By Kim Ravenda
Edited by Andrea Bosco
Sponsored by Huntington Bank
A lion roared at the setting sun. Nearby, a 900-pound polar bear dove deep into chilly water before the awestruck eyes of children. A perfect scene on a perfect day for 2,500 parents, children, and volunteers, who enjoyed delicious treats and an opportunity to learn about the animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Last year’s annual Ice Cream Fundae, benefiting Pressley Ridge, was both a fundraiser and a fun-raiser, with more than 350 gallons of ice cream served and more than $100,000 raised toward services for children and families across Pennsylvania and nearby states, including Ohio, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. The 20th Annual Ice Cream Fundae will be held on August 17, offering new and exciting flavors and toppings, and even more education for families and volunteers.
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pressley Ridge serves children and families with complex needs, providing a variety of programs to assist them with challenges and achieve success in their lives. These programs include Foster Care Connections, which provide family havens for safety, renewal, and return; Residential Options, which create supportive places to practice new possibilities and life contributions; Educational Opportunities, which welcome kids into schools and places of joy, belonging, confidence, and contribution; and Community-Based Support, which offers coaching and self-discovery in the home, in the moment, and over time.
Additionally, Pressley Ridge’s Autism Services teach communication and social skills through education and therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders, helping them to flourish in their homes, schools, and communities. With 24 years of service at the nonprofit, President and CEO Susanne Cole knows first-hand the struggles and successes of children and families, and the dedication required to help them overcome the challenges and barriers that confront them. “The Pressley Ridge staff is unequivocally committed to doing everything in its power to improve the lives of children and families in the region,” says Cole. “Our goal is to do the utmost on their behalf. We succeed when they succeed, then and only then.” Says Huntington Bank President, Western Pennsylvania and Ohio Valley Regions Susie Shipley, “Pressley Ridge has provided innovative services to children and families to meet their complex and changing needs for more than 180 years. With more than 5,000 children in [the organization’s] care, its dedication and support has truly touched the lives of families throughout the region.”