Days of Giving: Fundraising Recap

Days of Giving: Fundraising Recap

We asked, and you answered. On December 1, 2021, we set out to raise $30,000 for Incompass families in need. We are thrilled to announce that we exceeded our goal! Every dollar raised went to those who are supporting a loved one with an intellectual or developmental disability.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the dedicated support and generosity of our community. To each of you who made a gift to our campaign, signed up as a fundraiser,  or spread the word to your friends and family – thank you.

Gregg Bonheur, former board member, not only continues to support the Incompass mission but has come in as this year’s “Care Champion Fundraising Champion” with a total of $10,100 raised! All we can say is – wow. Thanks to you, the New Year will shine brighter for Incompass families.


We are also incredibly grateful to The Durkin Foundation for their generous donation of $2,500! CEO Matt Durkin dropped by our main office with the gift last month, and we couldn’t let him leave without making him an honorary Care Champion.



Notable Donations – $1,000+ Gifts

  • Judy Barisano
  • Giovanni & Laura Cecere
  • Matthew Kalil
  • Robert MacCormack
  • Wallwork Curry McKenna
  • Gary and Terri Ryan
  • Mike and Lesley Sklar
  • Emily Young


Just as our services and supports have had to shift over these past couple of years, so have our end-of-year fundraising initiatives. The most special part of tackling this crowdfunding campaign this year was watching the community immerse themselves in the experience. We look forward to building on this idea in the years to come, and we hope you’ll continue to join us for the ride. Thank you!! 💙💜

Autism Acceptance Month: A Sibling Bond

Autism Acceptance Month: A Sibling Bond

There is a certain unspoken bond between siblings – a fierce loyalty and love that knows no bounds. When their mother passed, it was only natural that Jack would assume care of his older brother, Jimmy.

Jimmy faced two immediate hurdles when he was diagnosed with autism at a young age. The stigma of living with an intellectual or developmental disability, as well as severely lacking supports and programs. As his guardian, Jack works with Jimmy to make sure he is living the fullest life possible both at home and in the community.

It is no secret that the pandemic has been incredibly disruptive for day-to-day life, but even more so for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who depend on consistency and routine. Jack noted that the level of care Jimmy has received over the years is incomparable, especially since the onset of the pandemic and initial suspension of our in-person supports.

He mentioned that Jayne Rachier, program manager at Incompass, has gone above and beyond. “Jimmy hasn’t returned to day programs since last March because we’re worried about his health, but Jayne calls every week to check on him.”

After nearly 30 years attending our day programs, it goes without saying that Jimmy has left his mark on staff and peers alike. Prior to the pandemic, you would find him co-leading the morning exercise routine and reviewing the Morning Meeting Board to get familiar with the day’s schedule. There is one activity, however, that Jimmy finds the most solace in. Music.

Music isn’t only a source of comfort but also serves as a tool to build his communication skills. Jimmy has been nonverbal for the majority of his life but gets creative in the ways he expresses himself. If there was ever a special occasion, such as a multicultural celebration or Urban Youth activity, Jimmy would open with the National Anthem. Baseball bingo activities were commemorated with his rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”.

Health and safety concerns may have halted these experiences, but it certainly hasn’t slowed Jimmy down one bit. He faithfully wakes up his brother each morning to lead his exercise routine at home. We all plan on taking a page out of his book – teamwork makes the dreamwork. Looking forward to having you in the Incompass halls again soon, Jimmy!


Black History Month: Pioneers in the Human Services Field

Black history isn’t just something that we look back on. Black legislators, nonprofit leaders, activists, small business owners, artists, and the list goes on. History is being made right now. As a human services agency that supports people from all walks of life, we were excited to profile trailblazers in this field as part of Black History Month.


Johnnie Lacy (1937-2010)

“Johnnie Lacy was a leader in the independent living movement and fought for the rights of people with disabilities, especially people of color. She led Community Resources for Independent Living, a nonprofit in Hayward providing services and advocacy. Lacy spoke of being excluded from the Black community due to her disability and from the disability community due to being a person of color. As a Black woman in a wheelchair, she educated her communities about race and disability and served as a role model for many other Black disabled women.”

In her own words, listen to Lacy’s oral history here.


Craig Smith (1956-2010)

” Craig Smith was a champion for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Massachusetts. A fervent support of self-advocacy, Smith helped co-found the organization known as Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong to help others in the state advocate for themselves. He lived self-advocacy. He used his time on this earth meaningfully, as a staff member at Vinfen, a co-founder and Chair of Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong, and serving on many committees and boards. Always with the goal of making the world a better place for people with disabilities. In 2009, just a year before he left us, Smith advocated for the name change of the Department of Mental Retardation, now known as the Department of Developmental Services (DDS).”

You can read more about the DDS name change here. 


Lois Curtis

“Lois Curtis is an African American artist with intellectual and developmental disabilities and schizophrenia. Curtis paved the way for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to get out of institutional settings and live within communities. During her childhood and early adulthood, she lived in state-run institutions, and her requests to live in the community were repeatedly denied. She sued the state of Georgia, and her case went to the Supreme Court. In the now-famous L.C. v. Olmstead decision, the Court declared that Curtis and other people with disabilities have a right to live in the community and to be provided adequate supports. The Court said the unnecessary institutionalization is a form of segregation and is illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Curtis now lives in the community. While Lois Curtis’s contribution to disability and civil rights history is immeasurable, her life extends far beyond that seminal court case.”

