we engage in service.We believe also that what we do ismore than work; we believe it is our vocation.

These concepts and connec-tions will take time to develop. Wewant to take that time to make surethey are strong and right and whatare needed. We invite your thoughtsas we proceed.

Thank you again for yourpartnership with us.

building and placed himself on thespot where his office was to be.” AskingGod’s blessing, “he dug out, in theshape of a cross, about the size of a man,several wheelbarrowsful of ground.Then looking towards the north andkneeling in the cross-shaped open-ing, he offered a brief prayer . . .”

Building began in earnest laterin the year, with the first orphansarriving in mid May.

In the spring of 1900, however,Heilman developed pneumonia,having taken “a chill during a trip toSchuylkill Haven, where he hadgone to preach for an ailing brother[pastor].” Having “pushed himselfday and night” for the sake of thehome, he didn’t have the strength toward off the affliction and died onApril 10 at the age of 50. ✟



Before long, the Kemps madethe decision that adding one girl totheir family might not be enough.“We decided to [adopt] two girls, orsiblings,” Yolanda says. “Weweren’t limited to the number, wejust didn’t want to separate sistersfrom brothers.”

Alfonso is quick to point outthat they welcomed a multipleadoption because they are accus-tomed to having a house full of chil-dren. “I’m like the counselor of theneighborhood,” he says. “Anytime[the parents] have problems, theybring their sons to me.”

In the summer of 2001, infor-mation on Bernadette, 7, andLakeema, 2, crossed the desk of theKemp’s social worker. “The socialworker did her part to make surethe move was easy,” says Yolanda,explaining the process that fol-lowed. “She made sure we kneweverything. We didn’t meet [thegirls] until we had everything in place.”

On October 17 at a local fast-food restaurant, the Kemp familymet the two little girls who wouldsoon add to their family. “Thatweekend they came from Saturdayuntil Sunday,” Yolanda explains.“The following weekend they cameFriday to Sunday, and on Nov. 1,they moved in.”

The fact that Bernadette andLakeema are sisters was a big benefitin the transition, insist the Kemps.“Instead of having two girls fromtwo different homes in two differentstates, [Bernadette and Lakeema]were used to each other,” Yolandasays. “Just getting them to bondwith our children was much easier.”

Moving from a city to theDelaware suburbs brought manychanges for the girls too. “They areglad to be here,” Alfonso says, addingthat they especially like McDonalds,and Bernadette enjoys riding bikesand having her own room.

As the months with their new

family pass, the Kemps are happy tosay that it feels as if the girls havebeen with them forever.

“Every child needs a familyinstead of going from one house toanother,” says Yolanda. “That iswhy we [went] straight into adop-tion. We wanted these girls to bewith us the rest of their lives.” ✟

House full of children brings happinessContinued from Page 3

If you would like to learn moreabout adoption, please call oneof the following numbers:• Delaware, (302) 995-2294• Maryland, (410) 633-6990• Eastern PA, 1-888-582-2230• Central PA, (717) 845-9113You can help children with spe-

cial needs find the love, stability,and joy they need. AdoptionServices depends on contribu-tions to help make its servicesavailable even to those who can-not pay the full costs of service.Call 1-888-582-2230, ext. 1219,to learn how you can help.

TimeLine 1867…Continued from Page 12

The President’s DialogContinued from Page 2

The Rev. Daun E. McKee, Ph.D.President/CEO

Page 8: Dialog - Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries

ottled, the sky had threat-ened an outburst all mor-

ing, dropping occasional curtains of ra in to crash through thedense foliage. As if they knew theimportance of this event, however,the clouds scuttled back as the ceremony began, allowing rays of sunlight to dance across the trees.

The May ceremony, a ground-breaking, marked the beginning ofan expansion and upgrading offacilities at Diakon’s TresslerCareWilderness Center near BoilingSprings, Pa. Its importance lies inthe impact the center’s programshave on the lives of at-risk youthsacross Pennsylvania.

