Volunteers and programs get rewarded
Volunteers and programs get rewarded
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Pictured L-R: Tim Hogues, Erie County commissioner of personnel; Prince Whitstone, People Inc. Senior Companion volunteer and Alissa Yax, People Inc. Senior Companion Program coordinator.
Age is Just a Number
For some, there is no age limit that one stops working. This is especially true for Prince Whitstone. Prince is a volunteer who has no plans on quitting. He has been volunteering for the People Inc. Senior Companion Program for 19 years, showing up with a smile on his face every day.
The program supports older adults 55 and up living in Erie County, who need assistance with daily living tasks. Companion volunteers assist participating older adults with grocery shopping, going for walks, light cooking and housekeeping, while providing a break for caregivers.
This past spring, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown recognized Prince and other volunteers for National Service Recognition Day. In addition, Prince also received an Eternal Service Award from the
Senior Companion Program.
You would never know Prince is 95 years old unless you were told. He is in great health and very active.
“Prince continues to spread joy to everyone around him and is a true inspiration,” said Alissa Yax, People Inc. Senior Companion Program coordinator. “He truly makes a difference in the lives of so many people, including other volunteers.”
The People Inc. Senior Companion Program is in need of additional volunteers. To volunteer or learn about upcoming trainings, call 716.768.2381.
YALT Participants Named Volunteers of the Year
For the past year, participants in the People Inc. Young Adult Life Transitions (YALT) Program at Erie County Community College have been volunteering at Autumn View Health Care Facility in Hamburg, NY. During this time, they’ve had the chance to build vocational skills with residents and staff in the Laundry, Dietary and Activities Departments. The group made such an impact that Autumn View recently named them Volunteers of the Year.
Participants assisted the residents with daily living tasks, ranging from larger tasks like rearranging furniture in a resident’s room, to something a bit simpler, such as getting extra utensils when eating. The volunteers brought lots of energy and encouraged residents to try different exercises and games, like Jeopardy, singing and dancing.
Amy McKnight, director of Activities at Autumn View Health Care Facility, worked closely with the participants. “The students have not only made new friends with the residents and staff, but have also learned valuable job skills in the process,” she explained.
“You can learn a lot about life while knitting with someone who is older than you,” added Tristan, one of the participants who knitted with a resident every Thursday. Another participant, Jordan, said, “I like helping and enjoy talking to the residents.”
The YALT participants were treated to an award luncheon and presented with a plaque to mark their achievement. Congratulations to all on this amazing achievement!
YALT, a community-based program, offers young adults with developmental disabilities an opportunity to develop functional skills and experience life on one of six Western New York college campuses. The program focuses on independence in the community, preparation for employment and continuation of the learning process, as well as establishing and maintaining friendships. To learn more, contact Renee Zimmerman at rzimmerman@people-inc.org or 716.683.7100, ext. 204.
Local Artist and Writer Releases
Compilation Book
Jeremy Pratt is a prolific artist and writer, having created over 100 works of art and thought-provoking poetry in the last 11 years. His self-published compilation entitled, Living in an Abstract World , was recently released. The book features close to 100 pieces of Jeremy’s art and poetry. It is now available for sale at various local outlets, including the Museum of disABILITY History, a project of People Inc., and through Jeremy’s Patreon page . On August 9, a release event was held at Expo 68 Art and Design gallery in the Eastern Hills Mall.
Over the years, Jeremy has honed his craft by utilizing various art day programs in the area, including the People Inc. Arts Experience. Jeremy’s art and poetry has been featured in many local art exhibits and poetry compilations.
“I have been on a journey through art for many years. I love exploring and studying all forms of media and artists throughout history,” Jeremy explains. “Being someone who lives and thrives with a developmental disability, I feel enabled to see the world as abstract and not always crystal clear. This is reflected in my artwork, poetry and story writing. I enjoy drawing inspiration from songs, music, movies, everyday life and nature. Some of the artists I admire are Vincent Van Gogh, Willem de Kooning, Marc Chagall, Paul Gauguin and Jean-Michel Basquiat. One of my biggest dreams is to share my creative talents all around the world. After all, the sky is the limit.”
Jeremy is actively seeking studio space to further his artistic pursuits. He credits the supports he receives through People Inc., including Arts Experience, Self-Directed Services and his life coach for guiding him in the right direction and teaching him the steps he needs to take to make his goals a reality.
