Appalachian Trail mission completed, earn $500!
Appalachian Trail mission completed, earn $500!
People Inc. Program Participant Proves Anything is Possible
George Augstell is brewing hope, one cup at a time! He is the proud owner of Uncle Bill’s Coffee Stop, a snack and beverage shop he named in memory of his uncle, Bill Gee, a well-known Niagara Falls police officer who died of cancer in 2013. The shop is located inside the Golisano Center for Community Health, part of the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) in Niagara Falls. A year in the making and now open for about a month, the shop is an example of George’s determination to achieve his dreams.
A former NFMMC volunteer who has Down syndrome, George, 28, happily greets customers with a smile! He receives support through People Inc.’s Self Directed Services, a person-centered program empowering individuals with developmental disabilities to develop a plan based on their needs and preferences. The program has helped him pursue entrepreneurship with an opportunity to employ staff.
“George has been enthusiastic to operate his business,” said Harpreet Saran-Rokicki, EdM, director, Community Based Services, People Inc. “We are very pleased to provide assistance and help turn his dream into a reality. George is an inspiration to everyone, especially those who face challenges.”
Known for his charm, George has become fast friends with NFMMC President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo. “George is an example of not giving up,” said Joseph. “For individuals with developmental disabilities I learned the messages are, ‘Don’t try to pacify me and don’t talk about me as if I’m not there. I hurt like you hurt and I laugh like you laugh. All I ask is that I be included – just like anybody else.’ I admire George and value all of his abilities.”
An outstanding inspiration, George’s story was recently picked up by local and national media including, CNN, Time Warner Cable News, WIVB-TV Channel 4 and The Buffalo News; a story is scheduled to air soon on WGRZ-TV Channel 2.
“I’m very happy,” George said. “People say they are proud of me.”
Appalachian Trail Adventure is a Success!
Last month, seven young men and women with developmental and other disabilities joined four People Inc. life quality coaches for a four-day wilderness hike in a portion of the Appalachian Trail in Danby, Vermont. This adventure was part of People Inc.’s Crossing Borders WNY, a group striving to break down barriers, defy stereotypes and change minds about what it means to live with a disability.
The seven young adults we provide services to proved so much to themselves, too. Prior to the trip, they did not know each other well, but have now developed a lasting friendship. The trip gave them a chance to bond and overcome challenges, while working together as a team and learning from each other. Many wilderness survival skills were gained, like preparing food outdoors and camping outside. They gained confidence as they trekked difficult trails and realized they had physical strength to keep pushing forward.
To view photos from this amazing journey, visit the Crossing Borders WNY Facebook page. Stories were included in The Buffalo News and WKBW-TV Channel 7.
Congratulations, Graduates!
Last month, 23 participants in People Inc.’s Young Adult Life Transitions (YALT), a community-based pre-vocational program located on college campuses throughout Western New York, graduated from programs at Buffalo State, Canisius College, Daemen College, Erie Community College, Niagara County Community College and the University at Buffalo. Through involvement in classes, internships and volunteer opportunities, the graduates worked hard to gain and strengthen numerous life skills. Click here to read about the participants’ achievements. Congratulations to all!
People Inc. has the Perfect Fit
We are excited to announce that People Inc.’s Second Family Program has been rebranded as the Perfect Fit Program, in an effort to build greater awareness and attract more providers. This initiative will occur at People Inc., as well as human service agencies in Western New York and Finger Lakes areas due to the efforts of those involved in the Family Care BIP grant.
The Perfect Fit Program will continue its mission of providing community-based housing for individuals with developmental disabilities. This offers a unique residential opportunity to individuals and their families and is a favorable alternative to a group home setting for those seeking greater independence.
For more information, contact Carrie Grant, director, at or 716.817.9011. Click here to view a testimonial video about the program.
Museum of disABILITY History Film and Speaker Series to Debut Six Guys, 6,000 Miles
Save the date for the exclusive premiere of a film about a cross-country road trip that changed six guys for a lifetime! The Museum of disABILITY History Film and Speaker Series will debut the documentary, Six Guys, 6,000 Miles, on Friday, August 12, at The Screening Room, 3131 Sheridan Drive, Amherst. There will be two showings at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m., with a reception at 5 p.m.
The Museum and People Inc. are pleased to feature Six Guys, 6,000 Miles, which documents a one-of-a-kind cross-country trip by four participants in People Inc.’s Guys Group, a social group for young men with developmental disabilities, and two life quality coaches. In June 2015, they embarked on a journey from Buffalo, NY to the west coast, for an experiential learning trip. It may seem like an average trip, but it couldn’t be further from ordinary.
Event sponsorship opportunities are available. Admission tickets are $10 each. Limited space available. Tickets are available at the Museum of disABILITY History, 3826 Main Street, Buffalo. For more information or to reserve tickets, call 716.629.3626.
