DiscoverWestern Pennsylvania Game Changers with Chris Hoke
Western Pennsylvania Game Changers with Chris Hoke
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Western Pennsylvania Game Changers with Chris Hoke

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Join former Pittsburgh Steeler and two-time Superbowl champ, Chris Hoke, and his co-hosts, Lisa Mitchell and Tim Campbell, as they talk about charities that are doing great things in Western Pennsylvania and beyond, and how we, as volunteers, can help them. To learn more about the volunteer opportunities discussed on the podcast and many others, go to www.justserve.org. JustServe is a free service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that connects people looking to volunteer in their communities to organizations that could really use their help. So let’s roll up our sleeves, and get to work!
25 Episodes
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We're thrilled to share our 24th episode with you! (Can you believe we've been at this for over two years now? Time flies, for sure!) This month, join Chris, Lisa and special co-host and former Olympic sprinter, Mark Witherspoon, as they get to know Linda Thoma, Director of Operations for the Jean B. Purvis Community Health Center, located in Butler, Pennsylvania. CHC, as it's sometimes known, strives "to provide primary healthcare services - services that are needed to keep our patients healthy so they can care for their families, continue to work and be productive members of the community."  Put simply, the Community Health Center works to "fill in the gaps" for those for whom primary healthcare (including basic dental care, behavioral health care and medications) would not otherwise be available. Listen in as Linda explains how she got involved with CHC; how CHC has improved, and continues to improve, the lives of many in the Butler area; and how CHC's work is only possible because of the many, many dedicated medical and non-medical volunteers. Linda and her team are doing incredible work, but they always need more volunteers. That's where you come in -- please listen in to find out how you can help!For more information about volunteering with CHC and a host of other amazing organizations, go to http://justserve.org/. Just type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you!  
If you're looking for the perfect outdoor family, group or individual project, we've got just the opportunity for you! Join us as we get to know Ned Brockmeyer, Director of Farm Programs at Hilltop Urban Farm. Ned is a HUGE proponent of urban farming and its capacity to change food, neighborhoods and, ultimately, lives. Located on 107 acres of land in Pittsburgh's hilltop community - with 23 acres dedicated to farming - Hilltop Urban Farm is poised to become the largest urban farm in the United States. Rising from the rubble of a demolished government housing complex, Hilltop Urban Farm is bringing education, hope and healthy food to a whole community -- and better yet, you can help them! As you can imagine, there is no shortage of work to be done on the farm, and volunteers are worth their weight in gold (or at least "yukon gold" potatoes). To find out about volunteering at Hilltop Urban Farm and other great organizations,  go to http://justserve.org/ -- just type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you!  
Episode 22 is here! The vaccines have arrived, and not a moment too soon. The next task is helping make sure those who need it most can get it as quickly as possible. In this episode, you will meet six individuals -- Jodi Mitchell, of Spartan Pharmacy; Laurence Christian, municipal manager for Bethel Park; Carolyn Walton, a home health nurse; Syd Litzenburger, a volunteer all-star in her community; Marla Caplan, social worker and ethicist; and our own Dr. Tim Campbell -- who have been on the front lines of the vaccination effort in their communities of Bethel Park and Brentwood. Join us as our "Fab 6" guests share what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how you can be a part of this monumental effort to save lives and help bring peace and hope to those who need it most right now.  You will love getting to know the Fab 6! And better yet, you can join them at upcoming vaccination events as a volunteer! To sign up to volunteer alongside the Fab 6, go to JustServe: Projects. If you're not able to travel to Bethel Park, find out how you can help out in your own community. A great place to start would be to go to http://justserve.org/ -- just type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you!  
Welcome to Episode 21! This month, Tim leads out by sharing some exciting news about upcoming volunteer opportunities involving COVID-19 vaccination efforts -- check www.justserve.org for more information. Chris, Lisa and Tim are then joined by our special guest, Denna Hays, Executive Director at Butler County Alliance for Children (BCAC). Day in and day out, Denna and her team help victims of child abuse and their families as they work through the investigative and intervention process. BCAC helps children and families find safety, comfort and hope while navigating some of the most challenging circumstances they will ever face. As if that isn't enough, through their "Play Safe, Stay Safe" program, Denna and her team have been helping families of all income levels relieve the pressures of COVID-19 by providing them with board games and information about community resources, free of charge.  You owe it to yourself to meet Denna! Her passion for helping children is palpable. She and her team are in the process of moving into a new building -- with quadruple the space of their old building -- and are in need of extra help as they expand! Listen in to learn more about the many ways you can get involved. For more information about volunteering with BCAC and a host of other amazing organizations, go to http://justserve.org/. Just type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you!
