Senior Volunteers Honored at Second Annual Foster Grandparent Recognition Luncheon

Private Industry Council’s (PIC) second annual Foster Grandparent Program Recognition Event and was held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Southpointe, PA on Friday, May 20, 2016.  The event recognized, honored, and expressed gratitude to the many Foster Grandparent Volunteers for their effort, loyalty, and dedication to the Foster Grandparent program (FGP).  The theme this year was “A Helping Hand Volunteers Make the Difference.

The recognition luncheon played background music from the 60’s & 70’s while a PowerPoint presentation showed photos of the Foster Grandparent volunteers serving the children they foster. A testimonial by volunteers on the impact the children have on them was highlighted. A performance from Pittsburgh’s Family Magician, Al Mazing took place prior to the awards ceremony. Awards were given to Foster Grandparent Volunteers in 4 categories:

The Apple Award was given to the volunteer who has accrued the most volunteer hours for the 2015-2016 year.  Lexi McLeod was presented this award having volunteered a total of 1,146 hours at Clairton Elementary School. 

The Community Advisory Group Award was presented to Angela Greco based on the teacher testimonials of the volunteer’s effort and dedication in the Foster Grandparent Program. Mrs. Kimberly A. Long a teacher at Ringgold Elementary School said: “She (Angela Greco) is not only a valuable asset to our classroom academically, she is a ‘Grandma’ to our kids who have none and a caring ear when a child needs someone to listen and hear!”

The Keep Moving Award was inspired by Ms. Virginia McLaurin, who is a 107 year old volunteer serving in Virginia.  The recipient of this award is the oldest serving volunteer in the Foster Grandparent Program of Southwestern PA, Susan Hunter. She volunteers at Ringgold Elementary School South.
The Senior Corps of Southwestern PA Legacy Award was presented to Jayce Catt. Catt was nominated by her volunteer station, Children’s Creative Learning Center at Butler County Community College for her passion for public service, helping others and a demonstrated commitment toward enhancing the community and others. Judy Zuzack, her supervisor was quoted:  “Joyce has been our Foster Grandparent for 6 years now.  When she enters the classroom, all the children stop what they are doing and greet her in unison, “Good morning, Grandma Catt”! She often wears cat jewelry or wears cats on her clothing, which shows her sense of humor.”  Zuzack observes Catt encouraging the children to try new food and to be healthy eaters and engages them in conversation about their families and interests. Catt has been seen laughing at their jokes and lets each child know that they are very special.

Certificates of appreciation were also presented by local elected officials. Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughn presented certificates of appreciation to the volunteers who reside in Washington County. Certificates were presented to volunteers who reside in the city of Butler from the Office of Mayor Thomas P. Donaldson. On behalf of Mayor Dwan Walker, the Aliquippa City Manager, Sam Gill presented “One Aliquippa” certificates to the volunteers who reside in Aliquippa.

The event ended with an array of door prizes.             


The Private Industry Council is Growing

The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. (PIC) recently promoted Amy Dodds to the position of Planner/Grants Writer and hired L. Michelle Ferguson as the Fatherhood Initiative Program Supervisor.


Dodds embraces the core values of PIC mission by meeting the needs of employers, identifying and removing barriers to employment and a commitment to lifelong learning. Dodds with the support of the Directors will be charged with growing the three main divisions of PIC: Workforce Development, Education, and Early Childhood Development while maintaining the integrity of PIC’s mission. With her vision for evolution and advancement she will research and secure opportunities for sustained funding. 


Dodds began her career with PIC in March, 2012 as a Youth Specialist. In this position Dodds managed and developed programming used in Afterschool and Summer Programs in Westmoreland and Fayette Counties. Due to the success of these programs she was promoted to the Job Coaching Coordinator. In that role she positively impacted the lives of those with cognitive or physical disabilities while helping them find and retain competitive employment.


