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Meet the Staff

Director's Message

Hey Diller! My name is Emily O’Donnell and I am the Camp Director of the Helen Diller Home. I have worked for this amazing organization since 2009, where I started as a girls’ counselor. I became Director in 2013 and it is hard to believe that this will be my 11th summer in Avalon. In the off season, I am a 5th grade teacher in Lancaster County and a head coach for Girls on the Run (another amazing organization!) Prior to working in general education, I served as a Teacher for the Visually Impaired for 5 years. I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education/Visually Impaired and a Masters Degree in Special Education. It is safe to say I have the BEST summer job! I get to spend 8 weeks with an amazing staff and provide week long vacations to 160 of some the most inspirational children I have the privilege of getting to know. I also get to spend my summers with my husband, who is helps in the kitchen, my 2 year old son (Jack)  and my “Diller Dog”, Rigby! I am looking forward to our best summer yet! 

 

Sincerely,

Emily O'Donnell

 

Ethan Szyszko

Kitchen Manager

My name is Ethan Szyszko. I am from Bensalem, PA and attended Penn State University where I received my Bachelors degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services. I have since received my Masters in Early Elementary Education at Holy Family University in Philadelphia and am currently teaching Special Education at Franklin Towne Charter Elementary in Philadelphia. I spent summer '13 as the Diller camp intern and volunteered as much as possible during summer '14. This will be my fifth season as the camp kitchen manager and I couldn't be more excited! I can't wait to see how much some of the returning campers have grown and to help give the new campers one of the best weeks of their lives!

Fred Fynan

Project Engineer/Van Driver

Hello Diller! My name is  Freddy Fynan and I am a part of the support staff at the Diller Home. During the summer, I drive the van on Saturdays to pick up and drop off the campers.  I am  a year-round resident on the island and volunteer with Avalon and Stone Harbor  Fire Departments. In the off-season I take care of the property and maintain the historic building.  I do the handyman work as needed and coordinate improvements to the facility.  As Project Engineer, I help with upgrades to security, safety and energy efficiency. I  also assists with the application for grants and funding so the camp can continue to exist for many years to come. I am a member of Avalon Lions Club and assist with their fundraising activities for all of the charities they support.  A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and Thomas Edison University, I  also work as a K-12 substitute teacher at several local public schools.

Savannah Murphy

Camp Counselor

Hi! My name is Savannah Murphy and I am 19 years old. I’m originally from West Chester, Pennsylvania but now I live part time in Avalon and part time in Naples, Florida. I attend college at West Chester University in West Chester, PA, and I will be a sophomore this fall. I am majoring in Early Childhood Education and minoring in Spanish. I hope to be an elementary school teacher and eventually get a master’s degree and become a school psychologist. I have had a house in Avalon and spent every single summer there for the past 15 years! I am so excited to be a camp counselor and meet all of the amazing campers!

Mike O’Donnell

Kitchen Assistant

Hello! My name is Mike O’Donnell and this will be my second summer as the Kitchen’s Assistant. I am a High School Social Studies teacher in the off season and the Head Varsity Coach of the lacrosse team. Although I have only been working for the home for two seasons, the Diller Home has been a part of my life for close to 7 years. My wife, Emily, is the director and my son, Jack gets to spend his summers with us as well. It is a family affair! It is such a great experience to meet new campers every week and get to know them while serving them their meals. I am looking forward to another successful season!

Lauren Maloney

Camp Counselor

Hi! My name is Lauren Maloney and this is going to be my 3rd summer working as a boys’ counselor at the Diller Home!!! I am from a small town outside of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area of Pennsylvania called Falls. I will be graduating from Kutztown University in May of 2019 where I am studying to become a teacher of the blind or visually impaired. After graduation and my summer at the Diller Home, I will be moving to Baltimore, Maryland to start my career as an itinerant TVI for Anne Arundel County Public Schools. The Diller Home introduced me to so many amazing people, from the staff to the campers and I can really say they are some of the best people I’ve ever met. I am so excited for another fun-filled summer with my Diller family and I can’t wait to get started!! HEY DILLER!

Katie Morris

Camp Counselor

Hi my name is Katie Morris and this will be my second summer at the Diller Home as a girls’ counselor. I am from a small town called Bristol located in Bucks County. Currently, I am going into my senior year at Kutztown University studying Special/ Elementary education. After college I plan to further my education at Kutztown University’s Graduate program for the visually impaired. On campus I am involved in Alpha Sigma Tau, Spread the Word to End the Word, and a few other clubs. In my free time I enjoy going on runs, reading books, and catching up with my friends and family. I am so excited to be returning back to the Diller Home because I had the best summer of my life last year. I was able to meet so many amazing kids and make lasting memories. I want to be able to provide a fun filled week for your child as well as keep them safe! The Diller Home has truly impacted my life and I only hope that it has the same effect on our campers!

Annie Manista

Camp Counselor

I am so excited to return to the Diller Home for my third summer as a girls’ counselor! I'm from Delaware and grew up vacationing with my family every summer at the Jersey Shore. This spring, I will graduate from the University of Delaware with a degree in Cognitive Science and Psychology. I plan to get my Master's Degree in either Behavioral Analysis or Counseling. What makes working at the Diller Home the best job in the world is the opportunity to make memories and form bonds with the campers, who have been looking forward to it all year! 