Please join us for this special episode, in which we award our 2020 Super Volunteer of the Year Award to Roberta Sciulli! A retired nurse and hospital administrator, Roberta is a powerful force for good in her home-town community of Ambridge, Pennsylvania! Here are just a few of her service highlights: She leads a group called the “Committee to Clean and Beautify Ambridge,” which is “determined to clean and beautify the lovely town of Ambridge.” The group was founded by one her brothers during a time when Ambridge’s “street sweeper” broke – rather than watch the trash pile up, the group decided to do something about it. In addition to regularly hosting clean up events, they plant trees, install and maintain flower beds, and even refurbished a war memorial that had gone into serious disrepair. All things local (ambridgeconnection.com); (4) Committee to Clean and Beautify Ambridge (CCBA) | FacebookShe is on the board of the Ambridge Historic District Economic Development Corporation. (4) Ambridge Historic District EDC | Facebook.She has a son who was injured by an IED while serving overseas with the U.S. Army as an 18-Delta, Special Forces, combat medic. He received an outpouring of love and support during recovery and when he returned home. As a way to give back, she and her family formed a company called Patriot Provisions that sells beef jerky and other snacks, with all proceeds going to the Special Forces Foundation. Patriot Provisions Gives BackShe is very active in her church, where she regularly participates in church bake sale fundraising events, and has been instrumental in developing her parish's youth program.Listen in as Roberta shares her thoughts on service and explains why it is such an important part of her life.  (Be sure to keep listening after the closing music ends -- there's a "bonus feature" of sorts, as you can hear Roberta answer the door to receive a surprise gift!)Don't let Roberta have all the fun! There are a ton of organizations that can use your unique skills and abilities to help them fulfill their missions. To find out more, go to https://www.justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you)!  
Join us for Episode 19! In this month's episode, Chris, Lisa and Tim are joined by special guests, Tom Baker and Erica Cochran, of North Hills Community Outreach (affectionately known as NHCO). Tom is NHCO's Executive Director and Erica is its Development Director. Formed in the late 1980s in response to devastating flooding in Millvale, Shaler and surrounding areas, NHCO has been a powerful force for good in Pittsburgh North Hills area ever since. Tom and Erica are exceptional ambassadors and their passion for doing good is nothing short of amazing! With over 20 services and programs (including a food pantry, organic garden, transportation assistance, employment assistance, utility assistance and more), NHCO  truly is a one-stop shop for people in the North Hills who are in need of a helping hand.  And best of all there are a myriad of ways you can help them! Give the episode a listen to find out more!For more information about volunteering with North Hills Community Outreach and a host of other amazing organizations, go to http://justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you)!  
Welcome to Episode 18! This month, join Chris, Lisa and Ken as they get to know Dr. Howard Slaughter, Jr., CEO and President of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh. Dr. Slaughter is a force of nature, in the best possible way! He's firm believer that home ownership can dramatically improve lives and communities. He's seen it many, many times. From home building and home repairs to financial training and interest free mortgages, Habitat for Humanity makes the dream of home ownership a life-changing reality for many. Dr. Slaughter's passion is contagious, and with between 10 and 12 projects taking place at any given time, he can use all the help he can get! If you're 16 years or older, whether you are a skilled tradesperson, or have no home building experience whatsoever (yet), Habitat for Humanity would love to welcome you as a part of their team!For more information about volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh and a host of other organizations, go to http://justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you)!
