Tops’ generosity, upcoming events
Tops’ generosity, upcoming events
After Finding his Perfect Fit, Ben is Flourishing
Ben, who has a mild intellectual disability, was in his late teens when his mom passed away. His aunt and uncle took him in and, despite their best efforts, were unable to provide him with the support he needed while they juggled jobs and other children. Anxious and confused about what to do next, Ben’s aunt and uncle heard about our agency’s Perfect fit Program and decided to explore it as an option.
People Inc.’s Perfect Fit Program is where community members become certified providers and open their homes and their lives to people with developmental disabilities and other special needs. The person with the disability moves into a provider’s home and providers serve as caregivers, not parents, and operate as an extension of family not a replacement of family. Curious, Ben’s aunt and uncle visited one of the program’s certified sites where they met Perfect Fit Provider, Felessia.
Felessia showed them her home and spent time talking with Ben and his family about their interests and what daily life is like for her and her husband, granddaughter and another individual who also has a disability and resides in their home as part of the program. Ben visited with Felessia several more times before happily moving into his new home in 2014. It has been a perfect fit ever since. Ben is well-adjusted, has overcome challenges and accomplished several goals. His proudest achievement is graduating from high school this past June where his aunt, uncle and Perfect Fit Provider cheered alongside one another as he received his diploma.
Our Perfect Fit Program (formerly known as People Inc.’s Second Family Program) is a unique residential opportunity for people like Ben and their families. For more information and how you can become a participant or a provider, contact Carrie Grant, director, at or 716.817.9011. Click here to view a video about the program.
6 Tips for Supporting Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
A fresh perspective can often help us view life and those around us in a new light. Hoping to spark this same sort of inspiration in our employees was recent guest speaker Tom Pomeranz, EdD, a nationally recognized authority, trainer, clinician and consultant in the field of services for individuals with disabilities.
During his nearly week-long visit in June 2016, Dr. Pomeranz gave a series of presentations meant to motivate attendees to think differently about how they can enhance life quality for the individuals People Inc. serves. He also provided six tips that are great reminders for anyone, click here to read more.
Tops Friendly Markets Supports the People Inc. Foundation
As the presenting sponsor of the 2016 Taste of Buffalo, Tops Friendly Markets offered food items and a chance to spin a wheel for prizes with all proceeds going to benefit a local non-profit. This week, we learned that the People Inc. Foundation was the lucky recipient of these funds, and were presented with a check for $14,870!
“Tops Friendly Markets is committed to improving the quality of life for people in the communities we serve,” said Lindsey Zaffarano, community relations specialist at Tops Friendly Markets. “We know firsthand the wide reach and impact People Inc. has, and are thrilled to support this great organization.”
Lindsey also shared how much Tops enjoyed working alongside People Inc. at the Taste of Buffalo. During the two-day food festival, more than 25 People Inc. volunteers assisted Tops at their tent, both greeting patrons and spreading the word about the services People Inc. provides.
We are so grateful to Tops Friendly Markets for their generous donation which will greatly benefit the programs and services People Inc. provides.
Thank You First Responders!
Last month, People Inc. presented the Williamsville Fire Department and other first responders with hand-crafted gifts by our various program participants as part of our “Thank You for Helping Me Spread My Wings!” appreciation program. The Williamsville Fire Department placed the paver we presented them in their garden next to the village hall. We are grateful for everything first responders do daily!
Pictured L-R: Ralph Vanner Jr., CEO and director of development, Vanner Insurance Agency; Rhonda Frederick, president and CEO, People Inc.; Eric Maher, acting residential director, People Inc.; Jack Oehmler, EMS captain, Hutchinson Hose Co/Williamsville Fire Department; Michael Measer, Williamsville Fire Department; and Thomas Ess, associate vice president and emergency preparedness coordinator, People Inc.
Business Leaders to Serve on the People First Mobility Board
People First Mobility (PFM) has appointed area business leaders to its board of directors. PFM is a Buffalo-based durable medical equipment supplier, which operates as an affiliate of People Inc., serving individuals, families, caregivers and members of the education and medical communities. To learn more, click here.
People Inc. CEO Named to the Power 100 Women
Congratulations to our President and CEO, Rhonda Frederick, who ranked sixth on Buffalo Business First’s Power 100 Women, a list that highlights the most influential women in eight counties of Western New York.
Documentary Featuring People Inc. Guys Group Makes its Debut, Sells out
Six Guys, 6,000 Miles, a 75-minute documentary that chronicles a one-of-a-kind cross-country trip taken by four participants in People Inc.’s Guys Group, and two life quality coaches, met with rave reviews last week at the Museum of disABILITY History Film and Speaker Series. Attendees of the sold out shows got a chance to walk the red carpet and pose with the film’s stars.
“There are certain scenes that just stick in my head,” said Karen Roesser, parent of a People Inc. Guys Group participant. “It was beautifully done, a tribute to the young men and a clear message that there are no limits to what they can do. Seeing these young men achieve their dreams gives inspiring hope to parents and caregivers of loved ones with disabilities.”
People Inc.’s Guys Group is a social group for young men with developmental disabilities. On May 30, 2015, four of the program’s participants and two life quality coaches embarked on an experiential learning cross country trip traveling 6,000 miles – an experience that changed them for a lifetime. Developed by People Inc.’s Life Quality Coaching Department, the Guys Group helps participants discover and nurture their passions, build lasting friendships and develop important life skills so that they have increased opportunities to live and work independently.
If you missed the event (or want to see the film again), an encore presentation will be held on Friday, August 26, at 6 p.m. at the Museum of disABILITY History, 3826 Main Street, Buffalo. DVDs of the film are for sale at the Museum of disABILITY History. For more information about the encore event or DVDs, contact Doug Farley at or call 716.629.3626.
Featured Job of the Month: Behavior Technician
People Inc. is hiring for a number of positions throughout Western New York and Rochester including behavior technicians. These staff members instruct and supervise individuals with disabilities in all aspects associated with day and/or residential programming, including but not limited to adjustment counseling, coping and functional skill building, functional activities and community outings. It is a great opportunity to make a difference while gaining experience in the human service field. To apply for this employment opportunity and view other openings, click here.
Workshop for Chronic Disease Self-Management
The Living Healthy Program is hosting a six-week Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop, beginning August 25 and continuing every Thursday through September 29. It will be held at People Inc. Seneca Cazenovia Senior Living, 2171 Seneca Street, Buffalo. The course is open to older adults who are living with or caring for someone with a chronic condition. Attendees can learn new skills, enabling them to confront challenges associated with chronic disease. To register, sign up online or call Becky Orton, peer leader trainer through the Chronic Disease Self-Management and Diabetes Self-Management Program, at 716.773.0907.
Community Resource: Recreation and Leisure Services Directory Available
The Parent Network of WNY Recreation and Leisure Services Directory is a resource for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The directory assists users in finding activities that will help enrich their lives. Some of these activities include art, camps, fishing, ice sports, music, dance, drama, pet therapy, wheelchair sports and more. To access the directory, click here.
Recent news stories that include information from People Inc. and agency representatives.
“People Inc. plans more housing:” People Inc.’s affordable senior apartments included. Buffalo Business First, August 11, 2016.
“Turning a closed Tonawanda school into low-income apartments:” People Inc.’s Highland apartments featured. The Buffalo News, August 10, 2016.
“People Inc. in ‘very preliminary’ phases for senior housing at Gates Circle:” People Inc. included. Buffalo Business First, August 5, 2016.
“People Inc. planning to build 40 apartments for seniors at Gates Circle:” People Inc. included. The Buffalo News, August 5, 2016.
“Man with Down Syndrome Opens Coffee Shop:” People program participant featured. WGRZ-TV Channel 2, July 20, 2016.
“Jefferson Avenue project aims to boost East Side:” People Inc. included. The Buffalo News, July 5, 2016.
August 2016
Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn
Donations Welcome for People Inc.’s Golf Fundraiser and Auction
Our 15th Annual People Inc. Drive Fore Disabilities Golf Tournament will be held on Monday, August 22, at Orchard Park Country Club, 4777 South Buffalo Street, Orchard Park. There is still time to support our event by donating an auction item. For more information or to make a donation, contact Denise Bienko at or call 716.817.7470.
Headway of WNY 7th Annual Walk, Run & Wheel, 5K
Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., is holding its 7th Annual Walk, Run & Wheel, 5K event to raise funds and awareness for people in our community who are living with traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities. Join us for awards and festivities!
When: Saturday, September 10; Check-in: 8 to 9 a.m., Start Time: 9:30 a.m.
Where: LaSalle Park, Buffalo, NY
Costs: Run/Wheel, 5K: General Rate: $25, Member Rate: $23
Walk/Wheel, 1-3 Miles: General Rate: $20, Member Rate: $18
Info: Click here or click here to register or call 716.408.3100

