Steve Duvall is an example of how a person with a severe disability can lead a self-sufficient, and fulfilling life, while being an enthusiastic community volunteer. Since 1989, Duvall served on the Board of Directors of the Lincoln Action Program (LAP), a community action agency whose mission is to help low-income citizens gain economic self-sufficiency. As board president, Duvall’s leadership helped achieve the shared vision for delivering comprehensive services, to address the current fragmented system where clients had to go to several agencies to get their needs met.
Several examples of Duvall’s direct involvement with LAP include helping with grant-writing, fund-raising and partnering efforts, to increase LAP’s $370,000 yearly budget to $7.2 million per year. He developed a “Family Intervention” guide for use by case managers and clients to formulate a comprehensive plan for services to 1) stabilize households, 2) assess families’ needs, 3) develop actions plants 4) take steps towards self-sufficiency, and 5) recognize client achievements. This program was adopted by the Gallup organization to be used nationwide. Duvall also presented “Phoenix Awards,” along with Nebraska’s Governor to 35 people who are successful in making substantial progress toward self-sufficiency at the Annual LAP Recognition Dinner.
Since 1994, Duvall has been an active board member of the Lincoln Medical Education Foundation (LMEF), non-profit heath care organization where he helped to develop an innovative family clinic where 30 family practice residents are assigned to spend time in special needs households. This experience helped physicians develop an in-depth understanding of how medical conditions or injuries may be linked to deeper social factors. He also assisted with the development of New Height Community Program, a unique transitional housing program where land adjacent to the clinic was developed into 28 low-income housing units. Clients in the program receive health and childcare services, and skills training, allowing them to achieve self-sufficiency in two to three years. Duvall is working to expand this comprehensive program tenfold during the next two years.
For the past ten years, Duvall has mentored youth. Currently, he meets regularly with two youth from low-income backgrounds, who are at risk of dropping out of school, as part of Dr. Tom Osborne’s TeamMates of Nebraska Program. Both youth have a history of behavior problems, low grades and poor self esteem. Through Duvall’s caring support, the youth have improved their grades and are learning how to more positively interact with others.
In the early 1990’s, Duvall helped the League of Human Dignity (a non-profit organization for the disabled) start a for-profit business that modifies vans and equipment for disabled individuals, using its profits to subsidize the agency’s efforts for people to be independent. He constructed 140 accessible housing units for the League to address the lack of accessible housing in Lincoln, and helped the City make their properties and public transportation accessible.