Welcome to Episode 17! In this episode, Chris, Lisa and Tim are joined by special quest Kelly Hughes, Founder and Executive Director of Foster Love Project. Located in Dormont, Foster Love Project's mission is to "provide love in action to kids in foster care as well as support to the families who are providing care for them" -- and they do a tremendous job!  Sometimes foster families only have a few moments to welcome the arrival of a new foster child into their home. Kelly and her husband have fostered 8 kids and know how challenging that can be for everyone. Kelly started Foster Love Project as a way to make sure kids moving into foster care are given the essentials they need to feel as loved, valued, and safe as possible (think toothbrush, pajamas, stuffed animal, etc.) To date, Foster Love Project has provided 12,000 "placement bags" to kids entering foster care in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Illinois. Foster Love Project's work doesn't end there. From operating a donation center where kids in foster care can shop for free, to providing guidance and support for families caring for foster kids, its work continues to grow! Foster Love Project is dedicated to helping foster kids, but they can't do it without volunteers. Please consider helping them out!For more information about volunteering with Foster Love Project and a host of other organizations, go to https://www.justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you)! 
This month, Chris, Lisa and Ken (filling in for Tim) are joined by special guest, Megs Yunn, Executive Director and founder of Beverly's Birthdays. Due to a variety of circumstances, many children grow up without ever knowing what it is like to experience their own birthday party. Megs Yunn and her team at Beverly’s Birthdays are dedicated to bringing birthday cheer to children experiencing homelessness and other difficult challenges in Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland Counties. Join us as Megs shares how a conversation with one young girl, Beverly, changed her life forever. Beverly's Birthdays is passionate about making each and every child feel special and loved, and there are a myriad of ways you can help them get the job done! For more information about volunteering with Beverly's Birthdays and a host of other organizations, go to https://www.justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you)! 
This month, Lisa and Tim kick things off by providing updates on a couple of JustServe projects they have recently been involved in while Western Pennsylvania is still in the COVID-19 "yellow" zone. Chris then introduces us to this month's special guest, Reverend Anais Hussian, the Aftercare Mentor Coordinator for Foundation of Hope. Each year, approximately 30,000 people are arrested and incarcerated at the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh. Foundation of Hope's mission is to "empower" them to "restore their relationship with their God, rebuild their lives, and reconcile to their communities.” One way they do that is by providing mentors to help them successfully return to the community. Anais is an absolute pleasure, and the work she is involved in is critical for a segment of our society that is often overlooked and alienated. If you really want to make a potentially life-changing impact on someone else's life, consider becoming a mentor with Foundation of Hope. They could really use your help!For more information about volunteering with Foundation of Hope and a host of other organizations, go to https://www.justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you)!  
This month's episode is a little different, as we are currently at home while the world is grappling with COVID-19. Join Chris, Lisa, Tim, Ken and our special guest, Sherry Gunn, as we discuss ways each of us can help out by "lifting where we stand" during these unique and challenging times. A few weeks ago, Sherry, whose husband is a physician, identified some ways to show love and support for some of the workers battling to keep COVID-19 in check, and quickly moved into action. She shares her experience and explains how we can all pitch in - whether by helping an existing volunteer organization, or by finding our own way to serve. Sherry's project is posted on JustServe as "For The Helpers". You can find out how to participate with "For the Helpers" by going to https://www.justserve.org/projects/0f12f5bc-edd9-421a-9469-918f0c87064b. Tim shares another fantastic new COVID-19 - related project that involves sending cards, letter and pictures to elderly people in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc. who are unable to accept visits during this difficult time. To volunteer for that project, go to  https://www.justserve.org/projects/3c75e61d-cc49-45c8-9dcb-20641baaa51c. A host of other volunteer opportunities are posted on JustServe, as well. To start exploring projects in your area, go to https://www.justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you)!
In this month's episode, Tim leads off by sharing his recent deployment to California to help stave off the Corona virus - he also shares his thoughts on, and a few suggestions for ways to prepare for, COVID 19. Next, we are honored to be joined by Joyce Davis, Executive Director of Lincoln Park Community Center (LPCC). Don't let Joyce's infectious laughter and bubbly outgoing personality fool you -- she means business when it comes to helping those in need! LPCC serves over 600 families in Allegheny County's Penn Hills and Verona communities through monthly food pantries, Head Start programs, a clothing closet, and after school programs -- and they can always use a helping hand! For more information about volunteering with Lincoln Park Community Center and a host of other organizations, go to https://www.justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you)! 
AgeWell Pittsburgh

