Welcome to fall!
Check out all the things happening at Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living this fall!
Our staff, volunteers, and board members have been working hard to provide a space for people with all types of disabilities to achieve independence in an inclusive community. And we couldn’t do it without our donors, so a big thanks goes out to them. We are grateful for the big impact they help us create every day. We hope you enjoy this issue!
Lehigh County Connections Project
By Catherine Bogdanski, B.S.- Statewide Coalition Project Coordinator
Not to long ago we said goodbye to summer with its warm temperatures, longer days, and transition now to autumn. A time of change whether it be the color of the leaves or the temperature and feel of the air. I am reminded that, not all change is bad, and finding a balance between the new and old is key.
Cooler temperatures may drive many of us inside and that could lead to feelings of being isolated. However, it does not have to be that way.
Balancing that sense of community and interaction that we find so easily in warmer months is possible year-round and has real benefits.
Social interaction can help an individual:
- Reduce feelings of anxiety
- Increase feelings of self esteem
- Reduce feelings of stress
- Boost immunity or ability to fight off germs
- Increase feelings of connection and purpose
Did you also know that LVCIL has 2 ways you can stay connected with our staff and community?
- Peer Groups
- Every other Monday: In Person at our office
- Every Tuesday and Thursday: Virtually on Zoom
- Weekly Webinar Classes
- Topics include Emergency Preparedness, Financial Literacy, Avoiding scams, and at home exercises
Preview of Upcoming Topics….
- Know your Voting Rights
- Emergency Preparedness
- Fulton Bank Series
- Larissa, The Lovely Little Lotus
- Habitat for Humanity “Home Repair Program” & more….
Make the webinars yours! Have a topic you think we should address? Let us know! Contact Catherine at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-770-9781 Ext 172.
(Alt text: Image shows a computer mouse cord with the text, “Connect. DYK? Social interaction can help and individual…followed by a list of benefits)
Transdev: the new kid in town
By Debbie Rozear, AAS- Supervisor of Core/Housing Services
Effective on July 1, 2022 a new company was awarded the contract for LANtaVan. This new company is called Transdev. Transdev is a specialized transportation company located throughout the world. They are working diligently to get the LANtaVan service up and running in the Lehigh Valley. There have been struggles in their startup operations, which they are slowly resolving. The biggest concern has been hiring enough staff. Currently they are understaffed and doing a major hiring campaign to find new drivers who like to drive and can assist people with disabilities and seniors to get to their destinations. Transdev has supplemented local staff by bringing in drivers from other locations across the country, but those visiting drivers eventually need to return home.
As time goes on, their goals are to hire more drivers, get passengers to their destinations and home in a timely fashion and provide the top-notch service that they are known for in other locations.
LANtaVan also has relocated their home base to S. 12th St., Allentown; close to the LANTA bus base which is located off Lehigh St. in Allentown. LANta is also marking its 50th Anniversary of operations.
The board meetings for LANtaVan are on the second Tuesday of every other month from 11 AM to 12 PM. These meetings are at 1060 Lehigh St., Allentown, PA 18103. Attendants of riders are encouraged to hear what is happening and to give feedback on what is and is not working. This service can only get better with your help.
(Alt text: Image shows a banner with the text, “Plan your trip. Track your ride. LANTA and the image of a cellphone with a road map on it)
By Debbie Rozear- AAS, Supervisor of Core/Housing Services
Not only is there a housing crisis throughout the country, but agencies are also feeling the impact with the different housing services that are provided to people. LVCIL is no different. At the present time we are short staffed in the core/housing department. The staff that are still working are trying their very best to assist those who are actively working on finding and maintaining their current housing.
Please note that your message may take some extra time for you to receive a call back. Along with our active consumers, new calls coming in daily. When calling into our office, please call and leave one message and wait for a call to be returned to you. Calling a staff person and leaving two or more messages, or calling around the office to speak to someone else does not prioritize your call or get you what you seek. These repeat calls just slow staff down and makes it impossible to work with the maximum amount of people possible on each day. If you have not received a call after two or more days, then by all means call and leave another message. With the number of calls, someone is bound to be overlooked from time to time.