People Inc.’s Elmwood Health Center Scores High Marks in Quality
Each year, primary care providers across the country are rated on the quality of care provided to their patients. This scoring is based on information submitted from an electronic health system called Clinical Quality Measures (CQM) and is related to care that prevents diseases and manages chronic diseases, like high blood pressure and diabetes. This chart shows the results of Primary Care Providers at the Elmwood Health Center , an affiliate of People Inc., in several areas, measured alongside the national goal (benchmark) for each parameter.
Congratulations to the Elmwood Health Center team, providers and staff, who provide the best possible health care to their patients! More information regarding national benchmark goals can be found on the NCQA website .
People, Home Health Services-Certified, Inc. Earns Award
People, Home Health Services-Certified, Inc., an affiliate of People Inc. Certified Home Health Agency (CHHA), was recently recognized with the Home Care Association (HCA) of New York State Triple Aim Quality and Innovation Award for its team efforts to integrate telemedicine technology into community-based care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. When a resident is in need of medical care, this new system is able to quickly and efficiently provide quality services using best practices, without immediate trips to the emergency room or urgent care (ER/UC). ER visits have substantially decreased, with UC visits now executed in the home whenever possible. These meaningful outcomes will curb higher-cost service utilization, while improving the resident’s experience of care and allowing the resident to remain in the comfort of their own home. Participants reported a 95 percent satisfaction rate.
Inspired by New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, People, Home Health Services–Certified, Inc. has deployed a telemedicine technology pilot program into each of its group homes for the past three years. Under this program, a Registered Nurse (RN) visits the patient’s home for an assessment of injury or illness. The RN then uses telemedicine technology to remotely connect with a physician, who performs a video assessment of the person. Based on this evaluation, the RN may perform cardiac, dermatological, EKG and other state-of-the-art assessments.
Standing left to right: Tanya Perri, Christy Ferriter, Jake Wilkins,
Sue Tishelman, Dawn Riter and Mallory Stearns.
Sitting left to right: Patricia Kibler, Laurie Cianfrini, VP CHHA,
Rhonda Frederick, President & CEO and Senior VP Bonnie Sloma.
Sign the Pledge to End the Stigma
If you’re dealing with a mental health challenge, you are not alone. Approximately one in five Western New Yorkers are living with a mental health condition. Yet many of these people suffer in silence because of the discrimination that goes along with it. The Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition is starting a conversation to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. People Inc. recently became a proud member of the coalition. Together, we can create a better world, free of stigma! You can get involved by signing the pledge and following the coalition on social media with these hashtags, #jointheconversation and #letstalkstigma.
Annual Report Available Online
The past year was one of great progress for People Inc. Thanks to the efforts of hardworking employees, donors
and community supporters, our agency was able to
enhance and expand its services. From changes to our service approach, to new housing developments and
business initiatives, People Inc. grew in ways that have allowed the agency to continue providing high quality
care. To learn more about these accomplishments,
check out the People Inc. 2018 Annual Report .

People Inc. Linwood Lafayette Senior Apartments Accepting Apartment Applications
Are you or do you know someone who is 55 or older and in need of housing? Apartment applications are being accepted for People Inc. Linwood Lafayette Senior Apartments , the agency’s newest mixed-income housing that opened earlier this year at 637 Linwood Avenue in Buffalo, NY. Additionally, there is an apartment unit currently available for people with developmental disabilities, age 55 years and older, who live independently.
The building has 31 one-bedroom apartments and six two-bedroom apartments. Features include: Kitchen with appliances; professional on-site management; accessible or adaptable apartments; onsite laundry facilities; central air conditioning; community room; smoke-free living; attractive grounds and outdoor space, as well as being close to public transportation, services and retail shops. To learn more about eligibility, email housing@people-inc.org or call 716.881.6600.
Be the Greater Good – Join Us
People Inc. is recruiting people for local AmeriCorps positions. The program is known as the People Inc. ETHOS Program , which stands for Empowerment Through Helping Others Succeed. The goal is to hire members who will work alongside People Inc. staff through January 2020, participating in a variety of human service activities, while gaining valuable job skills. There are many different positions available in a variety of programs, ranging from day services, residential, Deaf Access Services, People & Paws, greenhouse and older adult programs. AmeriCorps members receive a living allowance, student loan deferment, an education award toward college and other benefits. Applicants cannot be current People Inc. employees and must be economically disadvantaged (full eligibility information). Those who have served in the U.S. Military (including the Guard and Reserve), their families and those with a disability are encouraged to apply. If you are interested or know someone who is, visit my.americorps.gov to apply. For more information, contact Jeff Sanderson, Grant director, at jsanderson@people-inc.org or 716.817.7463.
