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Via Grant Report

Last week featured Julie Scheck and Lynn Schoof from VIA of the Lehigh Valley. The organization is a non-profit agency that provides services for children and adults with disabilities like autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome. Via’s mission is to help people reach their full potential through a rewarding career, meaningful relationships, and an enriching  community life. Via creates pathways to success through vocation, inclusion, and advocacy. The organization’s roots stem from 1952 when a church-based group of parents formed the Lehigh Association of Retarded Children which would eventually become known as LARC. They later merged with UCP and became VIA.


Their Early Intervention program targets children less than 3 years-old and includes speech and physical therapy. Camp VIA is a summer program for ages 12-21 who have a variety of disabilities. The program focuses on personal goals and future plans. Camp VIA participants engage in agility training, trips to Rodale Farms, and Blue Mountain. The Lehigh Children’s Academy in Macungie is open to all pre-kindergarten children. Adult training services provide support for young people who need to learn life skills including cooking, laundry, and basic housekeeping. Older adults receive support for keeping active in their lives. Autism services help people with career opportunities and learning to engage with the community.


Via excels at creating innovative employment solutions for job seekers and matching those solutions with business needs. Via focuses on a person’s abilities and provides the support necessary for success. Their staff works one-on-one with adults throughout the process, from development to job coaching and ongoing support. Via provides consultation and assistance to the employer and on-the-job training and orientation for the employee. Via’s Community Employment partners with 56 companies throughout the Lehigh Valley, including Martin Guitar and Sweet Girlz Bakery in Easton.


Allison, the head baker at Sweet Girlz, is celebrating Autism Acceptance Month with a special blue cupcake she created to help bring awareness of Autism. Via helped her find her dream job several years ago, and she has been making Easton a sweeter place since then. When it comes to employment, people with disabilities want the same thing as everyone else - a job in their community that provides a competitive wage, satisfying work, and fulfilling friendships. Everyone should have the opportunity to be part of the workforce.


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