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Philadelphia Flyers Assembly at Green Tree School & Services Educates and Entertains


(L-R) Philadelphia Flyers Fan Development staff member Jason Tempesta, GTSS paraprofessional educator in Autism Support, Jessica Hudson, GTSS students Amir Taylor- Thomas and Foxx Marion, GTSS physical education teacher Trish Morris, Flyer Fan Development staff member Tom Peffall, and (center/back) Philadelphia Flyer legend Bob “The Hound” Kelly.

On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, Green Tree School & Services (GTSS) held a Philadelphia Flyers assembly in the gymnasium of the facility located at 1196 East Washington Lane in Philadelphia. The agency has been serving children with special needs since 1957. The assembly focused on the theme of teamwork and being safe when playing sports.  Flyers Ambassador of Hockey, Bob "The Hound" Kelly, was on hand to lead the assembly.  

Approximately 40 students from the Autism Support Program and Lower School were in attendance.  This was the first time the Philadelphia Flyers presented their School Assembly program to children with special needs. Jason Tempesta and Tom Peffall, members of the Philadelphia Flyers Fan Development staff, helped Bob Kelly educate students on using teamwork to achieve their goals in school, sports and at home.  Kelly also spoke with students about being safe when playing sports and taught them about the sport of hockey. The program included video highlights, teacher-student races, student equipment modeling, and more.

  Selected in 1970 by the Philadelphia Flyers, Bob Kelly was a left-winger who helped guide the Flyers to their two consecutive Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975.  He scored the 1975 cup-winning goal.

Green Tree School & Services programs and services include a licensed Approved Private School, Outpatient Services, Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services and School Therapeutic Services. It is located in historic West Oak Lane, but provides services throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. GTSS serves over 350 individuals per year with Autism Spectrum Disorders, those who are identified as Seriously Emotionally Disturbed, the Neurologically Impaired and others through its Behavioral Health Outpatient program. Please call (215) 866-0200 to learn more. Check out the photos from the event on Green Tree School & Services Facebook page.


Bob “The Hound” Kelly speaks to Green Tree School & Services students about hockey and teamwork as GTSS student John Paterson tries on the equipment, assisted by Philadelphia Flyers Fan Development staff member, Tom Peffall.



Holiday Season at Green Tree School & Services

It’s the holiday season at Green Tree School & Services, and students are involved in many projects that teach them a little about commerce and recycling, a lot about public service, and to think of those less fortunate during the holiday season.

feed your community

GTSS students have just begun a Winter Clothing Drive and a Feed the Community effort. The Upper School Juniors are collecting coats, jeans, sweaters, gloves, hats and scarves for those without these essentials in donations boxes located throughout the School. Those busy Upper School Juniors are also collecting nonperishable food to donate to shelters for those in need. This includes canned goods, boxed cereal, tea bags, pancake mix, peanut butter, jelly, rice, oatmeal, and baby food/formula.

donate shoes
Jaylen helps out by taking the shoes and sneakers to the recyclers.

The Shoe Recycling Collection has been going on for a while now. All of these old shoes and sneakers are being recycled to make new athletic surfaces. As the photograph shows, the staff and students have been more than happy to participate!


Finally, GTSS math teacher Lauren Seder is once again working with Upper School students to bake pies from scratch just in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Staff buys the pies (Pumpkin, Sweet Potato Souffle and Apple) and they taste quite as yummy as those shown made by last year’s class. This is the fifth year for this drive and all profits will benefit the GTSS’ activities fund, which will help cover the cost of student special events and trips.




(L-R) Rock Bottom King of Prussia general manager Garrett Coats, assistant manager Lauren Sigafoos and Chef Ted Whitaker.

Green Tree School & Services held a second fundraiser at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery at King of Prussia as they celebrated the tapping of their “Rocktoberfest” beer. Rock Bottom - King of Prussia donated $1.00 to GTSS for every Rocktoberfest beer that sold during the event. In addition, they donated money raised from the evening’s silent auction and a percentage of the proceeds on every Rocktoberfest pint purchased for six weeks beginning September 17, 2014. Many fun items were auctioned off including four club seats to a Sixers game, a signed Ryan Howard autographed baseball, a Rock Bottom prize bucket and more. There was a DJ, free appetizers and great Rock Bottom food, Rocktoberfest beer and many other selections.

Just under $1,400 was raised to help provide programs for those with unique challenges and abilities at GTSS.  Thanks to all who came out and supported GTSS.  It was a great event and the folks at Rock Bottom King of Prussia couldn't have been any nicer. 



AND GROSSES $225,000


lasting legacy awards
(L-R) Julia Harmelin, honoree Steve Harmelin, and CEO Trish Wellenbach at the Lasting Legacy Award Dinner.

The Lasting Legacy Award dinner was held on June 5, and left an indelible mark on all who attended. Over 300 people gathered to see honoree Stephen Harmelin of Dilworth Paxson receive the first Lasting Legacy Award and for Steve and his wife, Julia, to announce the creation of the Stephen and Julia Harmelin Fund for the Arts & Creative Expression at Green Tree School & Services.

