V-LINC was formed in 2010 out of a merger between Learning Independence Through Computers (LINC) and Volunteers for Medical Engineering (VME). Both organizations have a long history of serving individuals with disabilities in Maryland.
V-LINC's focus is on improving the independence and quality of life for individuals with disabilities. We provide innovative technology solutions and training that assist individuals in their home, community and workplace.
LINC was founded in 1991 by Mary and David Salkever, the parents of an adult child with multiple disabilities. Mary, the Founding Executive Director of LINC developed and provided tools and training that would help people with disabilities achieve independence. During its first year, LINC focused on offering individual consultations for children with visual and physical disabilities, providing technical support over the phone, and conducting workshops for parents and children. LINC worked tirelessly to make computers and the Internet accessible to people with disabilities - as a tool for a career, a way to connect with the larger community and to manage their lives more easily.
Over the years, LINC grew steadily, providing services and programs for thousands of children and adults with disabilities throughout Maryland.
In 1997, LINC expanded its computer resource lab with state-of-the-art technology, broadband Internet access, and expanded its computer arts programs. In 2000, LINC added a home visiting component to its services which allowed persons not able to travel to LINC to receive services and to provide services in the natural environment.
Since 1991, LINC has continuously expanded and improved its services to meet the ever changing needs of its clients. Mary and David Salkever remain strong supporters of V-LINC and its services, particularly The Mary Salkever Inclusive Computer Arts Camp.
In 1982, John Staehlin and a handful of his colleagues at Westinghouse founded VME to use their engineering skills to help people with disabilities. When John later worked at Northrop Grumman, he continued to involve his colleagues. Not only did Northrop become one of VME's biggest teams, but it also became one of its most important partners. Today almost 100 volunteers with varied talents dedicate their time and energy to designing and building customized assistive technology for individuals with disabilities living in Maryland. After almost three decades, VME volunteers have built and modified hundreds of devices that allow individuals with disabilities to live, work, and play more independently. We are happy to report that John Staehlin is still creating solutions in Westminster, Maryland where he lives currently. His vision and collaborative efforts with colleagues produced what is now 33 years of solutions for people with disabilities. V-LINC continues John's Legacy.
One of VME's volunteers' first major projects was the creation of the "Blink System" to help a paralyzed colleague who could only move his eyes. A VME-designed headset and software allowed this man to communicate with his family by blinking to move a cursor on his computer screen. In the 1980s this was revolutionary!
Another early and significant success was VME's involvement in the "Future Home" project in the 1990s. VME's engineers and other volunteers combined talents to design and build residential devices to make life easier for David Ward who has quadriplegia. VME also built a mechanical hand which enabled Ward to grasp objects.
More recently, VME began partnering with Baltimore area high schools and universities. Each year engineering classes take on a project and work with their instructors and VME mentors to create a customized device for a VME client. Read more about our Designing Our Future program.
In 2009, VME launched its annual What I Wish for My Child program, which grants the wishes of families of children with disabilities living in Maryland. In the program's first year, nine families received one-of-a-kind assistive devices to help their children live more independently. Follow this link for more information on the What I Wish for My Child program.