VYH’s Lisa Weingartner Named Pennsylvania Social Worker of the Year

Lisa Weingartner, Senior Vice President of Northeast and Central Independent Living Programs at Valley Youth House, has recently received the Social Worker of the Year Award from the National Association of Social Workers Pennsylvania Chapter. Lisa received her award during the NASW-PA annual conference on September 17th at the Keystone Awards Gala. The theme of the night was to celebrate “Social Work Super Heroes” awarding those who have done extraordinary work for their clients and their community.

Lisa started working for Valley Youth House in 1996 serving as a Counselor.  After working as a Supervisor for Northampton County Children & Youth, Lisa returned to Valley Youth House in 2005 to work as an Associate Director, was later promoted to a Director position, and then to Vice President in 2016.  Lisa is a Licensed Social Worker with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Rutgers University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Marywood University.

Lisa received her nomination from Christina Gigler, Director of Field Education and a Clinical Instructor at Marywood University School of Social Work. In her nomination Christina stated:

“Her passion for not only doing whatever it takes to help others, especially youth in her programs or community, but also for the social work profession shines through.  She consistently works above and beyond the call of duty to assist her clients and staff”

Christina highlighted the role Lisa has had on the Regional Integrated Collaborative for Healthy Youth (RICHY) project, a grant funded program working with community partners designed to support young mothers with health services for themselves and their babies. RICHY’s partners include:

  • DeSales University Department of Nursing and Health
  • The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust
  • Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) Department of Community Health, Department of Family Medicine, and the Lehigh Valley Physician Group – Family Health Center
  • Marywood University School of Social Work
  • Valley Youth House Maternity Group Home

Christina explained how Lisa’s role on the program has been crucial. Additionally, she recognized Lisa’s inspiring work within the community. An example was her involvement with the PA Youth Count with the Lehigh Valley Regional Homeless Advisory Board; Lisa collaborated with advocates, agencies and volunteers to count the number of homeless teens living in the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton area.

Lisa herself has been quoted in several media publications in 2016-17 where she spoke about her work on the RICHY project. She stated:

“Providing quality healthcare and supporting youth in using the healthcare system is essential to reach this goal. The RICHY project is a collaborative effort providing the youth with on-site access to healthcare, but more importantly a level of healthcare education that empowers the girls to make their own healthcare decisions. Having this knowledge coupled with access to integrated services has improved their quality of life and given them and their children a better chance at future success.”

Within the nomination Lisa also received recognition from fellow VYH staff members, Ken Klein, Director with Valley Youth House Independent Living Program and Elizabeth Allen, Supervisor of Staff Development with Valley Youth House. They highlighted:

“Lisa has been a champion for diversity at Valley Youth House and the social community at large. She has helped to bring in community resources to train and share their experiences with staff.  This has raised the overall level of awareness of issues in working with youth and families of different cultures and backgrounds. This has also led to a greater level of strategic focus on diversity in recruitment and hiring at Valley Youth House.”

Lisa consistently demonstrates a high level of dedication to her work, and is a thought leader in her field.  Her work aiding the community shows her passion and commitment to helping others.