Five goals to consider!
Five goals to consider!
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Picture of Rhonda Frederick, President and CEO of People Inc.
A Message from the President:
People Inc. Rounds out the Year with Expanded Services and New Housing
As we welcome 2020, I would like to thank you for having People Inc. be part of your life. Expanded services and new housing, along with exciting affiliations, have helped People Inc. continue to evolve. Here are some 2019 highlights:
  • Many programs and services expanded over the past year, including People Inc. Self-Directed Services. People Inc. Contract Manufacturing, which provides meaningful employment for people with developmental disabilities, increased their partnerships with area businesses. Our Supported Employment Program expanded into the Greater Rochester region, connecting even more people with community-based job support and opportunities.
  • We announced our affiliation with Deaf Access Services, a not-for-profit organization that responds to the interests of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people by promoting communication access, awareness and opportunities in the greater community.
  • Our Elmwood Health Center celebrated its 25th anniversary. Serving a diverse patient population, including a large percentage of people with developmental disabilities, the Elmwood Health Center has grown from 500 patients in 1994 to well over 5,000 patients today. Fundraising is currently underway for an expansion and relocation just a half mile down the road from its current location. There will be more than double the treatment rooms, on-site dental services and durable medical equipment.
  • We celebrated the opening of People Inc. Linwood Lafayette Senior Apartments. The mixed-income building is home to people age 55 and older in a diverse Buffalo neighborhood. Development is in progress for mixed-income housing on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo and Grant Street in North Tonawanda. As an additional benefit, the integrated housing provides opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, at a time when new housing development opportunities through OPWDD are severely limited.

    These achievements were made possible due to the hard work and dedication of our employees, donors and supporters. We look forward to continuing to provide quality services and to 2020 – the 50th anniversary year of People Inc.!

    Rhonda Frederick
    President and CEO, People Inc.

