Milwaukee Center for Independence: Assisting individuals with special needs

Meet our L.I.F.E. staff

Meet the MCFI L.I.F.E. staff

Our staff members are dedicated to providing new opportunities for individuals with disabilities and their families. L.I.F.E. stands for Leisure, Inclusion, Fun and Experiences, and our staff fulfills that promise to our clients every day.

Nancy Pickett, Director of L.I.F.E. Services

Nancy leads a sing-along at Adventures for LIFE Camp.Nancy Pickett, MCFI's Director of L.I.F.E. Services, has used her background in therapeutic recreation to develop innovative programs in outdoor adventures and travel. She joined the MCFI team in 1995, and has more than 20 years of experience in working with adults who are living with cognitive and developmental disabilities. Her experience, combined with her graduate work in experiential education, and extensive training in working with challenging behaviors and sensory integration, has inspired Nancy to create a vision for L.I.F.E. Services that furthers MCFI's commitment to innovation. She is especially excited about MCFI's ongoing development of services for transition-aged youth.

Although Nancy effectively manages a staff of more than 40 skilled professionals, she is by no means desk-bound! Nancy participates in all Adventures for L.I.F.E. Travel trips and many Adventures for L.I.F.E. Camp sessions. She knows each client by name and regularly participates in transition fairs and community-based events. Nancy serves on several boards, including the St. Colletta Day School of Milwaukee School Board, the Wisconsin Board of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and the Milwaukee County Transitions Activities Board.

Nancy enjoys every opportunity to experience client successes; whether it's taking a step, harvesting produce grown from seed, or handling a kayak, she says celebrating the daily individual achievements of clients is a "gift and a joy."

Gina Wheeler, L.I.F.E. Services Operations Director

Gina enjoys snowshoeing during a wilderness camping trip.L.I.F.E. Services Program Manager Gina Wheeler joined the MCFI team in 1995 and has worked with adults who are living with developmental disabilities for more than 25 years. She holds a bachelor's degree in social work and has been a case manager, behavior specialist and residential service provider. Her career includes working in Employment Services, Day Services, and specialized programming for older adults with developmental disabilities. Gina was named one of the BizTimes Milwaukee Health Care Heroes in 2012.

Gina has been instrumental in expanding the My L.I.F.E. and Access L.I.F.E. programs for persons who are particularly medically needy or have experienced traumatic brain injuries. She looks forward to continuing to develop new programs to assist clients to achieve their goals.

Every day at MCFI is an adventure, Gina says, and she welcomes every opportunity to challenge clients to expand their interests and abilities. Gina participates in Adventures for L.I.F.E. Camp and Adventures for L.I.F.E. Travel excursions and is always in pursuit of new ways for clients to be involved in the life of the community. She inspires passion for her clients in her staff and in the MCFI leadership team, and is known as a catalyst for innovation throughout the agency. By building a personal relationship with each of her clients, Gina encourages them to embrace every adventure L.I.F.E. has to offer.



MCFI Pediatric Skilled Nursing is
Accredited by the Joint Commission. MCFI core programs are accredited by CARF


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