PITTSTON – NEPA Inclusive, a provider of services for people with disabilities who have an ‘ID Waiver for Service’ received a boost from AllOne Foundation when the nonprofit received a two-year $120,000 grant to establish the SMART Tech Resource Center and Drop-in Lounge at its office located at the former Mark Data building.
NEPA Inclusive was created by Frank Bartoli. Bartoli, the executive director over the last five years, accepted the check presented by AllOne Foundation’s Executive Director John Cosgrove recently.
AllOne Foundation focuses on making an impact on improving the health and wellness for friends, family and neighbors in a 13-county region, according to Cosgrove.
“We are really pleased this partnership came together in this really direct and measurable way,” Cosgrove continued. “These grant dollars are going to create and improve access technology for folks on the spectrum, folks with intellectual disabilities and we are most intrigued that this organization can put together a partnership that can actually make smart houses for folks so they can remain in their homes, live independently and have as fulfilling a life as possible with this technology.”
Bartoli said the SMART Tech Resource Center Drop-in Lounge is a demonstration center allowing those with disabilities and their families to interact with the latest technologies such as Amazon’s Alexa smart devices like the Echo Dot, Echo Show, Fire TV, and many other products to aid in day-to-day living.
“We are also going to do a series of seminars that we are going to do with the five area Autism Centers for Excellence,” Bartoli said. “The seminars we’re going to pair with them and market smart technology centers in those regions. Also, over the next two years, 32 people are going to receive in-home installation of smart home technology that will give them for their own use.”
The five ACCE institutions are: The University of Scranton, Geisinger ADMI, Hope Enterprise, Friendship House, Children’s Service Center and Misericordia University.
“AllOne Foundation is so much more than the grant monies they provided to use because they fund the fund the Autism Collaborative Centers of Excellence (ACCE) as well, so the entire network has been coordinated through the AllOne Foundation,” Bartoli said. “To have them as a partner in the project means we now can become a part of this regional autism centers of NEPA. We now have an outreach of a significantly larger population base to educate.”
Cosgrove received a demonstration on how smart technology works by Bartoli’s daughter Ellie, who has Down Syndrome. Ellie, 22, gave an Amazon Echo Show several commands during the demonstration such as turning lights on and off, as well as a TV and unlocking a door.
Also taking part in the demonstration was smart technologies consultant Kirby Smith of SunKirb Ideas, of Philadelphia. Smith was able to assist and educate Ellie during a virtual call on the computer.
“For a person with disabilities that has physical limits, this kind of technology will enhance their lives,” Bartoli said. “There are many safety features as well such as reminding to take medications, doctor’s appointments, or even adding an item to a shopping list. Families can even tie into the cameras from another home.”