Announcing the Graham Sayles Scholarship Fund

Written on by Valerie Melroy

On February 15, 2019, our beloved co-worker and friend, Graham Sayles, passed away after a long and valiant battle with cancer and related illnesses.  Graham influenced Voice and Vision’s approach and engagement practices with youth and young adults and made a huge impact in the Behavioral Health System in Bucks County.   On March 12th, 2019, to show our gratitude and to honor Graham and his contribution, the Board and Management of Voice and Vision created the Graham Sayles Scholarship Fund.  This fund will be used to help persons with mental illnesses or co-occurring disorders go to Bucks County Community College with support from a Certified Peer Specialist.      

Graham was an amazing advocate; creative innovator; dedicated co-worker; kind, caring and loving person; a champion who valiantly represented the voice and needs of youth and young adults in Bucks County; a funny guy; while always living with a spirit of perseverance!  He co-developed and co-lead the Voice and Vision Youth Initiative, represented us on many county committees, presented at several Resiliency Conferences, and worked with the Consumer/Family Satisfaction Team, College Plus, and Family/Youth Initiative.  He worked on the Hope and New Directions (H.A.N.D.) pilot – helping to develop it into the great asset it is today.

Graham was kind, gracious and patient. He cared deeply as he spoke out on behalf of young adults in Bucks County. People listened to him because he was not self-serving and because he was REAL – genuine – he didn’t sugarcoat anything, yet he was gracious.  Graham, using our H.A.N.D. model, helped one young man achieve the dream of his life at that time, which was to go to Bucks County Community College.  In the difficult times working with this individual, Graham remained patient and encouraged him – always supporting him.  Graham battled through many difficult circumstances with that young man, and the outcome was triumphant.

Graham had many interests, gifts and talents. He wasn’t embarrassed to show love to his family, his friends, and to us.  This is evidenced by some of what was shared about Graham by others:

“Graham from an early age enjoyed sports of all types, from street hockey and karate to sailboat racing with his father. He was always a fan of Flyers hockey and Eagles football.  Graham was particularly fond of competitive paintball and was very active in regional teams that qualified for national competitions.  He continued until health limited his participation. His ability to understand, appreciate and empathize with friends and family, particularly in times of need, was a trait for which Graham will be remembered. His warmth and humor – even during his long illness – made others feel special, and his genuine thoughtfulness allowed him to naturally and selflessly offer friendship and encouragement.” “You have a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone.  You were one of the truest friends a person could have. You showed us how to love unconditionally and freely gave the warmth of your affection…”

Graham was truly a remarkable person.  He accomplished a lot in his 30 years and left a legacy that will last forever. 

Please consider donating to the Graham Sayles Scholarship Fund.  College Plus wants to help more students who are not eligible through County funding to go to and be successful in college, just like Graham did with the person we mentioned earlier. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation that will help honor the memory of Graham and his passion for this cause, please click donate and indicate in the special instructions it is for the Graham Sayles Scholarship Fund.   Thank you!

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About Kathryn

Kathryn Lerro

Hi, I’m Kathryn Lerro, mother of two lovely daughters, wife of one fine man.

After 24 years of wandering (thanks to my husband’s Air Force career), we are back home on the East Coast. We currently live in Philadelphia where I enjoy writing, taking long walks, decorating my front window in South Philly tradition, talking to interesting people and eating great food.

As I’ve met people on my travels I’ve become keenly aware that most of us could use a healthy dose of encouragement. It is for this reason that I try to weave a message of hope into everything I write.

About Mindy

Mindy Haas

Hi, I am Melinda Haas, but you can call me Mindy.   A true introvert, I delight in solitude with a good book or a movie.  I like dabbling in nature photography while taking rigorous hikes.  I adore my husband who is a ton of fun.  He shares my wanderlust as well as my appetite for Indian and Thai food.  Very often, you’ll find us dancing to Cumbia in the kitchen while we make dinner.   We also love road tripping and exploring new places. (New England is our new favorite!)

Through my writing, I want to encourage and embolden others to push past the limits they place on themselves.  I want to help people see that they can accomplish more than they think they were capable of.

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