DAS becomes affiliate of People Inc.
DAS becomes affiliate of People Inc.
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Deaf Access Services Becomes an Affiliate of People Inc.
People Inc. is proud to announce that Deaf Access Services has become an affiliate of the agency. The partnership allows both organizations to pool resources to meet growing demands, expand services for a broader geographic reach, improve capacity to deliver more services and enrich Deaf services already delivered through People Inc.
As an affiliate of People Inc., Deaf Access Services will continue to provide services through their experienced staff and interpreters. The partnership will showcase the power of collaboration and will allow continuation of the legacy created by the Deaf community. It will also provide cost benefits by efficiently combining office operations, such as administration, finance and human resources.
Together, the agencies will explore improved access to health and mental health services for the Deaf community, enhanced services for older adults and increased employment opportunities for the Deaf community. “By addressing our key audiences, in particular for people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, we will be able to enhance the awareness of our services and strengthen our community outreach,” said Rhonda Frederick, president and CEO, People Inc.
To learn more about services provided by Deaf Access Services and this partnership, click here for an article in Buffalo Business First and here for a press release.
Senior Living Couple Shares Secrets to a Happy Marriage
February may be the shortest month of the year, but it’s also considered the month of love. There’s no shortage of love though for a couple who lives at People Inc. Willow Senior Living in Wheatfield, NY.
Liz and Carl Blessing, who will be married 26 years this August, met at Northgate Health Care Facility where they both used to work. Liz was a personal care aide and Carl was a kitchen dietary aide. After some convincing by Carl, Liz agreed to meet him for coffee at Perkins where they talked and laughed for hours. From that day on, as Carl says, they were “off to the races.”
On August 14, 1993, Liz and Carl married at Northgate’s courtyard with a beautiful ceremony. A talented magician, Carl made sure there were white doves at the wedding for his bride.
For 11 years this May, they have lived together at People Inc. Willow Senior Living. Now age 80, Carl does not regret getting married later in life. Liz, 69, had two previous marriages. Both feel laughter is one of the keys to a successful relationship as they happily shared some answers to what makes a marriage work:
What keeps you together?
Liz: He does what I tell him!
Carl: It’s true, I give in – I do everything she says! I cook and she does the dishes.
What makes your marriage work?
Liz (laughing): I make sure he thinks he is getting his way.
Carl: Respect. We respect each other. We never go to bed upset with each other.
Liz: Yes, respect – big time! Lots of laughs are also important.
What advice do you have for couples?
Liz: No matter if you’re in your 20s or any age, a sense of humor is important. Looks may disappear, but you have to have humor. Communication is important. Value the other’s opinion – listen – you don’t have to agree, but hear each other out.
Carl: When I’m quiet, Liz always asks me what’s on my mind. She can tell when I’m worried or have something on my mind. When we are apart from each other – even if we’re going to a doctor’s appointment or grocery shopping – we always say ‘I love you’ – it’s so important.
That’s some great insight and valuable advice for couples of all generations.
Your Support is Needed for bFair2DirectCare Call to Action
Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal failed to include the funding necessary to give Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) a fair, living wage. As an agency that relies on the important work of DSPs, supporters of People Inc. are encouraged to reach out to Governor Cuomo to correct this omission and add the #bFair2DirectCare living wage funding in his budget proposal.
Here’s how you can help:
Call the Governor at 518.474.8390 and say:
  • The developmental disabilities community is in a crisis.
  • Right now, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) across New York State are making just above minimum wage and can barely make ends meet, despite the challenging and vital work.
  • These low wages for DSPs have led to high vacancy and turnover rates, leaving a devastating impact on the people and families DSPs support.
  • This impacts/concerns me because (insert reason why #bFair2DirectCare is important to you).
  • Please add the #bFair2DirectCare living wage funding DSPs deserve to your budget proposal.
Spread the word on social media:
  • Share with the Governor why #bFair2DirectCare funding for DSPs is needed and why it’s important to you. Tag @nygovcuomo on Twitter and @GovernorAndrewCuomo in Facebook posts.
  • Use the hashtag #bFair2DirectCare in all posts.
  • Here’s a sample tweet that you can use or modify: Low wages for DSPs have a devastating impact on families like mine! @nygovcuomo please add #bFair2DirectCare living wage funding DSPs deserve to your budget proposal.
Your help is appreciated!
Participants Tour Mercy Flight
Participants and staff from one of People Inc.'s Day Habilitation Programs recently took a tour of Mercy Flight. They learned about the organization’s important, life-saving work. Everyone had a great time seeing the Mercy Flight headquarters and taking a look inside a helicopter. We appreciate Mercy Flight’s time and for this opportunity!
Drumming Up Some Fun
People Inc. Willow Senior Living in Wheatfield, NY, has a very loyal chair aerobics group! Over the last few years, there have many success stories, from an increase in participation to greater strength and endurance among participants. Overall, the chair aerobics sessions have been beneficial for tenants who are unable to exercise traditionally to stay healthy and keep active. Recently, the group has taken on even more creative approaches, like keeping a beat with drumsticks and using exercise balls as drums. This fun activity has helped energize group members and sharpen their reflexes. It’s great to see the group’s rhythm and skill as they drum along to music.
If you or someone you know is looking for affordable housing for older adults, or is even interested in joining this drumming group, consider People Inc. Willow Senior Living as your new home! People Inc. manages 19 senior apartment locations throughout Western New York, helping older adults stay close to family members and the community they care about. To learn more about the location in Wheatfield, call 716.694.1486.
Apartments are for independent older adults age 62 and over and who are income eligible. All locations are accepting apartment applications, including: Amherst, Clarence, Gowanda, Grand Island, Lackawanna, Lockport, South Buffalo and Springville. Apartment applications are accepted year-round and tours are available by appointment. To learn more about People Inc. Senior Living or for an apartment application, email seniorliving@people-inc.org or call 716.817.9090.
In the Community: Athena Awards Celebrated in Rochester
As part of People Inc.’s continuing efforts to deepen its presence in the Greater Rochester region, a group of People Inc. employees recently attended the 33rd Athena Awards. It’s an annual event that honors the achievements of exceptional women leaders in business, community service and the professional advancement of women in the community. Held at the Floreano Convention Center in Rochester, NY, and presented by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and its affiliate, the Women’s Council, the Athena Awards provided a great networking opportunity and helped to position the organization in front of leading, local businesses, as well as top executives from around the region.
Family and Friends Tours Now Available
Families who are in search of services for their loved one with a developmental disability may find the process to be overwhelming. Many families report that they want to get out and “shop around” to learn what an agency has to offer. However, they may not be sure where to start.
People Inc. has more than 20 day program options, among other services. We understand that choosing the right services can be challenging. This is why our agency is trying to help make some of those choices less stressful. People Inc.’s Day Habilitation Program is offering Family and Friends Tours, to be held once a month from March through October 2019. Each month, the tours will be held at different agency sites and the group will be escorted by day habilitation managers and directors. The groups will visit day programs, discuss the services offered and talk about what makes each site unique.
These tours will be offered to those seeking services and their families, plus care coordinators, teachers and school staff who would like to learn more about People Inc. services. For a schedule or more information, contact Lindsey Rosenberg, program director, at lrosenberg@people-inc.org or call 716.817.5710.
Free Training for Parents
People Inc. offers the Incredible Years Program for parents of children with disabilities to learn new skills and coping methods. The free training teaches parents how to help their children develop, including: improving self-esteem and self-concept and decreasing negative behaviors at home, as well as decreasing peer aggression and disruptive behaviors in school. The program provides tips on how to cope with stress, avoid power struggles, determine appropriate consequences and develop creative and imaginative play with children. For more information or to enroll in our upcoming session for the spring or summer, contact Shannon Bianco at sbianco@people-inc.org or call 716.880.3826. The free training is made possible by a Family Support Services grant through the Western New York Developmental Disabilities Services Office (WNYDDSO).
