The Carbondale PROSPER Team holds monthly meetings to work on planning, marketing, and implementing the 3 selected evidence-based programs.

Many of the team members also attend the annual statewide PROSPER meeting in the spring.

Team members work with the Riverside PROSPER team to hold press conferences to create greater awareness about PROSPER and recognize funders and team members. They also work with the Riverside team to conduct the PROSPER 5K Run/Fun Walk to raise funds for PROSPER programs. In addition, they conduct an annual holiday vendor craft fair which is the team's largest fundraiser.

The Carbondale team includes youth who have completed the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14. They have been instrumental in all aspects of the team including fundraising, marketing, and recruiting and play a key role in sustaining programs in the community.


Many members have been with the team since its inception. Not only are they committed to strengthening families and creating resilient youth in Carbondale and the Greater Upper Valley, but they have also mentored and supported expansion teams in neighboring communities.

Team Members

  • Karen Thomas - Team Leader, Penn State Extension
  • Ann Vadella - School Team Co-Leader, Carbondale Area Elementary School
  • Christina Carachilo - youth
  • Declan Caviston - youth
  • Aniela Connolly - youth
  • Nellie Connolly - SFP 10-14 Facilitator, Parent
  • Lisa Durkin - United Neighborhood Centers
  • Dr. Paul Kaczmarcik - Retired Elementary School Principal, Carbondale Area School District
  • Ernie Laskosky - NHS Human Services
  • Olivia Manarchuck - youth
  • Debby Mendicino - Goodwill Industries, SFP 10-14 Facilitator, Parent
  • Avianna Pugliese - youth
  • Jonathon Pugliese - youth
  • Janet Rusnak, R.N. - Carbondale Area School District, SFP 10-14 Facilitator
  • Kristy Ryczak - EOTC/Scranton Area Family Center
  • Michele Smith - Lackawanna/Susquehanna Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs
  • Chief Jeff Taylor - Carbondale Police Department
  • William Vaverchak - Elementary School Principal, Carbondale Area School District
  • James Wiggins - Greater Carbondale YMCA
  • Cori Wright - Parent, SFP 10-14 Facilitator
  • Ex Officio:  Mr. Joe Farrell - High School Principal, Carbondale Area School District

Contact Information

Karen Thomas
  • Extension Educator, Food, Families & Health
Phone: 570-963-6842