Dodds holds a Masters in Science in Curriculum and Instruction from St. Vincent College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Read more: The Private Industry Council is Growing

The Power Initiative

The Power Initiative 

The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, INC, is working with the Westmoreland/ Fayette Workforce Investment Board to provide funding for our local miners that have become dislocated.  The “Power Grant” is intended to support eligible dislocated workers who have been impacted by job loss within the coal industry.  It is anticipated that more than 4,000 workers will be dislocated in the region to be served by this grant.

 PIC has hired Peer Counselor, David Serock, a dislocated miner with a strong background in the coal industry, to help his fellow miners engage in services not only through the CareerLink, but supportive services throughout the different communities.  David has become an integral part of referral and access to needed services.  He has attended many orientations and meetings within the counties of Fayette, Greene and Washington where this grant is also being utilized. David is also working with the CareerLink staff to enhance specialized services to fulfill their needs such as resume classes, job fairs, and referrals to employers or different funding sources. David has been invited to the coal mining food banks and rallies where he introduces these services.  He also has meetings with employers to show how the mining skills are transferable skills to employment opportunities within their company. 

 In the referral process, dislocated miners will be referred to a PIC Employment Specialist to register with JobGateway and develop an Individualized Employment Plan.  In this plan, the Employment Specialist will assess the dislocated worker through different assessments to determine basic skills, and have a one on one interview to define barriers. Once assessed, the individual will be ready to pursue other employment or educational assistance.

The goal of these partnerships is to promote economic growth by meeting training needs and to connect our dislocated workers to long term career paths that lead to family sustaining wages.

Sherri Taylor Awarded Francine Bunch Memorial Parent Award

Sherri Taylor Awarded Francine Bunch Memorial Parent Award


The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. (PIC) and the Head Start/Early Head Start of Fayette County program are proud to announce that Sherri Taylor has received the Francine Bunch Memorial Parent Award for the Pennsylvania Head Start Association (PHSA). This award ceremony took place in early April at the Annual Awards Luncheon at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center, State College.                                     


Each year the PSHA honors one parent who epitomizes the characteristics of Francine Bunch. Francine Bunch was an active Head Start parent who recognized the importance of continuing education and giving back to the community.


Read more: Sherri Taylor Awarded Francine Bunch Memorial Parent Award

Eat Well, Be Well

Eat Well, Be Well

By Cynthia Fisher, Child Health and Safety Supervisor, Head Start of Fayette County

We’ve all enjoyed the comfort foods of the winter, hearty soups, casseroles, and baked goods, but as we move into spring, it’s time to get back into the groove and back on a healthy track.

Sponsored by the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, March is National Nutrition Month. Nutrition Month encourages us to focus our attention on making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and physical activity habits. This year’s theme is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”. The theme is used to promote the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, in which it is recommended that we limit the amounts of added sugar, sodium, and saturated fats (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2016).

 Here are some tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2016) you can try today:

  1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  2. Vary your protein foodKeep meat and poultry portions small and lean.
  • Cut back on foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt
  1. Choose food and drinks with little or no added sugars.
  2. Add spices and herbs to season foods to season rather than adding salt.
  3. Use oils when preparing foods rather than solid fats.
  • Eat the right amount of calories for you
  1. Cook more often at home where you are in control of what’s in your food.
  2. Get your personal calorie limit at
  • Be physically active (USDA, 2016).
  1. Young Children (2-5 years) need to play actively several times a day.
  2. Children and Adolescents (6-17 years) need 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day.
  3. Adults (18-64) need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a moderate level or 1 hour and 15 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a vigorous level.
  • Use food labels to help you make better choices
  1. Read labels, look for food items that are lower in sugar, sodium, and saturated

 For more information and healthy tips, visit or


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2016, January). National Nutrition Month.  Retrieved from:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2016, March). Savor the Flavor of Eating Right. National Nutrition Month.  Retrieved from:

United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA). (2015). Physical Activity. How Much. Retrieved From: