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Lisa Newman and Susanne Amico
Recognizing Dedicated Ombudsman Volunteers
No matter where she is or what she is doing, Susanne Amico always puts the people she assists first. Susanne is a volunteer ombudsman at Oakwood Senior Living Assisted Care Facility in Kenmore. People Inc. recently recognized her with the Alphabet Soup Award, named thus because of the challenging acronyms in adult care facilities. Susanne is one of many dedicated ombudsman, watching closely over her facility when in town and calling or emailing from her southern home during the winter, just to make sure all is well.
As part of an awards luncheon on June 23, People Inc. recognized 27 ombudsman volunteers, honoring them for their dedication. Many awards were given out, which can be viewed here. The honorees are part of the People Inc., Center for Elder Law & Justice and the New York State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, providing advocacy and resources for residents who live in nursing homes, assisted living and licensed, family-type homes throughout Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties.
All of the volunteers have proven to be vital to many seniors in the region. The volunteer ombudsmen assist residents in understanding and exercising their rights, as well as promoting dignity and quality of life in long-term care facilities.
Lisa Newman, program director, People Inc., reflects on the volunteers’ selfless work: “These volunteers amaze me every day with their dedication in this challenging position that strives to improve the lives of our neighbors living in nursing homes and adult care facilities.”
Volunteer opportunities are available for those who work in professional fields and for recent retirees. Training sessions are being scheduled for the upcoming fall season. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about becoming an ombudsman volunteer, call 716.817.9222.
NFTA Awards People Inc.’s Carpet Cleaning Done Right Enterprise with Contract
People Inc. is proud to announce a unique contract that was awarded by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) for its Carpet Cleaning Done Right Enterprise to provide carpet cleaning services in the carpeted areas of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. The contract agreement is an example of how People Inc.’s Vocational Services Program is expanding its business enterprise externally.
One of the major focus areas is to assist people with various disabilities who want to train for, work at and maintain jobs. As a result, People Inc. launched its Carpet Cleaning Done Right Enterprise in 2015, offering carpet cleaning services for commercial, business, government and residential locations, while providing employment opportunities in an integrated setting for job seekers they serve.
To learn more about this contract, click here and here for an article in Buffalo Business First. Carpet Cleaning Done Right is fully insured and provides free estimates. For more information on how to incorporate carpet cleaning for your business or residence and assist people with disabilities, call 716.817.5750.
Elmwood Health Center Recognized by HEALTHeLINK
The Elmwood Health Center, an affiliate of People Inc., was recently recognized as an innovative leader in Western New York for the use of electronic health information by HEALTHeLINK, at HEALTHeLINK’s anniversary recognition event. Accepting the award on behalf of the Elmwood Health Center were Frank Azzarelli, Eliza Matson and Barbara Johnson (pictured left to right beside Dan Porreca, president of HEALTHeLINK).
Located in North Buffalo, the Elmwood Health Center is a health care facility that provides a wide-range of medical, rehabilitative therapies and counseling services for the general public. Specially-designed services for individuals with developmental disabilities are provided.
Remembering Charles Randall and his Beloved Cat
Charles Randall was a resident at one of our agency group homes in Lancaster, which was developed for residents whose primary language is American Sign Language. He was passionate about living in a group home for people who are deaf.
In November 2016, Charles was 85 years young when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. What brought him joy through this very tough time was his beloved cat, Garfield. They shared lots of time together as Garfield would sleep on Charles’ bed, jump on his recliner chair when he was relaxing and just genuinely bring him pure joy.
When his support team asked Charles what he wanted for Garfield, he said that he would like him to stay at the group home, since it was a the only home that he had ever known. Charles had been Garfield’s primary caregiver and was responsible for food, toys, litter and veterinary visits.
After Charles passed away this past May, the Charles Randall Memorial Fund for the care of his beloved cat was created, per Charles’ wishes. If you would like to make a gift, click here and designate the Charles Randall Memorial Fund in the note section.
Nominations Now Accepted to Recognize Great Work
People Inc. is now accepting nominations for its annual Direct Support Professionals (DSP) of the Year Awards! We welcome families and community members to nominate staff members of People Inc. who provide direct support to people with developmental disabilities, demonstrate superior care and consistent dedication. Ten winners will be selected and announced during Direct Support Professionals Week, September 10-16, 2017, and will receive a $1,000 monetary award. Each year, DSP Week is observed nationally and honors these wonderful professionals for the valuable contributions they provide to their communities. Click here to learn more and for a nomination form. Nominations must be received by August 11, 2017.