Morganne Bennett

Camp Counselor

My name is Morganne Bennett and this coming school year I will be a senior at Kutztown University. I am studying Education of the Visually Impaired and I plan on becoming an itinerant TVI. I am 21 years old and am from Hillsborough, New Jersey. I love paddle-boarding, spending time with my friends and getting lost in a good book. This will be my second summer working at the Diller Home and I am so excited! Last summer I had so much fun and I can't wait to be back wit

Amanda Strunk

Camp Counselor

My name is Amanda Strunk and this will be my second summer at the Diller Home as a girls’ counselor! I am currently finishing up my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education through Liberty University and will be graduating this May 2019. I plan to start working towards my master’s degree in the spring of 2020. During the school year I volunteer at a program called Project Purpose. Kids who are considered at risk come and we work with them on their homework for that week, play games, and just have fun! I also teach a few Sundays a month in a class at my church for those with special needs. Some of my favorite memories from last summer were taking the kids to Sea Isle for the dance party and to the waterpark and rides in wildwood. I had an absolute blast last summer and I can’t wait to come back and make new memories with the campers!

 

Olivia Morano

Camp Counselor

Hello my name is Olivia Morano, I am currently enrolled at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and I major in Visual Impairment and Early Childhood Education. My goal after graduation is to become a teacher for the visually impaired. I live in Quakertown, Pennsylvania with my parents and my two younger brothers. Some of my hobbies include going to the beach, traveling, spending time with family and friends and playing sports. I am currently on the women’s track and field team at Kutztown University. I am beyond excited to start my journey at camp this summer at the Diller Home and I can’t wait to meet everyone!

Gabby Santacecilia

Camp Counselor

My name is Gabby Santacecilia and I am so excited for this upcoming summer at the Diller Home. This is my second year as a boys’ counselor and I could not be more excited. I am entering my Junior year at Duquesne University as an occupational therapy major. I am from Wilmington, Delaware where I live with my mom, dad, older brother, younger brother, younger sister, and my dog, Finley! In my free time I love listening to music, cooking, and hanging out with my friends and family. I am beyond thrilled to be able to spend my summer with our campers, old and new!

Angie Carty

Camp Counselor

Hi my name is Angie. This will be my second year as a Diller Home girls’ counselor and I am so excited! I am a senior at Kutztown University and am studying Special Education/Pre K-4 and Visual Impairments. I am from Harleysville, PA and I live with my parents and my younger brother and sister! I love to exercise, read books and write Braille! This summer I am excited to see revisiting campers, meet new ones, and help them have one of the best summers EVER! Working with students that have visual impairments is my passion and I cannot wait to spend my summer with all of you! A fun fact about me is my favorite animal are dogs! I look forward to this summer and I’m counting down the days!

Samantha Kellar

Camp Counselor

My name is Samantha Kellar. I am a second-year camp counselor at the Diller Home. I am a girls’ counselor and I cannot be more excited for another summer in Avalon.  I am 21 years old and from Wilkes-Barre, PA. I graduated from The University of Scranton with a bachelor’s degree in Early and Primary Education (PreK-4). In the fall, I plan on pursuing a master’s degree in Orientation and Mobility (O&M) in combination with an Education degree at The University of Pittsburgh. I enjoy shopping and discovering new shopping websites. I also enjoy walking my dog named Ise (Ice). Two of the many things I am excited for as a returning counselor are the first-hand experiences and opportunities the camp has to offer. What drives my passion as a counselor is that my oldest brother is blind. He motivates me to be a mentor for others!

Jimmy Moreland

Assistant Director

Hello! My name is Jimmy Moreland and I am looking forward to another summer as the assistant director for the Diller Home.  In May, I will be graduating from Penn State University with an Elementary Education Degree and a Minor in Special Education. This will be my second year as the assistant director, after spending two years as a boys’ counselor. My favorite part of this job is getting to know the campers and seeing their reactions after conquering the Sea Serpent roller coaster in Wildwood or taking their first swim in the ocean! Wildwood was my second home growing up, so I am very familiar with the Jersey Shore. Outside of camp, I enjoy traveling, going to the beach, and am an avid Cowboys, Sixers, and Phillies fan! I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet some of our future families at open house and cannot wait to see some of our familiar faces this summer!

Grace Rhine

Camp Counselor

My name is Grace Rhine and I am a returning as a boys’ counselor this summer for my second year at the Diller Home! I am a duel early childhood education and special education major at Millersville University. When I am not in Avalon, I work at Wegmans as a pharmacy technician. I have a younger brother and we love to go to Star Wars and superhero movies together. I also enjoy taking my dog for hikes, baking and decorating cupcakes, and going to the beach. I coached Girls on the Run this past year and love to motivate kids to stay active and have positive attitudes. I can’t wait to meet you all in Avalon!

Sarah Slusark

Camp Counselor

My name is Sarah Slusark. I am a second-year undergraduate student studying Recreational Therapy at Temple University. I hope to attain my master’s degree in Occupational Therapy following my undergraduate degree. I am from Northeastern Pennsylvania and live with my mom, dad, and younger brother, Joey. In my spare time, I love adventuring, hiking, and capturing it all through photography. My favorite activities include attending concerts and eating ice cream. I developed a strong passion for working with children after volunteering at the Overbrook School for the Blind’s weekend programs and The Variety’s after school programs. I enjoy working with children who have different intellectual and developmental disabilities or visual impairments. I look forward to meeting all the campers and having the best summer ever!

The Diller Home is a registered 501c3 charitable corporation under the name Challenged Children’s Charities Corporation.