Non - Profit Organization

Agency History

Alternative Living Solutions (ALS) was founded on July 2, 2007.  ALS conducts business as a 501(c) 3 not for profit organization under the Internal Revenue Service Code. ALS is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) pursuant to Chapter 3800 as Transitional Living and pursuant to Chapter 3680 as Supervised Independent Living. The programs’ primary focus is to meet the needs of at risk and aging out youth. All of the facilities currently operated by ALS are located in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The corporate office of ALS is located at 2108 Tartan Court, Latrobe, Pennsylvania 15650.

State of Pennsylvania Licenses

ALS has successfully been granted licenses from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Each facility operates under a separate license.

Why The Starfish?

Alternative Living Solutions

"The StarThrower"
Original by Loren Eiseley 1978
Edited by JPB/DSB 5-3-07


As a young lady at the ocean shore, I saw a silver-haired woman dancing oddly on the beach just before sunrise. She would bend, and twist, and lunge as she pranced to the thunderous surf as if it were some kind of imaginary drum.

When I got closer, I noticed that she was picking things up and throwing them into the sea. I approached her silently, not wanting to disturb her sacred dance. I watched intently as she stooped to hold one of the many starfish that had washed in with the tide.

She then moved gracefully as she tossed the sand bound creature back to the sea. I moved cautiously closer, and I asked the woman, "Why the effort?" of giving so few another chance. What did it matter because there were so many more starfish than she could handle.

She looked directly at me, the reflection of the ocean, the rising sun, and me in her deep, yet bright brown eyes. She smiled and spoke with a soft, yet powerful reserve, "It matters to this one.", and she ceremoniously gave the starfish back to the sea.

The work we do as counselors is similar in that, of the number of youth who wash up onto society’s shores, a small percentage of those youth need our special care.

And it is upon us, the StarThrowers, who can mean something special to those students we impact in our programs. Let it be your commitment to the youth and to your colleagues, that we teach one another how to be StarThrowers in our careers.

The story above evolved many years ago, and I am still the StarThrower I discovered that fateful day. I have had the chance to dance with other fine StarThrowers since.

There is a StarThrower in all of us when we enter the helping profession. So prepare to join in the dance with other great StarThrowers at ALS.

ALS Leadership

John Bukovac
John Bukovac

John Bukovac, CEO/President

John Bukovac: John and his wife, Denise, are the founders of Alternative Living Solutions (ALS) and he has served as the CEO/President since its inception in 2007. John has extensive experience in the youth care environment, having worked with both non-profit and for-profit organizations. These include a large, national corporation and several varied-sized state and local organizations. John has dedicated his whole career to the youth care field, totally devoted to the well-being of youth and families throughout Pennsylvania and across the nation. He has served on numerous national, regional, state and local boards concerning the development and improvement of the juvenile system of care.

John is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh School of
Social Work, and numerous training and certificate programs. He is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and a long-standing member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW). He has been recognized by his peers for more than 45 years as a youth care professional. Several of John’s past and present involvements include: Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), the Juvenile Advisory Committee of PCCD, the Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services (PCCYFS), the Child Care Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the national Juvenile Advisory Group (JAG), VisionQuest Pennsylvania State Director, Adelphoi Village Chief Executive Officer, Ridgeview Academy Chairman of the Board, Rightway Academy General Manager and many other local community efforts.

John may be reached at 724-493-2509 or by email at:

Denise Bukovac
Compliance Director/Founder

Denise Bukovac, Title-1 Coordinator / Compliance Director

Denise Bukovac: Denise is the Compliance Director/Title-1 Coordinator for ALS across the Male and Female Services.

To reach Denise, please call (724)309-5127

Nichole Troup-Dye
Clinical Director
Nichole Troup-Dye

Nichole Troup-Dye, Clinical Director

Nichole Troup-Dye, MA: Nichole is the Clinical Director and has served as a member of the ALS Leadership team since 2007. As the Clinical Director, her responsibilities include coordinating treatment for all youth, attending court hearings, communicating with all providers/family involved with the youth, reviewing reports, enrolling youth in education, and providing individual/group/family therapy. Nichole also coordinates youth referrals/admissions and discharges with the Director of Operations and the Youth Supervisors. Nichole has over 11 years in the field working with juveniles and adults in residential treatment facilities (RTF), Outpatient, Mobile therapy and group home settings. She is also responsible for the supervision of Master Level interns at ALS.

Nichole’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Psychology from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from Marymount University in Arlington, VA. During her academic career, she became a member of PSI-CHI (The National Honors Society in Psychology). She has received certifications as well as specialized training in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attachment/bonding, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

John Bukovac, III
Chief Financial Officer
John Bukovac

John Bukovac, Chief Financial Officer

John Bukovac, III: John has served as the CFO at ALS since the agency’s inception in 2007. John's primary responsibilities include financial and business management in support of the continued health and growth of ALS.

John has been involved in the youth care field for over 10 years. Prior to his ALS role, he worked as the Business Manager for Southwestern PA within the VisionQuest organization. John possesses a B.S degree in Finance from Saint Vincent College, and he also holds a M.S. degree in Accounting from Saint Vincent College. John is an avid athlete – playing various competitive sports over the years – and enjoys the outdoors – mountain biking, skiing. He and his wife reside in Greensburg with their three children.

Melissa Needham
Operations Director
Melissa Needham

Melissa Needham, Operations Director

To reach Melissa, please call (724) 433-2498.

Jessica Gamble
Jessica Gamble, Supervisor
Jessica Gamble is a veteran of 20 years in the youth care field of social services. Her
experience includes over 10 years working with juvenile sex offenders committed to residential
treatment facilities prior to joining Alternative Living Solutions. Her credentials include an
associate degree in Criminal Justices as well as a certification as an Independent Living
Specialist through the Daniel Memorial Institute. Jessica is a Pennsylvania certified train the
trainer in Medication Management as required by State regulations. During Jessica’s tenure at
ALS, she began as a Youth Counselor and was promoted to Program Supervisor in
2015. Jessica can be reached at 724-422-6234 or .
Trisha Simon

Trisha Simon: Supervisor
Trish is a 20+ year veteran of the Social Service field in Western Pennsylvania.
She has prior experience at both the county (public) and private sectors. She has a
bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a
master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. Trish has
specialized training in Child Abuse, Strength Based-Family Focused Therapy, Safe
Crisis Management, and Substance Abuse Treatment. She is a member of the
School of Social Work Board at the Westmoreland County Community College.
Trish resides in Greensburg with her husband and son. She has been a supervisor
with ALS since March 2019. Trish can be reached at 724-433-7229 or

Facility Locations

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