After a brief cocktail party, guests were ushered into the gorgeous Union League of Philadelphia ballroom. A 56-page program and advertising book greeted guests at their tables. Alison Harmelin, Steve’s daughter and CBS News correspondent, served as Mistress of Ceremonies, and reporter Shirleen Allicot spoke and represented TV sponsor 6abc. Dinner chair and First Lady of Pennsylvania, Susan Corbett shared impressions about the school and the students and parents she met earlier in the evening and spoke about the importance of supporting special needs education. CEO Patricia Wellenbach thanked guests for coming and explained the genesis of the Lasting Legacy Award. Steve Harmelin was most gracious, witty and appreciative in his acceptance speech. An electrifying video tribute to Steve excited the audience, many of whom knew him but might not have known about all of his accomplishments over the years. A beautiful bowl made from a tree from Monticello presented as a gift to Steve charmed the audience, and a personalized item created by longtime editorial cartoonist formerly of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Tony Auth, drew a laugh.

tony auth

But it was the surprise performance by GTSS student Dacia Clark-Nedd that drew the longest and most enthusiastic ovation from those in attendance. Her killer version of John Legend’s number one hit, “All of Me,” left most of the audience dabbing their eyes (and her first fan letter arrived at GTSS soon after). The money raised that night will go directly to the new Arts and Creative Expression Fund that benefits students just like Dacia.

Main Line Media News photographer Joan Bang attended the event to take photos for a future issue of “Main Line Times” and “Main Line Suburban Life," and 6abc recorded footage to show on their PHL17 10:00 p.m. news hosted by Shirleen Allicot. 6abc also showed the footage on their own newscast later that evening with Jim Gardner doing the voiceover for the story.

The announced gross of $225,000 was a great accomplishment for an inaugural year. Talk has already begun on what a future Lasting Legacy Award dinner might look like. Photos from the night will be available soon. Thanks to all who attended and supported the event.



The new campus of Green Tree School & Services

A new playground was constructed at Green Tree School & Services on May 15 in partnership with AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership and Keystone First.  Over 30 volunteers aided in construction of the playground which was funded by a grant through the Safe Playground Build initiative which aims to provide a place for children to engage in physical activities outdoors.

Construction began at 7:00 AM, ended around noon, and was followed by an official ribbon cutting ceremony for the playground soon after.  President of AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership, Maria Pajil Battle opened the ceremony with remarks on the build.  Ellen Baker of Keystone First spoke briefly and was followed by Green Tree School & Services CEO Patricia Wellenbach, who thanked each partner organization for their generous support and involvement.  Philadelphia Councilwoman Cindy Bass commented next and thanked her husband, Scott, who took part in the build.  He is an employee of AmeriHealth Caritas.  State Representative Stephen Kinsey remarked on the importance of organizations such as GTSS in the community.  State Senator LeAnna Washington spoke about the significance of outdoor play spaces.  Henry Chou of MidAtlantic Color Graphics, a sponsor of the build, was also in attendance to lend his support.  All speakers and sponsors then cut the official ribbon along with two GTSS students, and the playground opened for business with over a dozen children from Green Tree School & Services playing on the  new equipment immediately after.

NewsWorks attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and snapped photos of the children playing along with an action shot of Patricia Wellenbach testing out the new slide.  They ran a story on the opening as did the Philadelphia Tribune, who sent a photographer to cover this fun event.  In addition, 6abc anchor/reporter Lisa Thomas-Lauryattended and did a terrific feature story on the opening of the playground. Thanks to the sponsors and supporters of this playground, children at Green Tree School & Services will have an outdoor place to play, learn and socialize for years to come.

More photos from this event on our Facebook page



(L-R) Robert, Steven, Lyle, Tyjon and Vernon prepare for a lesson in five-gallon drumming with Musicopia artist Leon Jordan, at right.

Green Tree School & Services Students beat on five-gallon bucket drums and played both well-known songs and made-up rhythms, during a Musicopia performance held on May 8, 2014. Family members, staff and other students gathered in the GTSS gymnasium for a toe-tapping performance which featured group and individual gallon bucket drumming as part of a musical residency program.

Led by Musicopia’s, Leon Jordan, who spearheads the Bucket Drumming Residency, over 20 students from Green Tree School & Services’ Autism Spectrum program, Upper School and Lower School played together and took turns playing solos for an enthusiastic and engaged audience of fellow students, staff and proud relatives of the performers. In addition to the GTSS students and Leon Jordan as conductor, the performance also featured bass guitar, saxophone, trumpet and traditional drumming.

The Bucket Drumming Residency aims to help students, “expand their musical knowledge and increase confidence.” Educational, exciting and highly interactive, Leon Jordan’s program teaches participants principles such as rhythm, meter, dynamics, and technique. Drummers are also introduced to more advanced concepts such as polyrhythms, division of meter and beat sub-division. Musicopia programming has been offered annually at Green Tree School & Services for the past four years and has a mission to “bring a vibrant combination of music performance and education to students.” Past Musicopia residencies have focused on vibrations, African Dancing and featured The Spice Route Group and Doc Robbins.

More Past Events


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