Nancy J. Murray, Project Director
Nancy J. Murray, M.S. is the President of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh at ACHIEVA. She has 35 years of experience in the disability field in the areas of public policy, advocacy, family support, supports coordination, healthcare and state government serving people with disabilities and their families. Nancy’s primary area of interest and study is the resilience of families of children and adults with disabilities and the long term impact of caring for a person with a disability on a family. Ms. Murray has conducted numerous seminars and has written numerous articles for families and professionals on disability issues.
Ms. Murray is the Project Director of both ACHIEVA’s Disability Healthcare Initiative which is focused on access to healthcare for people with disabilities and ACHIEVA’s “A Home of My Own” project which is working with families to blend government and natural resources to create more affordable housing for people with disabilities. Nancy has served as a founder and coordinator of the Down Syndrome Center at Children’s Hospital (UPMC) of Pittsburgh, the Director of Supports Coordination at Staunton Clinic in Pittsburgh and the Western Area Director of the Office of Developmental Programs in Pennsylvania.
Nancy received her B.S. from Gettysburg College and her M.S. from the University of Pittsburgh.
Michelle Stockunus, Project Manager
Michelle Stockunus has more than 21 years of experience in the disability field in the areas of behavioral health, intellectual disabilities and young adult transition services. Her experience in the disabilities field includes all aspects of residential services, including direct care of those with disabilities, assisting individuals and their families to create residential opportunities in the community, as well as both supervisory and management experience. Her experience and knowledge of direct support, residential operations and the ID system, as well as policy, in combination with foreseeing necessary change in how we support individuals with disabilities was the driving force that led to her involvement in the "A Home of My Own" project. Michelle and the team members of Supports Brokers and Life Coaches offer customized community living to individuals with disabilities.
Michelle is a Certified Investigator for the state of Pennsylvania, ensuring the health, safety and welfare of those with disabilities. She received her B.A. in Psychology from California University of Pennsylvania.
Tom Vash, Supports Broker
Tom Vash has been working in the Human Services field for more than 15 years. During this time, he has worked with individuals with mental health issues, intellectual disabilities and autism in many different settings. This has included vocational, janitorial enclaves, consumer run businesses, non-traditional day and senior's programs and residential community homes. Tom has held positions in direct care and management throughout his career.
Tom received his BS from the University of Pittsburgh. Post-graduation, he continued his education by attending the Cyril Wecht Institute through Duquesne University and received a certification in Forensic Science & Law.
KayLynn Petri, Supports Broker
KayLynn Petri has more than 20 years working with individuals, of all age groups, with intellectual and physical disabilities, KayLynn's experience and certifications include: Satori Alternatives to Managing Aggression; In home “Parent Trainer”; Transition Specialist and Certified Special Olympics Coach; Employment Specialist for Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities and is A.B.A Certified. She teaches Social Skills and Boundaries; emotional regulation; meditation/calm breathing and anti-victimization classes to young adults and high school students in the Pittsburgh area.
She enjoys assisting and following an individual on their journey to independence and finding a home of their own and encouraging them to learn to make their own healthy independent choices in everyday life. KayLynn currently teaches a class to "A Home of My Own" participants, titled Money Club, which is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF).
ACHIEVA's supports brokers will work with you to assess your family member's community living skills. The supports broker will listen to your ideas about where and with whom, your family member would like to live. We will also include your family member's supports coordinator in these discussions. We will then assist in locating housing and determine the amount of paid and natural supports that your family member will require to live safely outside of the family home. Once these decisions are made, we will work with the supports coordinators to develop or change your family member's Individual Support Plan (ISP) and to obtain authorization for services. We hope that you will take the next step to schedule a meeting to further discuss "A Home of My Own" and other resources and benefits your family member with a disability may be entitled to receive. We will be happy to schedule a time and place to meet that is convenient for you.
"A Home of My Own" life coaches are provided to each person based on the individual's needs. This can be for a few hours daily, weekly or monthly. The main goal of "A Home of My Own" is for individuals to live as independently as possible with some assistance from life coaches. Please click here for "A Home of My Own" Focusing on Community Living Skills. "A Home of My Own" life coaches are hired and employed through ACHIEVA. ACHIEVA recruits new life coaches as they are needed; however, families can refer their current support staff, family or friends to work with their loved ones. If a family is interested in referring their current support staff to ACHIEVA or wants a family or friend to provide supports they can click here and review the job description and complete an application. Once an application is completed, the applicant will receive a call from ACHIEVA Human Resources, have an initial telephone interview and then may be asked to come in for a second interview with "A Home of My Own" manager. Once hired, all life coaches go through orientation. Please click here for the mandatory orientation and training schedule.