Learn more about Lois’ life and her accomplishments here:


Sylvia Walker (1937-2004)

“Dr. Sylvia Walker was born in New York City, New York on July 18, 1937. She was blind, and few had expectations for her beyond the typical jobs such as clerical work. After more than 10 years and four degrees, Dr. Walker became an assistant professor in the School of Education at Howard University, and soon a full-time professor. She founded the Center for the Study of Handicapped Children and Youth at Howard University in 1975. She was a champion for disability rights and her research helped lead to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In 1994, President Clinton appointed Dr. Walker as vice-chair of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (AAPD) with fellow activists.”

Read more about Dr. Walker’s impact here. 


In so many ways we see that Black history and disability history intersect. It has been such a wonderful process of discovering pioneers in our own field. We hope that after reading these profiles you’ve perhaps walked away with a new piece of information or a new appreciation for how far human services have come.


From the CEO: 2020…A Year Where We Overcame

From the CEO: 2020…A Year Where We Overcame

“The end of 2019 is upon us… but the truth of the matter is, I’m far too excited about the year ahead for LifeLinks CLASS to look back!”   –Jean Phelps, December 16, 2019

Dear Incompass Family:

Yep, that quote was me one year ago! Actually, last year I was writing my annual message to all of you from England, where I spent the holidays with my new grandson! And that was on the heels of another fun Annual Holiday Party at Lenzi’s! So yeah, safe to say my quote about 2020 hasn’t aged well, to say the least (including the LifeLinks CLASS reference)!

So I thought I should take the opposite approach this year in my holiday message to you. I know it was a challenging year, but I’m going to look back. Because despite the hardships, we have a lot to be proud of.

First and foremost, my heart goes out to anyone who’s been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those who have lost loved ones. And to our Care Champions who continue to work on the front lines at the height of the pandemic to provide care and support to the people we serve: thank you. You are not only essential, but you are an inspiration to so many at Incompass and beyond!

I think at some point down the line, when people ask me the theme of 2020, I’m going to say “overcoming.” We faced every obstacle you could imagine this year. And we faced it head-on…as a team. And our community is better for it.

But let’s not forget…we managed to take several steps forward along the way. I mean, look at this list!

and most importantly, we all worked together with our COVID-19 task force to keep all of our individuals and staff safe and healthy!

Now, did we have some setbacks? You bet. But you know what? The way we rose to the challenge this year and dusted ourselves off every time we were knocked down, tells me something about Incompass Care Champions.

We are resilient. We are dedicated. And we are stronger together.

I want you all to enjoy the holiday season. I know it will be different this year, but memories will still be made. So be safe, be happy, and be smart. And get ready for the year ahead. The vaccines are coming. And we will be able to be together again…I promise.

Merry Christmas!
Happy Hanukkah!
Happy Kwanzaa!
Happy New Year!

With gratitude,


Jean Phelps, CEO

Incompass Human Services Appoints Shawn Nault Director Of Day Services

Incompass Human Services Appoints Shawn Nault Director Of Day Services

Nault oversees day habilitation, community-based day services, T.R.E.E., Urban Youth Collaborative Program, and employment services as the agency unites its program portfolio around the concept of the “whole person”

CHELMSFORD, MASSACHUSETTS— Incompass Human Services™ (formerly LifeLinks CLASS), a not-for-profit organization that delivers enriching supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families throughout Greater Lowell and Greater Lawrence, has appointed Shawn Nault as Director of Day Services.

In this new role, Nault will oversee the entire portfolio of Incompass day programs in Chelmsford and Lawrence, including day habilitation, community-based day services, T.R.E.E., and employment services. Together, these programs enroll nearly 400 individuals from the surrounding communities with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

Nault has more than 30 years of experience running I/DD clinical programs, having spent the past seven years leading the day habilitation program in Chelmsford. He also oversees the Incompass Urban Youth Collaborative Program in partnership with Department of Developmental Services, an experiential internship that engages students who are interested in pursuing a career in human services.

“I’m excited about this opportunity, and what the role represents for the Incompass Human Services community,” says Nault. “By leveraging and connecting the full array of our supports, programs, and services, we are uniquely positioned to meet the specific needs of every individual in our program portfolio.”

“I am thrilled to announce Shawn Nault as the new Director of Day Services at Incompass Human Services,” added Al Frugoli, Chief Operating Officer at Incompass Human Services. “Our mission is rooted in providing care for the ‘whole person’ at every stage of their life. But we also need to make it easier on families and caregivers by providing them with a single point of entry and a comprehensive program rooted in in-person and virtual supports. Shawn understands this, given his vast experience working with the I/DD population, and is already moving us in this direction.”

Nault will work out of the Chelmsford and Lawrence facilities, and is a member of the newly-formed program leadership team at Incompass Human Services along with Kelly Trickett, Director of Family and Community Services; Angie Otieno, Director of Residential Services; and Chris Snell, Director of Clinical Services. He will also continue to serve on the Incompass Human Services COVID-19 Task Force.