The jobs are posted and we are searching for the candidates who will promote our philosophy and help us to give the same quality work that we have in the past. Please be a little patient and help us to help you better receive the services you so much deserve.
(Alt text: Image shows a rendering of three houses grouped together)
Meet our new intern…Lauren!
“Hi there, my name is Lauren Franczak, and I will be interning here at LVCIL this semester! I will be mainly focusing my internship in the Transition and Employment department, but I am hoping to also see glimpses of how LVCIL functions as a whole. This is currently my final semester at Kutztown University, where I am studying for a degree in Educational Studies.”
“For the first half of my college career I was focusing on Early Childhood Education, which still holds a place in my heart, but I transitioned into a more universal Education degree. I did not want to limit myself to only one age group as I realized that I really enjoy working with people in general, regardless of age. What I love about LVCIL is that it is so consumer driven. My passion in life is seeing others make their own self-discoveries. There is nothing more exciting to me than seeing someone become proud of who they are and what they have achieved. This is what attracted me most to LVCIL! I look forward to meeting you all and getting to learn a bit about everyone’s area of expertise.”
(Alt text: Image shows a headshot of a woman smiling at the camera)
Meet our new intern….Stefanie!
My name is Stefanie Lotti. I am an intern this semester in the Core & Housing department. I will be with LVCIL until December 9. In the past, I have enjoyed working in the medical field and as a direct support professional in group homes. I currently attend Lehigh Carbon Community College and will graduate in May with an AAS in Human Services. After graduation, I plan to attend Penn State Lehigh Valley to complete my bachelor’s degree. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, baking, spending time with my family in the outdoors, fishing, & camping. My family and I live in Northampton county with our four dogs.
(Alt text: Image shows a woman smiling at the camera)
CARP Corner (alt text: image shows a carp fish)
By Fatima Nabavian, M.Ed.- Coordinator of Community Accessibility and Related Programs (CARP) at LVCIL
Here are some Fall Updates about our Assistive Technology offerings…
“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” Oscar Wilde
Autumn weather is upon us, and the CARP team at LVCIL looks forward to a new season with new opportunities to help PA residents in our region access their Assistive Technology needs.
TechOWL (Technology for Our Whole Lives) is a statewide assistive technology program and is the Commonwealth’s Assistive Technology Act Program at the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, funded through a grant from the Administration on Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. TechOWL is LVCIL’s partner in offering assistive technology (AT) services and LVCIL is representing TechOWL in our region.
While TechOwl offers a continuously updated statewide lending library available to all in PA for accessing a wide variety of devices, LVCIL will soon have new items available in our own in-house loan inventory. New equipment will range from low-tech options like adaptive grip aids and an adaptive mug to high-tech devices such as a C-Pen Reader for reading printed documents, a 2-in-1 Transport Rollator, and a Folding Electric Wheelchair.
(Alt text: Image shows a special phone, clock, cup, and several other examples of assistive technology.)
LVCIL’s partnership with both Temple University’s Institute on Disabilities’ TechOwl Program and Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation allow Pennsylvanians to try out new devices and ultimately save hundreds, if not thousands on assistive technology over the years. Additionally, services including our onsite reused equipment program, Connect with Tech free tablet program, TechOwl’s Free Special Phones Program (TDDP) and iCanConnect (for those with both hearing and vision related disabilities) offer free equipment to individuals who cannot otherwise afford or access these.
The onsite Reuse program continues to take donations of medical equipment. We currently have a flourishing inventory of walkers. We also have hoyer lifts and power wheelchairs that are ready to find a new home. Readers, please share this information and help us prepare our community for the cold weather that has a way of sneaking up on us each year. We always hope that everyone will have what they need while they are cozy inside for the winter. Visit our website for our donation policy
Want to purchase your assistive tech but don’t know how?
