Lots of news and advocating to raise the DSP wage
Lots of news and advocating to raise the DSP wage
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Colleen's artwork hanging at local coffee shop JAM Parkside.
Colleen Galloway posing with her artwork.
Artist Colleen Galloway Displays Work at Local Coffee Shop
Colleen Galloway, who participates in the People Inc. Arts Experience fine arts Day Habilitation Program, is a creative artist who has waited patiently to showcase her artwork. Currently, her work is on display at JAM Parkside, a coffee shop located at 301 Parkside Avenue in Buffalo, NY. The opportunity originally arose before the COVID-19 pandemic, when Anne Pueschner, senior day supervisor of the program, noticed that the café was displaying local artwork and thought it would be a good fit for Colleen’s work. She reached out to JAM and they agreed to display the artwork. Unfortunately, the pandemic delayed the opportunity, but as People Inc. programs re-opened, Colleen was able to unveil her work to the public. If you’re in the area, stop by JAM Parkside, as Colleen’s paintings will be displayed until Friday, June 18.
Colleen, a Western New York native, paints on paper and canvas using acrylic paint as her medium. Her abstract work incorporates bold colors to express her vibrant personality. Colleen was born with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder caused by an extra chromosome. When not painting, Colleen can be found spending time with her family: her mom Kathy, sister Caitlyn, brother-in-law Sam and her dog Cosmo. She loves to listen to music and watch her favorite television shows, “Law and Order” and “The Heat.” Colleen hopes to have even more opportunities to display her artwork in the community!
Want to help people like Colleen remain creative? Gifts of any amount are welcome to help the people we support. Gifts are accepted online or for more information, contact Jennifer Robinson at jrobinson@people-inc.org or 716.817.7269.
Colleen Galloway posing with her artwork.
Stop the Cuts. Raise the Wage. Fund the Future.
People Inc. was proud to attend the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY) press conference on Monday, May 24, in support of dedicated direct support professionals in our region.
Our direct support professionals are valuable, trained, hardworking and caring people who reap unseen benefits of rewarding work – but they also need to earn an adequate and fair wage. More staff are needed to help provide person-centered supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Now is the time to be more proactive, as we need to be serious about change and inclusion for our workforce, while they provide quality care to the people we support,” said Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. president and CEO. “The message is clear – we need to stop the cuts, raise the wage and fund the future. If New York State does not do this, the effects on the people we support will be devastating. Our services are life-sustaining and fulfilling and they need to be treated as such.”
DDAWNY-member human service agencies, including People Inc., are calling on New York State to Stop the Cuts, Raise the Wage and Fund the Future! We need YOUR help! Please share the messages below via your personal Facebook and Twitter pages. Social media platforms are where our elected officials are most likely to see pleas for help. Here are a few tips:
  1. Include a call to action in your post for the Governor and tag him: @GovernorAndrewCuomo on Facebook and @NYGovCuomo on Twitter. A suggested message can be as follows or you can personalize it: “Please help us. Stop the cuts, raise the wage and fund the future now!”
  2. In the “Comments” section of your post on Facebook and the “Reply” section of your post on Twitter, tag your local elected officials and include a note for them. They are not the primary audience like the Governor, but we need their help, too. For example: @SenKennedy @senatorgallivan @SenatorOrtt @SenSeanRyan @MonicaPWallace @CPeoplesStokes @PatBurke142 on Twitter. As for Facebook, you can start typing the “@” symbol, then typing their name and it should come up. Check their websites for their Facebook pages. Include: “Did you see this? We REALLY need your help.”
  3. Use the Hashtags: #NYNeedsDSPs #CareNotCuts
Your help is appreciated. Together, we can ensure a bright future for our human services field.
Seeking a Career Where You Can Make an Impact?
Join People Inc. to Make a Difference

