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2023 Irvin Enck Award Winner

This award is in loving memory of a thoughtful and wise Director of Facilities here at Friendship Community. Irvin Enck, who passed away in 2014, was an exceptional leader who left a mark on this Organization. The Executive Team awards a leader who has exemplified outstanding leadership over the past year.

It is my pleasure to present the 2023 Irvin Enck Leadership Award to Milt Stoltzfus! Milt has been an employee at Friendship Community 33 years in various roles, however for the past 15 years, he has served as our Spiritual Nurture and Community Life Advisor. Milt’s role is unique not only in title but also with what he does at Friendship Community for the Individuals. He is the glue that holds Friendship Community together through the good, the bad and the ugly.

Milt does a wide variety of things at Friendship Community from monthly outings with Individuals, a weekly online church service, monthly activity nights and a monthly worship service. Also, when and Individual is hospitalized, he is a face that will brighten their day and calm the storms within them. Milt not only calms the Individuals, but his fellow Team Members look to him for spiritual guidance when needing to navigate our Individuals complex needs.

With his 33 years of service Milt has been able to be the constant in an ever-changing world for our individuals. We have seen Individuals moods change on a dime with his presence. Milt views all Individuals as whole humans and his friends.

Over his years of service Milt has had meaningful influence on the lives of Individuals supported by Friendship Community as well as on many Team Members as well.

He truly is gift from God to Friendship Community and we are so blessed that he has chosen us for his Ministry.

This award was presented on January 22, 2024, by Mary Ellen Farber, Chief Executive Officer, during Activity Night. Milt received standing ovations from the Individuals and Team Members in attendance and a special appearance from his wife, Lois!

Congratulations to Milt for winning the 2023 Irvin Enck Leadership Award!

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2023 Gochnauer Award Winner

This award honors the legacy of Mahlon Gochnauer, a founding Board Member, who served on the Friendship Community’s Board for over 20 years. Mahlon and his wife, Doris, had a son with disabilities, named Michael.

Nominees for the Gochnauer award must serve as a Direct Support Professional, who exemplifies and encourages spiritual growth, advocates for community inclusion, and enables Individuals to Impact the World with Their Capabilities.

The Gochnauer Award for the Direct Support Professional (DSP) of the Year goes to Jillian Olszewski.  Jillian is reliable, motivated, a problem solver, compassionate, and empathetic. She began her career as a part time DSP at one of our Ephrata homes and soon accepted the role of Manager Assistant.  Although she excelled in this position, after a few months, she realized that in this role, she missed the interactions with the Individuals she had had before. She stepped down to become a full time DSP and she shines in that role just as she did as Manager Assistant.

Jillian is compassionate and empathetic and has a strong desire to meet the Individuals needs and to help them achieve their goals at home as well as in the community.  Recently one of the Individuals decided that she no longer cared to attend the current church. Jillian helped, not only this Individual, but all of them find a new church to their liking. Jillian involves the Individuals in decision making, whether it is on a community outing or an at home activity. One of her many talents is styling hair, painting fingernails and applying make-up. The ladies love the extra pampering, and she makes them feel special.

Jillian always has an ear to lend when one of the ladies is feeling down or just needs to talk. She selflessly gives of her time and goes the extra mile for the benefit of the Individuals. This is evident by the big smiles and happy dispositions. The Ephrata home is truly blessed to have Jillian as a Team Member.

This award was presented on January 22, 2024, by Sherri Colton, Director of Advancement, during Activity Night. Jillian was cheered by the many Individuals and Team Members in attendance – especially the three ladies that she directly supports every day!

Congratulations to Jillian for receiving the 2023 Gochnauer Award!

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2023 Haverstick Award Winner

This annual award honors Charles and Laura Haverstick’s 3 deceased sons Charlie, David & Glenn, all of whom had disabilities and were served by Friendship Community. The Haverstick Award recipient is nominated by current Team Members. Recipients are Individuals supported by Friendship Community who have shown tremendous growth in the following areas:

  • Giving back to the community
  • Overcoming significant obstacles
  • Surpassing previous capabilities

The Haverstick Award for Individual of the Year goes to Todd Hambleton. Todd moved into the Friendship Community Leola home in February 2019. Prior to moving into our home, he recently had cochlear implant surgery, due to his profound deafness, in one of his ears. His speech was limited, and he mostly read lips signed, or used one or two words to communicate. He was shy is social settings and did not want to participate in social activities.