AgeWell Pittsburgh

2020-02-1539:06

AgeWell Pittsburgh is awesome! In this episode, Chris and Tim are joined by special guests Amy Gold, from the Jewish Community Center, and Ellen Leger, from Jewish Family and Community Services, who serve as volunteer coordinators for AgeWell Pittsburgh. AgeWell Pittsburgh provides a host of services to Pittsburgh's aging population, with an eye to helping them live dignified, independent and meaningful lives. Listen in as we learn all about AgeWell Rides, AgeWell Reads, AgeWell CheckMates, AgeWell Visits and the JCafe. In case you were wondering, being Jewish is not a requisite for either volunteers or the recipients of their services. Amy and Ellen would love to have you join them!For more information about volunteering with AgeWell Pittsburgh and many other organizations, go to https://www.justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you)!
The team is back from the holidays and ready to go! This month, Chris, Lisa and Tim are joined by special guests, Jessica Smith, Disaster Program Manager, and David Herzog, Volunteer Disaster Program Manager, with the American Red Cross of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The American Red Cross' mission is to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. Emergencies in our area include floods, landslides and, most commonly, home fires. The American Red Cross does incredible work to alleviate pain, suffering and trauma, but can't do it without the help of volunteers, like you. Join us as Jessica and Dave (and Tim, who regularly volunteers) share their passion for the vital work the American Red Cross does in our communities. Whether you are can volunteer a little time or a lot, the American Red Cross would love to have you as a part of their team!For more information about volunteering with the American Red Cross and many other organizations, go to https://justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you)!  
Holiday Special - 2019

Holiday Special - 2019

2019-12-1438:52

In this special holiday episode, Chris, Lisa, Tim and Ken begin by discussing the Light the World Campaign. We explain what it is and share some of our experiences with it so far. Anyone can sign up to get daily texts throughout the holiday season, with prompts to perform simple acts of kindness. We then share some of our favorite personal volunteer experiences.As the temperature goes down, the need for volunteers goes up. To learn about some incredible volunteer organizations that could really use your help this holiday season, please go to https://www.justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you)!We wish everyone the happiest of holidays, in whatever form that takes for you! Peace. 
NurturePA

