Robin Thompson – Executive Director
Robin has experienced every facet of adoption and lives each day making a difference in the lives of children. She and her husband are the parents of 5 sons. Together, they have had 20 children come through their home via foster care. Each touching their hearts in a different way. Robin believes we are all called to help others. She is an adoptive parent with an exceptional amount of wisdom to share with not only adoptive families but also foster families. Her 30+ years of experience in the child welfare system also adds to her ability to offer support and encouragement to our families. Robin is an asset to not only Adoption Connection, PA but also her community.
“Unless someone like you cares whole awful lot. Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”….. Dr. Suess.
Allie Verone – Finance Manager
Allie joined the ACPA team in January 2022 and brings with her experience in bookkeeping, general/tax accounting and payroll. She is looking forward to supporting the Agency and our families through the Finance Department. Allie graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising and completed an Associate’s degree in Accounting from CCBC. She enjoys spending time with her family, husband Luke and dog Nora.
Jenn Jones – SWAN Supervisor
Jennifer Jones is an experienced social worker with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Mercyhurst College. She has held various positions in the area of social services through the years, and states that her work with adoptive families and children has definitely been the most rewarding. Jenn currently supervises the contract caseworkers for Adoption Connection, PA. She strongly believes in the importance of open, honest communication with her families and everyone she works with benefits from her skills and experience. Jennifer is the proud mother of three children
Holly Newman – Events & Outreach Coordinator
Holly began her career at Adoption Connection, PA in 2013 as a Caseworker for the Statewide Adoption Network (SWAN). She accepted the position as the Events & Outreach Coordinator in 2019. She loves being able to use her education in marketing and business, while continuing to serve children in need. Holly has a genuine heart for children, a background as a foster parent and 15 years of experience working in the human services field. She has worked as a Foster Parent Recruiter & Trainer, a Permanency Specialist, an Adoption Services Caseworker and Child Profile Writer. Holly has a bachelor’s degree from Edinboro University and a Masters Degree from Geneva College. Holly lives in Patterson Township with her husband of 25 years. She has one daughter, Kayli who attends Slippery Rock University. She loves the beach and enjoys spending time with her family, friends and her two dogs Lucy & Winston.
Virginia Householder- Recruitment & Training Supervisor
Ginny started at Adoption Connection, PA in July of 2017 as a Permanency Specialist. In October 2019, she moved into the Family Recruiter and Trainer position. Ginny received her Bachelors degree in Administration of Justice from Pennsylvania State University in Fall of 2013. Since graduating, she has worked in the Drug & Alcohol field, at a Residential Treatment Facility, and also as a county caseworker for Children, Youth, & Families.
Ginny loves interacting with the families as they begin the process of their foster care journey and loves helping these families begin on their journey to making a difference in the lives of children that we serve. She resides in Allegheny County with her son.
Clarissa Calderoni – SWAN Caseworker
Clarissa began working within the Human Services field in 2009, after specialized training to become a foster to adopt parent. After she and her husband married, they struggled with infertility. Then, two decades into their marriage they adopted four children within a 5-year span, all with special needs. This life purpose, combined with 35+ years of administrative experience, inspired her to continue serving children and families. She joined the Adoption Connection, PA team in 2017 as a contracted case aide, moved to a full-time case aide and is now a caseworker in the SWAN Department. In this role, she fulfills numerous County referred services that provide children she works with a connection to their past and present, as well as a bridge to their future. In her free time, Clarissa enjoys family time, a day at the barn with their horses, bowling, scrapbooking and time at the archery range, which earned her a 2021 State Championship in Archery.
Bloom where you are planted!
Lisa Booker- SWAN Caseworker
Lisa is a mother of two girls that she enjoys spending most of her time with. She knew that helping was part of her personality, after graduating high school she attended a medical tech program and worked as a Medical Assistant. Lisa has been employed in a variety of settings but through the years her love for helping has never changed. She has enjoyed being a foster parent, especially the meaningful relationships that were formed with each child in her care. After the birth of her second daughter, she opened a family daycare where she cared for children in the community. During the 13 ½ years of operating a daycare Lisa wanted to assist families, one on one, and went on to receive a Bachelors of Professional Studies in Human Services at Geneva College. Lisa started working as a SWAN Caseworker in the beginning of October, 2020.
Kelaiah has worked with children in various capacities in the past, worked with individuals with intellectual disabilities building job skills, and completed a term of service with AmeriCorps. Kelaiah started her work with Adoption Connection in August 2019. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Geneva College in May 2019.
Kelaiah’s passion for foster care begun when her nephews were adopted through foster care several years ago. She has loved getting to experience her family grow through adoption. She loves getting to be a support for the children and families that she works with as SWAN caseworker. Her hope is that she would shine the light of Christ in the work that she does.
Cayla Schmolitz – Swan Caseworker
Cayla is a recent graduate from Slippery Rock University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. While she was a college student, Cayla worked for Adoption Connection as a contracted case aide. Through her coursework, she has also done many service hours at Adoption Connection along with an internship. Since the conclusion of her internship, Cayla has become a full-time case aide and has accepted a position as a SWAN caseworker. Cayla is very passionate about working with youths in foster care. She has two adoptive brothers that have inspired her to be an advocate for other children. She is excited to use her passion to make an impact.
