About Our Team
Jan Lynch – MSW – Executive Director
Jan has been the Executive Director at the Finger Lakes Independence Center (FLIC) since April 2014. Currently serving on several boards and committees in Tompkins County, she previously spent almost 10 years as a board member and board president for FLIC. Jan finds that the current shifts in funding and legislative priorities can be both challenges and opportunities in the not-for-profit world. Independent Living Centers are uniquely positioned to ride this wave of change by diversifying their services while using the person-driven approach that has always been an intrinsic part of the Independent Living focus. Advocacy for the services and supports that enable people with disabilities to live in the community has become more important than ever.
Amy Jo DeKoeyer
Amy Jo serves as Student Transition and Deaf Services Coordinator for the Finger Lakes Independence Center. She works with youth to develop skills needed for self- advocacy and independent living. She helps students and their families understand the Individual Education Plans and how to participate collaboratively in the complex special education process. She assists students in planning their transition to their post high school goals such as further training, education or a job. She advocates for hard of hearing and Deaf individuals and helps them navigate everyday challenges to promote their independence.
Cheryl is our Bookkeeper and maintains the agency’s fiscal reports, accounts, billing and payroll. In addition she is Program Coordinator for the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) and Expanded In-home Services for the Elderly (EISEP). The EISEP program is funded through the Tompkins County Office for the Aging. These programs assist people with disabilities and older adults to continue to live in their homes by receiving supportive personal care assistance. Cheryl also maintains organization of all financial records consistent with program and agency policies and procedures and serves as primary agency liaison during annual fiscal audit and any other periodic audit, as needed.
Jeff serves as an Advocacy Specialist at the Finger Lakes Independence Center. Jeff has been employed at FLIC for 19 years and uses his personal and professional experience to help people with disabilities achieve their goals, both individually and through group presentations. Jeff is a strong advocate for disability rights. He serves on the Developmental Disabilities Subcommittee of Tompkins County, advocates for the inclusion of adults and youth with disabilities in all community recreational activities, and assists with statewide systems advocacy which forwards awareness and action on disability relevant legislation. Jeff has facilitated numerous Living Well with a Disability programs at FLIC and strives to help others with disabilities live a healthy lifestyle.
Emily has been an Advocacy Specialist at Finger Lakes Independence Center since 2009. She provides Peer Counseling to consumers, helping them set goals, prioritize issues, and develop creative solutions to complex problems. She helps with Benefits Applications, and assists people with individual advocacy and housing difficulties. Emily gives disability awareness presentations at colleges, schools, and camps in the community about living with a disability. She helps to educate the community about different disability and health-related issues through the workshops she develops, sometimes with the help of the Women with Disabilities Health Group at FLIC. Emily has chaired the Women with Disabilities Health group since 2010.
Chelsea serves as an Advocacy Specialist at FLIC. She is also trained in NY Connects services. NY Connects is a statewide information and referral service for anyone who needs long-term, community-based, services and supports.She is an Ithaca native and has been a community disability advocate for many years. She recently graduated from SUNY Empire with her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services. She is a parent of a child with a disability and has worked closely with many local agencies for the past eight years. Chelsea is comfortable working with people of all backgrounds and abilities and has a history working with at risk youth with developmental disabilities as well as 1:1 with youth in the educational system with IEPS. She is dedicated to increase accessibility, grow opportunities and advocate for inclusion for those with disabilities within our community.
Valerie serves as an Advocacy Specialist at the Finger Lakes Independence Center. She works to create policy change at the Local and State-Wide Level. Valerie is a strong advocate for disability rights and uses her personal experience as a Deaf person and professional experience to help people with disabilities to achieve their goals in the community. She recently graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelors in Public Policy and a Masters of Science, Technology and Public Policy. Her past experiences include working at New York State Assembly and as a Program Associate for a grassroots organization in Philadelphia and volunteered at Yang Tan Institute, Cornell University.
Jorge is FLIC’s ADEN Employment Advocate. Like many long time Ithacans, Jorge graduated from Ithaca College and decided to make Ithaca his home town. He’s enjoyed working with youth through giving percussion & dance workshops in schools, as the youth program coordinator for the Community Dispute Resolution Center, and more recently as the apprenticeship coordinator for the Learning Web for the past 9 years. He’s freelanced in video production, D.J. services, and plays in a few local bands. Helping people of all ages and abilities find meaningful employment is very rewarding to him, which is why he really looks forward to making a difference with FLIC.
Teri serves as the NY Connects Coordinator and Registry Coordinator. NY Connects is a statewide information and referral service for anyone who needs long-term, community-based, services and supports. The Registry matches people in Tompkins County who need in-home assistance and care with individuals able to work in people’s homes. Teri has worked in education and human services in and around Tompkins County for over 25 years.
Megan is our Administrative Assistant. She is often the first voice you’ll hear on the phone or the first face you’ll see walking into the building. Though she may be a transplant, she loves Ithaca and is happy to call it home. Before Ithaca, Megan was happy to once call the following places home: Vermont, Mississippi, Ohio, and Chenango County. Megan’s personal mission is to empower others and help them be their best selves. She has leadership development experience working with youth through outdoor education, as well as adults in non-profit and for-profit settings. She works closely with our Loan Closet and the Try-It Room and is happy to help you find the item(s) you need so you can feel your best!