Partnership with Dog Ears Bookstore Brings Generations Together
People Inc. has partnered with South-Buffalo-based Dog Ears Bookstore, offering a book delivery program to some of People Inc.’s Senior Living apartments on a bi-weekly basis. This is a free service in which participants in People Inc.’s community and self-directed programs will bring books to the Senior Living locations. The collaboration is an outlet for bringing people of different generations together. By sharing experiences, both seniors and participants/volunteers receive a social, skill-building opportunity.
Best Wishes to Bill Schultz on his Retirement
Associate Vice President C. William “Bill” Schultz recently retired, transitioning to a new, part-time position as community advocate project director. During his extensive career at People Inc., Bill has worn many hats, meeting every role with the same passion and commitment to the mission of the agency. He began in 1972 as a house parent, then went on to become a supervisor in one of the first day activities centers in Western New York. From that point on, his responsibilities varied, eventually leading him to the vocational services and supported employment areas, where he has remained for the last 25 years.
This past May, Bill was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day Conference. Thank you, Bill, for 45 years of not only creating employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, but also enhancing their lives socially and intellectually.
People Inc. in the Community
Information about People Inc.’s Senior Services was shared last month at a health and wellness fair hosted by New York State Senator Chris Jacobs at the Hamburg Senior Center. Gabrielle Hangen (left) and Barb Ott (right), two managers from People Inc. Senior Living, talked with attendees about our agency’s senior services.
People Inc. has a Snapchat Filter!
You might have spotted our Snapchat filter at the Taste of Buffalo and Laurel Run earlier this month. It will be available at several upcoming events, including the Chautauqua County Fair, Festival of Grapes, Eden Corn Festival, Fredonia Farm Festival, Niagara County Peach Festival and every Thursday at Music on the Pier in Dunkirk. If you use the filter, save a copy of your photo and send it to Katie Garlock at You could be featured in our agency’s communications. New to Snapchat? Check out this article for help on finding Snapchat filters. Happy snapping!
Featured Job of the Month: Facilities Technicians
People Inc. is currently hiring facilities technicians for locations in Amherst, Grand Island, Rochester and Williamsville. A person in this position inspects property on a regular basis; completes minor repairs and maintenance; and has broad mechanical, electrical, plumbing and carpentry knowledge. Requirements include a high school diploma or GED preferred, one to two years of general maintenance experience and a valid driver’s license. To apply for this employment opportunity or view other available openings, click here.
Upcoming Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop
The next Living Healthy Series for the Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop is happening each Thursday from August 17 to September 21, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at People Inc. Walnut Senior Living, 804 Union Road, West Seneca. It is a free, six-week workshop series for older adults who have a chronic condition or are caring for someone who does.
Topics include: How to enhance your ability to better manage your health, tips to maintain an active lifestyle and learn new skills, which enable you to confront challenges of living with a chronic disease.
Attendees who complete the workshop will earn a $30 Wegmans gift card. Registration is required. To register or for more information, call Becky Orton, peer leader trainer and manager of People Inc. Marigold Senior Living, at 716.773.0907.
People Inc. Senior Services Featured
Earlier this month, People Inc.’s Senior Services were featured on 1520 AM during the Slice of Life radio show. Melissa McMurray, program coordinator for People Inc.’s Senior Companion Program (pictured right), and Kaamalal Robinson, case management coordinator for People Inc. (pictured left), discussed the wide range of services provided to seniors and their caregivers. Click here to listen to the show (note: People Inc. is the second segment, starting at 18:30).
New Integrated Housing Project Now Open
People Inc. happily welcomed tenants earlier this month as they moved into the agency’s new, integrated housing project, Highland School Apartments. Located on 105 Highland Avenue in Tonawanda, the project brings together a diverse group of people; as tenants can be those with disabilities and members of the general public who are income-eligible. The adaptive, reuse project includes substantial rehabilitation of the two-story former Highland School, into an integrated and vibrant residential community.
The building includes one or two-bedroom apartments with kitchen appliances. Tenants are welcome to have one small pet. Features include a community room with Wi-Fi, laundry facility, storage in each apartment and a 24-hour on-call emergency service.
Apartment applications are being accepted for the waitlist. To learn more, click here, email or call 716.880.3890.
