Human Services

VIA OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY INC

Creating Success Every Day

Bethlehem, PA   |  www.ViaNet.org

Mission

Since 1952 Via's mission is to help the people we serve reach their full potential through a rewarding career, meaningful relationships, and an enriching community life.

Ruling year info

1973

President & Chief Executive Officer

Ms Lisa Walkiewicz

Main address

Via of the Lehigh Valley, 336 W. Spruce St.

Bethlehem, PA 18018 USA

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Formerly known as

LARC (Lehigh Valley Association of Rehabilitation Centers)

LARC (Lehigh Valley Association of Retarded Citizens)

LARC (Lehigh Valley Association for Retarded Children)

Northampton County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (ARC)

Lehigh County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children

United Cerebral Palsy of the Northampton-Monroe

United Cerebral Palsy of the Lehigh Valley

EIN

23-1457999

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Developmentally Disabled Services/Centers (P82)

Sheltered Remunerative Employment, Work Activity Center N.E.C. (J33)

Developmentally Disabled Services/Centers (P82)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Via envisions a time when all people have equal access to developmental and educational services, meaningful friendships, a rewarding career, and a satisfying retirement.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Employment Services

Everyone should have the opportunity to be a part of the employed community. Every day, Via's staff works on innovative ways to help people find and maintain employment. Via focuses on a person’s abilities and provides support necessary for success. We offer several types of employment services that meet different needs and expectations, and excel at creating innovative employment solutions for job seekers. Community Employment: Via helps adults with disabilities work in integrated, competitive employment settings within their community, while providing ongoing support to ensure job stability. ViaWorks Small Group Employment: ViaWorks helps people with disabilities enter the workforce, be a part of the community and earn a paycheck. Teams work onsite at local companies, providing contract services for employers. This service teaches job skills in a supportive, hands-on environment. School-to-Work Transition Services: Via works with students, in partnership with their school districts and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, to create an employment plan and explore careers of interest. Pre-Employment Transition Services are also available under this service. Via Business & Industrial Services: For almost 60 years, Via has specialized in contract packaging and assembly work, providing consistent high-quality work for businesses. Staff help provide a safe and productive environment for individuals to enhance skills and gain work experience.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

It is essential for people to be part of the communities in which they live. Via helps individuals gain access to different volunteer, educational and recreational opportunities - and helps people to access them independently. Via supports adults at different stages of their lives, from recent high school graduates transitioning into adulthood, to people of retirement age looking to stay active and maintain their networks. Participants take an active role in planning their schedules and developing goals and objectives for each activity. We work with people on a variety of life skills, such as the use of public transportation, understanding housing options, and the importance of money management.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

Lehigh Children’s Academy provides high quality, nurturing care and education for young children, ages six weeks to six years, and provides before and after school care for school-age children. It is located in Lower Macungie Township, PA. The mission of Lehigh Children’s Academy is: To provide quality care and education to children in a safe, caring, clean and developmentally appropriate environment. To provide a place for education, play and social engagement that is inclusive of children of all abilities. To recognize families as a child’s first teachers and the ones who know their child best. To function as a model for best practice in early care and education by meeting or exceeding licensing and quality standards. Lehigh Children’s Academy environment and curriculum are focused on promoting the acquisition of skills by students through the design and enhancement of learning environments, activities, and routines. Classrooms have creatively designed, developmentally appropriate learning centers which provide children with information and experiences that encourage them to think and explore. Lehigh Children’s Academy strives to provide an experience that maximizes success and minimizes frustration, allowing children space and time to explore, create and learn at their own pace, using their own learning style. Twenty percent of children at Lehigh Children’s Academy have developmental delays and receive early intervention therapies. Twelve percent of children at Lehigh Children’s Academy receive Department of Public Welfare subsidies available for low income working parents. Inclusion as a value, supports the right of all children, regardless of their diverse abilities and background, to participate actively in natural settings within their communities. Inclusion is characterized by a feeling of belonging, in children of all abilities learning, playing, and working together. Lehigh Children’s Academy believes with successful inclusion, all children are actively involved, physically accessing play and work locations, and have options from which they can choose personally. Inclusion is a process, not a placement.