Some of those youths, whohave graduated from center programs,shared that impact in brief remarksbefore one of them, along with acurrent student and center ExecutiveDirector George Eckenrode, over-turned spadesful of dirt to launchthe project.

“I came to the program fromthe City of Philadelphia, with pret-ty much zero hope for what myfuture would become,” noted AnthonyStukes, a successful graduate of theWilderness School. Days after theceremony, he graduated fromTemple University, on track toattend law school. The school, headded, “creates positive young people,and that’s what we need in our society.”

Competitive pressure, newlicensing requirements, and aginghousing accommodations mandatethe expansion project, whichinvolves the construction of hous-ing, classrooms, and a gymnasium.The center’s infrastructure also willbe updated.

Diakon has launched a $2 million capital campaign to fund theproject, having reached nearly 40percent of that goal by the ground-breaking.

T h e R e v . T h o m a s W.Hurlocker, retired president ofTressler Lutheran Services, is hon-orary chair of the campaign. JohnJ. Rhodes, president of RhodesDevelopment Group, Inc., andFrederick S. Rice, CLU, RIA, pres-ident of Rice & Hetrick FinancialServices LLC and a formerDauphin County commissioner, arecampaign co-chairs.

The Wilderness Center offers arange of services to aid adjudicateddelinquent and dependent youths

from counties across Pennsylvania.Serving as an alternative to tradi-tional intervention services, thecenter houses four programs—residential Wilderness School,short-term residential WildernessChallenge+Plus, 31-day WildernessChallenge course, and the WeekendAlternative Program.

Studies conducted by DickinsonCollege in Carlisle of youths dis-charged from the WildernessSchool for 11 to 17 months foundthat 71 percent had not re-offendedand 88 percent had earned theirGED, graduated from high school,or were in school and on target tograduate. The Wilderness Courseboasts similar high marks. ✟


Breaking ground for the Wilderness Center's expansion are, from left toright, current student Jason Kissinger of Reading, Executive Director of thecenter George Eckenrode, and Hosea Twiggs of Philadelphia, a former student.


Wilderness Center breaks ground to launch expanded service to

Pennsylvania youths

Page 9: Dialog - Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries



Sunday through Thursday,when Yungmann was not at theWilderness Center, staff of theBridge Program made daily contactwith him to make sure he was com-plying with his identified goals andexpectations.

“That really saved me, beingable to go home and having toanswer to someone when I gotthere,” says Yungmann, who admitshe didn’t always play by the rules.“One night I stayed out all nightand I ended up on ‘house arrest’ fortwo weeks.”

After 11 weeks, Yungmanngraduated from both WAP and TheBridge program. “The first coupleof weeks, I stayed away from trou-ble,” he says. But about a year afterleaving, he ended up moving out ofhis parents’ home and dropping outof high school.

“As time went on, I saw theerror of my ways. I came back, fin-ished high school and now I havefinished my first college courses,”he says. “It has taken me probablythree years to get where I want to

be, but I’ve stopped drinking andI’ve moved forward spiritually. I’mable to be more of an adult, a man,and take responsibility for myactions.”

Yungmann, who now lives onhis own, also admits that his rela-tionship with his family has greatly

improved. “I’ve definitely realizedthe importance of becoming part ofa family and playing a more positiverole within my family,” he says. “Ididn’t realize the importance offamily until I left TresslerCare.”

Now focused eventually onbecoming a graphic designer,Yungmann doesn’t long for the lifeor friends he left behind. “I havebigger things to do with my life,” hesays. “There are certain perks in mylife—my family, my girlfriend—that I couldn’t hold if I had thoseold relationships. I understand thatand I moved forward.”

At the same time, Yungmannis returning to the TresslerCareWilderness Center—as a part-timeWeekend Alternative Program staffmember—to help other youths likehim, who might respond to his first-hand experience.

