ACHIEVA selected to host team of cyclists on 3,500-mile ride


NHS Allegheny Valley School (NHS/AVS) and ACHIEVA have been selected to host a team of cyclists from around the United States that has embarked upon a 3,500-mile cross-country ride to raise money and awareness for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Several events are planned to engage the team with the community while in Pittsburgh on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 26-27.

Known as PURSUIT FOR THOSE WITH disABILITIES, the ride’s goal is to raise $13.5 million for The Center organization, a nonprofit that has been promoting the pursuit of choice, growth and personal independence for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Houston for more than six decades. A key component of the ride is to convene nonprofit agencies in cities along the route to share best practices, raise awareness and jumpstart a national effort to attract more attention and resources to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“The life expectancy of adults with developmental disabilities has doubled over the last few decades,” says ride organizer David Baldwin, a Houston energy executive who, along with his wife Maire, has long championed The Center and its clients.

NHS/AVS and ACHIEVA leadership will meet with representatives of The Center to share their best practices on July 26 at the NHS/AVS Campus,1992 Ewings Mill Road, Coraopolis. Information gathered from the stops across the country will be compiled by The Center and shared with providers to help enhance services and quality of care.

“A carnival-themed welcome to Pittsburgh is planned for Pursuit on our campus,” says NHS/AVS Chief Development Officer Dorothy Gordon. Included will be a “mini-ride” where clients, staff members and other guests of NHS/AVS and ACHIEVA can ride a short course on an adaptive bicycle, in their wheelchairs, on foot, or however they choose.

An official send-off for the Pursuit Team, including several riders from Pittsburgh, will set off from the Sheraton Station Square on July 27 at 10 complete the Pittsburgh to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware leg of the trip. Cyclists and the general public are encouraged to attend to learn more about IDD care and provide a true Pittsburgh-style rally. “Bring those Terrible Towels to cheer the riders on,” Gordon says.

NHS/AVS and ACHIEVA were selected based on their work in caring for the unique needs of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

NHS/AVS has developed innovations in care that include:

• The Memory Care Program that responds to the changing needs of those with IDD who are experiencing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It includes a Memory Care Home on the Pittsburgh campus.

• The Sensory Program that identifies an individual’s sensory sensitivities and offers techniques to respond to these challenges through several sensory environments including gardens, an aquatic sensory space, and

• The Communications Technology Program that allows clients to safely use the internet to stay in touch with family and friends, acquire computer skills, and explore their interests.

• Technology (“Smart”) Homes that utilize technologies to help residents to learn new skills and live more independently. A Smart Home opened recently in Beaver County.

ACHIEVA’s programming includes:

• A Home of My Own, a unique public/private partnership model, developed to assist people with disabilities to move out of their families’ homes into homes of their own.

• ACHIEVA Family Trust, providing services to help families and individuals with disabilities plan for the significant challenges affecting their futures and financial stability. ACHIEVA serves as trustee of several kinds of trusts benefiting individuals with disabilities.

• ACHIEVA Vocational Supports, providing job training and supports to individuals with disabilities. Staff assists individuals with disabilities with getting real work in the real world for real pay.

The ride began June 6 in Oregon, and will conclude Aug. 3 in Delaware. Along the way, riders pass through Portland, Boise, Badlands National Park, the Twin Cities, Madison, Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, before ending in Rehoboth Beach.

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