Population(s) Served
Infants to preschool (under age 5)
K-12 (5-19 years)

At Via, we believe that all children, regardless of their age, experiences or challenges, deserve the best services and support possible to ensure their successful futures. To that end, Via provides specialized, focused services following industry best practices. CHILDREN'S SERVICES: Early Intervention--Early Intervention therapists work with infants and toddlers in their homes, daycare facilities and communities to address delays and provide age-appropriate therapies. Caregivers are included in the teaching process so therapy can continue across the child’s daily routines. Early Intervention services are funded by the PA Department of Human Services. School-to-Work Transition Services--Via works with students, in partnership with their school districts and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, to create a personalized employment plan and explore careers of interest. Pre-Employment Transition Services are also available under this service, funded through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

Everyone wants to be connected to friends, family and their community, and to work, learn and be respected for their choices. People on the Autism Spectrum are no different. Via helps individuals develop social skills, create peer networks, and explore vocational opportunities so they may lead successful, independent lives. Via provides adults with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis (ASD) with the resources to connect with each other and community resources to explore their talents and potential. Vocational, educational and recreational activities are provided. Via of the Lehigh Valley is an Autism Waiver provider through the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs’ Bureau of Autism Services.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Behavior challenges can prevent people from participating fully in community activities. Through Behavioral Support Services, Via helps individuals who struggle with behavior challenges, teaching them more appropriate alternatives. Masters-level staff work with a person’s natural support system and caregivers to develop a behavioral support plan addressing: challenging behaviors, cognitive processing, communication skills, self-help activities, impulse control, adaptive skills, and suggesting environmental changes that support success. Behavioral Support Services promote the growth, development, and independence of individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who are struggling with behavior challenges. Services are based on positive behavioral support practices that reflect respect, dignity, and a positive regard for the individual receiving services. To ensure successful behavioral results, we support individual choice in decision making and emphasize self- determination and self-management. Masters-level staff are trained in the areas of functional behavior assessment and behavior support plan development. Behavioral Supports include onsite observation, comprehensive functional behavior assessment, behavior support plan development, training for all involved team members, and ongoing support and plan modification. Behavior Support Specialists focus on changes that can be made by the individual, their team or within the person’s environment. Support plans are regularly evaluated to ensure that any necessary changes are made and that individual outcomes are tracked appropriately. A team approach is used, involving families, staff, and other caregivers throughout the process. Via helps individuals and their teams address: Challenging behaviors Cognitive processing Communication skills Self-help activities Impulse control Adaptive skills Environmental changes that support success Teaching appropriate replacement behaviors

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

Creative Expressions Adult Training Services at The John E. Walson Center: This program supports the growth of people with disabilities through artistic self-expression, and empowers them to participate in a wide variety of community activities. Individuals divide their time between the local community and the John E. Walson Center at Via’s facility in Bethlehem. This service focuses on: Artistic Expression – Creative Expressions participants with an interest in creating art are able to express themselves through drawing, painting, weaving, and other artistic activities. Via staff assist individuals in pricing and marketing their art work, which is for sale at Via and at various exhibits in the local community. Music and other art forms are also explored. Daily Living Activities – Via helps individuals achieve independence and improve self-awareness. Areas addressed include: mobility, personal hygiene, self-care skills, and community living skills. Community Exploration – Individuals in Creative Expressions take part in a variety of social and recreational activities, learning social interaction skills, safety, public transportation, money management and how to access activities and events in the community. Cooking & Nutrition – Focusing on healthy eating, health and nutrition, Via staff teach participants about food groups, menu planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation and safe food-handling skills. Participants grow fresh herbs and vegetables on site to be used in healthy cooking activities. Physical Activity and Wellness – Light physical exercise and healthy living are encouraged, and staff engage participants in wellness daily living training, stressing things like personal hygiene and the importance of dressing appropriately for the season or activity. Communication and Social Skills – Staff work with participants to improve cognitive/affective communication, learn sign language, use augmentative communication techniques, and improve speaking skills. They also address social skills, exploring appropriate interactions through role-playing, instruction, and real-life experience. Creative Expressions is an Adult Training Service licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare. Facilities maintain compliance with Title 55 PA Code, Chapter 2380 Regulations for Adult Training Services.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of children with disabilities receiving early intervention services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Infants to preschool (under age 5)

Related Program

Services for Children and Young Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of people with disabilities who received employment services.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People with disabilities

Related Program

Employment Services

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

Via's implementation of its mission and vision is based on the following:<br/>• Every individual is valued and treated with dignity, respect, and courtesy. <br/>• Every individual is capable of growth and learning. <br/>• Every individual is able to communicate needs, desires, feelings and personal choices through the experience of person-centered planning and approaches. <br/>• Every individual has the right to be included as an active, valuable participant in the community. <br/>• Every individual has a right to physical and mental access to the community. <br/>• Every individual has a right to an advocate of their choice.