LVCIL has partnered with the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF), a nonprofit organization that provides low- and no-interest loans to qualifying individuals so that they can buy the devices they need.
Find out more and learn about even more free resources offered by visiting techowlpa.org and patf.us
Call LVCIL today with inquiries related to Assistive Technology.
(610) 770-9781 ext. 123
(Alt text: Images show the logos for Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation and Tech OWL-Technology for our Whole Lives.)
Are you looking to donate your lightly used or refurbished assistive technology and/or medical equipment?
While we welcome donations that can help our consumers achieve independence, we have limited storage space at LVCIL, and thus, we do have a policy for accepting reused items. Please contact us first at 610-770-9781 ext. 123 or send an email to email@example.com to determine if we will accept your donation and to arrange a drop off time.
All items being donated must be in good condition. Photos may be requested by our team. We do not accept broken, ripped, soiled, or generally unusable items. Additionally, all items requiring battery power must have working batteries, a charger, or another way of providing power to the item. Please note, we do not accept any items that require installation (i.e. stair lifts, vehicle lifts, non-portable ramps or hospital beds.)
We’ve got several events planned this fall and we look forward to having you join us!
- On Saturday, Oct. 8, LVCIL will be at Lehigh Valley Vegstock from 11 am to 5pm. We will be selling jars of dried goods filled with recipes created by the young adults in our S2L Program for the Treats2Love project! The sale is a fundraiser for LVCIL so be sure to stop by this fun, free outdoor healthy food festival. The event takes place along the Tatamy Trail at 336 Bushkill Drive in Tatamy by the Llantrisant Retreat and Wellness Center.
- On Thursday, Oct. 13, LVCIL invites our loyal donors to a Wine and Chocolate event at Josh Early Candies on Tilghman Street from 5 to 7 pm. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610-770-9781 ext. 120. A $25 donation is suggested but not required. Please join us for some tasty wines and chocolate treats!
- On Tuesday, Oct. 25, LVCIL will host a Pumpkin Painting Party fundraiser for LVCIL at our site in Allentown at 713 N. 13th St. The event takes place between 6 and 8 pm. Join participants as we paint an 11×14 canvas with a pumpkin theme, led by local artist Terry DeLuise. Snacks and drinks will be provided, as will the painting supplies. Admission is $35. Please RSVP to email@example.com or call 610-770-9781 ext. 120. Please join us for a fun, festive fundraiser!
(Alt text: Image shows a painting of a pumpkin)
- Our tasty Pie Fundraiser is coming soon! We are partnering once more with The Buttered Crumb to sell pies in time for Thanksgiving! Stay tuned for details.
- LVCIL will host a mixer on Jan. 13 at Stony Run Winery on Jan. 15, 2023 as a pre-bash fundraiser from 4 to 7 pm for our Breaking Barriers Bash! Proceeds benefit our services and programs for people with disabilities. Enjoy a glass of complimentary wine, appetizers by Jay’s Local, and music from local guitarist Rob Mordan.
Entrance fee is a valid $25 gift card. Please RSVP to Brian Pedersen at firstname.lastname@example.org by Jan. 9.
Coming in MAY 2023 is our Breaking Barriers Bash! We are planning this event for May 11, at Lehigh Carbon Community College with special guest Andre Reed, a Pro-Football Hall of Famer. Reed was a football superstar at Dieruff High School, Kutztown University of Pa., and the Buffalo Bills. His parents live in the Lehigh Valley, and he has been a strong supporter of various Valley causes. More details to come!
(Alt text: Image shows a graphic of a football)
(Alt text: Image shows a graphic of people working in a workplace and the logos of Air Products and Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living. The text includes the following: LVCIL is grateful to receive a grant award of $7,500 from Air Products Foundation to support our workforce development program!)