“Frozen” by People Inc.’s Themed Learning Club
It was a winter wonderland as participants of People Inc.’s Themed Learning Club produced their own adaptation of the movie, “Frozen,” on April 1, at Amherst Central High School. It was a packed house with family members, teachers, friends, classmates and former members of the program.
There were 18 individuals who participated, ages 12 to 21, who have developmental disabilities. They had focused rehearsals since February. During the performance, a few participants added additional commentary that left the audience laughing! Attendees celebrated with the cast after the show with “Frozen” themed cupcakes and other treats.  
The participants were excited to perform the popular movie. “The students have matured in their understanding of acting since the first time they performed on stage as a program three years ago,” said Laura Smead, program manager.
People Inc.’s Themed Learning Club is one of the agency’s Afternoon Respite Programs, which provides after school and after day program care for participants. The program includes arts and crafts, recreational activities, help with homework and peer socialization while providing parents and caregivers the opportunity to work and complete errands.
New Fact Sheet Now Available
Our People Inc. fact sheet was recently updated and is now available on our website. It includes an overview of our agency and services, along with a brief timeline of accomplishments. Family members and staff from other agencies and our community partners are encouraged to use our fact sheet as a resource. Click here to download a copy. 
Advocating for Families with Developmental Disabilities
The need for state funding to assist individuals with disabilities and their families continues. The Buffalo News article, “Aging parents worry about the future of their developmentally challenged children,” highlights challenges; President and CEO Rhonda Frederick was quoted. Additionally there have been recent contributions to The Buffalo News about the need for funding:
Click here to read an “Another Voice” article from Rhonda Frederick.
Click here for an article by parent advocate Joyce Donatelli.
Click here for an article by parent advocate Barb DeLong.
Resources for Families through Family Support and Advisory Council
People Inc.’s Family Support and Advisory Council meets monthly and offers a chance for family members of the individuals we serve to meet and support one another, obtain insight on program development, discuss challenges and learn more about our programs and the resources that are available, in a supportive, friendly environment. The next meeting will be held on April 13, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at our administrative headquarters, 1219 North Forest Road, Williamsville. Family members of an individual served by People Inc. are encouraged to attend. To RSVP or for more information, contact Stephanie Sullivan at or 716.817.7262.
People Inc. is Hiring!
People Inc. is looking for qualified candidates that are passionate about changing lives and making a difference. We are currently recruiting for group home staff, RNs, LPNs, respite staff and maintenance staff. A variety of shifts are available throughout Western New York. A Southtowns Open Interview Day will be held on Thursday, May 7, from 3 to 6 p.m. at People Inc. Park Place Day Habilitation, 17 Park Place, Silver Creek. If you cannot attend, apply online

Afternoon Respite Programs Now Accepting Participants
As a parent and guardian, we know it’s not always easy finding time to work full days or complete errands. This can be even more challenging if your child has a developmental disability and requires special care. People Inc.’s Afternoon Respite Programs can help! The After the Belle Program, 104 Maryland Street and Buffalo Afternoon Respite, 2635 Delaware Avenue, both in Buffalo, are accepting participants.
Our respite programs provide afterschool care for young people with developmental disabilities, ages 4 to 21. Under the guidance of our well-trained staff, guests can enjoy a number of enriching activities, including: assistance with homework, arts and crafts, peer socialization, community outings and more.
To learn more, call 716.817.9215.
Senior Companion Program: Volunteers Needed
People Inc.’s Senior Companion program matches volunteers age 55 or older with seniors who have difficulty with daily living tasks so they can retain their pride and independence. Among other activities, a Senior Companion may assist with tasks such as grocery shopping and errands, providing friendship and companionship, alerting doctors and family members to potential problems and providing respite for caregivers. Volunteers must be age 55 or older and live in Erie county and complete 40 hours of orientation training. They earn a tax-free hourly stipend, along with travel and meal reimbursement. To become a Senior Companion volunteer or to enroll a loved one to receive services, call 716.768.2381. For a flyer about our need, click here

Recent news stories that include information from People Inc. and agency representatives.

“ABLE Act a Boost for the Disabled:” Kevin Horrigan, associate vice president of People Inc. public affairs, is quoted. Buffalo Law Journal, April 7, 2015.

“Tips for Families who have Loved Ones with Developmental Disabilities:” Parent Advocate Aimee Levesque of an individual served by People Inc. provides advocacy tips. Western New York Family Magazine, The Special Needs Child supplement, April 2015.

“March 18, 2015: Mickey Carroll, ethics, Sen. Ortt and Rhonda Frederick, Michael Castellana:” People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Fredrick was interviewed. WCNY, The Capitol Pressroom (PodCast), March 18, 2015.

“Kenmore resident raises awareness for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month:” Parent Advocate Aimee Levesque of an individual served by People Inc. provides advocacy tips. Ken-Ton Bee, March 18, 2015. 
Rivershore 5K
The Rivershore 5K will be held on Saturday, May 2, with an 11 a.m. start time at Lewiston Landing. The race will start in front of the Barton Hill Hotel, 100 Center Street, Lewiston, and take runners on a scenic journey through the historic town, and finish at the Freedom Crossing monument overlooking the Niagara River and Canada. Proceeds benefit Rivershore, Inc., an affiliate of People Inc., to support people living with disabilities as they pursue and achieve a meaningful life. There is an alternate start for noncompetitive participants. Register here.

