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Articles Posted September 2016

Boot Camp Schedule 2016-17

posted September 20, 2016
The Boot Camp program will be hosted at Clelian Heights School for Exception Children on Tuesdays beginning this Fall. The schedule is as follows:

September 27
October 4, 11, 18, 25
November 1, 8, 15, 29
December 6
January 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
February 7, 14, 21, 28
March 7, 14, 21, 28
April 4, 25
May 2, 9, 16

Once again, Coleen Bortz will be the instructor and the cost is $1 per participant. The program starts at 6:30 pm and lasts 1 hour.

Drumstix Schedule 2016-17

posted September 20, 2016
Drumstix Schedule 2016-17Drumstix is once again resuming at Clelian Heights School for Exceptional Children this year. Although the schedule is subject to change, the dates are as follows:

Sept 29
October 6, 13, 20
November 3, 10, 17
December 1, 8
January 5, 12, 19, 26
February 2, 9 23
March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
April 6, 27
May 4, 11, 18

The Program runs for 1 hour from 6:30 to 7:30 and the cost is $1 per participant. Coleen Bortz is the Instructor.


posted September 08, 2016
By Dreama Bartolacci, Advocacy Coordinator, ESCA

Within the tight knit community of Murrysville there is a group of kind and beautiful individuals that put the needs of others before their own. “Our voice is quiet, but persistent, seeking justice in a fluid positive motion for those whose voices aren’t quiet loud enough.” These voices are often muted by perhaps an intellectual disability or social obstacle which is simply amplified by a volunteer advocate.

They are the face of East Suburban Citizen Advocacy (ESCA), which is not one, not two, but over 900 strong. ESCA has been providing a voice for 28 years serving Westmoreland County and the surrounding areas. Their voice is a strong voice that propels the silent voices of those who do not have the ability to speak for themselves into a roar….A roar that can be heard for miles and deliver an impact that can be felt for years.

ESCA was born initially out of a group of parents yearning for a voice for their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since the late 80’s, ESCA has moved beyond basic advocacy of “creating and supporting individuals with developmental disabilities and connecting them with caring members of the community” to also creating and supporting inclusive programming “ in which all people are appreciated and accepted without question and where dignity and equality are unconditionally enjoyed”, as their mission and vision statements reflect.

Numerous events that ESCA is a part of happen throughout the Murrysville community frequently and enrich all who attends lives. Recently, ESCA partnered with the Stynchula Family Foundation for an inclusive sports and exercise camp which took place at The Miracle Field. Volunteers and parents ran the camp and the participants were children of “all abilities.” This camp allowed kids to participate in cheerleading lessons, football drills and enjoy a cookout together afterwards.Fall programs will be starting soon, which include Drumstix, BootCamp and new running club, ESCA Trailblazers. Call to sign up!

“Art from the Heart” is another program ESCA has developed and continues to support. This program creates a social and creative outlet for some who may have autism, anxiety or other diagnosis and enables them to connect with others in a quieter environment. People tend to naturally connect when there is a common interest, friendships naturally form and advocates naturally connect.

Programs like these are just two examples of the many inclusive programs ESCA offers and surprisingly, are just a portion of what ESCA does. Although these programs are fun and enjoyable, advocacy goes far beyond the sports, exercise and art programs we offer. Families and friends that support the individuals who need advocacy, require support as well. ESCA often connects networks of families to support and mentor each other through difficult situations.

Advocates with more refined efforts are in great need with specialties such as education, law, finance, and employment. Many ask what is ESCA? Or, what exactly is an advocate? In the broad sense it is a rather simple definition defined as someone who speaks in another’s defense. ESCA relies, in many cases on divine intervention coupled with the knowledge and intuitive backgrounds of volunteer advocates. Ensuring the safety of those we advocate for is a priority. Background checks are required for all advocates and ESCA carefully screens each person to ensure a safe environment for all.

Kate Cala, Executive Director of ESCA states, “Our advocacy efforts have more than doubled in this past year. It is a constant balancing act, a delicate one, to ensure all feel they are being heard and treated with respect and their concerns are addressed in a constructive manner.” Cala speaks on behalf of hundreds of individuals with disabilities to ensure fair and just treatment and inclusion.

According to Mayor Bob Brooks, “ESCA provides a tremendous benefit to the community; both to the people who receive the service and to the people who give the service. All benefit from total inclusion.”

Join ESCA's movement, a movement of kindness and consideration, empathy and understanding to those of "ALL ABILITIES."

Be compassionate and ask the one question of yourself. What if? What if one act of kindness changes the way others may perceive someone with a disability or how they may perceive themselves. Change perceptions. “Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see,” Mark Twain.

Hopefully by now you are asking, how can I help?

To find out how you can make a difference go to www.eastsuburbancitizenadvocacy.org or call 724-325-3344

Volunteer. Donate. Like East Suburban Citizen Advocacy on Facebook.

Day of Giving is Wednesday, September 21, 2016!

posted September 07, 2016
Day of Giving is Wednesday, September 21, 2016!Day of Giving is Wednesday, September 21, 2016!

You can make a donation with just a few clicks and in the confort of your own home! What a great fresh way to start fall!

Day of Giving is a one-day online giving event organized by The Pittsburgh Foundation. The goal is to inspire the Greater Pittsburgh community to give together on one day to support the unparalleled work of our local nonprofits.

Join us in supporting the life changing work of our community’s nonprofits on Wednesday, Sept. 21 by donating online between 8 a.m. through 11:59 p.m.

Donate by going to www.Pittsburghgives.org