“That place helped me with somany things in my life, things thatare really important, instead of thethings I held dear at the time,” hesays. “I just want to bring that allback and lend a hand. I owe a greatdeal to TresslerCare.” ✟

Wilderness program helps Yungmann become a young manContinued from Cover

David Yungmann, right, talks with Wilderness Center students sitting on the steps of one of the cabins that will be retired following the center'sexpansion project.

Youths at the Wilderness Center, whose programs include the WeekendAlternative Program in which David Yungmann took part, experience a rangeof challenging activities such as climbs on the center's 50-foot Alpine Tower.

Page 10: Dialog - Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries

hen CURA Hospitalitybegan providing dietary

services for Diakon LutheranSocial Ministries’ retirement andnursing facilities in January, it hadan ultimate goal: to upgrade menuofferings.

After staff transitions andkitchen process changes were complete,the Allentown-based organizationbegan to focus on menus, saysPatrick Johnson, CURA’s seniorregional director of operations.

“It’s CURA’s standard tochange our menus at least twice ayear,” he notes. “What we did thistime is kind of unique because wehave such a diversity of facilitieswithin Diakon, with regard toregional food preferences.”

Normally when planningmenus, CURA uses a menu plan-ning committee within its company.“With such divers i ty, Ithought we would go out-side the box and trysomething different,”Johnson says.

With that inmind, he select-ed four dietarymanagers fromfour very dif-ferent Diakonf a c i l i t i e s t obring perspec-tive to a new,four-week menucycle that wouldserve all Diakonfacilities for the sum-mer and fall seasons.

Because of the multi-ple levels of care provided atThe Lutheran Home at Topton,Pa., Johnson selected Steve Moyer.Representing Pocono LutheranVillage, an assisted living facility in

E a s tStroudsburg,

Pa., Keith Miller brought yetanother perspective. Carla Kline,

representing Penn LutheranVillage in Selinsgrove, Pennsyl-

vania, brought a thoroughk n o w l e d g e o f t h e f o o dpreferences within centralPennsylvania. Nicole Hayes,of Saint Luke Village, Hazleton,Pennsylvania, rounded outthe group with her knowledgeof the dietary needs of a large

skilled nursing facility.Johnson brought the

group together, gave them anoutline of what Diakon was

expecting from the process, andasked each one to develop one ortwo menu weeks. “It took me 40hours on those menus to have themready to look at,” says Miller, whothinks using field personnel to planmenus makes sense. “That is wherethe expertise is rather than with

Diverse input impactsnew menu plans



Page 11: Dialog - Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries

Enriched foods programenhances quality of life

someone in an office who has noidea what challenges we face.”

After everyone drafted his orher portion of the cycle, the groupreviewed the plans. “We comparedthem, made changes, and workedtogether as a team,” says Moyer.“We took ideas from families, resi-dents, and staff and tried to incor-porate them in the menus.”

Adds Johnson: “We cut and pasted, talked, convinced, andconsoled. We wanted to put togetherthe best menu that ref lects operational processes and regionalpreferences.”

For Moyer, the benefit washaving more than one person makedecisions. “You get better choices,better feedback,” ultimately withthe resident in mind, he says.

The new menu, featuringmore fresh fruits and produce, rep-resents a format that can be adjust-ed for individual facility likes anddislikes. “In this industry there is nosuch thing as a perfect menu,” saysJohnson. “But, getting more peopleinvolved and using their back-ground and familiarity with Diakonprograms, has really lent a substan-tial impact to this menu.”

CURA then sent the draftedmenu to its dietitians to review. “We had to make some adjustmentsto comply with nutritional dailyallowances.”

Diakon chefs and residentand family councils have reviewedthe plan as well. “We put effort intothe recipes and want them to besuccessful,” says Johnson.

Following introduction of themenus in June, CURA “will con-duct a resident satisfaction surveythat will provide us with a real pic-ture window of not only our menu,but our overall service.” ✟



Called upon to provide avariety of special diets for itsclients within the healthcareindustry, CURA recently intro-duced an enriched foods programmeant to limit the use of supple-ments.

Often used for residentswho need to gain weight, supple-ments can become habit-forming,boring, and even discourage eat-ing at mealtime, says Pat Sullivan,director of clinical nutrition serv-ices for CURA.

“Our clinicians noticed thateven though residents were put onsupplements three or four times aday, they were still losing weight,”she says.

In response, CURA begancreating menu items that residentsgenerally enjoy—comfort foods,such as hot cereals, gravy, andpudding. “We took those recipesand changed them, in some cases,to double their calorie levels,”Sullivan explains, adding that the

recipes were tested for taste andease of preparation.

Last fall, CURA rolled outthe enriched foods program in thefacilities it serves, encouragingstaff at those facilities to use therecipes they thought would workin their communities.

“Every day, a resident on theenriched food program is averag-ing 600 to 800 extra calories givenat meal time,” Sullivan says.“We’ve decreased and, in somecases, eliminated the use of sup-plements for residents. We’vebeen able to maintain nice weight

management through meals, atmeal time.”

To get a better idea of howthe enriched foods were working,Sullivan and her staff studied 118residents.

“Eighty-two percent of theresidents on enriched foods eitherstabilized their weight or gainedweight in a period of one to fivemonths,” she says, adding thatCURA will continue to gathermore statistical data as it refinesand adds to its enriched foodsrecipes.

Mealtime should be enjoy-able for all residents, Sullivannotes, and the process begins withbeing adequately nourished. By providing concentrated calo-ries at mealtime, rather thanthrough supplements given atother times, she says, “the nursingstaff can spend more quality timewhere it is needed, to give resi-dents the highest quality of lifepossible.” ✟

Page 12: Dialog - Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries

rphans home newspapers.Fund-raising campaigns. Annual

visitors’ days. Many activities high-light the similarities between theearliest days of The LutheranHome at Topton and the TresslerOrphans Home, Loysville.

And while they came to theircharges in different ways, therewere similarities, too, between theRev. Uriah P. Heilman and the Rev.Philip Willard, first superintendents,respectively, of the Topton andTressler orphanages.

Perhaps their most significantcommon attribute was unwaveringdedication to the institutions theyheaded, resulting in positions thatcan only be described as 24/7. Thedrain of that work eventually costHeilman his life.

Willard came first to the work,having visited the Loysville site in1867 while an agent for the LutheranPublication Society of Philadelphia.

In response to the aftermath of theCivil War, the Tressler family hadalready converted their educationalacademy into a fledging home forsoldiers’ orphans.

Following the purchase of thesite by the General Synod of theLutheran Church, Willard wasappointed superintendent. Heimmediately hit the road in searchof donations.

Known affectionately as“Father”—not an ecclesiastical titlebut a reflection of his role at thehome—Willard was 59 when he

became superintendent, a position heheld until he was 80. During thoseyears, the home’s “Old Main” wasconstructed and significant physicalimprovements made to the facilities.

Heilman was slightly youngerwhen in 1897 he assumed the super-intendence of the “The LutheranOrphans Home in Berks County,Pennsylvania”—the first name ofthe Topton facility. He was 47.

Also charged with raising fundsfor the new home—it was to bebuilt on farmland purchased on a hilloverlooking the village of Topton innortheastern Berks County—Heilmanplayed a more personal role in gettingthe building program under way.

According to published histo-ries, “on the 29th of June, 1897, inthe morning at 6 o’clock, theSuperintendent, with pick andshovel on his back, went out to thebuilding site of the projected main

TimeLine 1867…



Dialog Diakon Lutheran Social MinistriesOne South Home AvenueTopton, PA 19562-1399

Address Service Requested

Non-Profit Org.U.S. Postage

PAIDSoutheastern, PAPermit No. 229

The Rev. Philip Willard (left) andthe Rev. Uriah P. Heilman

Please turn to Page 7