Register for Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop
People Inc., in conjunction with the Western New York Integrated Care Collaborative (WNYICC), presents a series of free health and wellness workshops for people looking to manage their health, known as Choose Healthy Western New York Workshops . The next program in this series is the Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop, which includes tips to maintain a full and active lifestyle, skills that enable participants to confront the challenges of living with chronic disease and weekly action planning. The workshop will be held on Mondays, September 9 to October 14, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Academy Place Apartments, 1 School Street, Gowanda, NY.
Each workshop is six weeks long, meeting once a week for two and a half hours. To register or for more information about this or upcoming workshops, visit wnyicc.org or call 716.773.0907.
Featured Job of the Month:
Behavior Technician
People Inc. is seeking a behavior technician in Alden and Rochester, NY. Responsibilities include assisting with implementation of behavior plans and crisis intervention. The ideal candidate is patient and enjoys new experiences every day. Requirements include: Must have a High School Diploma/GED and a valid NYS driver’s license that meets agency policy. To apply or to view all of our employment openings, go to our Available Jobs page on our website .
Join us September 11 for a Fun Event
We’re pleased to announce that the Rivershore Foundation Raise the Roof Event will be held on Wednesday, September 11, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at The Griffon House, 810 Center Street, in Lewiston, NY. Join us for gourmet food and drinks from the famous Griffon House gastropub. Enjoy live musical entertainment by the Sans Britt Band and a basket drawing/silent auction. Proceeds will help build the Hinman Street apartment project in Youngstown, NY, which will support people with special needs to live more independently.
Sponsorship opportunities are available and donated auction items are welcome. Registration for sponsorships and attendance is available online . Event tickets include two drinks and gourmet food. For more information or to assist, contact Melanie Brown at mbrown@people-inc.org or 716.817.7450. Rivershore Foundation Inc., in coordination with People Inc., engages in public relations, lobbies for volunteers and raises funds for the benefit of program participants served by People Inc. in Niagara County.
Brunch and Learn
Brunch with us and learn about our Charitable Gift Annuity , the smart way to help meet your financial and charitable goals. Join us on Saturday, September 21, from 10 a.m. to noon, at The Buffalo Club, 388 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY. For more information or to RSVP by September 15, contact Christine Mathieu at cmathieu@people-inc.org or 716.817.7256.
Attention Avid Book Readers
Historians and books fans are invited to join author David Mack-Hardiman and photographer
Char Szabo-Perricelli at the Museum of disABILITY History, 3826 Main Street, Buffalo, NY on Saturday, September 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a presentation on The Colony Chronicles .
David and Char will discuss institutional living and the history of these environments for people
with disabilities. Additionally, author Stefan Foster will present parts of his modern artistic work based on institutional living entitled State of Emotion . Books will be for sale and there will be
a book signing following the presentations. This is a great opportunity to learn about disability history through the lens of institutional living.
Both To RSVP or for more information, call 716.629.3626.
Annual WNY in Support of Veterans Symposium
Headway of WNY , Catholic Charities and People Inc. are pleased to present the 4th Annual WNY in Support of Veterans Symposium. Bridging the Gaps, Part II - A Discussion between Veterans and Community Providers will be held on Wednesday, October 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Pvt. Leonard Post, Jr. #6251 Veterans of Foreign Wars, 2450 Walden Avenue, Cheektowaga, NY.
The goals of the symposium are to: Help participants gain a better understanding of obtaining community services for veterans and their families, identify resources to better link veterans and their families with appropriate community services and recognize ways to improve access to these services.
Featured speakers and panelists include:
  • Alyssa Vasquez, Veteran’s One Stop Center of WNY, Inc.
  • Bonnie Vest, PhD, University at Buffalo
  • Max Donatelli , MS, USAF 1968-1972 Sargent, Vietnam ‘70-‘71,
    Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition, Community Veterans Engagement Board, Family Advocat
  • Tracy Schmidt, LMSW, Horizon Village
  • Delcey Pulvino, LMSW, Buffalo Vet Center
Continuing Education Units (CEU) will be available. Two hours of CEUs available for pre-registered Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) and Social Workers (MSW). $20 fee for CEU participants only, cash or checks payable to Catholic Charities. Please indicate in your RSVP that you are interested in the obtaining the CEUs and mail your check to:
Headway of WNY, Inc.
