Academy Place Senior Apartments managed by People Inc.
Academy Place Senior Apartments managed by People Inc.
Community Habilitation Participants Reach New Heights
Each month, participants and staff members of our Community Habilitation Program like to experience new things in the community. They recently went rock climbing at Niagara Climbing Center in North Tonawanda, which was a great way to increase physical activity and try something they’d never done before.

The program is designed to provide people with developmental disabilities an opportunity to gain independence and living skills, while becoming integrated into the community. “I feel that helping people step out of their comfort zone and providing them with challenging tasks is the greatest way to promote growth, development and confidence,” said Thomas L. Hunt, team leader. “This activity included people from all walks of life with a variety of strengths and abilities – watching participants climb was extremely uplifting and motivating,” shared Ann Marie Walker, another team leader. “I witnessed them conquering their fears, discovering hidden talents and being cheerleaders to their peers,” added Ann Marie.

Here is what some of the participants thought of the rock climbing activity:

“It was a really good and fun experience. I had a fear of falling, but realized I could rely on staff and equipment.” - Nick B.

“The experience was awesome. I definitely conquered my fears and enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend to friends.” - Michelle B.

The best part of this rock climbing activity was that the group accomplished a new adventure and had a great time!

Starting New Friendships
Some friendships were made this Valentine’s Day between tenants of People Inc. Daffodil Senior Living in Amherst and individuals with developmental disabilities who live in our agency’s residential sites. The group played Valentine’s trivia, listened to music and enjoyed some refreshments.

“This collaboration provided a wonderful forum for people of all ages and abilities to develop some friendships,” said Karen Lazik, associate vice president, People Inc. “It was a natural connection for everyone.”

This is another example of how our programs work together, plus it was a fitting day to spread some joy!

People Inc. Acquires Management of Academy Place
Senior Apartments

As of January 1, 2018, People Inc. is pleased to be named the managing agent of Academy Place Senior Apartments, which are part of Healthy Community Alliance. Located at 1 School Street in Gowanda, NY, the complex provides HUD Section 202 Affordable Housing and New York State Tax Credit apartments. Apartment applications are currently being accepted.

The apartments provide affordable and safe housing for independent seniors age 62 and up who meet the federally-mandated household income guidelines. Monthly rent, which includes some utilities, is based on the tenant’s income.

The building consists of 28 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units; some of which have been specifically designed for individuals who are vision/hearing impaired. Apartments include a kitchen with appliances. A community room and laundry facilities are available on each floor. Additionally, storage and a 24-hour, on-call emergency service are provided. Tenants may have one small pet.

An additional perk available to tenants is a senior day and lunch program that is held within the building, sponsored by Cattaraugus County Senior Services.

For an apartment application or for more information, email or call 716.817.9090.

Jefferson Avenue Apartments Project Highlighted
The Set Free Leaders reception and awards banquet was recently held, where People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick presented a photo commemorating the highly-anticipated, transformative groundbreaking for the Jefferson Avenue Apartments. The event honors people who help make Buffalo and Western New York a better, more equitable and inclusive place.

At the reception, Pastor William Gillison of Mount Olive Baptist Church and member of Concerned Clergy, was presented an award and photo of the groundbreaking. This new development of commercial/residential buildings along historic Jefferson Avenue in the City of Buffalo is in partnership with Nick Sinatra of Sinatra Development. We’re so proud to be part of this great undertaking. To learn more about this initiative and the groundbreaking event held this past August, click here.
Renee D. Sims (third from left);Lana Benatovich, executive director for NFJC WNY; Renee’s relative and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
People Inc. Nurse Honored at NFJC Awards
Last month, Renee D. Sims, director of patient services for People Inc. Home Health, earned a community leader award for religion at the National Federation for Just Communities (NFJC) of WNY Community Leader Awards. In addition to being a nurse at People Inc., Renee is also a chaplain in the community.

The NFJC awards recognize individuals and organizations in Western New York that have made significant contributions to the region through their involvement in volunteer activities and/or their special achievements in specific areas of community and professional life. These individuals and organizations exemplify the NFJC core mission of promoting goodwill, understanding, respect and trust.
Our President and CEO Earns Recognition
We’re so proud to share that our President and CEO, Rhonda Frederick, recently earned some recognition for her exceptional leadership and advocacy, including:

• Buffalo Business First named Rhonda as the 29th most influential person in Western New York. The announcement was part of the newspaper’s Power 250, an annual list of 250 of the most influential men and women in the area.

• Rochester Institute of Technology’s (R.I.T.) COLA Connections Newsletter highlights Rhonda as a distinguished alumna, reflecting on how her education helped her along the way from R.I.T. to CEO.

Check Out #WorkoutWednesday
Looking for some exercises to do right in the comfort of your own home? Our new #WorkoutWednesday social media series has you covered! Check out this #WorkoutWednesday video that was shared on People Inc.’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages! It features Life Quality Coach and certified personal trainer Nick Cacciotti, along with Ryan Steffan, demonstrating a few exercises you can do at home! Follow us on our social media pages to get updates like this one, plus agency and program news!

In the Community
In addition to serving communities in Western New York, People Inc. continues to spread awareness about our variety of programs and services in the greater Rochester region. Recent examples include:

• People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick (pictured below, third from left) met with (left to right) Mike Molinari, assistant county executive for Monroe County; Corinda Crossdale, commissioner, Department of Human Services for Monroe County and Tom Vasey, deputy commissioner, Department of Human Services for Monroe County. They discussed the history of People Inc., along with initiatives and opportunities for our agency’s expansion into Monroe County.

• A meeting with Roberts Wesleyan College was held to discuss future collaboration, with topics ranging from internships and student employees to corporate partnerships. The group included Kym Woodard, BELL program director; Kimberly Wiedefeld, vice president Enrollment Management; Dr. Deana L. Porterfield, president; and Brittany Richards and Jamie Oswald, both of People Inc.

