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Who We Are
NEPA Inclusive was founded on the idea that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Autism, and other forms of disabilities should be able to work and live inclusively in the community the same way anyone else does. To that end, the agency focuses on job training, employment services, community living and day services, housing services, and a myriad of other types of advocacy and support services all designed to help people with disabilities live a truly inclusive life.
Frank Bartoli, Ellie’s dad, along with a small group of ‘Founding Contributors’ who shared the same vision of inclusion for everyone, founded NEPA Inclusive in December of 2013 as a conduit to help people with disabilities achieve their goals and dreams of becoming fully engaged members of their communities.
Their inspiration was Ellie, and other people like her. Seeing what she could accomplish, they wanted to make sure that Ellie and others like her, had the opportunity to develop and achieve their goals with a little help. After all, we are all disabled at some point in our life, and we all need a little help from time to time.
A local 501c3 charitable organization, NEPA Inclusive has a long-range strategy to help people through their lifespan and through transitions in their lives. From high school job training, to finding a job as an adult, living with parents, moving into their own apartment, and helping them age-in-place, NEPA inclusive has developed a series of supports all designed to be person-centered, person-focused, sustainable, and as inclusive as they want to be – they represent the individual’s wishes.
A concept at the core of our work is including people with disabilities in everything we do. We involve people with disabilities in the decision-making process. From leading a team, to telling us how they want to be supported, to involving people with disabilities on committees and the board of directors, NEPA Inclusive believes each person should have the ability to make their own choices, advocate for themselves and their peers, and be a part of the planning and decision-making process.
“PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES COULD BE LEADERS. ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS ASK THEM.” – Frank Bartoli
Another core concept is diversity. In the discussions of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and Autism, should also have a part to play, alongside people of color, LGBT, and native Americans. To that end, our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility policy and actions reflect that all these groups be represented, including people with disabilities.
NEPA inclusive is more than a provider of services. NEPA Inclusive is an idea, a concept, a movement–that all people, including people with disabilities, should be able to determine their own path in life, including where they work, where they live, who they live with, and how they live. Our role is to support them in achieving their goals.
What started as a small, local agency in Pittston, PA, NEPA Inclusive now supports people in 12 counties and advocates for and creates awareness of inclusion in countless others. With social media, video conferencing, website, email marketing, and other means of telling our story, NEPA Inclusive reaches people all around the country and even the world in promoting the idea of inclusion.
Direct services through the Office of Developmental Programs IDD Waiver system and OVR PETS (high school students) and Adult Services are offered in the following PA counties: Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Northampton, Monroe, Montgomery, Wyoming, with more counties emerging all the time.
NEPA Inclusive headquarters are located in the ‘Quality Tomato Capital of the World’, the City of Pittston, PA, with regional offices in the Lehigh Valley, PA, and Reading, PA, and soon to come in the Pocono Mountains of PA.
Our vision that people with disabilities are fully engaged members of our communities is alive and well and growing. Contact us to see how we can help you or your loved one live a truly inclusive life!
To learn more about who we are, meet our Leadership Team.
Board of Directors
Mark Soprano, Luzerne County (he/him/his)
Mark graduated from Bishop Hoban High School and then furthered his education by graduating from King’s College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. Has been employed at Catholic Youth Center since 1985, serving as Executive Director since 2010. Board Member and volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen, Board Member and classroom volunteer for Junior Achievement of NEPA. Co-Owner of Studio Soprano letterpress printing.
Joleen Lazecki (she/her/hers)
Joleen Lazecki works full-time for Lockheed Martin Corporation, is a realtor with Homes of NEPA, and is a Barre instructor at The Salt Barre. In addition, she is an active community volunteer serving on the Board of Directors for Scranton Civic Ballet Company and an active Paint Pittston Pink committee member.
She had also served on the Tomato Festival and 5K race committees for over 20 years. She was also a member of the Pittston Art Walk and the Pittston Arts Council. In addition, she is on the Board of Directors for the Suzuki School of Strings and a Board Member for the Greater Pittston YMCA. She was honored to receive the Greater Pittston YMCA Sam Milazzo Volunteer of the Year award twice (2005 & 2018). A Pittston native and Pittston Area high school alum, Joleen holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from King’s College. Joleen is a mother of four children T.J., Hannah, Abby, Liam, and one son-in-law.
Bonnie Arnone, Luzerne County (she/her/hers)
Bonnie joined the Board of Directors in 2020 because she feels NEPA Inclusive is a highly worthwhile non-profit organization that can make a difference in the lives of so many individuals. With over 30 years of experience, Bonnie has been the Manager at Forty Fort Borough for Forty Fort for six years, where she manages day-to-day operations and has been responsible for receiving over $4 million in grant funding for the borough. Bonnie is married to Joe, and together they have three children and two grandchildren. She enjoys gardening, traveling, and socializing with friends and family.
