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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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Olivia Cunningham Education Fund

Almost two years ago, a special fund for trainings and in-services was created in memory of Olivia Cunningham, a former Friendship Community Team Member who recognized the importance of learning and applying new skills and information. She appreciated new-found knowledge and saw the benefits first-hand. We were able to interview a Team Member who has been the recipient of this fund; below you will find her answers on how this fund has benefitted her work experience. 


[Question] Team Member name:

Louise Barton

[Question] Job Title:

[Louise] Administrative Generalist

[Question] Number of years employed at Friendship Community:

[Louise] Over 16 ½ years at Friendship Community

[Question] How did you use monies from the fund?

[Louise] To attend a seminar, entitled “The Extraordinary Administrative Professional”, and to receive the accompanying handbook.

[Question] Why did you want to attend the class?

[Louise] I was attracted to this training because it sounded like it would really apply to my position at Friendship Community. Since I work closely with Caleb Cunningham, in Facility Services, and since I was an elementary teacher for 24 ½ years, before coming to Friendship Community, I was especially honored to be the first recipient of funding from The Olivia Cunningham Education Fund!

[Question] What did you hope to learn? 

[Louise] I looked forward to learning some new ideas, skills and techniques that I could apply to and enhance what I already do at Friendship Community, as I work with Team Members in various departments. It was my hope as well to share what I learned with my Administrative Services Team.

[Question] How did your attendance in this class help you in your job / role?  How did your job benefit from the training you attended?

[Louise] The seminar and the manual provided me with much “food for thought” as I consider and strive to apply what I have learned to my job and to my life!

The seminar covered skills related to relationships with others in the workplace, various forms of communication, problem-solving, organization and time management (including event-planning and effective delegation), stress management, etc. 

I really liked the handbook, entitled Administrative Professionals Handbook - 42 Ways to Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Others! The book is fairly easy to read, includes many real-life stories/examples and is loaded with great advice! My opinion is that it would be very helpful for any Administrative Professional, not just for Administrative Assistants/Administrative Generalists like myself. Even though it says “written for women, from a woman’s point of view,” it also says “Anyone who is responsible for coordinating, managing, or being an effective member of an office team will benefit from this serious evaluation of how you think, how you look, how you act, how you live, and how you deal with others.” The book is all about “building and strengthening your people skills, learning how to put yourself first, and get more done in less time.” It’s “a practical book, where you learn to handle your own quality control.” 


Thank you, Louise, for your willingness to answer these questions for us!


Want to donate towards the Olivia Cunningham Education Fund and help Team Members like Louise? Your gift to this fund enables Team Members the opportunity to attend valuable and insightful trainings at no cost to them. You can make your donation via mail, phone or online!


Happy Monday! We hope you all have a wonderful week!




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Meet Ed and his Team Member, Don.

Tonight, they’re eating baked chicken, peas and sweet potatoes for dinner. Smells good, doesn’t it? But, what may seem to be a simple dinner is actually the culmination of in-depth conversations and decision-making processes. See for Ed, Don and the other Individuals at Ed’s home, this dinner really started a week ago, if not longer.

The housemates sat down together at the kitchen table and planned out their breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the week. With the help of Don, they talked about nutritiously-balanced meals and healthy snack options. They looked through the grocery store circulars and created their shopping list. Prior to COVID-19, they would go grocery shopping together as a unit. What is often a mundane task for some is actually a learning opportunity and social outing for others.

With your gift of $227, you can provide Ed and his housemates not only a week’s worth of groceries, but more importantly, crucial opportunities to learn valuable life skills and be accepted as responsible members of the greater community.

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