Join our People Inc. Team for the Alzheimer’s Walk
People Inc. is pleased to support the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and you’re encouraged to join our team! The event will be held on Saturday, September 17, at Delaware Park (Ring Road), Buffalo. Registration is at 8:30 a.m., followed by a ceremony at 10 a.m. and the walk starts at 10:15 a.m. To join our People Inc. team, click here, or for more information, contact April Caggiano at or by calling 716.768.2370.

Rivershore Foundation Annual Gala
The Rivershore Foundation will host its annual gala to benefit Rivershore, Inc., an affiliate of People Inc., to benefit people who live with developmental disabilities as they pursue and achieve a meaningful life. Community members can provide support by purchasing event tickets, having their business be a sponsor or donating an item for the auction.
When: Thursday, October 6, from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Where: Niagara Falls Country Club, 505 Mountain View Drive, Lewiston, NY
Tickets: $100 per person
Info: Click here or contact Denise Pollock at 716.524.2266, ext. 234
Unique Theatre Company’s Annual Fundraiser
Unique Theatre Company, Buffalo’s first theater company that hires writers, actors and stage crew of any ability, is hosting its annual fundraiser. The company is comprised of aspiring and/or working playwrights and actors who have an interest in giving voice to persons with disabilities. The event will include presentations from Raices Theatre’s Victoria Perez-Maggiolo and author Gary Earl Ross, along with a basket raffle and a 50/50.
When: Wednesday, August 24, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Where: Saturn Club, 977 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo
Info: Click here or call 716.243.8889

Step Up for Down Syndrome
Down Syndrome Parents Group of Western New York will host its 9th annual awareness walk. The walk will be one mile around Harbor Center in celebration of National Down Syndrome Awareness month. Festivities include: Music from Strictly Hip, photo booth, games and activities for children and entertainment from various local groups.
When: Saturday, October 1, from 11a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Coca-Cola Field, 275 Washington Street, Buffalo
Info: Click here to register. Advance registration is open until September 12, and includes a free T-shirt for $7. Walk-ins are welcome the day of the event for $10.
The Huffington Post: 10 Things I Need to Say to Tired Special Needs Moms
“What you’re doing matters. It’s worth it.”

NPR: A Cast with Down syndrome Brings Fresh Reality to Reality TV
“The sweetness – and the real drama – of Born This Way is getting acclaim outside the disability and reality communities.

US Weekly: How Pokémon Changed the Life of this Boy with Autism
“And when Ralphie is chasing Pokémon, he blends in with all the other players.”