Gain skills by volunteering, housing crisis, decorating year-round
Gain skills by volunteering, housing crisis, decorating year-round
Happy Holidays from People Inc.!
This year, our agency holiday greeting features artwork by participants in the Arts Experience, our fine arts day habilitation program that showcases the talents of adult artisans with developmental disabilities. Artists collaborated to create a whimsical winter scene, and you can watch the magic unfold by clicking here or on the above image. From our People Inc. family, we wish you a beautiful holiday season and a prosperous new year!
Juanita and Mark
YALT Program Volunteers for Lockport Meals on Wheels
Young Adult Life Transitions (YALT), one of our community-based programs offers young adults with developmental disabilities an opportunity to experience life on a college campus while enhancing and developing new skills. The program focuses on independence in the community, preparation for employment, continuation of the learning process, and establishing and maintaining friendships.
Participants of the Niagara County Community College YALT program have been volunteering for Lockport Meals on Wheels for three years. On Thursdays, they assist with preparing 20 to 30 nutritious meals, which are delivered to area senior citizens who are homebound or disabled. They enjoy the friendly environment and look forward to helping seniors who have gotten to know them by their first names.
Lockport Meals on Wheels Coordinator Kathy Fahs shared her appreciation: “Thank you so much for allowing your staff and program participants to volunteer for the Lockport Meals on Wheels,” said Fahs. “You should be so proud of all that has been involved in this project. The rest of my volunteers enjoy being with these amazing adults. They all work well together and we have a great time while they are here. The staff members are fantastic with the participants. I hope they can be with us for years to come.”
We are proud of our YALT program participants and staff for giving back to the community!
Housing Crisis for People with Developmental Disabilities
Our President and CEO Rhonda Frederick spoke with WIVB-TV Channel 4 Reporter Angela Christoforos for a special report on the housing crisis people with developmental disabilities are facing.
“We have so many families that would love to plan for their children and help them in a huge transition into residential services but you can’t,” said Frederick. “There’s been no development of new opportunities for people so we have a stagnant number for probably the past six or seven years.”
Additionally, agencies across the state have a wait list for other services like day programs and respite care. To learn more, click here.
Rally Encouraged Better Pay for Direct Support Professionals
On November 29, People Inc. was proud to join former Congressmember and parent Tom Reynolds, Western New York state elected officials, staff members and advocates for people with developmental disabilities for a rally calling for better pay for direct support professionals (DSPs). People Inc. Associate Vice President of Public Affairs Kevin Horrigan spearheaded the rally, while many of our DSPs and program participants attended and spoke. People Inc. was included in news coverage by The Buffalo News and Time Warner Cable News.