Donated toys in a Christmas setting.
Hundreds of Toys Donated from Celebration of Joy Event
Oh wow! That’s how many people described the generosity of community members who supported the recent Celebration of Holiday Joy. The new holiday-themed event, presented by EverHaunt, was held December 21 and 22, at Angola Seasonal Events Center, in Angola, NY. Attendees enjoyed cookie decorating, face painting, an “Arctic Circle Adventure” and meeting Santa! Admission was one new, unwrapped toy. All donations are benefitting People Inc. Respite After School locations to use at the programs and for children who utilize our residential services.
We’re grateful to EverHaunt for including People Inc. in this community outreach event.
“Together, we were able to collect hundreds of gifts for children within our local and surrounding communities,” shared Kevin Donovan, founder of Everhaunt and Celebration of Holiday Joy. “There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you’ve made a positive difference in someone’s life, especially a child around the holidays.”
A team of staff recommended types of toys to donate that are best suited for children with developmental delays and disabilities.
“It was such a wonderful experience for me personally to work with people who are so humble and giving as Kevin Donovan, his wife and volunteers at the Celebration of Holiday Joy,” shared Mary Petrakos, associate vice president, People Inc. “My husband and I brought our granddaughter to the event and we had a terrific time. The kids have been having so much fun opening and enjoying the toys and games! It has brought an incredible amount of joy to our programs."
People Inc. extends our thanks to community members, Everhaunt and Kevin for giving childrenwe support a chance to play with these toys all year long.
Program particiant Bernard making a heart gesture shape with his hands.
Five New Year’s Resolutions to Try in 2020
The new year is here and for some, that may include making resolutions! Often times that might be a new diet, an exercise regimen or learning a different skill. Giving back to a charity can be added to the list as a chance to meet new people and earn rewarding experiences. Here are five ways to involve People Inc.:
1. Give your gift of time:
  • Share your skills while assisting people with developmental disabilities in our day programs. Download a volunteer application. For more info, email or call 716.322.7050.
  • Want to assist older adults remain independent in their own home? The People Inc. Senior Companion Program welcomes volunteers 55 or over who live in Erie County and meet income guidelines to assist older adults with grocery shopping, light cooking and housekeeping. Trained volunteers earn a stipend, mileage and meal reimbursement. To join us, call 716.768.2381.
  • Do you have problem-solving skills and a passion to help older adults? The People Inc., New York State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and Center for Elder Law & Justice needs volunteers year-round. Ombudsmen volunteers promote the rights of residents who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties. To learn more, call 716.817.9222 or 1.844.527.5509.
2. Use your Facebook for a cause: Spread support for People Inc. with your very own Facebook fundraiser for your birthday or other special occasion. It’s an easy way to ask friends and family to give back to your favorite charity. To set up, log into your personal Facebook and go to:
3. Love event planning? Organize a Third Party Fundraiser with proceeds benefitting the People Inc. Foundation – this could be through your employer or with a group of friends. Ideas include hosting activities like a paint night, an ice cream social, pancake breakfast or a spaghetti dinner. Learn more by contacting Melanie Brown, People Inc. Foundation, at or 716.817.7450.
4. Has your financial planning been on the backburner? You can leave a lasting legacy through planned gifts. Options include designating the People Inc. Foundation as benefactor in your will, trust, retirement or life insurance plan. For more info, contact Christine Mathieu, People Inc. Foundation, at or 716.817.7256.
5. Did you recently get engaged or do you have a milestone to celebrate this year? In lieu of gifts, ask guests to donate funds or instead of a traditional party favor, consider a donation to the People Inc. Foundation. Interested? Contact Jennifer Robinson, People Inc. Foundation, at or 716.817.7269.
No matter what your resolution or goals may be, we hope People Inc. can be part of your journey throughout the year ahead.
The community room at Highland School Apartments.
Community room at People Inc.
Highland School Aparments.
Now Accepting Apartment Applications for Affordable Housing Locations
People Inc. offers affordable housing in various locations across Western New York! We encourage you to share these openings with family and friends who may be interested:
  • Academy Place Senior Apartments, located at 1 School Street, Gowanda, NY, and managed by People Inc., are accepting applications for a two-bedroom apartment. These apartments are ideal for older adults in the Southern Tier who are in need of affordable housing. The complex provides HUD Section 202 Affordable Housing and New York State Tax Credit apartments.
    Info/Apartment application: Email or call 716.817.9090.
  • People Inc. Senior Living accepts apartment applications year-round for its locations throughout Western New York, including Amherst, Blasdell, Grand Island, Lackawanna, Lockport, South Buffalo, Springville and Wheatfield. The affordable apartments are for independent older adults age 62 and up who meet the federally-mandated household income guidelines. Info/apartment application: Email or call 716.817.9090.
  • People Inc. Grant Street Apartments, currently under construction at 25 Grant Street in North Tonawanda, NY, are for people 18 years and older and who meet income eligibility. Rental applications are currently being accepted. Occupancy is expected in April 2020.
    Info/apartment application: Email or call 716.880.3890
  • People Inc. Highland School Apartments, located at 105 Highland Avenue, Tonawanda, NY, have one-bedroom apartments available for people who are 18 or older and meet federally-mandated household income guidelines. Info/apartment application: Email or call 716.694.1623.
  • People Inc. Jefferson Avenue Apartments, currently under construction at 1140 and 1166 Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, NY, are for people 18 years and older and who meet income eligibility. Rental applications are currently being accepted. Occupancy is expected in March 2020. Info/apartment application: Email or call 716.880.3890.
  • People Inc. Linwood Lafayette Senior Apartments, located at 637 Linwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY, are accepting applications from people who are 55 or older and meet federally-mandated household income guidelines. Info/apartment application: Email or call 716.881.6600.
Direct care support professional pictured with a young woman living with a disability.
Featured Job of the Month:
Direct Support Professional
People Inc. is seeking direct support professionals to work in our group homes in East Aurora, Grand Island, Lewiston and Silver Creek, plus other areas throughout Western New York. Full and part time positions are available with evening, overnight or weekend shifts. In this position, you will assist people with developmental disabilities or other special needs as needed in all activities, areas of daily living and personal care. The ideal candidate enjoys assisting others to reach their full potential and participating in community activities. Requirements include: 18 years or older; valid driver’s license that meets agency policy; high school diploma or GED preferred, but not required. Excellent benefits and opportunities include: Paid time off, Health/Dental/Vision Plans, tuition reimbursement, employee perks and discounts, 401(k) plan and much more. To apply or to view all of our employment openings, go to the Available Jobs page on our website or call 716.322.7050 for more information.
Cover of the 2020 Supporting Member calendar featuring participants on a trip to Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown, NY.
Donate $10 a Month and Receive an
Exclusive Calendar

