United Way Summer Lunch Program

The Pocono Mountains United Way reports that 53 percent of Monroe County school-aged children receive free and reduced-price meals during the school year. 

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One can imagine the need, then, during the summer months, when students do not have access to a school cafeteria. 

The agency aims to bridge the so-called meal gap for these children by offering a summer lunch program, free at various locations in the region. This year, United Way officials worked to identify additional sites and create partnerships to improve the program and reach more children who may be in need. 

Among the partners is Barry Isett & Associates, Inc., a multi-discipline engineering firm that serves eastern and central Pennsylvania and has an office in Stroudsburg. Isett associates have been spending their Fridays this summer helping the United Way feed children in Monroe County. 

Service is one of the four values that Isett associates strive to uphold, according to Gregg Pavlick, Vice President for Isett’s Northeast Pennsylvania Region. The company affords employees time during work hours to volunteer on projects that an Isett committee identifies as aligning with the company culture. 

“Our associates take pride in giving to the communities where we live and work,” Pavlick said. “They are encouraged to look for opportunities to serve, and the company is not only happy but committed to giving them the chance to make a difference.”  

The United Way sought volunteers to pick up lunches at the Northampton Community College Monroe Campus in Tannersville, where Chef Gayle Daniels of Sodexo and her team prepare and pack food for the children. 

Isett associates are among those who stepped up to help deliver from the campus to the YMCA in Stroudsburg, one of several drop-off locations. 

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Sometimes, Isett associates stay at the YMCA to help set up, serve lunch or clean up. Other times, the volunteers simply return the containers to the campus. 

John DeCusatis, an Isett associate who works out of the company’s Stroudsburg office, assisted at the YMCA during his scheduled service time on a recent Friday. 

“I helped set up the lunch area and served the campers chocolate milk for lunch,” he said. “It was so much fun.” 

Isett made arrangements to have a company van switched to its Stroudsburg office for the summer months so it could be used for the deliveries. 

The move came after Isett associate Chuck Niclaus filled his full-size Toyota Camry with the food boxes on a particularly busy Friday. Niclaus made two trips to make sure lunch ran on time, but he was more than happy to accommodate. 

“Overall, it was a good experience and everyone seemed quite appreciative,” he said. “The room was filled with smiling children eating when I made the second delivery.” 

Paying It Forward at The TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce

The Isett Team Gets Their Hands Dirty for the TriCounty Area Chamber — The TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce serves businesses and communities in Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties while creating valuable connections. The chamber’s office is in the historic Security Trust Building in the heart of the Borough of Pottstown. Barry Isett & Associates is a proud member of the TriCounty Area Chamber.

The chamber put out a call to their membership in May, seeking support in the form of volunteerism and the donation of plants to beautify their rooftop deck area. This unique space, accessible only from inside the chamber’s office, offers sunny westward views and overlooks the Smith Family Plaza. The rooftop deck features 22 waist-high planters that needed some attention. With the help and expertise of Christine Mildner and Ashley Eichlin, a plan was designed and a plant list was prepared (with second and tertiary suggestions, based upon availability). Francee Fuller connected with a local Allentown grower and Erin Burke secured additional landscaping materials from a Pottstown area nursery.

After a week of intense thunderstorms, the project date arrived, and the group had a reprieve with beautiful clear skies. The team got down to work — hauling flats of plants; power washing the deck surface (the coveted task of the day); weeding; and getting the new flowers established in the planters. The rooftop deck planting’s success is due to the team efforts of Erin Burke, Anna Hayford, Candace Hickey, Jennifer Isett, Karl Leitner, Kelly Raines, Carmelina Sanchez and Paul Schmoll.

The next time you are at the TriCounty Area Chamber, make sure you check out the Barry Isett & Associates Rooftop Deck.

Northeast Regional Holiday Service Project

In the spirit of giving back during the holiday season, the Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, and Stroudsburg Offices initiated the Northeast Region Holiday Service Project. Isett employees voted to donate their time and money to sponsor children through local county agencies. The Children and Youth Agencies of Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties look for individuals, families, or businesses to sponsor children, ranging in age from birth to 21 years old, who are in foster care or receive services from the county's Office of Children and Youth. Sponsors are asked to spend approximately $50-$100 per child to ensure that all children in the family receive an equitable amount of gifts.

Coordinated by Stephanie Milewski, the initial goal was to raise enough money to sponsor one child in Lackawanna County and four children in Luzerne County. Through the generosity of donors from the Northeast Region and other Isett offices, enough money was raised to sponsor nine children from five families: two from Lackawanna and seven from Luzerne! With the help of their families, shoppers Tim Sisock, Stephanie Milewski, Tina Merli, Christine Troxell, and Lori Girvan braved the hustle and bustle of local stores to purchase gifts that were on each child's wish list. Everyone had fun picking out books, toys, clothes, and bedding for the children! Back at the offices, employees, especially Scott Grundowski, had fun wrapping and wrapping and wrapping-whew! It was great to give not only money, but also time to such a worthy cause.

Just over $730 was raised to purchase gifts and an additional $350 was donated to The Children and Youth Agencies through Isett's Matching Charitable Support Program. Thank you to all who participated! Everyone agreed that the Northeast Region Holiday Service Program should become an annual event.