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Four Ways to Support People Inc.’s Golf Fundraiser and Auction
The 16th Annual People Inc. Drive Fore Disabilities Golf Tournament will be held on Monday, August 21, at the Orchard Park Country Club in Orchard Park. This is a great event to entertain your clients, reward staff or just have a great day with friends. Participants will enjoy a BBQ lunch, golfer gift, a round of golf, cocktail hour, silent auction and gourmet dinner.
We are grateful to our top sponsors! Hole-In-One Sponsors include: KeyBank, Long Associates Architects, Northeast Mechanical and Parkview Health Services. Eagle Sponsors include: Allied Mechanical, Inc., Creative Structures Services, Hodgson Russ LLP, Towne Auto, Vanner Insurance Agency, Walsh Duffield Companies, Inc.
There are many ways businesses partners, supporters and families can support our fundraiser, including:
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 a silent auction item. Our wish list includes: trips and travel accommodations, use of a condo or a lake house, sports suites or tickets, golf outing at your club or local course, theater or event tickets, wine tour, spa packages, cooking lessons from an award-winning local chef, monthly floral delivery package for one year and gift cards to restaurants.
4. Support our online auction through Bidding for Good. The auction link will be active from August 7 to 20, which will include vacations, jewelry and sports memorabilia. Stay tuned for updates!
For more information about registering to golf, sponsorship opportunities or to make a donation, contact Jennifer Robinson at or 716.817.7269.
News from the Museum of disABILITY History
David Mack-Hardiman, associate vice president, was recently presented with the Award of Merit 2017 for Individual Achievement from the Museum Association of New York. Dave received this award after being nominated by Pam Bennett, mom of artist Bailey Bastine, whose artwork exhibit titled “The Unspoken Voice” was displayed at the Museum of disABILITY History.
A portion of the nomination read: “For the first time ever, Bailey was feeling comfortable and interacted with David Mack-Hardiman as he seemed to know how to reach her humor and connect with her through the many meetings she was a part of…. We felt respected as we got to know what this Museum was all about. My daughter’s exhibit spring-boarded her into a life filled with potential.”
Congratulations to Dave for being an ambassador for people with developmental disabilities.
Pictured L-R: Herbert Schmidt, executive director of Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, representing the Museum Association of New York State, and David Mack-Hardiman, associate vice president, People Inc. and Museum of disABILITY History.
Recent news stories that include information from People Inc. and agency representatives.
“People Inc. continues expansion into Rochester:” Services in Rochester featured. Buffalo Business First, July 7, 2017.
“What you don’t know about People Inc.:” People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick was interviewed about the agency’s wide range of services. Buffalo Healthy Living, July 2017.
“A quilt-maker returns to old patterns, thanks to Senior Wishes:” A tenant from People Inc. Pine Senior Living is featured. Lockport Union Sun and Journal, June 25, 2017.
“Senate bill a quadruple whammy to New York Medicaid program:” People Inc. included. The Buffalo News, June 24, 2017.
Western New York Family Magazine Presents Family Fun Thursdays
People Inc. is a proud sponsor of this free, family-friendly event and happy to partner with Monkey See, Monkey Do …Children’s Bookstore to present local authors, Dave Bauer and Molly Pitman. Our very own Engelic Everett will also be one of the featured authors. Engelic will read her children’s picture book, Olivia the Bully, which discusses bullying with children at an early age, sharing the values of friendship, understanding and loving one another. An entrepreneur, Engelic lives and thrives with Down syndrome. She is a small-business owner, award-winning self-advocate, published playwright and children’s book author. Additionally, staff and participants from People Inc.’s Arts Experience, a fine arts day habilitation program for people with developmental disabilities, will help kids create a craft.
Thursday, August 24, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
44 Prime Street, Buffalo, NY (Great Lawn/Boardwalk, Canalside)

Disability Scoop: Sensory-Friendly Efforts Expanding to Zoos
“The Akron Zoo is now officially one of two sensory inclusive zoos in the country.”
The Mighty: Mom and Former Police Officer Creates AutismTalk App to Help Police Interact with People on the Spectrum
“The app includes picture communication boards with categories for law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical services….”
NPR: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Finds Fans Among Disability Rights Activists, Too
“One of the main characters on HBO’s hit series, Game of Thrones, is paralyzed. Another has lost his right hand. We’ve met an important character with a severe skin disorder and another with an intellectual disability.”