Annual Assistive Technology Conference  
The 3rd Annual Assistive Technology Conference, “Implementing Technology from SmartHomes to SmartSupports,” will be held on Thursday, May 14, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Millennium Hotel, 2040 Walden Avenue, Cheektowaga. This year’s expo is themed Passport to Technology. Costs: All-day session is $150 and the afternoon session is $25. The conference is sponsored by People Inc., Parent Network of Western New York, Early Childhood Direction Center and Learning Partners. Learn more here or contact Tracey Kosmoski at, 716.817.7484.
Headway of Western New York’s Spring Gala
Headway of Western New York’s 16th Annual Spring Gala, Diamond Anniversary – 30 Years of Caring will be held on Thursday, May 28, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Classics V Banquet Center, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd, Amherst. The event is presented by ECMC.
Join us for live music, hors d’oeuvres, drinks, dinner, a silent auction and one of the largest basket raffles in the area! All proceeds from this event support Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., to ensure that individuals in WNY with brain injuries and other disabilities have access to advocacy, resources and support systems to enable them to live as independently as possible.
Tickets sold prior to the event will receive a complimentary ticket for the lotto drawing and one chance for the door prize. Sponsorship opportunities available. Basket raffle and silent auction donations are now being accepted, including donations of baskets and decorating materials.
For tickets, click here. For more information or to donate, contact Christine Melchiorre at or by calling 716.408.3117.
Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day
The 27th Annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day will be Thursday, May 28, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Conference Center Niagara Falls, 101 Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls. Sponsored by Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York, the opening presentation is Paul S. Wichansky, PhD, who will provide an insightful and deeply personal introspective on growing up with cerebral palsy. There is a vendor fair and workshop sessions, which includes several by People Inc. staff. For more information, click here.
April 2015
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Paint on Tap for People Inc.
Have fun painting, hanging out with friends and sipping wine at Paint on Tap in Williamsville, all to benefit People Inc. Choose from a beautiful bird painting on April 27, or majestic dandelion heads on July 6. There are easy-to-follow instructions and staff assistance, so you can create your own masterpiece in just one evening, with no training, experience or equipment needed. While wine will be available for purchase, you can bring food and non-alcoholic beverages. Click on the above dates to register; use the code “merlot” when prompted. For more information, contact Sarah Snyder, annual giving manager, at or by calling 716.817.7269.
Paint this bird on April 27.
Paint this scene on July 6.
Golfing for a Cause
People Inc.’s 14th Annual Drive Fore Disabilities Golf Tournament will be held on Monday, August 17, at East Aurora Country Club, 300 Girdle Road, East Aurora. We will once again offer our Early Bird Morning Round to accommodate those who might not have a full day to attend our event. You can expect a nice quick round of golf and are welcome back for the dinner program. Both rounds include lunch and will follow a four-man best ball scramble format with a shot gun start. The early round will tee off at 7:30 a.m. and the afternoon round will tee off at 12:30 p.m. A dinner program will conclude the event, complete with a silent auction and raffle prizes.
Sponsorships are available for eight, four or two golfers. Auction items are also welcome. For more information or to register, click here or contact Sarah Snyder, annual giving manager, at or by calling 716.817.7269.
Traveling Exhibit Extended
The Museum of disABILITY History is hosting the limited-time traveling exhibit, The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic. The exhibit inspires dialogue about the treatment of those with mental illness. Due to popular demand, the exhibit has been extended until further notice. Click here to learn more. To arrange a tour for your organization or school, call 716.629.3626.
Free Toy with Ivan Book Purchase
Help young children learn about valuing differences with the Museum of disABILITY History’s “Ivan the Invacar” children’s book series. For a limited time and while supplies last, buy any of the four Ivan the Invacar reading books or activity book and receive a free plush stuffed animal or Frisbee! This includes in-store and online sales.  

WBFO 88.7: WNY Alzheimer's Association gets share of $50-million state grant; will help alleviate cost at home
“The Western New York Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will receive a share of 50-million dollars over the next two years.”

CNN: People with Down syndrome sit for stunning portraits
“Icelandic photographer Sigga Ella wanted to show that people with Down syndrome are more than a chromosomal abnormality.”

Fox News: Man with cerebral palsy completes Ironman Kona, conquers Mt. Kilimanjaro
“Ever since 39-year-old Bonner Paddock was a child, he has carried what he calls “the dark rider” with him every step of the way.”

Huffington Post: Microsoft Launches Pilot Program To Hire People With Autism
“The program is part of a larger movement among companies to bring more individuals with autism into the workforce.”
The Buffalo News: High cost to rebuild damaged stable threatens riding program for people with disabilities
“Seven feet of snow on the roof, combined with the dangerous mix of freezing and thawing, badly compromised the center’s indoor riding arena.”