Richard Drust (he/him/his)
Richard D. Drust is the Senior Vice President and Retail Banking Officer of FNCB Bank. Mr. Drust’s responsibilities include overseeing the retail branch network, the marketing unit, treasury services, and the residential mortgage origination team, and he has held the position since February 2014. Richard has over 35 years of banking experience in various bank management positions.
He is a graduate of the Institute of Financial Education. He has been active in numerous community organizations and serves on the Wyoming Valley Challenger Baseball and NEPA Inclusive board, serving individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Elena Berzins, Montgomery County (she/her/hers)
Elena Berzins received a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is pursuing a master’s in Nonprofit Leadership at Lasalle University in Philadelphia. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for many years, including at Teacher’s College at Columbia and Weill Cornell Medical College. She served as Vice President of the Board of the Down Syndrome Group of the Ozarks and Event Coordinator at the ARC of Delaware County, PA. She served on the Montgomery County Down Syndrome Interest Group Board.
Elena currently works as the Development Coordinator for the nonprofit membership association LRFA. She also founded the local parent group, UMSEA, 2021 (Upper Moreland Special Education Alliance), to support families of children with disabilities in her school district. She is glad to be on the Board of NEPA, helping people live inclusive lives of their choice.
Jim Dalkiewicz MBA,MHA, Lehigh/Northampton Counties (he/him/his)
Jim joined the Board in 2021 to help expand the organization’s reach to meet the needs of people with disabilities in more communities. Jim is the Manager of Graduate Medical Education (West Region) at St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem, where he has developed and implemented operational goals for graduate medical education (GME) programs.
He leads GME business development across the health network and has developed over 15 brand-new medical residency/fellowship programs. Jim is an FAA-licensed pilot, ultra-marathon runner, and active triathlete. He holds a position on the Board of Directors for the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) – Eastern PA Chapter, and at Dale Realty LTD, Plains, PA, and Red House Realty Inc, Scranton, PA.
Kathy Healey, Luzerne County (she/her/hers)
Kathy Healey is the Health and Physical Education teacher at Hanover Area High School and a member of the Pittston School Board. She is an active community volunteer, including Downtown Pittston events, projects to help the less fortunate, and events to collect school supplies for students in the Pittston Area. Access NEPA awarded her the 2021 Best High School Athletic Coach; the 2020 Attorney Joseph A. Saporito Award; 2018 Educator of the Year by the System of Care of Luzerne and Wyoming Counties; Best of the Best High School Athletic Coach in the Pittston Area 9 years; Coach of the Year multiple times for basketball; and was inducted into the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame in 2020. A Pittston native and Seton Catholic graduate, Kathy holds a Bachelor of Science from Marywood University and a Master’s Degree from Wilkes University.
Jeffrey Mazur, Luzerne County (he/him/his)
Jeffrey shared a home with his mother until she passed away several years ago during the holidays. Determined to move through his grief and loneliness, Jeffrey started In-home Community Supports and Employment Support with NEPA Inclusive, and in a short time, he was working a part-time job which enabled him to successfully maintain a home on his own, start new friendships, and soon become chair of the NEPA Inclusive Recreation Committee.
NEPA Inclusive recognized Jeffrey as Volunteer of the Year last year and by Luzerne County Mental Health and Developmental Services during their Celebration of Abilities awareness event.
Lucille Piggott-Prawl (she/her/hers)
Lucille Piggott-Prawl is a Special Education/ Disability Rights Advocate. She has a Bachelor’s in Political Science/Urban Studies from Rutgers University. Presently she is working on completing her Masters in Community Economic Development at Penn State. Lucille has certification from Temple University in Grant Writing and Nonprofit Fundraising.
Her professional experience includes Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities, State and Federal Government, Education, Intensive Case Management, and Housing.
Lucille serves on the boards and committees of the Pennsylvania Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP), Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, Monroe County’s Women’s Commission, Pennsylvania Right to Education Task Force, Local Right to Education Taskforce IU 20 and 21 – Past Co-Chair, Co-Founder Pleasant Valley School District Diversity Task Force, and the United Way of Monroe County PA – Funds Distribution Committee Member. Lucille is a former elected Pennsylvania Monroe County, Polk Township Auditor.
Jeff McLaughlin (he/him/his)
Jeff McLaughlin. Jeff is a Solution Specialist with Golden Business Machines with expertise in assisting regional businesses to leverage technology to improve business operations. A resident of Forty Fort, Jeff was elected to two terms on the Borough Council and is a Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority board member. In addition, he is a lifetime volunteer firefighter with the Swoyersville Hose Company #2.