Mary Gido – Administrative Assistant
Mary graduated from Duquesne University with a BSBA in Marketing/Management, and from The University of Pittsburgh with an Instructional I Certification in Elementary Education. Her previous career includes working with youth and teens at the YMCA, substitute teaching, and over 30 years in the corporate world as a business analyst. She joined our team in December of 2021 taking on the position of Administrative Assistant. Mary is an Eastern Orthodox Christian of Carpatho-Rusyn decent. She enjoys weaving, spinning, lace making and quilting. She volunteers her time to demonstrate these arts at different events and museums. She loves to read and collect books, tries to play the piano and guitar, and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Stephanie Gavel – Foster Care Manager
Stephanie has been with Adoption Connection, PA since May of 2012. She has an Undergraduate degree in Human Services and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Non-Profits and Ministry through Geneva College. In her history with ACPA, she has always worked within the foster care system either as a caseworker, supervisor, and currently as the Foster Care Manager. When asked what excites her the most about ACPA, she will quite simply respond, “it’s the impact we get to make every single day in the life of a child, the families we serve, and with each other”. As the Foster Care Manager, she is looking forward to growing our fostering program even more by expanding into the counties we serve in a very intentional way. She has four children of her own and resides in Brighton Township with her husband, Ron. She is an active member of Four Mile Church, where she is one of the youth ministry leaders and co-leads women’s bible studies, and serves as one of the women ministry team leaders. One of her favorite scripture verses is “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow”. Isaiah 1:17.
Catie Kellner – Lead Permanency Specialist
Catie began her career at Adoption Connection, PA as a student intern in the summer of 2018, then became a case aide while finishing her senior year of school. After graduating from Waynesburg University with her bachelors degree in May of 2019, Catie became a permanency specialist at ACPA. She loves being able to serve her community by bringing families together and being a light in children’s lives through foster care.
Kathleen Kovacs- Matching Specialist
Kathleen began her journey with ACPA as an intern in the summer of 2018 and was later hired on as a case aide. After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Penn State, she became a full time foster care caseworker. She is currently working towards her Master’s degree. Kathleen has always had positions where she cared for children and is excited to be able to bring the same passion to a career where she is able to advocate for them.
Mina Needham – Foster Care Supervisor
Mina started her career at Adoption Connection, Pa in August 2017 as a Foster Care Permanency Specialist. She has a bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology and a Master’s degree in Education. After two years of working for the state of Florida she relocated with her husband to the Pennsylvania area. She is happily married and has a wonderful, mostly sassy two year old daughter. Overall, Mina loves being able to make a difference in the lives of foster children and seeing forever families being created. Adoption holds a special place in her heart as her husband was adopted at a young age.
Dominic Nocera- SWAN Caseworker
Dominic Nocera graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services in 2021. Dominic started his career at Adoption Connection, PA while he was still in school. He engaged in an internship before being hired as a permanency specialist on August 16, 2021. Dom strives to inspire individuals to better themselves through his empathy, patience, creativeness, and enthusiasm. In his free time, Dominic loves to play piano, sing, and write his own music.
Erica List – Matching Specialist
Erica graduated from Robert Morris university in 1998 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. She has served Robert Morris as a softball coach on and off for the past nineteen years, as well as manage her own pitching lessons business. This career path allowed her to be at home to raise her children. Now that her children are more independent she feels it was time to embark on a new journey. She feels that her own life experiences in working with youth will help her tremendously in her new endeavor as Matching Specialist for ACPA. She is willing and eager to learn all that she can about the Human Service industry. She is also excited to serve her community and help families and children. Erica married her college sweetheart, Nate, They reside in Beaver with their three beautiful children.
Kim Majors – Birth Mother Specialist
Kim has worked in the human service field for 20+ years either as a direct line caseworker or in a management position. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. Passionate about improving the well-being of children & families, Kim has experience developing and implementing innovative social service programs, developing, measuring and tracking client outcomes and has been an active member of various quality improvement initiatives. After years of being a single mother, Kim is now married and blessed with a blended family with five children. Kim brings with her a broad range of direct service and development expertise, and we are so fortunate to have her on our team!
Lois Blattner- Office Manager
Adoption holds a special place in the heart of Lois, our new office manager. She is a proud adoptive parent of two children whom she adores.
Lois attended Slippery Rock University & Geneva College and majored in Elementary Education. She has a passion for working with children and has served as a preschool teacher as well as a Paraprofessional. Lois also has had many years of administrative experience. Lois is excited to be a part of the ACPA staff and looks forward to assisting families in their adoption journey.
She lives in Beaver with husband, Tom & her two children.
Leslie Wise- Case Aide
Leslie came to ACPA in July 2019 from Robert Morris University food service, where she served as a supervisor. The youngest of 10 siblings, Leslie was adopted by her aunt and uncle at a very young age. She grew up with many cousins, nieces and nephews. Thanks to a friendly and outgoing personality, her mom says, “Leslie has never met a stranger.” She has a warm and caring nature and because of this, the students at RMU called her “Mama Les.” Leslie strives to use these traits and experiences to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for all the children she works with as a Case Aid at ACPA. Leslie attended Geneva College majoring in Elementary Education. She enjoys scrapbooking with her friends. Leslie and her husband have two adult sons.