Officials Discuss the Importance and Challenges of Early Child Care and Education

Officials toured Danville Child Development Center’s Wall St. facility recently and discussed issues related the availability and affordability of quality early child care and education. Pictured (left to right): Kurt Masser, State Representative; Jeff Emanuel, Chamber Foundation Director; Angela Mattis, Montour County District Attorney; David Millard, State Representative; Jennifer Wakeman, DRIVE Executive Director; and John Gordner, State Senator.

While quality child care and education has short and long term benefits for the workforce and society in general, many parents struggle to find programs for their children. To keep care affordable, quality providers rely on public funding and other sources of revenue. Cost containment makes it a challenge for providers to hire and retain qualified staff, and results in waiting lists for families. Officials discussed some of these issues during a recent visit to Danville Child Development Center (DCDC).

State Senator John Gordner and Representatives Kurt Masser and David Millard joined representatives of the Chamber, its Foundation, DRIVE, and Montour County District Attorney Angela Mattis on a tour of DCDC’s Wall Street, Danville facility. Lori McDonnell, DCDC’s Enrollment Director, highlighted the variety of developmental programs that pre-K children participate in throughout the 12 months of operation. Teachers at the facility have at least their Bachelor’s Degree and are certified.

Following the tour, Diana Verbeck, DCDC Executive Director, talked about the challenges of keeping costs affordable for families while maintaining a quality program, which includes staff. Even families that do not receive subsidies through the state do not pay the full cost for their child’s care. DCDC and similar providers rely on grants, donations, and fundraisers to make up the difference for their operating costs. Verbeck pointed out that Governor Wolf’s proposed increases to early child education are a shift of Federal funds, and not an overall increase in funding.

These challenges result in an inadequate availability of quality child care providers, which impacts working families and businesses. In some cases, one parent must stay at home in order to care for their children. Even for those parents that rely on family or others to look after their children, disruptions can significantly impact workplace productivity. A study (link to: released in April 2019 illustrates the negative economic impacts of insufficient child care on Pennsylvania’s economy.  

A lack of quality early education can also significantly hinder the success of a child. Without proper care at a young age, children are at a much higher risk of not developing good socialization and other soft skills. Angela Mattis, Montour County’s District Attorney, reinforced the value of a nurturing environment at a young age in helping young people from having issues in the legal system.

The Early Learning Investment Committee of Columbia and Montour Counties, facilitated by the United Way of Columbia and Montour Counites, brings together providers, businesses, and parents to increase awareness of these issues and identify opportunities to support working families and the area’s economy. The Chamber has been represented on the Committee since it was formed. For more information, or to get involved, contact the United Way at 570-784-3134.

Welcome The Berwick Historical Society

More than 425 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and the region. Increased membership allows the Chamber to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives. The Chamber welcomes The Berwick Historical Society to help us fulfill our mission.

The Berwick Historical Society was incorporated on July 26, 1940. They  identify and encourage the preservation of historical sites and buildings, to collect records, documents and artifacts that pertain to the history of the Berwick area.  The Berwick Historical Society maintains a library and museum of relevant Berwick historical information and material.  For more information, visit their website.

Member News- February 12, 2020

  • Siren testing at Bloomsburg University
    Campus sirens that are part of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s emergency notification system will be tested on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 9:20 a.m. The sirens, installed on Elwell Hall, McCormick Center for Human Services and Nelson Field House, will alert the campus community when vital emergency information is available via email and text message. For information, see

  • Central Susquehanna Community Foundation Welcomes New Board Members

    The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation (CSCF) recently welcomed two new board members to the CSCF Board of Directors.

    Julie Eriksson is a graduate of Middleburg High School and York College of Pennsylvania. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with a concentration in Human Resource Management, and she is a graduate of the Dale Carnegie and Leadership Susquehanna Valley program. Julie is part-owner of Kreamer Feed, Inc., where she has served as the corporate secretary/treasurer since 2003. Her past career experiences include work in human resources, sales, and marketing positions.

    Along with her work for Kreamer Feed, Julie enjoys giving back to the community. She has served on many local boards, including the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce, Agricultural, Athena, and Ambassador committees, the Penn State Cooperative Extension, Snyder County Red Cross, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church council, Leadership Susquehanna Valley, and the Selinsgrove Area Community Foundation. She has recently joined the Board of Directors for the Snyder County Libraries and was elected to serve on the MiddWest School Board beginning in December 2019. Julie lives with her husband, Daniel, and son, Kristian, in Kreamer.

    Michael Goresh is a graduate of Mount Aloysius College and the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. He was awarded his diploma in Mortuary Sciences in 1986, passed the National Board Exam of Funeral Directors, and received his State Board license in 1988. Prior to his move to Berwick in 1994, when he became the president and supervisor of the Berwick branch of Mayo Funeral Home, Inc., Michael was employed at several funeral homes in the Richland, PA and Pittsburgh, PA areas.

    Aside from serving the Berwick community as a funeral director, local organizations also hold Michael’s interests. He currently participates in Kiwanis as President, maintains a seat on the advisory committee for the Berwick Health and Wellness Fund of CSCF, and regular membership with the Pennsylvania Funeral Director’s Association, the National Funeral Director’s Association, Central PA FDA, Train Collectors of America, Lionel Collectors Club of America, and “R” Club, the Maria Assunta Society, Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce, and the Berwick Golf Club. Michael lives in Berwick with his wife, Rosemary. They have two daughters.

