Client News

Blueplate PR shares all the latest news and media recognition from our clients.


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Ruby Tuesday Fundraiser Serves Medically Fragile Child

“Dining Makes A Difference” is a success.

L-R: John Gibbons, Director of Case Management; Patti Weaver with A2Z; and Mark Gibbons, General Manager for Ruby Tuesday.

January 19, 2012 (Durham, NC) – Ruby Tuesday’s “Dining Makes a Difference” fundraiser for RHA Howell’s Bridges Community Alternative Program for Children program (CAP/C) in December raised enough money to grant a special wish to a medically fragile child.

On Wednesday, December 14, Ruby Tuesday’s near Southpoint Mall in Durham donate 20 percent of its dining receipts that day to grant a wish to a child in the RHA Bridges CAP/C program. The fundraiser was part of Ruby Tuesday’s GiveBack Program.

“Everyone at RHA Bridges wants to thank the restaurant’s general manager Mark Gibbons and his wonderful staff for hosting the Give Back night,” said Debbie Valentine, marketing director for RHA Howell, Inc. “We’d also like to thank Patty Weaver with A2Z Home Medical  for sponsoring the Bridges staff lunch, and all of the families and friends who dined at Ruby Tuesday that day to support the Bridges program.”

RHA Bridges serves as a “bridge” between families, needed services, the Department of Social Services, the Division of Medical Assistance, physicians, and therapists. Bridges helps to coordinate the work of home health professionals that make CAP/C services happen for children with medically complex needs through age 20. Bridges is the go-to source for families of children who need help in navigating the system of care and support. For more information visit www.rhabridges.com.

RHA Howell is a non-profit statewide organization that has been supporting children and adults with disabilities and their families for nearly 40 years. For more information visit www.rhahowell.org.

For more information on Ruby Tuesday’s GiveBack program, go to www.rubytuesday.com/giving-back.

About RHA Howell, Inc.:

RHA Howell is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that has been helping people with disabilities and special needs, and their families, make choices to live more independently for nearly 40 years. Integrity, high standards for quality and hard work are at the core of every RHA Howell disability assistance program. Proven leaders in caring for people, RHA Howell, Inc. is a pioneering force in the field of human services, particularly supporting infants and children. For more information, go to www.rhahowell.org.


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Anson Children’s Center Prepares To “Eat Smart, Move More”

RHA Howell's mission logo

Two grants will help the center implement new opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity.

January 16, 2011 (Polkton, NC) — The Anson Children’s Center in Polkton, NC, a five-star, developmental day center for children, including special needs children, recently received two important grants: an “Eat Smart, Move More” Community Grant, and a Shape NC grant.

“Eat Smart, Move More” grants provide funding to local communities to implement strategies that reverse the rising tide of obesity and chronic disease among North Carolinians by increasing opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity.

“Shape NC,” a groundbreaking initiative supported by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, tackles childhood obesity by focusing on young children in childcare and community settings. In partnership with the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI), Shape NC helps centers and communities create naturalized outdoor learning environments that support child development, physical activity, and healthy eating. NLI’s playground designs also help connect children to nature.

The Anson Children’s Center will use the grants to renovate the Center’s playground and purchase new equipment.

Why so much focus on childhood obesity? According to a 2011 report by the Trust for American’s Health, North Carolina has the 11th highest childhood obesity rate (18.6%) in the nation, and more than 31 percent of NC children ages two to four are considered at risk for becoming over weight.

“Young children’s earliest experiences with healthy eating and physical activity will promote a lifetime of healthy behavior,” said Sam Hedrick, president of RHA Howell, Inc., which owns and operates the Anson Children’s Center. “We are delighted that the Anson Center was chosen to part of this very exciting initiative.”

The Anson Center is ranked in the top 25th percent of North Carolina’s childcare centers, serving a five star pre-school program. Anson is licensed to serve 66 children and is located at 383 Cotton Street, Polkton, NC  29135. Ginny Davis serves as executive director. For more information on RHA Howell’s Anson Children Center, call 704.272.7076.

For more information on Shape NC, visit www.smartstart.org. For more information on North Carolina’s Eat Smart, Move More initiative, go to http://www.eatsmartmovemorenc.com/.

For more information on RHA Howell, Inc., visit www.rhahowell.org.

About RHA Howell, Inc.:

RHA Howell is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that has been helping people with disabilities and special needs, and their families, make choices to live more independently for nearly 40 years. Integrity, high standards for quality and hard work are at the core of every RHA Howell disability assistance program. Proven leaders in caring for people, RHA Howell, Inc. is a pioneering force in the field of human services, particularly supporting infants and children. For more information, go to www.rhahowell.org.