Let's Build Construction Camp for Girls

Emma Yeh, EIT, a staff professional in the Municipal Engineering Department, lead Isett volunteers in Let's Build Construction Camp for Girls last week. This week long event was organized by ABC, Construction Specifications Institute Greater Lehigh Valley Chapter and Lehigh Valley Architecture, Construction and Engineering. It gives girls between the ages of 14-18 who have an interest in the engineering, construction, architecture and similar fields hands-on training and serves to provide information on these careers as well.

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East Coventry's 3rd Annual Rock the Wall 5K and 10K Run

Isett was a sponsor of East Coventry's 3rd Annual Rock the Wall 5K and 10K Run. The event-a fundraiser to support the township's parks and recreation-was held this past Saturday. Isett's Paul Schmoll and Karl Leitner were also participants in the 5K race. The guys had great times: they both finished first in their respective age bracket and were among the top 25 overall. Paul even placed 4th overall, finishing at a time of 25:01 minutes! Congratulations to both Paul and Karl!

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March of Dimes

We are excited to share that Isett's own Tracy Torres was able to surpass her goal by raising $542 for March of Dimes March for Babies this year! This event helps save babies from premature birth, the leading cause of newborn death. Every year, half a million babies in the U.S. are born prematurely.  And the numbers are on the rise.  If we don’t join together to fight premature birth, the problem will continue to get worse. The money raised helps with research for the prevention and care of premature babies.

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CANstruction 2017

Barry Isett & Associates, Inc. is proud to be a part of the Lehigh Valley CANstruction initiative, organized locally by The American Institute of Architects, Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter (AIA-EPA) and the Construction Specifications Institute, Allentown Chapter (CSI). The food used in these can-structures are donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania. Team Isett Can! - with the help of our sponsors - used 5,625 cans and 63 bags of rice for their "Comic-CAN" inspired structure.

 The team, led by John Carson and including Christine Mildner, Tracy Torres, Ben Craig, Josh Liples, Steve Landis, Christine Hower, Emma Yeh, Theresa Muldowney, Bill Leitner and Alexandria Carson, developed and built a can-structure to inspire smashing out hunger:  the Incredible Hulk crashes through the wall of hunger with its giant moving fist (yes, moving!); Iron Man's mask stands guard as Thor's hammer chips away at the wall; and Captain America's shield protects the rear. They even brought light to the eyes of Iron Man! This sculpture, along with those from six other teams, were displayed at the Lehigh Valley Mall.

 We would like to sincerely thank our sponsors:  Wegmans, New Tripoli Bank, Jdog Promotions, East Penn Self Storage, Sundance Transport, Diversified Lighting and Barry Isett & Associates. Without their contributions, none of this would be possible.

CANstruction 2018

Isett is proud to be a part of the Lehigh Valley CANstruction initiative for the fourth year in a row, organized locally by The American Institute of Architects, Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter (AIA-EPA) and the Construction Specifications Institute, Allentown Chapter (CSI). The food used in these can-structures are donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania.

 This year’s theme was the “aCANemy Awards” and we chose to go above and beyond with our Moana display. We constructed a giant 6’ tall cresting wave along with a large boat/sail and small waves to replicate a scene from the movie Moana. We were even able to make a portion of our display move and we added lights and music too. Between all 5 teams, we were able to come up with ~29,000 cans of food. Our Moana display had 8,940 cans alone. Special thanks to our sponsors: East Penn Self Storage - Fogelsville, Wegmans, Prologis, Nestle Waters, New Tripoli Bank and Sundance Transport. Without their generosity none of this would be possible.

2018 Volunteer Challenge

Isett was happy to continue 2017's efforts at the Salvation Army's Hospitality House with an added pergola and new plantings for the community garden. Last year's garden was a huge success and we were excited to continue the next phase of it. The project—Matthew's Garden—is being dedicated in memory of a child who continues to inspire. A special thanks to Dan Schantz Greenhouse in Allentown and Dries Do-It Center in Macungie for their donations!

Miracle League of The Lehigh Valley

For those who don't know, Miracle League of The Lehigh Valley hosts an annual Halloween night for children with special needs and their immediate families. Isett's own Besty Faust, Randy Kocher, and Kelly Raines were all part of the fun this year! Isett and other businesses and organizations came together to provide all sorts of games and goodies for the young trick or treaters. It was fun for all involved and a great way to celebrate Halloween.

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Hydromania

This year at HydroMania—a water education festival geared towards third and fourth graders—Isett demonstrated three examples of stormwater drainage as it passed over (a) impervious pavement and filtered through (b) a lawn and (c) rain garden. The students were able to see the time difference for each scenario and discussed where the water cycles to; the impacts of trash, oils and sediment that gets flushed with the rain and how that can lead to flooding; and ways to prevent pollution from entering the storm system in the first place. Other demonstrations included tapping into an existing waterline and a water relay race that showed how water gets lost as it travels—possibly never reaching our streams, rivers and oceans.

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Pennsylvania Envirothon

Isett volunteers Phil Schiebel, Keith Valentine and Kim Kyra and got down and dirty with middle and high school students at the Pennsylvania Envirothon this year. Phil served as a proctor for the high school soils exam and demonstrated how to differentiate and identify soil horizons in a soil pit, as well as identify soil texture by feel. As Kim and Keith manned the soils station, Keith had the opportunity to teach the students about soil composition, the five soil factors that influence how soils are formed and how to differentiate soil horizons. He introduced them to the Soil Survey for gaining basic information and suitability classifications for soils in the area. They also discussed practices that can have an negative impact on soils and practices to conserve soil and prevent erosion.