A consortium of resources designed to assist and educate through life's transitions.

Tuesday, April 13 and Wednesday, April 14
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

FREE to attend

A Two-Day Virtual Conference

Watch the Conference Here
Conference Take-Away Materials


This virtual conference is presented by the

Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources

PA Link to Aging and Disability Resource Center Toll-Free Helpline: 1-800-753-8827







All eligible, registered participants will be entered to win conference prizes, including assistive technology items!

Tuesday, April 13

Starting at 9 a.m.

- Welcome

- Achieva Family Trust

- Self-Determination Housing of Pennsylvania; Housing Challenges

- Short Break

- Kirby Smith on Assistive Technology (Keynote Speaker)
- 30-Minute Lunch Break

- ATRC / CRI on the TechOWL Program

- Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF)

- Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)

- Questions and Announcements

Wednesday, April 14

Starting at 9 a.m.


-Keynote Speaker - Dr. Al Condeluci - Addressing Loneliness and Social Isolation: The Key to a Better Life

-Short Break

-Matthew Trott (GECAC) on Transition choices among care supports and settings

-LGBTQ+ Seniors

-30-Minute Lunch Break

-Mental Health

-LGBTQI Veterans

-Veterans and PTSD

-Closing and Prizes


Al Condeluci, PhD

Keynote Speaker- Addressing Loneliness and Social Isolation: The Key to a Better Life

Al Condeluci is a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh PA, USA. He received his masters and doctorate degrees at the University of Pittsburgh and for the past 47 years, was associated with CLASS, a full-service nonprofit organization supporting people with disabilities, retiring in Jan, 2019. Holding faculty appointments with the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and School of Social Work, Dr. Condeluci teaches, advises, and mentors students.

Kirby Smith

SunKirb Ideas

Kirby Smith is the founder and President of SunKirb Ideas, LLC. Kirby has over 30 years of experience in technology and customer service and executive leadership. In July of 2014, his wife, Suria, was injured and became a quadriplegic. They found the technology being offered to improve her life was outdated, expensive, and very limited due to customizations. Suddenly, simple everyday things were challenging. They solved those issues and July 2015 formed a company to bring these solutions to an underserved population. SunKirb Ideas, LLC offers affordable off-the-shelf consumer-based solutions through technology to give those who are aging, with disabilities and/or unique challenges the ability to be more independent and have more control of their environment. The smart homes and offices enable people to control the lights, temperature, turn on and off alarms, control their doors, control music and entertainment, see and communicate remotely, and control the televisions (including the cable box, TiVo, Netflix and Hulu) using voice commands or other alternative control methods.

His books, Interdependence (1991, 1995), Beyond Difference (1996), Cultural Shifting (2002), Essence of Interdependence (2008), Together is Better (2010), Social Capital (2014) and the Macro Change Handbook (2015) focus on culture, community, social capital and macro change and have been used around the world. In 2018, he received the Key to the City of Pittsburgh, the highest civilian honor given by the city. He can be reached at 412-848-0278, or and on Twitter @acondeluci.

Program Abstract - The notions of loneliness and social isolation have been clearly identified as vexing issues in our culture today. We know that when people are rendered isolated, bad things can follow including adverse health issues, unhappiness/depression, challenges with life success, and even shortened life expectancy. We also know that marginalized groups, folks with disabilities, seniors, those in poverty, and other minorities, are at greater risk of being lonely, isolated, or disconnected. This session will do a deep-dive into understanding social isolation. Not only will we look at the research and data related to this concept, but we will explore strategies, and actions that can be employed in addressing loneliness by having social capital principles work for the people in your community. In an interactive format, we will examine ways and means to building more effective relationships.


- Participants will be introduced to recent data and research on isolation/loneliness

- Ways to explore and measure loneliness will be introduced

- The construct of social capital will be overviewed

- Relationship-building strategies to combat social isolation will be examined

Matthew Trott

Director of Area Agency on Aging (AAA) in Erie County Pennsylvania at GECAC – since 2015.

-GECAC Planning & Development / AAA– since 1998
-FEMA (Washington DC) 1994
-Graduate of Penn State University
Member of: American Society on Aging (ASA), Nat’l Council on Aging (NCOA), National Assoc. of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A), PA Assoc. AAAs (P4A).

Susan is co-author of PATF’s publication Funding Your Assistive Technology: A Guide to Funding Resources in Pennsylvania as well as PATF’s financial education book, Cents and Sensibility: A Guide to Money Management.

Susan serves on the Boards of the National Disability Institute, the National Disability Finance Coalition, the PA Statewide Independent Living Council, and the Technology Subcommittee of the National Council on Independent Living. Susan and her husband are the parents of an adult son who has cerebral palsy and is an assistive technology user.

Dawn Edwards

Susan Tachau

Michelle Sipple

Dawn Edwards is a Regional Housing Coordinator for Self Determination Housing of PA, a program of Inglis Community Services. Dawn has over 20 years of experience in the social service field. Her previous employment includes aging and disability resources, prevention education for domestic violence and sexual assault as well as having been a student aid for children with various disabilities.

Dawn’s varied employment history has given her a unique understanding of the numerous barriers some may have in accessing housing. She enjoys the opportunity to educate others on ways to increase availability and opportunity in housing for individuals with disabilities and older adults.

Michelle Sipple is the Vice President of Achieva Family Trust and has been in this position since 2015. Michelle's prior experience includes a long history working in the disability field with the majority of her years spent working in IDD Supports Coordination along with Mental Health Service Coordination and Older Adult Services.

Leading the charge to bring together Community Based Organizations with Managed Health Plans to achieve greater health and wellness for the entire population through high quality, person centered care coordination.

Former President and current Legislative Chair for the Independent Council on Aging of Erie and on Legislative Committee for PA Association of Area Agencies on Aging (P4A).

Serves on Aging & Disability Resources (ADRC)/ LINK Oversight Advisory Board SA-01. Past Federal Peer reviewer for Corp. for National & Community Service, and Current Board Vice-President of Comprehensive Care Connections (C3).

Susan Tachau is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF), a statewide non-profit Community Development Financial Institution that provides education and financing opportunities for people with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians for the purchase of assistive technology. Susan is co-director of a PA Developmental Disabilities Council grant that promotes the understanding and use of generic smart home devices.

Roseanna Wayne

Roseanna is an Assistive Technology Resource Coordinator (ATRC) for the TechOWL Program at Community Resources for Independence (CRI). We are one of nine Assistive Technology Resource Centers in Pennsylvania that provides information and assistance, support, and advocacy assistance for the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University.
CRI covers 7 counties: Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Venango, Mercer, and Warren.

The purpose of TechOwl Programs is to assist people in obtaining assistive technology. TechOwl aims to enhance the lives of all Pennsylvanians with disabilities, older Pennsylvanians and their families, caregivers, professional staff, and the community through accessing assistive technology devices. Assistive Technology (AT) allows for choice and having the control of having independence at home, work, school, or play/socializing.

Jack has worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) since 2002. This, along with 3 years Case Management/Support Coordination with persons with disabilities, 5 years Supported Employment/Job Coaching with persons with disabilities, a lifetime of being a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults), and raising a son on the Autism Spectrum gives Jack over 40 years’ experience advocating and assisting persons with disabilities. He holds a Master’s Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation, a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech and Hearing Disorders with a minor in Education, and an advanced rating in Sign Language Communication Proficiency.

Jack Hewitt

Jack has been the District Administrator of the OVR Erie District Office since 2008; he’s also been OVR’s NWPA Workforce Board member since 2008. Along with these, he has been involved with Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s Rehabilitation Counseling Advisory Board, Erie County Drug & Alcohol Advisory Board, West Central Center for the Deaf Advisory Board, and other workforce and community groups. He prides himself on working with customers, staff, providers, and community stakeholders in assisting persons with disabilities reach their vocational goals. Outside of work, Jack enjoys spending time with his family, being outside, and supporting his church and community through the Knights of Columbus, Elks, and other organizations.

Will Koehler PhD, LCSW

Will Koehler PhD, LCSW serves as Chair and Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and is President and Clinical Supervisor at Journey to a Trauma Informed Life, LLC.

His areas of research and expertise include traumatic stress related disorders, mental health concerns among LGBTQ+ individuals, treatment of children exposed to violence and abuse, and trauma-informed social work practice.

Since 2009, he has served the NW PA region as a Clinical Social Worker by empowering LGBTQ+ youth and adults with evidence-based, trauma-focused outpatient counseling. He currently provides training, supervision, and consulting services in the areas of LGBTQ+ competency, trauma-informed practices, and is an EMDRIA-approved Consultant in Training.

(pronouns: he/him)

For more information you can connect with him at: , email him at or find him on Facebook:, Twitter: @KoehlerWill or LinkedIn: WillKoehlerLCSW His work is also on Research Gate and Psychology Today.

Teri Connelly

Teri Madura Connelly, PhD is a Staff Psychologist at the Erie VAMC. She earned a PhD from the University of Akron and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in PTSD at the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System VA, Nashville, TN. She has worked within VHA since 2011, and has substantial work experience in the treatment of PTSD, suicide prevention, and mindfulness-based care. Dr. Connelly has been extensively trained and certified in the delivery of Evidenced-Based Practices for PTSD, including Prolonged Exposure, Cognitive Processing Therapy and Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation. She also served as a national consultant for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Depression. She currently functions as the PTSD Lead Clinician at the Erie VAMC and heads our local PTSD clinical team. She also provides a full range of psychological services to Veterans living in rural areas through our Crawford County Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC).

