Mission & History

Nonprofit Status
Vita is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The official registration and financial information of Vita Education Services may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling 800-732-0999.  As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, donations to the agency are tax deductible as allowable by law.

Vita Education Services provides quality educational programs that help individuals gain skills that enhance their ability to deal with real-life situations, meet personal goals and become more self-determining and self-sufficient.

Vision Statement
Vita envisions a diverse community that values the power of life-long learning to reduce economic and social disparity and to foster personal independence and healthy interdependence.


Stephanie Elliot, one of the founders of Vita, and Fran Stengel, Vita’s Executive Director from 1977 to 2009.

Since 1971, Vita has provided free, accessible educational services to the educationally disadvantaged, underserved populations in Bucks County. It was founded by Judge Ludwig from the Court of Common Pleas and a dedicated group of volunteers. The purpose was to help young adults on probation and parole break patterns of recidivism. Volunteers were trained and matched one-on-one with probationers and parolees, providing personal support, tutoring in a cognitively based, decision-making curriculum, and help in applying the skills to their own life situations. Our initial program, now called Decisions For Living (DFL), was developed in Bucks County. Vita has revised it over the years to be more current and relevant.

The majority of probationers involved in the program had very limited reading and writing skills. With no adult basic education services available in the county, the agency began a volunteer-based literacy program. The ensuing history of the agency is based on the expansion of its two basic programs, decision making and literacy, to meet emerging needs in the community as well as in correctional settings.

Today, Vita is the lead literacy agency in Bucks County and the largest provider of educational services in the Bucks County Correctional facilities.