Register for Choose Healthy Western New York Workshops
People Inc. has joined forces with the Western New York Integrated Care Collaborative (WNYICC) to present a series of health and wellness workshops. The classes, known as Choose Healthy Western New York Workshops, span a number of topics, from chronic disease to diabetes self-management.
The workshop curriculum was developed and tested by Stanford University and is an evidence-based program. People Inc. staff members Becky Orton, manager of People Inc. Marigold Senior Living and lead program coordinator; Roseanne Bonafede, People Inc. Senior Living service coordinator; Charlene Johnson, manager of People Inc. Willow Senior Living and Trish Kibler, Elmwood Health Center business project director, have been certified to instruct the courses. Each workshop is six weeks long, meeting once a week for two and a half hours. Upcoming courses include:
  • Chronic Disease Self- Management Workshop at People Inc. Marigold Senior Living, 3026 Grand Island Boulevard, Grand Island, every Saturday from March 9 through April 13, 1 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop at People Inc. Orchard Senior Living, 276 Waverly Street, Springville, every Friday from April 5 through May 10, 1 to 3:30 p.m.
For more information or to register, go to wnyicc.org or call Becky Orton at 716.773.0907.
Learn More about Headway of WNY’s Upcoming Events
and More

Want to know more about Headway of WNY? Check out the latest edition of its quarterly newsletter. You will learn more about its recent educational symposium, “Medical Cannabis: A Promising Therapy for TBI & Other Cognitive Disorders?,” how to support its upcoming annual spring gala, support group news and more. To view this newsletter, click here.
Headway of WNY, a not-for-profit agency and an affiliate of People Inc., provides support groups, trainings and educational programs to both survivors and caregivers of brain injury. Headway of WNY is a support and advocacy agency for persons with brain injuries and other disabilities and the Regional Resource Center/Single Point of Entry for the New York State Department of Health’s Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Waiver and the Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver. For more information, go to headwayofwny.org or call 716.408.3100.
iCan Shine Bike Camp Seeking Participants and Volunteers
Learning to ride a two-wheeled bicycle is a major milestone in anyone’s life. When learning may be a challenge, the accomplishment and its impact can be even greater. iCan Shine Bike Camp (iCanBike) uses adapted bicycles, a specialized instructional program and trained staff to assist people with disabilities to learn to ride a two-wheeled bicycle.
The iCanBike Camp will be held July 8-12, 2019, at the Buffalo Niagara Court Center (BNCC), 425 Meyer Road, West Seneca, NY. The cost is $175 for early registration; payment will increase to $200 on May 1, 2019. To find out about requirements, as well as to register and pay online, click here.
If you have questions about registering or volunteering, email wnylearntoride@yahoo.com or call 716.817.7204. For more information, go to wnyicanbike.weebly.com.
Featured Job of the Month: Nurse Educator
People Inc. is currently hiring a full time nurse educator to design, implement and coordinate medically related learning for employees of People Inc. Responsibilities include: Conduct learning and staff development needs assessments, develop various medically related curriculums and coordinate the delivery of various medically related learning classes. Minimum requirements: Current NYS license to practice as a registered nurse; NYS driver’s license that meets agency policy; CPR certification; bachelor’s degree in nursing; and five plus years of education, learning, human resources or management experience and/or equivalent combination of education and experience. To apply or to view all of our openings, click here.
Be Tax-Smart and Charitable this Season
Is it time for you or someone you know to take your “required minimum distribution” from your retirement account? A “qualified charitable distribution” to the People Inc. Foundation counts towards your IRA required minimum distribution (RMD) and is not included in your taxable income. For more information, contact Christine Mathieu, Legacy officer, at cmathieu@people-inc.org or 716.817.7256.