NurturePA

2019-11-1630:32

This month, Chris, Lisa and Tim are joined by special guest, Kate Brennan, Director of Operations at NurturePA. Birth to age three is a critical time in a child’s life. Their experiences as a young child often dictate the type of adults they become. NurturePA helps parents navigate this critical time by providing reliable information and non-judgmental mentoring support through volunteers with whom parents can communicate online. (It really is an ingenious program!) Kate, who has a Master's Degree in Education and Early Intervention, is a passionate advocate for NurturePA. Join us as she helps us understand the importance of NurturePA's mission, and how the program works. Lisa has been serving as a regular volunteer and loves it! She tells us what it's like to serve as a volunteer with NurturePA. NurturePA has a great core of volunteers, but they are looking to expand. If you're a mother (recent or not-so-recent) looking for an opportunity to help parents and infants in a meaningful (and flexible) way that can have a lasting impact, NurturePA could be exactly what you're looking for! For more information about volunteering at NurturePA and a host of other organizations, go to https://www.justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you)! 
Co-hosts Chris, Lisa and Tim are joined by this month's special guest, Peggy Grimes, the Assistant Director at Greater Washington County Food Bank. After Chris shares a personal (perhaps too personal) tidbit, Tim discusses the ongoing need for blood donations through organizations like the American Red Cross. (Did you know 12,000 lives are saved every day in America through transfusions?) Peggy then tells us about all the great work being done at GWCFB, and shares the heartwarming story of how GWCFB was there for her in her time of need. Talk about giving back! In addition to helping to feed approximately 5,500 people a month through 46 distribution sites, GWCFB runs the Healthy Habits Training Center, a farm (complete with orchard, hydroponics garden, and more), and the County Thrift Market. Of course, with all that going on, there's plenty of work to be done and volunteer opportunities abound! Whether you are an individual interested in teaching a healthy cooking class, or a group ready to pack food boxes for seniors, they have a job for you! For more information about volunteering at Greater Washington County Food Bank and a host of other organizations, go to https://www.justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you)!  
Days for Girls

Days for Girls

2019-09-2830:14

This month, co-hosts Chris and Lisa are joined by special guests, Reverend Karie Ann Charlton of the Third Presbyterian Church in Shadyside, and her friend, Carrie Powell. Pastor Karie leads the Pittsburgh Chapter of Days for Girls International, a charitable organization that provides feminine hygiene kits and health education to women and girls who desperately need them. Pastor Karie explains the difficult situations faced by women and girls around the world and how education and hygiene kits can make a huge difference in their lives. She and Carrie Powell, a regular volunteer with Days for Girls, also share how much they love volunteering with Days for Girls and give us a glimpse into the camaraderie and friendship that exists among volunteers. Volunteer opportunities exist for both women and men, and sewing skills, while useful, are not required. Please consider volunteering at Days for Girls, it could be exactly what you need in your life! For more information about volunteering at Days for Girls and a host of other organizations, visit https://www.justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you).
Gallagher Hospice

Gallagher Hospice

2019-08-2534:20

Join co-hosts Chris, Lisa and Tim as they are joined by this month's special guest, Meghan Anderson, Executive Director of Gallagher Hospice. First, Tim shares recent volunteer experiences with the American Red Cross of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and discusses its great need for volunteers in disaster-relief situations (they happen much more often that you might think). Then Meghan discusses the profoundly uplifting and important work Gallagher Hospice does for people with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones. Meghan also discusses the important role that volunteers play at Gallagher Hospice. If you are looking to provide comfort and relief to individuals and families who are facing end of life situations, volunteering at a hospice center, such as Gallagher Hospice, could be a perfect fit for you!  For more information about any of the projects discussed in this episode, go to https://www.justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you), http://gallagherhospice.com/, https://www.redcross.org/local/pennsylvania/greater-pennsylvania/about-us/locations/southwestern-pennsylvania.html.
Join co-hosts Chris, Chelsea, Lisa, Tim as they share recent volunteer experiences - Chelsea, with NurturePA; Lisa, with Days for Girls; and Tim, while on deployment to Louisiana as part of a Disaster Medical Assistance Team. This month, they are joined by Kate Eberle Cotter, Reach and Rise Youth Mentoring Coordinator with the Butler County Family YMCA. Reach and Rise is a group mentoring program that helps empower youth ages 8-15 in overcoming challenges that are prevalent in today’s society, such as low self-esteem, unsatisfactory academic progress, peer difficulties, and poor decision-making skills. The program has been operating successfully in Butler for a while, and is coming to Cranberry Township. They are looking for mentoring volunteers. You could be just the person they need!For more information about any of the projects discussed in this episode, go to https://www.justserve.org/ (type in your zip code to find service opportunities near you), https://bcfymca.org/youth-mentoring, http://nurturepa.org/, https://www.daysforgirls.org/.
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