Advocate for Seniors
We are seeking motivated people who are skilled and compassionate to advocate for seniors. Through the People Inc., New York State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and the Center for Elder Law & Justice, volunteers called ombudsmen, promote the rights of residents who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties. The program is currently screening interested candidates for its spring training session, as well as others held throughout the year. Ombudsmen bring problem-solving skills as they visit long-term care facilities to help residents resolve complaints.

Opportunities are available for those who work in professional fields, such as paralegals, human service staff, social workers and business professionals. Many volunteers are also recent retirees, ranging from those who have worked within education systems, administration or engineering fields. Schedules are flexible with a minimum of two hours per week.

Volunteers are trained to properly listen to, investigate and help resolve concerns on behalf of long-term care residents. To learn more, call 716.817.9222, or toll-free at 1.844.527.5509.

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Featured Jobs
of the Month
When you join the People Inc. team, you can make a difference in the lives of people with developmental disabilities, special needs and seniors, while also receiving great benefits, flexibility and the opportunity to have fun while helping others. We are actively recruiting for positions including group home, behavior technicians, RNs and LPNs. Our featured jobs of the month include:

Telephone Triage Nurse: Provides coverage and miscellaneous activities as coordinated and assigned by the nursing supervisor to provide nursing direction to LPNs and non-clinical staff as per regulatory requirements. Requirements include: Current NYS license to practice as a Registered Nurse and a NYS driver’s license that meets agency policy.

Registered Nurse: Coordinates and monitors the delivery of health care services for individuals with developmental disabilities who are living in community-based homes. They will also supervise the adequate completion of delegated nursing tasks to direct care staff and LPNs. Responsible for ensuring that confidentiality is strictly maintained concerning all agency related information. Requirements include: Current NYS license to practice as a Registered Nurse and a NYS driver’s license that meets agency policy.

To apply for these employment opportunities or view other openings, click here.
Give $10 a Month and Earn Exclusive 2018 Calendar and More
If you pledge a recurring gift of $10 a month or a one-time gift of $100 or more to become a People Inc. Foundation Supporting Member, you’ll receive our exclusive 2018 People Inc. Foundation Supporting Member Calendar. This year’s calendar features photos of people we serve and their stories of independence.
As a Supporting Member, you can identify a friend or family member and we will also mail him/her a calendar on your behalf. Please include your loved one’s name and contact information in the “note” section of the donation form. Additional benefits include an invitation to our Supporting Member event and inclusion in published donor listings.
To become a Supporting Member, click here. For more information, contact Jennifer Robinson, at or by calling 716.817.7269.
Calendar 2018 - Image 1
Recent news stories that include information from People Inc. and agency representatives.

“Eggertsville museum is one of a kind:” The Museum of disABILITY History, a project of People Inc., is featured. Amherst Bee Bicentennial (special supplement), February 14, 2018, page 7.

“Advocate for seniors in long-term care facilities:” People Inc.’s Ombudsman Program featured. Bee Publications Life After 50, February 7 and 8, 2018.
Traveling Exhibits Available
The Museum of disABILITY History, a project of People Inc., is pleased to have a number of traveling exhibits available for rent, which have drawn big crowds in other parts of the country. Some of the popular exhibits include: African-Americans and the Disability Experience: From Colonial Times, Desegregation, Advocacy and Achievement; In the Game: Sports and Disability, The Kennedy Connection; Madness in America: A History of Mental Health and Reel Life: disABILITY Goes to the Movies.

The traveling exhibits can be shipped directly to a business, college or organization for conferences and events. To rent a traveling exhibit or for more information, send an inquiry to or call 716.629.3626.

Spring Gala Plans Underway: Donations Welcome
Plans are underway for Headway of WNY’s 19th Annual Gala – Spring Carnevale. The event will be held on Thursday, May 17, from 6 to 9 p.m., at The Atrium @ Rich’s, One Robert Rich Way, Buffalo. The planning committee is currently seeking an experienced juggler to provide side entertainment. The event will carry on its tradition of a fabulous assortment of silent auction bidding items and a large basket raffle, along with music, food stations and an open bar. Tickets will become available for purchase in March.

Event proceeds benefit Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., to ensure that individuals in Western New York with brain injuries and other disabilities have access to advocacy, resources and support systems to enable them to live as independently as possible.

Sponsorships, silent auction items and basket raffle donations are now being accepted. For more information, go to the How to Help section at or contact Christine Melchiorre at or by calling 716.408.3117.

The Buffalo News: For Valentine’s Day, a quiet, but monumental, love story
“Their Valentine’s Day gift this year is a little different, but those who love them say it could have deeper meaning. Paul and Kris were born with Down syndrome. Their marriage, which will reach 25 years in August, is a quiet and monumental symbol of advances in civil rights for the disabled.”

The Buffalo News: Letter – Direct support professionals should be paid a living wage
“Minimum-wage regulations affording greater compensation in other professions have placed nonprofit service providers in crisis as they attempt to obtain and retain direct support professionals (DSPs).”

The New York Times: A Barrier Breaks: An Actress with Down Syndrome Plays the Lead

“Being an advocate for those with disabilities is a role Ms. Brewer and Mr. Barbanell take very seriously. They both want to open doors and change attitudes.”

USA Today: First baby with Down syndrome wins Gerber baby of the year
“Lucas is the first child with Down syndrome to win the title since the contest began in 2010.”

WCNY Radio – Capitol Pressroom: BFair to Direct Care (Barbara DeLong and Patrick Curran interviewed)
“Advocates are pushing for a higher wage to retain people as Direct Support Professionals (DSP) who take care of people living with physical and/or mental disabilities.”