Becky Worthy (she/her/hers)
Becky works for St. Luke’s University Health Network specializing in chemotherapy, home infusion, and specialty medications. In addition, she is a contract specialist leading the role in obtaining new limited distribution medicines into the network for employees and patients.
Dr. Jolene Carey-Pace (she/her/hers)
Dr. Jolene Carey-Pace was appointed Research Analyst at The Institute in 2021. As a research analyst, Jolene conducts research/development activities, analyzes data, and interprets results. Jolene also contributes to the design and delivery of research projects and collaborates with researchers to develop, execute, and interpret research projects and perform complex data collection and study methods. Jolene is experienced in quantitative and qualitative research, specializing in implementing, conducting, and analyzing interviews and focus groups. She is committed to building diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities through the assistance of data and is accomplished in evaluating and implementing DEI strategies, program evaluation, and leadership development.
A graduate of Wilkes University, Jolene earned her Doctorate of Education degree in Educational Leadership Studies. Jolene also earned a Master’s degree in Organizational Management and a Bachelor’s degree in English. Jolene also holds Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion certificates in the Workplace and Post-Crisis Leadership from the University of South Florida MUMA.
Before her time at The Institute, she worked as the Wilkes University Small Business Development Center program coordinator and as an Adjunct Instructor at Lackawanna College. Jolene began her professional career in the commercial insurance industry, working nine years in the regulatory compliance sector.
Jolene is also a Northeastern Educational Research Association member and was inducted in 2020 into Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education.
Vanessa Vergnetti-Thomas (she/her/hers)
Vanessa Vergnetti-Thomas is the proud mother of five children, including her sons Benjamin and Tristan, who have Autism. A certified K-12 Special Education Teacher, Certified Personal Trainer, and Master Colorist, she knows the way around IEP and the disability service system. With the help of NEPA Inclusive, her son Benjamin has a fulfilling purpose and personal pride through his job experience at a local pizza restaurant. She wants to share the mission of how NEPA Inclusive makes a real difference in the lives of students and adults with disabilities by spreading awareness of how essential inclusivity is in the community! She resides in Old Forge, PA, with her husband and children.
Carl Sheperis (he/him/his)
Dr. Carl J. Sheperis serves as Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies at Kutztown University. Dr. Sheperis has extensive experience in pediatric and family mental health and has served as an expert on various media outlets, including The Huffington Post, The Conversation, Parenting, Prevention, Disney Family, The Hill, and others. Dr. Sheperis has over 25 years of experience in pediatric and family mental health, and he has served as an envoy for professional counseling to UNESCO, the International Association for Counseling, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Turkey, the Kingdom of Bhutan, and numerous other international organizations/governments.
Dr. Sheperis is the author of several textbooks and has published numerous academic journal articles. He was named the Outstanding Counselor Educator by the Southern Association of Counselor Education and Supervision and received the Counselor Education Advocacy Award from the American Counseling Association (ACA). In 2016, Dr. Sheperis received the David K. Brooks Jr. Distinguished Mentor Award from ACA, and in 2018 he was named a Fellow by the same organization. In 2022, Dr. Sheperis received the Carl D. Perkins Government Relations Award from ACA.
Beverly Braxton-Cannon (she/her/hers)
Beverly Braxton-Cannon has counseled in various modalities for over 30 years. She has worked in vocational school settings, state and local government, non-profit organizations, public health consortiums, and clinical substance abuse treatment facilities. Beverly has worn many hats throughout her professional career, including employment counselor, placement coordinator, guidance counselor, training director, HIV/AIDS counselor, family program director, and substance abuse counselor. She has personally and professionally helped countless individuals in her years of experience. She is a graduate of Douglass College (Rutgers – the State University of New Jersey) and is currently semi-retired. She now splits her time working between substance abuse counseling and life coaching.
Ms. Braxton-Cannon and her husband have been married for 33 years and have one adult daughter. Beverly is involved in her local community, volunteering with non-profit organizations and government agencies. She is honored and excited to have been asked to serve on the NEPA Inclusive Board of Directors.
Erin Linnen Berlew
Rebecca Spirito Dalgin
- 2022 Annual Report
- 2021 Annual Report
- 2020 Annual Report
- 2019 Annual Report
- 2018 Annual Report
- 2017 Annual Report
- 2016 Annual Report
- 2015 Annual Report
- 2022 Audited Financial Statement
- 2021 Audited Financial Statement
- 2020 Audited Financial Statement
- 2019 Audited Financial Statement
- 2018 Audited Financial Statement
- 2017 Audited Financial Statement
U.S. Form 990
- 2020 U.S. Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax
- 2019 U.S. Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax
- 2018 U.S. Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax
- 2017 U.S. Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax
- 2016 U.S. Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax