A small group of local advocates came together in 1997 and prepared a Grant for the Department of Education for funding as the 17th Center for Independent Living in the State of Pennsylvania.
The first attempt at funding failed, however, with determination the group came together again in 2002, when funding was available, dusted off the grant that had previously been written and resubmitted and Disability Options Network became the 17th Center for Independent Living in the State of Pennsylvania. The services provided by the Center are completely without charge to any consumer. The Center serves a Cross Disability in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Mercer and Westmoreland Counties the Center provides Advocacy, Skills Training, Peer Support, Information and Referral and Deinstitutionalization.
The Corporation began to flourish and take on a personality of its own. Dedicated to Advocacy Disability Options Network was heavily involved with the disability rights movement. The Board members and consumers participated in civil rights to try and change the Long Term Institutional bias in the United States.
In 2005 the Board of Directors ordered the Executive Director to create a sister corporation to act as a funding source for the Center. DON Services Inc. a nonprofit corporation was created in 2005 to provide waiver services under the CSPPPD programs, Obra, Independence and Com care waivers in four Counties in Western Pennsylvania. DON Services added the Attendant Care and Act 150 programs in 2008.
As the waiver programs in Pennsylvania have evolved DON Services, Inc. added the PDA waiver, Autism Waiver, Consolidated Waiver and Home Health Agency to meet the growing demands of the consumers served. The Corporation now serves Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Somerset, Venango, Warren, Washington and Westmoreland Counties.
DON Services was listed as the third largest employer in Lawrence County in the second Quarter of 2015. The Corporation has Offices in Allegheny County, Lawrence County and Washington County
The founding Board members and Staff, for Disability Options Network, many whom still serve and those that have past will long be remembered: Bruce Harris, Catherine Holl, Vivian LaCamera, Mary Holl, Mark Papas, Debbie Librandi and Chris Lloyd, Russel Relic, Diana Reed, Joshua Russ.
The Founding Board Members for DON Services, Inc. Debbie Librandi, Bill Myers, Chris Lloyd, Melissa Underwood. Additional Board members have been added over the years. Judd Musguire, and Tom Fisher. One hundred percent of the Board members are people with disabilities. We believe that we have a deeper understanding and greater appreciation for consumer controlled services than do other providers of services.