Outcomes - Track and verify outcomes by providing objective evidence of the benefit of Via's services.<br/>Growth - Grow service array to meet the needs of our service participants and to sustain Via's organizational capacity.<br/>Staff Investment - Build and maintain Via's organizational strength and capacity to operate current and future services.<br/>Maximize Funding - Maintain and expand financial resources — to ensure viability of Via's services.<br/>Communications - Effectively communicate the impact, viability, and success of Via's programs and services.

Via offers a full array of services designed to assist children and adults with disabilities so that they can have a fulfilling life within their community. Services are provided with a focus on whom individuals are and what they, with family input, determine are their program priorities. There is a strong emphasis on involving as many natural resources and supports as possible to help each person achieve their individual goals. These services may include but are not limited to Early Intervention, Community-Based Habilitation, Transitional activities for teens and young adults, Supported Employment, Customized Employment (including small business development), Pre-Vocational Services, Adult Training Services and Supported Living.

Established in December 2010, the Continuous Quality Management Performance Plan (CQMP Plan) will operationalize the Via Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles, and continuously evaluate and improve the care and services provided by Via to our participants. The CQMP Plan within Via receives oversight through the monitoring and improvement actions of the Via Quality Improvement Council (QIC). A quality improvement consultant, with the support of the Via Program Directors/Managers, drives both the CQMP Plan and the QIC. By improving the CQMP Plan and departmental systems, the Via staff work to assist in the improvement of the organizational performance of the department. Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), i.e., data collection, analysis, reporting and initiation of improvement actions, is the heart and core of Continuous Quality Management Performance (CQMP). A continuous loop of data collection, analysis and reporting is necessary to maintain a system of continuous monitoring, evaluation and improvement of each service provided. This loop also ensures flexibility in the program as the continuous monitoring and analysis provides feedback for designing and implementing positive changes. A Strategic Plan is in place and the Board of Directors is updated on progress quarterly.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2020 -Art created by Via’s Creative Expressions adult training service is displayed in the gallery space at St. John’s Church in Easton for two months. -Expanded recreation opportunities were available through Via’s Teen Summer Experience, thanks to funds from the OSTC tax credit In addition to more local activities, participants went to Dutch Springs, took a trolley tour at Hershey Chocolate World, and learned about mining life at the No. 9 Mine and Museum. -Community Employment Services relocate to a new Via office located at 1020 S. Cedar Crest Boulevard in Allentown. -The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation renews grant funding for Via Student Work Experience’s final year ending in September 2019. Over the length of the project, Via served 551 students with disabilities in Work-Based Learning Experiences with 475 students successfully completing their 9-week program. -Via is approved by the Office of Developmental Programs to provide Advanced Supported Employment Services and is approved by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to provide Discovery Services. These services are enhanced versions of supported employment services that include discovery, job development and systematic instruction to learn the key tasks and responsibilities of the position and intensive job coaching and supports that lead to job stabilization and retention. -Small Group Employment expands, with sites opening at Via Thrift Stores. -People served by Community Connections provide an average of 1,000 volunteer hours per month at local non-profit organizations. -In March, the COVID-19 pandemic crisis changed everything. Via's facility-based services were closed, but most of Via's services were deemed life-essential. Via pivoted to providing services remotely and in-person with best practices for health and safety. IN FY 2021, Via has reopened facility-based services and is increasing its in-home and community-based services while continuing remote services and has implemented best practices to ensure the health and safety of participants, staff, and the community.

Financials

VIA OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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VIA OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY INC

Board of directors
as of 8/26/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr Jerry Somers

Community Advocate


Board co-chair

Ms Jessica Moyer

King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul, LLC

Vicki Doule

BSI Corporate Benefits

Mary Lisicky

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

Jeremy Sestito

Victaulic, Inc.

Andrew Krohn

Bangor Area HIgh School

Brian Fry

Buckno Lisicky & Company

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Keywords

disability services, developmental disabilities, early intervention, community employment, community connections, early childhood education