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Ceramic Christmas Trees Made by People with Disabilities Now Available Online

RHA Howell announces annual fundraiser.  

December 14, 2011 (Greensboro, NC) — RHA Howell has announced that the popular lighted ceramic Christmas trees made by people with disabilities are available again this year for purchase online.

Available in green or white, the ceramic Christmas trees stand about 12 inches tall and feature tiny lights on the branches that are illuminated by a bulb inside the tree.

People with disabilities who are served by RHA Howell’s Greensboro day and community programs made all of the trees. Proceeds from sales will benefit RHA’s developing arts immersion program.

“Our Christmas trees have been a popular fundraiser for many years,” said special events coordinator Debbie Valentine. “They’re a lovely holiday decoration and our clients love making them.”

The ceramic trees are $25 each plus shipping and handling ($15 via UPS ground). Or they can be picked up at RHA Howell Greensboro, 1508 Gatewood Ave., Greensboro, NC, 27405. Orders should be placed online at www.rhahowell.org by clicking on the Christmas trees icon.

For more information contact Kandy John at 336-273-6105, email: kjohn@rhanet.org; or Roger Jones at 252-521-1131, email: rojones@rhanet.org.

The Greensboro day and community programs are part of RHA Howell’s statewide service to children and adults with disabilities and their families. For more information visit www.rhahowell.org.

About RHA Howell, Inc.

RHA Howell is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that has been helping people with disabilities and special needs, and their families, make choices to live more independently for more than 35 years. Integrity, high standards for quality, and hard work are at the core of every RHA Howell disability assistance program. Proven leaders in caring for people, RHA Howell, Inc. is a pioneering force in the field of human services, particularly supporting infants and children. For more information, please go to www.rhahowell.org.


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RHA Howell’s CAP/C Program Partners with Shaw University’s Social Work Department

To secure internship placements for students.

December 13, 2011 (Raleigh, NC) — Bridges, RHA Howell’s Community Alternative Program for Children (CAP/C), has announced its new partnership with the Shaw University Department of Social Work’s internship program.

Bridges is honored to partner with such an outstanding university and looks forward to continue this relationship into future,” said John Gibbons, program director.

The program allows Social Work students to interact with clients of the agency or organization where they’re placed, to provide coordination of family support, and to learn about community resources.

Students in the program work a minimum of 16 hours per week in the field agency to which they’re assigned, 240 hours per semester for a total of 480 hours.

The first intern from Shaw, Salima Hines, began at the Bridges program in September. Manina McNeil, assistant professor and coordinator of field education at Shaw, worked with the RHA Bridges staff to get Hines the internship opportunity.

RHA Howell is a statewide, non-profit organization that that has been working with children and adults with disabilities for nearly 40 years. The RHA Bridges program provides the “bridge” between families and services they need, working with the Department of Social Services, the Division of Medical Assistance, physicians, therapists, and in-home care providers.

Bridges also provides CAP/C services for medically fragile children through age 21. For more information visit www.rhabridges.com.

For more information on Shaw University’s Social Work department, contact Manina McNeill at 919-333-4652.

About RHA Howell, Inc.:

RHA Howell is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that has been helping people with disabilities and special needs, and their families, make choices to live more independently for nearly 40 years. Integrity, high standards for quality, and hard work are at the core of every RHA Howell disability assistance program. Proven leaders in caring for people, RHA Howell, Inc. is a pioneering force in the field of human services, particularly supporting infants and children. For more information, go to www.rhahowell.org.


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Bridges CAP/C Program and Hilltop Home Collaborate with “Money Follows The Person” To Make A Child’s Dream Come True

November 29, 2011 (Raleigh NC) — A child living with complex medical needs will be moving from her

L-R: Maria and her twin sister Nicole.

current residential placement back to her family’s home due to the collaborative efforts of RHA Howell’s Bridges Community Alternative Program for Children (CAP-C), Hilltop Home (a private, nonprofit residential center), and the North Carolina “Money Follows the Person” project.

Money Follows the Person (MFP) is a state demonstration project that assists people who live in inpatient facilities to move into their own communities with supports. The project’s intent is to allow North Carolinians to have greater choice about where they receive their long-term supports.