    The CSCF Board of Directors is a diverse group of individuals that broadly reflects the geographic footprint of the Foundation’s service area, which includes Columbia, Lower-Luzerne, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union Counties. In addition to the two new board members, the board is represented by: Timothy Apple, chair; Nancy Marr, vice-chair; John Thompson, treasurer; Jeff Cerminaro, secretary; Robert Albertson, O.D.; Richard Cashman; Peggy Fullmer; Jeff Hollenbach; John Kurelja, Ed.D.; Greg Martz; Connie Tressler; and Wendy Tripoli.

    The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation manages more than 280 charitable funds and makes grant investments throughout the region to improve the quality of life in the Central Susquehanna area. For more information, visit or call the Foundation at 1-866-4546692

  • Weis Center Music Events

    World Music from West Africa Comes to Weis Center in Free Performance
    West African singer, guitarist, percussionist, and dancer Okaidja Afroso will perform as a Trio on Thursday, February 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium. This is a free performance and tickets are not required.

    Okaidja will be joined by Boinor Titus Nartey and Manavihare Fiaindratovo on percussion and vocals.

    Born into a family of musicians and storytellers in the village of Kokrobite on the west coast of Ghana, Okaidja Afroso is a singer, guitarist, percussionist, and dancer deeply connected to the musical traditions of the African Diaspora and devoted to bringing together diverse modes of expression in pursuit of global harmony.

    His four albums, most recently The Palm Wine Sea, chart a journey from his past as a vocalist, percussionist and dancer with the Ghana Dance Ensemble and Obo Addy through to the present, as a confident and mature songwriter and collaborator. His songs call back to the sounds of his youth, illuminating them with the experiences and wonder of a curious traveler, never resting and always seeking.

    Okaidja says, “My music preserves my West African roots while embracing diverse cross-cultural influences and styles. I strive to create a rhythmic fusion of old and new that presents a fresh sound that preserves the authenticity of the traditional while embracing the rich complexity of the integrated world we inhabit today. In my workshops and performances I explore how my ancestor’s traditions have persevered and been reshaped in a contemporary version of the African oral tradition. The complex compositions, soulful vocals, and spirited dancing combine to create an unforgettable and unique experience.”

    LA Dance Review says, “One of the undeniable highlights of the evening was the live music performed by Okaidja Afroso. His voice, guitar, and percussion instruments blended into a landscape that was transcendent.”

    For more information about this free performance contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or by e-mail at [email protected].

    For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to or search for the Weis Center on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. 

    Free Family-Friendly President’s Day Concert at Weis Center
    Eric Ian Farmer and his band will perform folk and roots music on Monday, February 17 at 2 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium. This is a free family-friendly President’s Day performance and tickets are not required.

    Patrons are encouraged to come early. The Exchange’s Art Cart will be on-site from 1-2 p.m. with special all-ages activities related to this performance.

    All attendees are asked to bring a canned food item, which will be distributed to local families in need through Union County Children and Youth Services.

    The performance is sponsored, in part, by Martha and Alan Barrick and Coldwell Banker Penn One Real Estate.

    Bucknell University acknowledges, with gratitude, generous funding from the family of Janet C. Weis, which makes this performance possible.

    Born in State College, Pa. and raised in North Carolina, Eric Ian Farmer has returned to his birthplace sharing his songs about relationships, social awareness and finding one’s path in life while keeping alive classics by artists like Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Bob Marley.

    Eric learned how to become one with a song from Bonnie Carter and David Williams, singers in the church of his childhood just across the North Carolina state line in Danville, Va.

    Eric also draws inspiration as a singer from popular artists like Bobby McFerrin, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. His guitar playing is inspired by the percussive stylings of rock legend Bo Diddley. 

    As an educator and a 2016 graduate of Penn State’s educational leadership program, Eric also uses music with high school students to facilitate both songwriting and conversation related to identity and social issues.

    For more information about this free performance contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or by e-mail at [email protected].

    For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to or search for the Weis Center on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. 


Members Invited to Meet with Potential Communications Interns/Employees

Local employers are invited to meet with communication studies students at Bloomsburg University to discuss potential internship and job opportunities. The National Communication Association Student Club (NCASC) at Bloomsburg University’s biggest annual event is Communication Day, a day-long conference that focuses on professional development for students.  This year, the group is hosting a networking session where students can meet and talk with organizational representatives about internships and other professional development tips in an informal setting.  The goal is to help students understand some on-the-job expectations, either in internships or full-time careers, and meet with potential interns.

Some careers pursued by communication studies majors after graduation include event planning, employee training, sales, management, public information, development, personnel recruiting, campaign direction, lobbying and negotiations.

This event is scheduled from 4:15-5:30 pm on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in the Kehr Union Ballrooms on Bloomsburg University’s campus.  Refreshments and parking arrangements will be provided. This is scheduled to be a come-and-go-as-you-please event. Email [email protected] if you are interested in participating.

Welcome Pediatric Specialty Care Medical Day at Danville

More than 420 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and the region. Increased membership allows the Chamber to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives. The Chamber welcomes Pediatric Specialty Care Medical Day at Danville to help us fulfill our mission.

Pediatric Specialty Care Medical Day at Danville will be opening in Spring 2020. They are a trained and specialized daycare provider for children with complex medical needs. Pediatric Specialty Care Medical Day at Danville combines the amenities of a more traditional day care center with high-quality health care management, state-of-the-art medical equipment and qualified caregivers. For more information, visit their website.