Interested in supporting People Inc. all year long? Become a People Inc. Foundation Supporting Member by pledging a recurring gift of $10 a month or a one-time gift of $100 or more annually. As a token of our appreciation, all Supporting Members receive an exclusive 2020 calendar! This year’s calendar includes photos representing the counties that People Inc. provides services in, which were submitted by staff and people served by our agency. Become a Supporting Member today! For more information, contact Jennifer Robinson, People Inc. Foundation, at or call 716.817.7269.
Photo of panels for the Down Syndrome exhibit.
Event Highlights and Upcoming
New Art Exhibit
The Museum of disABILITY History, a project of People Inc., had an amazing past year! In 2019, attendance had an increase of 700 visitors. Events included multiple book signings and activities for World Down Syndrome Day, as well as a variety of Dialogues on disABILITY Speaker Series topics. Additionally, the Museum of disABILITY History Film and Speakers Series featured Secret Path, with speakers Michael Bastine and John Volpe. To top it off, an entertaining Kid’s Day event was held in the summer for families to enjoy. Engelic Everett, author of Olivia the Bully, brought the Museum to a national level as a representative at the National Down Syndrome Conference.
In 2020, the Museum of disABILITY History is pleased to announce a new exhibit, “Outsider Art from Inside the Institution.” The Dr. Ionel and Marjorie O’Brien Rapaport Collection is comprised of mixed media artwork completed by people who were institutionalized. Dr. Rapaport collected more than 900 pieces of artwork from sources all across the globe, which now, courtesy of the New York State Museum, will be on display at the Museum of disABILITY History. Check the Museum of disABILITY History’s website and Facebook page to keep updated for exhibition dates.
The Museum of disABILITY History will continue its mission to have its exhibits, publications and educational programs create awareness and a platform for dialogue and discovery.
Support Groups and Save the Date for Annual Gala
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. Some upcoming dates for support groups and annual gala include:

Headway’s Peer Support Group meets the first and third Tuesday of each month
Upcoming dates: January 21, February 4, February 18
Time: 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Location: Headway of WNY, 2635 Delaware Avenue, Suite E, Buffalo, NY

Headway’s Caregiver’s Support Group meets on the first Tuesday of the month
Upcoming Date: February 4
Time: 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Location: Headway of WNY, 2635 Delaware Avenue, Suite E, Buffalo, NY

Save the date for Headway’s Annual Spring Gala
Date: Friday, May 15
Location: Shea’s Seneca, 2178 Seneca Street, Buffalo, NY
Stay tuned to Headway’s Facebook page and website for more details!

Friendly Social to be held at
Chestnut Ridge Park
Deaf Access Services (DAS), an affiliate of People Inc.,
will host a friendly social on Saturday, January 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Chestnut Ridge Park, 6121 Chestnut Ridge Road in Orchard Park, NY. Join the fun day for sledding, cocoa and coffee. You don’t need to know ASL (American Sign Language) to attend. All are welcome. Be sure to bring your own sled/tubes. Snowboards and skis are not allowed. Stay informed about any event date changes due to weather through the Deaf Access Services Facebook page.
DDAWNY Family Committee Legislative Breakfast
The Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY) Family Committee Legislative Breakfast will be held on Friday, January 31, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Millennium Hotel, 2040 Walden Avenue, Cheektowaga, NY. Family members and direct support professionals are encouraged to attend. The committee has invited several legislators and expect that attendees will have an opportunity to share disability-related concerns. Register by January 24. Space is limited.
If you have any questions, email

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