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  • Permanency Professional Recognition Award Winner, Matt Steiner
    Matt Steiner recieved the 2013 Permanency Professional Recognition award at the SWAN 21st Annual Pennsylvania Permanency Conference held in Lancaster, PA on July 10, 2013.
    Over the years, Matt has taken on cases that others may identify as “non-matchable”, “not able to connect to adults”, “hopeless”, and a laundry list of other labels that say “everyone has given up on me.” Matt creates a new reality for these kids…by valuing their every strength, celebrating their every achievement, and challenging them to see the gifts they possess, he empowers them to press on and value themselves and the gifts they can share with others. Matt’s determination to “leave no avenue unexplored” has led to reconnected relationships between some of the older youth he works with. One youth has reestablished a formal connection with his birth mother after many, many years! Matthew’s ability to engage others working with the youth has led to other professionals catching Matt’s spirit and recharging their “helping” skills. Other professionals have said, “Matt inspired me to do better with this kid!”
    Matt is also a successful trainer not only for Wesley Spectrum Services but also as part of a collaborative initiative (SWPA) in Western PA that provides pre-service training for foster and adoptive families. In addition to this, Wesley Spectrum Services and 2 other agencies joined forces and presented a workshop for affiliates that addresses the value of life book work for some of the more challenging youth. Matt saw the need to assist other adoption and permanency workers and took on the challenge.
    Most recently, Matt learned that a workshop proposal submitted to the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) was selected. He and fellow professionals at TRAC will present Cultural Connections: Honoring Your Internationally Adopted Child's Story. The conference will be held in Ontario, Canada in August 2013.
    These are only some of Matt’s many accomplishments. Matt holds the values that started all of us in this work.  He also keeps the fire needed to seek the connections our youth so greatly deserve.
    Please click here for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review's article on Matt. 
  • The Flying Sock Monkeys celebrated Best Buddies with a rocking performance at Duquesne University on Tuesday night.


  • Garrett Willner was almost 4 years old when he sang his first words.

    His mother, Joy Willner, was worried he might never talk. Then, one day during an afternoon bath, Garrett opened his mouth and began to sing "C is for Cookie" from the popular children's TV show, "Sesame Street."