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DHS News October 2012

Murals Brighten CYF Visitation Rooms 

Families now have a colorful and engaging new way to interact in Office of Children, Youth and Families (CYF) visitation rooms. Thanks to a generous donation from Georgia Hernandez, chair of the CYF advisory board, visitation rooms in each of the five regional offices are now adorned with murals painted by local artist Michele Goyak.

Earlier this year, the artist met individually with each CYF regional office director to show examples of her work and to jointly choose a mural theme. Each mural was completed in one long day of painting. 

In addition to providing visual interest, the murals include a “can you find?” dimension, which provides families with the opportunity to work together to see if they can find a number of objects “hidden” in the painting. 

"The murals have transformed ordinary rooms into an enchanting flower garden or a colorful underwater adventure. It is a great way to encourage interactive play and exploration during visits," said Tammi Hilko, Ph.D., regional office director in the East Regional Office (ERO). 

Currently, the CYF advisory board is working with interns from the University of Pittsburgh to develop additional activities based on the murals. The goal is to create literacy activities for older children, such as listing items they see in the murals or writing simple stories about the mural scenes.

“The visitation room project has allowed the CYF advisory board to understand, firsthand, the strengths and needs of CYF families,” said Linda Ehrlich, CYF advisory board member and volunteer for the visitation room project. “It has also been an opportunity for the board to make a contribution to quality service for our families.” 

PDF Icon CYF Mural Photos 
View a photo collage of the newly decorated visitation rooms.

The advisory board continues to seek donations to help make CYF visitation rooms more inviting. If you would like to donate or volunteer, please visit the Family Visitation Room page of the DHS website or contact the CYF Family Visitation Room Project.

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