People Inc. Receives Grant to Expand Intensive Behavior Training and Counseling Program
The New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Family Support Services Program recently awarded People Inc. a grant totaling $78,513. The funds will allow our agency to expand the capacity of our Intensive Behavior Training and Counseling (IBTC) Program. The program provides individuals with developmental disabilities who reside with their families a variety of behavior support services, including functional assessment of problem behaviors, development of behavior intervention plans and psycho-educational coaching. Additional supports are provided to address the needs of individuals with autism and those experiencing significant behavioral or psychiatric difficulties. To learn more, click here.
Join Our Team, Earn $500!
People Inc. is seeking motivated staff members to provide support for individuals with disabilities so they can live as independently as possible. For a limited time, we are offering a $500 sign-on bonus to direct care employees who are hired after July 1, 2016, and complete six months of service. There are various positions available, and our summer Open Interview Events are great opportunities to learn more! Interested candidates in the Rochester area are invited to join us at our Open Interview Event on August 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rochester Works, 255 North Goodman Street, Rochester. Walk-ins welcome. Can’t attend? Apply online. For more information about upcoming events or the sign-on bonus, call 716.322.7050.
Veterans Reading Group
For the past year, Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., has offered a bibliotherapy group called Wordplay: Compassionate Healing, One Page at Time. In partnership with ECMC, this group is offered to veterans and other military personnel with traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, anoxic brain injuries and/or orthopedic injuries who would like to participate in a reading group with other veterans and active military personnel. Members have found this group to be a beneficial outlet to express their feelings through literature. Those who attend receive an Amazon Kindle Fire that will be theirs to own after 10 completed meetings. To learn more or if you are interested in participating, email or call 716.408.3100.
July 2016
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Four Ways to Support People Inc.’s Golf Fundraiser and Auction
Our 15th Annual People Inc. Drive Fore Disabilities Golf Tournament will be held on Monday, August 22, at a new venue, the Orchard Park Country Club, 4777 South Buffalo Street, Orchard Park. There are many ways to support our fundraiser, which includes a round of golf, silent auction and dinner. Here are some ways to support our event:
1. Businesses can form a twosome or foursome team. Click here to register.
2. Not a golfer? A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available, including tee signs to promote your business.
3. Contribute an auction item. We are accepting donations, such as trips, electronics, spa packages, theatre and sporting event tickets, gifts cards for restaurants and more!
4. Donate bottles of wine for our popular wine wall, which is a way to raise extra funds during our event.
For more information or to make a donation, click here or contact Denise Bienko at or call 716.817.7470.
New Recipes with Senior Living Cookbook!
Looking for some new recipes for the summer? Get cooking with our Treasured Recipes from People Inc. Senior Living cookbook! To purchase a cookbook for $8, call 716.817.9090. Cash or checks accepted, payable to People Inc. Cookbooks are available for a limited time. Proceeds benefit People Inc. Senior Living.
Cemetery Restoration Presentation
“Grave Matters,” a presentation about documenting and preserving your historic cemetery, by the Western New York Association of Historical Agencies, will be held in two sessions on the same day. The morning session will take place at the Museum of disABILITY History, 3826 Main Street, Buffalo, and includes presentations on legal issues, documentation and landscaping. The afternoon session is in Williamsville Cemetery, 5402 Main Street, Williamsville, and includes techniques for raising, repairing, setting and cleaning stones.
When: Saturday, July 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Info: Click here, email or call 716.439.6293.
‘Girls Group’ Fosters Confidence in Women with Special Needs: People Inc.’s Lockport chapter of The Girls Group Program is featured. Lockport Union Sun and Journal, July 10, 2016.

“Western New York Nonprofits Shift into Merger Mode:” People Inc. and Southeast Works included. Buffalo Business First, June 29, 2016.

“Abandoned History: Rattlesnake John, Snake Oil Vendor:” Series of abandoned history themed research-based articles by Museum of disABILITY History Founder James M. Boles, EdD. Lockport Union Sun and Journal, June 22, 2016.
The Buffalo News – Opinion: Nick Heilig: It’s No Fun to Play the Insurance Game
“I have spina bifida. I’m in a wheelchair. When I was born in 1980, doctors knew little about my condition. My mom was told that I would live about six months. Here I am, 35 years later.”

Disability Scoop: Autism at Center of New TV Drama
“The one-hour drama, which aired on BBC One earlier this year in the United Kingdom, focuses on a ‘messy, extended family with a child with autism at its center,’ the cable network says.

Huffington Post: Woman with Down syndrome has the Best Reaction to her BF’s Proposal
“Ashley Greenhalgh got an exciting surprise on her 21st birthday: a promise ring from her boyfriend Danny Griffiths.”