As it appeared in The Wyoming County Press Examiner
BROOKE WILLIAMS / PUBLISHED: DECEMBER 25, 2019
Through NEPA Inclusive, individuals with disabilities have been empowered to build the lives they want.
Founded in Pittston in 2013, the organization offers services related to employment, housing and life transitions in Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming counties.
“I felt there was a need for an opportunity for people with disabilities to live their own lives and to support them the way they want to be supported,” said NEPA Inclusive Executive Director Frank Bartoli. “I felt there was a gap and a void of services for that group of people, so we launched the organization and have been pretty successful ever since.”
While Bartoli was serving as executive director of The Arc of Delaware County, his daughter Ellie, who has Down syndrome, was a student at Pittston Area High School.
With his experience advocating for her, as well as more than 25 years in nonprofit leadership, he developed a vision for an organization that would focus solely on inclusion for those with disabilities.
NEPA Inclusive also serves Monroe and Berks counties and has been expanding into Schuylkill and Carbon counties.
It serves as a provider of Intellectual Disability Waiver Services through the Office of Developmental Programs, as well as a vendor through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.
The organization provides pre-employment transitional services, coordinates job shadowing and work-based learning opportunities, helps with job searches and more.
Transition Inclusive focuses on individuals up to age 21 as they move into adulthood.
NEPA Inclusive could also assist with apartment searches, applications and maintenance to help people live independently, while also offering a variety of support services in the home.
The organization takes pride in its success stories, such as a woman in the Wilkes-Barre area who needed 24/7 care. After NEPA Inclusive got involved, the woman was able to learn independent living skills, which decreased the hours of support she needed at home.
Now, she has also been selling her artwork in the community.
In another instance, Bartoli said NEPA Inclusive helped find one client a job at an indoor baseball facility, and later a job as an usher for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Bartoli’s daughter, who had an interest in photography, had a job shadowing experience at WVIA, which lead to additional opportunities.
“It’s wonderful to see the type of successes people have,” Bartoli said. “It’s a very rewarding feeling, definitely.”
While NEPA Inclusive does not have an office in Wyoming County, its leadership would consider opening one, depending on area needs. However, an office isn’t a necessity to help individuals in the area since its services are remote, Bartoli said.
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NEPA Inclusive is a provider of services for people with disabilities who have a ‘Waiver for Service’ through the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs (ODP). We provide In-Home and Community Supports, Companion Services, Supported Employment, and Supported Living Services.Contact Us