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Allegheny Valley School

2016 AVS logoAllegheny Valley School (AVS) has been providing lifelong opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) since 1960. Today, AVS offers a variety of residential and therapeutic programs to nearly 900 individuals through 125 programs and facilities in nine Pennsylvania counties. AVS cares for some of the most vulnerable citizens in our communities.

Proceeds from the PVGP are used to cover expenses at AVS that are not reimbursable by Medicaid including equipment, new program development, renovations, improvements and so much more. The PVGPA helps to improve AVS’ programs and facilities throughout western PA.

AVS Chimes and waterfall

Sensory Garden at AVS

AVS provides a comprehensive continuum of services to support each person and help the individual continue to grow and learn at every stage of life.  Each person is cared for with individualized services ranging from physical, occupational and communication therapies to special education and vocational training. To enhance services provided, AVS has developed, implemented and distributed an innovative sensory program.  The program provides a variety of activities and settings to help the individuals to interact more comfortably within their surroundings.  Innovative sensory rooms, gardens and specialized activities have made a real difference in the lives of the individuals.

One recent project of the PVGP is an outdoor learning and sensory environment at Kennedy Program Center.  This beautiful three-season space includes a pavilion, musical instruments, a fountain, a variety of plants, and more.  “For years we’ve wanted to expand our program to the outdoors,” comments Program Director Jan Harvilla.  “The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix’s generosity has made this dream a reality.  Whenever the weather permits, the individuals love spending time in the garden – listening to the wind chimes, potting plants, smelling the variety of herbs and flowers, playing the bells, and feeling and breathing in the fresh air.  THANK YOU!”

Dorothy Gordon Interview from cutnrun on Vimeo.

Interview 4 from cutnrun on Vimeo.


AVS has applied PVGPA support to numerous projects including most recently:


Five new laptops were purchased for use at the Edward J. Zapp Program Center.  The computers are loaded with specialized software from AbleLink Technologies which helps the individuals use technology safely and effectively to communicate with their families and friends, gain new skills and pursue other interests.

In order to make a community group home swimming pool more accessible, we leveled it to a depth of 4 feet and added stairs.

New outside tables and benches were purchased for the Kennedy Program Center’s sensory area.  The entire outside sensory area was built with funds from the PVGPA.

 The outdoor area of the Pittsburgh Campus Memory Care Home was enhanced with funds from the PVGPA.  Projects included a privacy fence, a pavilion and landscaping.  The Memory Care Home is the residence and primary day program area for 16 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are also experiencing dementia.

 We were able to acquire a commercial refrigerator for the food preparation program at the Pittsburgh Campus.

Window treatments were purchased and installed for the Pittsburgh Campus Shingle & Brown Houses.

The PVGPA funds have improved the flooring at numerous locations including the Patricia Hillman Miller Campus, and Pittsburgh Campus’ Brick and Brown Houses. It is very important to keep our flooring in good shape, not only to be aesthetically pleasing, but also for the safety of our residents, staff members and visitors.

The PVGPA has supported the purchase of new furnishings for the Pittsburgh Campus’ Brick and Cedar Houses.

Paving and walkway work has been completed at several community group homes and the Pittsburgh Campus.



One community group home received new furnishings and two community group homes received new HVAC equipment.



In November 2015 we opened a new addition on the Slippery Rock Program Center, a location where nearly 100 individuals receive their day program services.  Improvements to the parking area and driveway at SRPC were needed and funds from the PVGPA, along with other contributed funds, were applied to this major project.

The mission of Allegheny Valley School is to provide quality programs and facilities to help the individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities entrusted to our care to live with purpose and dignity, and to provide opportunities and choices for our clients to grow and function at their full potential as independently as possible.

To stay up to date with AVS’ news and events, visit their website.  In addition, please friend them on facebook.

To arrange a personal tour of Allegheny Valley School please contact Dorothy Gordon at 412-299-7777.