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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2017:10:20 07:42:17

The NEPA Intergenerational Coalition held its 11th annual Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Conference Oct. 20 at the Genetti Hotel & Conference Center, Wilkes-Barre. The keynote speaker for “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” was Cynthia Loftus-Vergari, M.A., A.A.E.T.S., CCTP, who specializes in the treatment of sexual dysfunction and traumatic stress. Jennifer Rodgers, Luzerne County Judge; Joan Gower, Post Permanency Services with Catholic Social Services; Deanna German, MSW, deputy director, Luzerne County Children and Youth Services; and Dr. Megan Velo-Zorzi, Psy.D., M.Ed, were part of a panel presentation to share information about the supports available for grandparents and other relative caregivers in the local community. A legal panel also was available to answer questions, which included: attorney Fred Howe, attorney Lisa Pierotti, attorney Nina DeCosmo and attorney Kimberly Fedrigon. State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski was on hand to advise the audience of current happenings in the state legislation regarding relative caregivers, and Rabbi Larry Kaplan, from Temple Israel, provided the closing remarks. One of the key objectives of the conference was to ensure that families and professionals understand community systems, missions, programs and eligibility requirements and to educate families and providers with ways to access these systems, services and programs. For information about the NEPA Intergenerational Coalition, contact Chairperson Howard Grossman at grossmanhj@aol.com. First row, from left, are Howard Grossman, chairperson of NEPA Intergenerational Coalition, and Cynthia Loftus-Vergari, keynote speaker. Second row: Annette Grella, Area Agency on Aging; Joan Gower, Catholic Social Services; Cynthia Howe, Area Agency on Aging, and Gina Galli, Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Mental Health and Developmental Services. Third row: Kim Minor, Special Kids Network; Judy Kresky, Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Early Intervention Program; Leah Matusek, Luzerne County Head Start; Marilee McDonough, Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Early Intervention Program; Geraldine Mikelski, grandparent and NEPA Intergenerational Coalition member; Louise Menendez, NEPA Intergenerational Coalition member, and Susan Harding, Area Agency on Aging.