The rally was held in conjunction with the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York and the bFair2DirectCare campaign, which encourages elected officials to include funding for DSP wage increases in the New York State budget, an initiative that People Inc. supports. These are not minimum wage jobs and funding is needed so not-for-profit developmental disability organizations can pay a living wage. To learn more on how to advocate for a fair wage for DSPs, click here and follow #bFair2DirectCare on social media.
Spreading Joy Year-round
For Carol Miranda, Christmas is her favorite part of the year! She also enjoys Valentine’s Day, St. Patty’s Day, summer and Thanksgiving! If you visit People Inc. Willow Senior Living in Wheatfield, you will see a beautiful tree and lovely decorations on the third floor. Carol, who has been a tenant of People Inc. Willow Senior Living for six years, takes pleasure decorating the vestibule area year-round to match the seasons and holidays.
Prior to moving to Willow, Carol lived in Williamsville and had a tree that she decorated year-round. Now, she happily decorates two – one small-table-top tree for her apartment and a larger tree for fellow tenants and visitors to enjoy. When asked why she does it, Carol simply said it makes her happy to decorate and even happier when others find joy in the various scenes.
Carol also adds accessories to two plush bears and an old-fashioned doll to go with the tree theme. Throughput the year, she collects various decorations at yard sales and thrift shops for the tree and bears, such as hearts for Valentine’s Day; red, white and blue trinkets for May through July; beach themed items for August; team colors for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres for September; plus Halloween and Thanksgiving décor for the fall months.
While not decorating, Carol enjoys the many group outings that she and fellow tenants take, like outings to Vidler’s in East Aurora and the Silo Restaurant in Lewiston. “I truly like living here,” Carol said. “People are friendly and the staff are so good and helpful when needed.”
The tree has also become a point of interest when people tour the site. “Many people comment positively and it makes them feel like this is a nice place to live because tenants are involved in the site and take the time to do special things,” said Charlene Johnson, manager of People Inc. Willow Senior Living. “It is also a fan-favorite of many grandchildren who visit their grandparents.”
If you or a loved one would be like more info or a tour of People Inc. Willow Senior Living (and its tree display), located on the border of North Tonawanda, call 716.694.1486. With 19 senior apartment locations throughout Western New York, People Inc. Senior Living provides safe and maintenance-free housing for independent seniors age 62 and up who are income eligible. For info about other locations, call 716.817.9090.
Recognizing the Forgotten
Since 2012, participants in our Community Active People Program (CAPP) have routinely visited Forest Lawn to tend the graves of those who were disabled and/or homeless and often forgotten. Each holiday season, the group places wreaths near the graves as a way to honor these individuals and acknowledge the cemetery restoration efforts of volunteers who refuse to let these lives be forgotten.
Caitlin (pictured in green) and Kayla (in brown), were two of the CAPP volunteers this year who hung 300 wreaths. They were both proud to honor those who are no longer with us and be part of such an important tradition. To learn more, click here.
People Inc. Vice President Susan Bayerl Honored with HCP Award
People Inc. Vice President Susan Bayerl was recently recognized with the New York State Association of Health Care Providers’ (HCP) Edna A. Lauterbach Member of the Year Award. The award honors an HCP member who has done the most to promote the interests and objectives of HCP, and has shown dedication and demonstrated excellence in furthering their goals and objectives. Susan has been actively involved in HCP in a variety of leadership positions and her guidance is well respected by its members and staff. We are proud of Susan for receiving this great honor!
Living Healthy Program Now Accepting Participants
People Inc.’s Living Healthy Program will have its next Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop beginning January 10 and continuing every Tuesday through February 14. It will be held at People Inc. Orchard Senior Living, 276 Waverly Street, Springville. 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. Those who complete the workshop will earn a $30 Tops gift card. To register, call Becky Orton, peer leader trainer and manager of People Inc. Marigold Senior Living, at 716.773.0907.
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Featured Job of the Month: Live-In Caretaker
People Inc. is hiring for a variety of positions throughout Western New York and Rochester. Our featured job of the month is live-in caretaker. This role includes responsibility for the safety and security of People Inc. Senior Living apartment buildings. Requirements include, but are not limited to, being on-call for emergencies off hours as well as the skills to communicate with staff, tenants and vendors. Compensation for the position is a two-bedroom apartment. The position is part-time with an opening in Buffalo, Cheektowaga and Hamburg. To apply or view other openings, click here.
Make a Difference this Holiday Season
There are so many ways you can support People Inc., ensuring that individuals with developmental disabilities, special needs and senior adults receive the care they need. Our holiday appeal is currently one way to make a financial donation. To contribute, click here.
Plus, here are some other ways to support our agency:
Amazon Smile: Did you know you can help support People Inc. with every Amazon Smile purchase? Amazon Smile donates .50 % to People Inc. To shop, click here.
Embrace The Difference®: Looking for a unique piece of jewelry for someone? Check out the Embrace The Difference® collection of bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Ten percent of your purchase will be donated to People Inc. upon designation. To shop, click here.
Recipes for your Favorite Cook: Cookbooks created by our very own People Inc. Senior Living tenants, Treasured Recipes from People Inc. Senior Living, are on sale for a limited time! The book is a bound collection of recipes that are rich in family traditions. For $8, the cookbooks make great holiday gifts! Cash or checks accepted, payable to People Inc. To purchase a cookbook or to learn more about the apartments, call 716.817.9090.
“Abandoned History: In search of ‘Joe Whalen Sulfur Spring:” Series of abandoned history themed research-based articles by Museum of disABILITY History Founder James M. Boles, EdD. Lockport Union Sun and Journal, December 7, 2016.

“People Inc.’s $11 million Linwood Avenue project approved:” People Inc. featured. Buffalo Business First, December 6, 2016.

“People Inc. gets go-ahead for Linwood senior housing project:” People Inc. featured. The Buffalo News, December 5, 2016.

“Buffalo-based rapper with autism releases debut album:” People Inc. program participant featured. WIVB-TV Channel 4, November 17, 2016.
Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders in the Classroom
As part of its Dialogues on disABILITY Workshop Series, the Museum of disABILITY History will host the “Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders in the Classroom” workshop. Presented by President and Founder of the Tourette Syndrome Association of Greater New York State Susan Conners, MEd, the workshop will focus on Tourette Syndrome (TS) and ways in which parents and educators can help young people with TS and associated disorders manage their behavior. Held in association with Learning Partners, Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be available.

When: Saturday, January 28, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Museum of disABILITY History 3826 Main Street, Buffalo
Costs: The workshop is $40 for professionals and parents and $10 for students. There is an additional fee of $40 for those pursuing CEUs.
Info: To register, call 716.629.3626 or click here for a registration form
The Buffalo News: Another Voice: Inadequate funding threatens a new Willowbrook
“Years of underfunding have resulted in thousands of people currently being without supportive housing and day treatment programs.”

CBS Evening News: Boston woman with Down syndrome turns passion for baking into career
“Her kitchen always made her happy. But when she kept getting rejected for jobs, she decided it was going to make her money.”

Huffington Post: Inclusion Matters For All Students
“The sole reason his neighborhood school denied Aiden access was because he has Down syndrome.”