This marks the first time that MFP has assisted in transitioning a child with complex medical needs back to her home through CAP-C. Much of the credit goes to Holly Lemieux, Executive Director of Hilltop Home, for recognizing that this particular child was ready to return home, and for getting CAP-C to assist in helping the family re-unite.

“This 18-month partnership with Hilltop Home and RHA Howell CAP/C has been a true labor of love,” Lemieux said. “After nine years, this family is realizing their dream of having Maria at home where she belongs. Many thanks to Lena Robertson, RHA Howell CAP/C case manager, for her advocacy in making this happen.”

The RHA Bridges staff has been working closely for months with Trish Farnham, Project Director, and Christy Blevins, Assistant Director for the MFP project, to make this family’s dream a reality.

“Our CAP-C professional team has been working diligently to identify the needs this child will have upon her discharge to ensure a seamless and successful transition back to home,” said John Gibbons, Director of Bridges CAP-C Case Management. “Our case managers also helped to organize home and vehicle modifications to make the environment ready for the child’s return home.”

The modifications included widening doorways, installing a ceiling lift to move Maria safely about the home, building an entry ramp, and modifying the family van to accommodate her wheelchair.

“It has been quite an undertaking for our case managers,” said Gibbons, “but one that has also been rewarding for all of us.”

MFP provided funding of $23,000 to help make this dream a reality. The funds were approved in advance to ensure that the needed modifications could be in working order prior to Maria’s discharge from Hilltop Home and before the effective date for her CAP-C services to begin.

For more information on North Carolina’s Money Follows The Person program: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dma/medicaid/MFP.htm.

About RHA Bridges:

RHA Bridges, a program within RHA Howell, Inc., serves as a “bridge” between families, needed services, the Department of Social Services, the Division of Medical Assistance, physicians, and therapists. CAP-C Bridges helps to coordinate the work of home health professionals who provide care for children with medically complex needs through age 21. For more information on the Bridges CAP-C Case Management program, visit www.rhabridges.com or call 919-803-2960.

About RHA Howell, Inc.:

RHA Howell is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that has been helping people with disabilities and special needs, and their families, make choices to live more independently for nearly 40 years. Integrity, high standards for quality and hard work are at the core of every RHA Howell disability assistance program. Proven leaders in caring for people, RHA Howell, Inc. is a pioneering force in the field of human services, particularly supporting infants and children. For more information, go to www.rhahowell.org.


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Professional Chef Volunteers Time To Teach Cooking Class At Magnolia Place

Chef Pat Walston helps 17 young men and women prepare an Italian

Chef Pat Walston (center) with Magnolia Place staff (L-R) Cynthia Daye, Tasha Howard, and Vonda Ashford.

menu.

September 23, 2011 (Goldsboro, NC) — Pat Walston, Corporate Chef for House-Autry Mills volunteered her time recently to conduct a cooking class at RHA Howell’s Magnolia Place in Goldsboro, NC.

Magnolia Place is a 24-hour supported living program for people with disabilities. Its mission is to provide quality training and residential services for selected students of the Work Source East Vocational Rehabilitation Facility.

Seventeen Magnolia Place residents attended the hands-on cooking class to learn how to prepare an Italian menu.

But first, Chef Pat taught the group about food safety and handling. Then she divided

Residents prepare dessert.

them into three smaller groups: one to prepare the appetizers, one to prepare the entrees, and another to prepare dessert.

With assistance from Magnolia Place staff members, Chef Pat demonstrated techniques of cooking as the group prepared Caprese salad skewers (appetizers), two hand-made deep-dish pizzas, hand-made meatball subs (the students prepared the meatballs one by one), and a chocolate brownie trifle for dessert. In the process, they learned how to prepare an actual meal and how to work together as a team in the kitchen.

Afterward, they all sat together and enjoyed the meal.

“We are so grateful to Chef Pat for donating her time to the Magnolia program and for giving back to her community,” said RHA Howell’s marketing director Debbie Valentine, who joined in the fun as a member of “Team Brownie” to make dessert.

Residents prepare meatball subs.

“Some of the guys were a bit skeptical at first, but after feasting on the Italian-inspired meal, they all wanted to learn more about cooking!”

Chef Pat Walston, who lives in Goldsboro, is a regular participant in RHA Howell’s annual “Epicurious Vino Challenge” fundraiser held each summer at Hinnant Family Vineyards in Pine Level, NC. The challenge requires professional chefs to use a Hinnant wine as a main ingredient in a signature dish. Chef Pat received an Honorable Mention in the People’ Choice category.