Veterans Symposium RSVP
2635 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14216
Buffet lunch will be provided. To register for the Veterans Symposium, RSVP by September 18 to support@headwayofwny.org or 716.408.3110.
Mental Health First Aid for the Deaf Community
Deaf Access Services , an affiliate of People Inc., is pleased to provide Mental Health First Aid Workshop for the Deaf community. It will be held on Saturday, October 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Museum of disABILITY History, 3826 Main Street, Buffalo, NY. The session encourages early detection and intervention by teaching participants about the signs and symptoms of specific conditions like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and addictions.
Formed in 1983 by a group of dedicated Deaf leaders and volunteers concerned about the welfare of the Deaf community, Deaf Access Services is the only local community organization solely dedicated to serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities. Deaf Access Services envisions a community where all people experience equality, empowerment and inclusion to lead lives full of possibilities.
To learn more about the workshop or to reserve a spot, email Office@wnydas.org . Space is limited.
Recent news stories that include information from People Inc. and agency representatives.
“Museum of disABILITY History ‘Kids Day’ event encourages inclusion for all ages and abilities:" Event hosted by the Museum of disABILITY History event included. Niagara Frontier Publications , August 13, 2019.
“Final Look: People Inc. on Linwood:” People Inc. Linwood Lafayette Apartments featured.
Buffalo Rising , August 2, 2019.
People Inc. Marigold Senior Living Health and Wellness Open House
Numerous activities will be available on Thursday, September 12, at the free Health and Wellness Open House event hosted by People Inc. Marigold Senior Living. The event, geared for older adults and their families, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 3026 Grand Island, Boulevard, Grand Island. Some highlights include:
  • Mammography screening provided by the WNY Breast Health Mobile Mammography Coach. To make an appointment, call 716.632.7465 (select option 3).
  • Chiropractic mini-evaluations, five-minute chair massages and acupuncture information from Grand Island Chiropractic
  • Blood pressure screenings, courtesy of Island Prescription Center
  • Health and benefits consultations from Sheridan Benefits
  • Information about People Inc. Senior Companion, Senior Outreach and Mixed-Income Housing
  • Weenie Wagon for attendees to purchase lunch if they choose
Older adults and their families are encouraged to take advantage of apartment tours during the event. Apartments are for independent older adults, age 62 and over, who are income-eligible. Two benefits of People Inc. Marigold Senior Living are the affordability and safety features. Registration encouraged. To RSVP or for more information, call 716.773.0907.
Attend End of Summer Picnic with Out of the Blue
Over the last several years, Out of the Blue WNY has been a great supporter of the People Inc. mission. The organization aims to enhance the quality of life for adults with developmental disabilities throughout the region. They are hosting a free End of Summer Picnic on Thursday, September 12, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Wings Meeting Place, 3964 California Road, Orchard Park, NY. To RSVP, contact Debi Cleary at debi.outofthebluewny@gmail.com or 716.480.9005.
Join Walk to End Alzheimer’s
People Inc. is pleased to sponsor and participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s! The event will be held on Saturday, September 14, at Buffalo Outer Harbor, Outer Harbor Drive and Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo, NY. Registration is at 8:30 a.m., followed by a ceremony at 10:15 a.m. The walk kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Join our People Inc. team! For more information, contact team captain, Alicia Lombardo, People Inc. Senior Outreach, at alombardo@people-inc.org or 716.768.2359.

Buffalo Magazine (The Buffalo News) : Open-to-all Casting Calls
“After some early acting workshops and writing sessions, Levesque had a revelation: ‘When we focused on what individuals can do, and not what they can’t do, amazing things happen,’ she says.”
The Buffalo News: In East Aurora, Family Bonds Help a Diamond Dream Come True
“While they grew into twins in the mysterious ways of sibling understanding – Gannon's parents describe him as an empathetic caregiver with an intuitive ability to sense his brother’s moods – their childhoods had unique trajectories."
The Mighty: How an Actor with Down Syndrome Inspired ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’
“In a world where so many filmmakers don’t consult with people who have disabilities while writing and filming movies about people with disabilities, Schwartz and Nilson say that’s how they got their portrayal of Down syndrome “right” – by drawing directly from Gottsagen.”