Donate $10 a Month to get Exclusive Calendar
Interested in helping People Inc. carry out its mission all year long? Become a People Inc. Foundation Supporting Member today by pledging a recurring gift of $10 a month or a one-time gift of $100 or more annually. For a limited time, KeyBank will match new Supporting Member gifts, up to the first $10,000!
As a token of our appreciation, all Supporting Members will receive an exclusive 2019 calendar! For this year’s theme, the calendar represents our region’s four seasons. It features beautiful artwork created by many talented participants who receive People Inc.’s programs and services.
In addition to the calendar, Supporting Members receive even more benefits, including:
  • VIP status at our annual Supporting Member event
  • Surprise gift
  • And more!
To become a Supporting Member, click here. For more information, contact Jennifer Robinson, at jrobinson@people-inc.org or 716.817.7269.
The Museum of disABILITY History welcomes Christina M. Abt, author, for a free presentation and book signing on Saturday, March 2, at 11:30 a.m., at its location, 3826 Main Street, Buffalo, NY. The presentation will focus on Christina’s latest book, Beauty & Grace, a historical Novel telling the stories of women and men locked away in asylums for unacceptable and unimaginable reasons that often resulted in abuse and inhumane medical treatments.
Attendees will learn about Christina’s research into this tragic time in our nation’s history, including fascinating interviews with women who worked in such institutions and her experience at the Willard Asylum for Chronic Insane.
Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing. To confirm your attendance, call 716.629.3626.
Register for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders in the Classroom Workshop
The Museum of disABILITY History will host its 2019 workshop session of Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Associated Disorders in the Classroom on March 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at its location, 3826 Main Street, Buffalo, NY. The workshop will be presented by Susan Conners, MEd, president and founder of the Tourette Syndrome Association of Greater New York State.
The workshop will focus on: What is TS, coping with challenging behaviors, classroom tips for working with children on the TS spectrum, practical ideas for helping to manage school work at home and in the classroom, proven suggestions for advocating for a child on the TS spectrum and the use of technology in assisting students. The workshop is recommended for parents; educators; school administrators; social workers and health and human service professionals, such as occupational, physical and speech language therapists.
Held in association with Associated Physical and Occupational Therapists, PLLC, the workshop offers Continuing Education Units (CEUs). The cost is $40 for professionals and parents and $10 for students. There is an additional fee of $20 for those pursuing CEUs. A continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Wi-Fi is available and attendees are to bring their own laptop.
Registration with payment is due by March 22. For more information and a flyer with registration form, click here. For more information, call 716.629.3626.

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

“Path Forward is Hazy for Medical Marijuana and Head Injuries:” Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., included. Spectrum News Buffalo, February 6, 2019.
“From North to South, East to West, the Big Projects to Watch in 2019:” People Inc.’s Linwood/Lafayette and Jefferson Avenue Apartment projects included. The Buffalo News, January 27, 2019.
The Buffalo News: Another Voice – Database Would Help the Disabled Find Housing
“Most frustrating is that there is no central database for disabled people looking for housing situations. I was able to find a small organization in Rochester founded by parents that keeps a database of housing, activities and important information for the disabled. Unfortunately for our family, they only cover Monroe and Niagara counties.”
Forbes: The Job Most Americans Don’t Know about, but is Crucial to the Success of People with Disabilities
“Constant turnover is highly disruptive to people with I/DD. Most people can imagine how this affects a family, their health and well-being, whether that person needs assistance with basic tasks, such as hygiene and medication, or they require job coaching or help to prepare for an interview. A DSP does all of that and more.”
Mashable: ‘Wonder’ is First Live-action U.S. Film to get American Sign Language Interpretation
“For years, film studios have made movies accessible to viewers with visual or hearing disabilities through audio tracks and closed captioning. Now, for the first time, U.S. audiences will be able to watch a live-action film with American Sign Language interpretation.”
U.S. News and World Report: Helping Kids with Intellectual Disabilities Navigate Social Challenges
“Research shows that when children have more information about their disability, they’re better able to adjust to it. It’s also important to let your child know that other kids experience the same challenges.”