Magnolia Place is located at 1401 Salem Church Road, Goldsboro, NC 27530. For more information about the Magnolia Place program, contact Charlotte Wooten, Residential Director at 919-734-9039 or visit www.rhahowell.org.

About RHA Howell

RHA Howell is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that has been helping people with disabilities and special needs, and their families, make choices to live more independently for nearly 40 years. Integrity, high standards for quality and hard work are at the core of every RHA Howell disability assistance program. Proven leaders in caring for people, RHA Howell, Inc. is a pioneering force in the field of human services, particularly supporting infants and children. For more information, go to www.rhahowell.org.


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Modern, Green Playhouse Designed To Inspire Imagination

Frank Harmon Architect PA participates in Playhouse Parade fundraiser, auction. 

Color scheme, elevations

September 20, 2011 (Raleigh, NC) — Award-winning architect Frank Harmon, FAIA, believes “the best toy is one that allows the greatest freedom. Lego is a good example, a child under a table with a tablecloth surrounding her is another, and nothing is better than a muddy stream.” That’s why the custom-built playhouse his firm has designed for the upcoming Playhouse Parade in Raleigh is about creating spaces that will inspire a child’s imagination.

The Playhouse Parade is a collaboration among the City of Raleigh Parks & Recreation Department, Cameron Village Shopping Center, the Triangle Builders Guild, and a variety of designers, architects, businesses, and individuals to raise funds for the Sassafras All Children’s Playground, a new playground in Laurel Hills that will be accessible for children with special needs.

Frank Harmon’s design team is well-known for modern, sustainable and regionally appropriate

Exterior under construction

architecture, and this playhouse – like the Dog House the firm designed in 2005 to raise funds for Triangle Beagle Rescue of North Carolina — is no exception.

In modern architecture, form follows function. But in the playhouse, form follows play — to allow children’s imagination the greatest freedom.

Rather than designing a themed playhouse — a pirate ship or a firehouse, for example — Harmon’s playhouse “lets a child use his or her imagination,” he says, “from tea parties to puppet shows and even making mud-pies.”

The tall, narrow structure features a covered porch/stage, a lower-level playroom with two windows, and a loft level with a balcony or ”Juliet” window. On the first level, behind the ladder that rises to the loft, is the “kitchen,” where a shelf with buckets sits ready for mud-pie making. Sliding shutters at both lower windows open for puppet shows but close to keep out rain — and imaginary forces attacking a fort. The

Interior showing upper level loft.

large main door at the front of the playhouse can be thrown open for stage productions. In its closed position, a smaller door-within-a door allows children to enter and exit, and a “peep hole” window above the small door allows sun light in and serves as a “spy portal.” A planter in front of the porch/stage invites children to grow flowers and vegetables.

“How important is it,” Harmon asks, “for children to learn where a tomato comes from?”

In keeping with the principals of green, or sustainable, design, the structure is composed of locally available materials: painted wood (plywood and 2x4s and 2x2s), metal (galvanized pipe), and translucent corrugated polycarbonate for the roof. The windows provide natural ventilation and lighting, and the deep roof overhang protects the interior from the hot summer sun.

Harmon and his design team consulted with a child psychologist and several children during the design process, and built the playhouse to the scale of a three- to seven-year-old child.

“It’s real, but small,” says Courtney Evans, Harmon’s architectural intern, who spearheaded the project.

Twelve design teams are designing, building, and donating playhouses that will be displayed in Cameron Village on two Saturdays, October 8 and 15, then auctioned off on October 22 during the “Night Under

Window with sliding shutter.

The Stars Playhouse Parade Gala.” Proceeds from the auction will be used to restore the city’s one-of-a-kind playground that gives kids, no matter what their abilities, the chance to play. For more information: http://sassafrasplay.org/playhouse.

For more information on Frank Harmon Architect PA, visit www.frankharmon.com.

About Frank Harmon Architect PA

Frank Harmon Architect PA is an award-winning architectural firm that is recognized nationally as a leader in modern, innovative, sustainable and regionally appropriate design. Its competition-winning design for the AIA NC Center for Architecture & Design is currently under construction in downtown Raleigh. The firm’s work has been featured in numerous books, magazines, journals and online magazines on architecture, including ArchDaily.com, Dwell, Architectural Record, Architect and Residential Architect. The firm ranked 21st in Architecture magazine’s Top 50 firms in the nation this year and Frank Harmon, FAIA, founder and principal, was included in Residential Architect magazine’s first “RA 50: The short list of architects we love.” For more information, go to www.frankharmon.com.