My name is Shannon Brown and I currently work at Erie Veterans Affairs Medical Center in the Behavioral Health Clinic. I have a passion for diversity, equity and inclusion for all and try to educate others through training and discussion-based opportunities. I’m a firm believer that if we can hate for no reason we can love for no reason too!

Shannon Brown

Born and raised in Northwestern PA, Vinny Stefanelli has enjoyed a long career in the Music, Film and the Game Industries. He began his music career as a performer and a guitar instructor at the early age of 15 yrs old. Those early years were spent studying and refining his musical skills to prepare for a move to New York City. After a number of years of living and playing music in Manhattan, an opportunity to work in the film industry appeared. Starting with a position as a production assistant at one of New York’s top commercial production companies, Stefanelli was able to gain a hands-on education and experience in the film industry. This allowed him to grow in the industry as a producer of commercials, educational programs and music videos. After 10 years of living in NYC, the need for a change brought him to the decision of relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area. There he was able to continue his work in film production, and as luck would have it, SF was experiencing the period of massive growth in the adoption of the Internet (1990s). Looking to get back to Music, Stefanelli joined a small record label that was making the transition to an online presence. There he headed the Marketing department of the label and participated in the release of several albums by well known Jazz Musicians. From that point, his background in film and music allowed him to expand into the Game Industry where he worked with fellow musicians to create music and Sfx for a number of well known game companies. After 10 years in SF, Stefanelli returned to the Erie Area and resumed his work of performing and providing guitar instruction. A number of years later, he became aware of the plight of many Veterans and realized that a music program could address Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD) that was affecting of so many Veterans. Shortly after, he founded the Music for Veterans program that to this day continues to serve our Veterans by offering an environment Creativity and Camaraderie where a Veteran can build a healthy personal relationship with their music as well as gain strong friendships and a strong support system with their fellow Veterans.

Since 2011, Music for Veterans has been performing its mission of improving the quality of life for Veterans by providing an Environment of Creativity & Camaraderie where Veterans can build both a personal relationship with music AND valuable friendships with fellow Music for Veteran band members.

Vinny Stefanelli

Musician/Media Producer
Founder/Director - Music for Veterans

Transitioning Forward Conference

Planning Committee

Katherine Reim is the Regional Trust Liaison for the Achieva Family Trust. She works in the Regional office in Erie with beneficiaries and families to provide support and guidance regarding Special Needs Trusts. She is active in the Pa. Link and serves on the Oversight Committee of the Link in service area 1.

Katherine is on the board of Directors for Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation and serves as facilitator for the Niagara Network -a networking group of professionals that meets monthly.

Pamela Marlowe is a public relations, social media and communications specialist for the Better Business Bureau of Western PA, with an emphasis on educating the public on topics relating to consumer protection and current events. She is passionate about offering helpful information to customers, clients and people of all ages that is useful and productive to their daily lives.

Matt Trott is the Director of Area Agency on Aging (AAA) in Erie County Pennsylvania at GECAC. He is leading the charge to bring together Community Based Organizations with Managed Health Plans to achieve greater health and wellness for the entire population through high quality, person centered care coordination.

Kathy Freeman, Local Lead Coordinator for the PA Link to Aging and Disability Resources in Service Area 1

(Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Venango and Warren counties).

Dawn Edwards is a Regional Housing Coordinator for Self Determination Housing of PA, a program of Inglis Community Services. Dawn has over 20 years of experience in the social service field. Her previous employment includes aging and disability resources, prevention education for domestic violence and sexual assault as well as having been a student aid for children with various disabilities.

Mike Fiorelli, Community Resources for Independence - Mike Fiorelli is the Program Manager of the Center for Independent Living (CIL) at Community Resources for Independence (CRI) in Erie. As a person with a physical disability, Mike has the knowledge and experience to help people, through a variety of services offered through the CIL, to live independently by promoting the Independent Living philosophy! He has been with CRI for nearly 13 years, the last 6 in his current role. Mike is also active in several networking groups, including the PA Link and is a member of the PA Link Oversight Committee in SA 1.

Ken Vybiral is the Volunteer Coordinator at the PA Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Home in Erie. Mr. Vybiral relocated from his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA in June of 2014 when he accepted his position. He is a graduate of North Hills High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Edinboro University. Mr. Vybiral began his career in Higher Education working at colleges and universities in the Pittsburgh area and this work took him across the country and eventually back to Western PA.

Mr. Vybiral has worked to engage the community to the mission of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home and has established traditions to include the Home’s Veteran Expo, a Four Chaplains Ceremony, Women’s Military History Programs, aMemorial Day cookout and a full participant in the national Wreaths Across America commemoration. Mr. Vybiral is proud member of the Erie-Crawford Central Labor Council and SEIU Local 668.

Transitioning Forward

April 13 and 14, 2021

Better Business Bureau® of Western Pennsylvania

Sign up for monthly e-news