You, or someone you know, can join the People Inc. team of nearly 4,000 strong and help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve their dreams and goals. Career opportunities are available at locations throughout Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. As the leading health and human services agency, celebrating more than 50 years of service, People Inc. is hiring now for various part and full time, per-diem and summer opportunities, which are great for college students to gain hands-on experience.
As an essential employer, People Inc. is hiring compassionate, creative and energetic people for positions across the career spectrum – from entry level to management. A new starting hourly rate of $15 per hour is available for select direct support positions. A sign-on bonus of $750 is now offered for some designated direct support positions. For designated management positions, a sign-on bonus of up to $1,500 is also available. (Note: The sign on bonus is subject to change and/or may be discontinued at any time). There are also immediate opportunities for LPNs, RNs, Children’s Services case managers, medical liaisons and residential management, just to name a few.
Virtual interviews, paid comprehensive training, a variety of flexible and consistent schedules, tuition reimbursement, mentoring and career advancement are offered. Some of the other great benefits provided by People Inc. include health insurance, retirement plan with match, paid time off and discounts, along with rewarding experiences.
Take the next step to grow your career today! To view People Inc. employment openings, go to people-inc.org/careers or call 716.322.7050 for more information.
Members of the Guys Group during their 6,000-mile journey.
Telling the People Inc. Story Historical Moment: 50th Anniversary Feature
Everyone deserves a chance to find their fit in life. For some people with developmental disabilities who live outside the family home, it may be challenging to achieve a sense of belonging and personal fulfillment. As part of developing person-centered initiatives, our agency’s Perfect Fit Program offers a unique residential opportunity to people and their families as an alternative to a group home. Formerly known as the People Inc. Second Family Program, it was rebranded in 2016 as the Perfect Fit Program, in an effort to build greater awareness and attract more providers. The People Inc. Perfect Fit Program provides community members an opportunity to certify their home and to be part of a growing network of caregivers dedicated to shaping the lives of people with developmental disabilities. Providers are reimbursed for room and board, along with a care payment based on a person’s needs. More than companionship, providers offer community inclusion and help someone with a developmental disability achieve their goals and gain independence skills.
For the family of someone with a developmental disability, the Perfect Fit Program does not attempt to replace the care and support they have provided – it seeks to extend it. Currently, the program has 13 providers and they are assisting and supporting 17 people. We’re proud of this program’s longevity, as some of our providers have been sharing their home for over 25 years. The Perfect Fit Program provides a safe, natural, family setting for people with developmental disabilities to receive supports they need, with the independence to explore their own interests. Providers receive rewarding experiences helping someone live a fulfilling life. It’s a win-win situation. To learn more about the heart of this program, view the People Inc. Perfect Fit video on YouTube that features providers, people who live with them and their families.
More of our agency’s historical moments are included in a photo album on the People Inc. Facebook page. Plus, be sure to check out our agency milestones!
A photo of staff members, tenants from People Ine c. Senior Living and peoplfrom one of our Hamburg-based group homes.
People Inc. Receives Proclamation from
Hamburg Town Board

During a recent meeting, Hamburg Town Supervisor James Shaw and the Hamburg Town Board presented People Inc. with a proclamation for our 50th anniversary! People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick accepted the proclamation on behalf of the agency. Staff members, tenants from People Inc. Senior Living and people from one of our Hamburg-based group homes were also in attendance. Thank you to everyone who made this possible!
Register for the Drive Fore Disabilities Golf Tournament
The annual People Inc. Drive Fore Disabilities Golf Tournament will be held on Monday, August 16, at the Orchard Park Country Club. To register your team, complete the fillable or complete the online form. Tee sign sponsorship opportunities and renewals are also available. For more information on how to support our largest agency fundraising event, contact Melanie Brown at mbrown@people-inc.org or call 716.817.7450
In the Media: Being a Resource to the Community
Local news media stories have recently included information from People Inc. and agency representatives. Our team of staff is pleased to share information and their expertise:
“People Inc. expanding Rochester workforce:” This story highlights programs and services that are expanding in the Rochester region. Buffalo Business First, June 8, 2021.

“The Editorial Board: Albany needs to deliver aid to relieve staff shortages in caring for the disabled:” Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. president and CEO, shared the importance of increasing the wage for direct support professionals in the human services industry. The Buffalo News, May 29, 2021.

“How to make diversity and inclusion a priority in your workplace:” DeWan Stroud, People Inc. director of Diversity and Inclusion, was interviewed on how to make diversity and inclusion a priority in workplaces, including how to get top leadership engaged in these efforts. Buffalo Business First, May 24, 2021.
“New York State-licensed psychologist helps us understand autism:” Lizbeth Booth, PhD, principle psychologist for People Inc. and NYS Licensed Psychologist, shared expertise and various resources on some of the ways to communicate with people who live with autism. Spectrum News Buffalo, April 14, 2021.
Sharing Expertise on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
People Inc. was founded on the basis that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are key principles in everything we do. We continue to enhance our efforts of promoting DEI and being a leader in our health and human services industry.
Embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace indicates that companies recommit to their organizational goals towards education, dialogue and relationship-building. Buffalo Business First held a “Virtual Panel of Experts: Diversity and Inclusion” on Wednesday, June 16. People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick was part of the panel focusing on disability inclusion. The panel discussion highlighted how companies update their diversity and inclusion processes, differences between diversity and inclusion, steps to create a more inclusive environment, as well as how you know when the goal is achieved. The virtual panel is available to view on the Buffalo Business First website.
Additionally, DeWan Stroud, director of Diversity and Inclusion at People Inc., was recently recognized for completing a Diversity and Inclusion Certification Program from Cornell University. “The program was a great learning experience, as I had the opportunity to learn from and work with several individuals who are prominent in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion,” DeWan shared. “Some of the key learning objectives were fostering an inclusive climate, improving employee engagement and counteracting unconscious bias. I’m excited to bring all these great concepts back to People Inc.,
as we continue to focus on maintaining an inclusive environment for all!”
Happy Pride Month
People Inc. believes in inclusion, equity and support for the LGBTQIA+ community now and all

