About Us

V-LINC is about Volunteers Helping People With DISABILITIES

Volunteers and staff promote independence and inclusion for all people with disabilities by creating learning opportunities at our summer camp and by designing custom solutions to the barriers and challenges that people with disabilities face daily.  V-LINC's summer camp is run by professionals who are certified as special educators or other relevant fields with a few volunteers. 
Our custom solutions are all volunteer- or student-designed and fabricated.

Woman smiling at young boy in stroller wheelchair

Our Goal For Those We Serve

The freedom to live as independently as possible and the ability to explore and enjoy opportunities those without disabilities take for granted. Although V-LINC serves clients throughout Maryland, most of our services are provided in Baltimore City, where more than 14% of the population has a disability and 21% live in poverty (U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, 2009).

A Brief History

V-LINC was formed in 2010 from a merger between Learning Independence Through Computers (LINC) and Volunteers for Medical Engineering (VME). V-LINC improves quality of life for individuals with disabilities. We craft innovative assistive technology (AT) solutions and training to help people with disabilities of all ages thrive in home, school, community, and work settings. We now work with school partners through the Designing Our Future Program for students in high school or college who design and build solutions for people with disabilities.

Beginning in 1991, LINC offered individual consultations for people with visual, developmental, and physical disabilities, a computer resource lab, computer arts, technical support, and programs such as computer clubs and an inclusive summer camp.

VME's volunteers started designing, modifying, and building customized, state of the art AT for those with disabilities in 1982, thanks to engineers at Westinghouse. Volunteers now include engineers from Northrop Grumman and other companies, medical professionals, and engineering students from the Community College of Baltimore County, UMBC, US Naval Academy and several other high schools and community colleges.

The Founders of both LINC and VME have remained active with V-LINC as advisers and volunteers.

Mary Salkever, LINC Founder

Mary Salkever, LINC Founder

John Staehlin and his wife Mary Lou

John Staehlin and his wife Mary Lou

Mary Salkever, and her husband Dave, founded LINC in 1991. Mary brought her background in education (M.A. from Tufts in Child Development and M.EEd from Harvard) and her experience as the parent of a child with a disability to the new organization. LINC was ready to help people access computers for new jobs for computer-savvy workers. Access for people who are blind, or have other disabilities, was new and the need for specialized training was just beginning. The first inclusive summer camp in Maryland was also begun by LINC.

John Staehlin founded VME in 1982. John was the lead mechanical engineer on the AWACS (Advanced Warning and Control System) antenna for many years. He worked at Westinghouse and for Northrop Grumman during a long and successful career, and founded VME because he wanted to use his engineering talents to help others, particularly people with disabilities.  On November 6, 2017, John received the prestigious Hoover Medal in Tampa during the annual American Society of Mechanical Engineers Awards Ceremony.  This award was given to recognize John's lifetime achievements in helping people with disabilities.   Watch the video shown at the  ceremony.


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