During the past 5 years, Todd has had a team of staff helping him with his communication skills. Speech therapists, communication specialists, Leola staff, and his parents. With Todd’s eagerness to learn, patience, perseverance and practicing daily, he has moved mountains. Todd is now speaking in full sentences, articulating his words and vastly widened his vocabulary.

Todd received his 2nd cochlear implant last May and he is running leaps and bounds. His is asking to participate in social events and activities and meeting new friends. Todd has volunteered for many organizations throughout his life, including his home church’s food bank, Brethren Village, and Meals on Wheels. We are all so proud of Todd’s great accomplishments and cannot wait to see what his future holds.

This award was presented on January 22, 2024, by Lisa Black, Residential Manager, during Activity Night. Todd’s family, Team Members and housemates were in attendance that evening to support him as he won this momentous achievement.

Congratulations to Todd for receiving the 2023 Haverstick Award!

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Rejoicing in the Season: A Christmas Blessing from Friendship Community – December, 2023

Rejoicing in the Season: A Christmas Blessing from Friendship Community

Dear Beloved Friends in Christ,

As we immerse ourselves in the beauty of the Christmas season, our hearts are filled with gratitude and joy, reflecting on the blessings and support we've received throughout this year. It is truly amazing what God has been doing in and through Friendship Community.  We extend to you, our cherished friends and partners in Christ, our warmest wishes for a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Celebrating the Gift of Christ

Christmas is a time of reflection and celebration, commemorating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His arrival brought a profound message of love, hope, and redemption—a message that resonates deeply within the walls of Friendship Community.

With this message of Christ's redeeming love, we want to express our heartfelt appreciation for your steadfast support. Your prayers, kindness, and generosity have been a testament to that love, fostering a sense of community that uplifts and empowers those we serve.

Gratitude for Your Faithful Support

As we pause to reflect on the past year, we are profoundly grateful for your unwavering commitment to our mission. Your involvement has been a source of strength, enabling us to continue our work with Individuals with Intellectual Disability and Autism in the light of Christ's teachings.  Together, we have created a community where each person is valued and cherished for the unique gifts bestowed upon us  by our Creator.

A Prayerful Outlook for the New Year

As we welcome the New Year with hope and anticipation, we do so with a sense of purpose and commitment to the Christian values that guide us. May the coming year be filled with blessings, opportunities for growth, and moments of profound connection with God and one another.

In closing, we want to express our deepest gratitude for being a part of the Friendship Community family. Your faith-filled support has been such a blessing.

Wishing you a Christmas season filled with the joy of Christ's love and a New Year abundantly blessed with God's grace.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV) "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

News & Events from Friendship Community – December, 2023

News & Events from Friendship Community


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Give for a Brighter Tomorrow" Campaign

Year-End Giving
Please help us to finish the calendar year strong! Why give to Friendship Community? We are meeting ever-increasing needs. More Info

Christmas Drama

Fri, Dec 1, 7pm
A heart-warming sharing of the good news of the birth of Jesus through the voices and expressions of Friendship Community Individuals. A Christmas memory unlike any other! More Info



Friendship Community Newsletter "The Journey of Friendship" (Winter 2023)

Read our New edition "hot off the presses"!
Read Now

Fest & 5K • 10K

Register by Dec 10, with this code
"5-OFF-DEC-EMAIL" and receive $5 OFF!
Saturday, May 11, 2024. Great way to support Friendship and create memories! Fundraise for additional rewards. Multiple discount possibilities!
More Info



21st Annual Art Benefit Auction

Save the Date: Thursday, March 21, 2024. Supporting Adult Artists with Intellectual Disability and Autism!
More Info


Friendship Community



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