year long! Pride Month is an annual celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community and a time to raise awareness of ongoing challenges and triumphs in their daily lives, as well as honoring their fight
for rights and visibility.
A photo of people riding the carousel at Canalside.
Enjoying the Carousel at Canalside
On Tuesday, May 25, People Inc. Senior Living tenants and people we support through various community programs, visited the new Buffalo Heritage Carousel at Canalside! The free, VIP event, hosted by New York State Senator Sean Ryan, showcased great community engagement and relationship-building. People Inc. extends a huge thank you to Senator Ryan and his team, as well as Carina El-Behairy of The Heritage Carousel and Canalside.
A photo of DD Day award winners.
Celebrating Inclusion at DD Day
Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day (DD Day) was held virtually on Tuesday, May 25. The conference was hosted by Frank Cammarata, executive director of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), and included a panel discussion, including People Inc. President and CEO and Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY) President Rhonda Frederick. The advocacy panel addressed, “The Future of Services and Supports.” Pictured from left to right are Shanell Davis, Advocacy, Thomas Ess, Emergency Management Safety and Security, and Annette Pinder of Buffalo Healthy Living magazine. All three were nominated by People Inc. and earned DD Day 2021 Appreciation Awards for their excellence in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Each recorded acceptance speeches for the event. If you were unable to tune in live, the entire DD Day program is available on YouTube. A big thanks to everyone who made DD Day possible this year, including Rick Banner, Advocacy and Person-Centered Practice at People Inc. and co-chair of DDAWNY’s DD Day Event Committee.
Staff Kudos
We’re happy to recognize our team of staff for their accomplishments:
The Center for Industrial Effectiveness at the University of Buffalo (UB) continues to support development opportunities for employees at People Inc. The UB Six Sigma Black Belt and Lean Professional Programs have recently certified three of our employees. Congratulations to our most recent graduates: DeWan Stroud, director of Diversity and Inclusion, Chip McDaniel, associate vice president and Nicole Staszak, director of Quality Improvement. These programs provide a comprehensive training agenda. Topics include problem-solving methodologies resulting in lower costs, increased customer satisfaction, better on-time performance and higher quality. Candidates learn how to craft a data-driven business case built on root cause analysis to support process improvement recommendations.
People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick was selected to receive a 2021 Women of Distinction Award from the New York State Assembly! The Women of Distinction Awards are presented annually to honor women in the 146th Assembly District whose notable accomplishments and contributions to our community often go unnoticed. Hundreds of nominations were submitted during Women’s History Month in March. Karen McMahon, New York State Assemblymember, 146th District, selected Rhonda for making our community a better place.
COVID-19 Updates
COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics throughout Western New York and the Greater Rochester Region
Looking for an easy way to find available COVID-19 vaccines near you? Text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX) for where to get vaccinated and free transportation, as well as free childcare resources. Visit vaccines.gov for more information. Support is also available to help you get your vaccine and receive vaccine incentives. Check the website of your local county department of health for clinics and other vaccine incentives.
Resources Available
Our focus remains on the safety of the people we support and our staff. The People Inc. team continues to monitor regional experiences with COVID-19, while operating in a proactive, precautionary manner, with a primary goal of maintaining a safe and healthy environment for people we support and our staff throughout the pandemic. For ongoing agency updates, refer to the Coronavirus section of our website. Coronavirus section of our website.
Additionally, the following resources are available:
  • Families are welcome to call group homes and programs with specific questions.
  • A special Coronavirus Phone Line is available for families to call at 716.817.7445.
  • An afterhours Coronavirus hotline is available for families and people enrolled in our Day Habilitation Programs and Vocational Services to share questions. The number is 716.529.6505.
  • A special email address, COVIDconcern@people-inc.org, is available to have concerns addressed.
  • The People Inc. Advocacy Department continues to help people who receive supports stay connected and informed through Zoom video and phone conferences. Our Advocacy Phone Line is available for people we support to ask non-emergency questions by calling 716.322.7070.
New Title Celebrates the Important Role of DSPs
The agency has created a new job title called Direct Support Professional (DSP), reflective of the central importance of the contributions made by these staff members every day. Managing staffing needs during the pandemic has provided an opportunity to examine this model. This will increase flexibility and provide the opportunity for employees to more easily pick up shifts and work across different programs. Consolidating job titles will also allow for consistency across the agency and simplification of job titles within these job functions. To learn about exciting DSP opportunities, check out people-inc.org/careers or call 716.322.7050 for more information.
Nelson Hopkins Apartments exterior
The Nelson Hopkins Apartments
Your New Apartment Awaits
Affordable locations in Erie and Niagara Counties

Looking for an apartment or know someone who is? As part of its Affordable Apartments service, People Inc. is accepting applications for available apartments and waiting lists. The apartments include: Kitchen with refrigerator, stove and dishwasher; utilities for water and garbage removal; on-site laundry facilities; safety features; air-conditioning and on-site management. Amenities may vary. Tenants may have one small pet. Some apartments are designed specifically for people who may have mobility issues, are legally blind or are Deaf or hard of hearing.

The Olmsted Apartments are now managed by People Inc. – all locations are accepting applications, with some immediate openings. These include one- and two-bedroom apartments for people 18 years of age and older, who meet income eligibility. Section 8 vouchers accepted. Preferences are provided to applicants who have physical disabilities and/or visual impairments. Learn more about rent and eligibility.
Info: Email housing@people-inc.org or call 716.880.3890.

Locations for the Olmsted Apartments include:
Austin Manor Apartments: 395 Tonawanda Street,Buffalo, NY
Elizabeth Harvey Apartments: 525 Oliver Street, North Tonawanda, NY
Gratwick Manor Apartments: 840 Tonawanda Street, Buffalo, NY
Haskell Stovroff Apartments: 30 Alpine Place, Cheektowaga, NY
Nelson Hopkins Apartments: 5562 Davison Road, Lockport, NY
Additional People Inc. Affordable Apartments are accepting applications for one- and two-bedroom units, with some having a waitlist:

Grant Street Apartments, 25 Grant Street, North Tonawanda, NY: 18+ years of age and who are income-eligible, physically disabled and/or intellectually/developmentally disabled.

Highland School Apartments, 105 Highland Avenue, Tonawanda, NY: 18+ years of age and who are income-eligible, traumatic brain injury (TBI), physically disabled and/or intellectually/developmentally disabled.
Jefferson Avenue Apartments, 1140 and 1166 Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, NY: 18+ years of age who are income-eligible, physically disabled and/or intellectually/developmentally disabled.

Linwood Lafayette Senior Apartments, 637 Linwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY: 55+ years of age and who are income-eligible, physically disabled and/or intellectually/developmentally disabled.

To learn more about any of these locations, email housing@people-inc.org or call 716.880.3890.

Apartments Featured on LCTV
Ensuring that older adults and the general public have access to affordable living is an important part of what People Inc. does regularly. Do you have an elderly family member or friend that is having difficulties managing their household expenses? Is your mom, dad or grandparent having a difficult time maintaining their household maintenance and lawn care? People Inc. Senior Living has an answer for you. Plus, People Inc. has expanded into additional apartment management to help the general public have reasonable rent through their Affordable Apartments. Learn more through the WNY Tonight show that aired on LCTV, as Sarah Bohnstadt, People Inc. Senior Living administrator, shares more information and the many benefits of our various apartment opportunities.
To learn more about People Inc. Senior Living for older adults age 62 and over who meet income guidelines, email Seniorliving@people-inc.org or call 716.817.9090. For information about People Inc. Affordable Apartments for those who meet age and income requirements, email housing@people-inc.org or call 716.880.3890.
News from Deaf Access Services
Participants at last month's fundraiser.
Advocating for Inclusion
Recently, staff members of Deaf Access Services, an affiliate of People Inc., and People Inc. staff met with Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown to discuss the many ways our agencies can work together to make the city more accessible to the Deaf and hard of hearing community. We are grateful to everyone who helped to make this meeting possible! It was a great step towards making the City of Buffalo even more inclusive.
Deaf Access Services is the only non-profit organization in Western New York that bridges gaps in services and communication among the Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing communities. The agency continues to provide services remotely, due to the pandemic, so that its clientele and businesses can access critical services. These include interpreting, advocacy, employment readiness, educational supports for students, assistive devices and American Sign Language classes. To learn more, contact Office@wnydas.org, call 716.833.1637 or videophone at 716.335.9192. Program information and event updates are posted on the Deaf Access Services Facebook page.
NEWS from Headway of WNY
Virtual Fundraising Event Supports
Headway of WNY

Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., is
hosting its 2021 Starry Night Spring Silent Virtual Auction. Thank you very much to all who have provided in-kind gifts, sponsorships and donations in support of Headway’s first virtual silent auction! Here are the event details
Auction Launch Date: Wednesday, June 16
Round #1 Bidding: Wednesday, June 16 to Wednesday, June 23 (midnight)
Round #2: Bidding: Thursday, June 24 to Wednesday, June 30 (midnight)
Participants may bid on any number of items with no restrictions. No charge to bid. The highest bid for each item wins! This is a ‘virtual auction’ – submitted bids will not be visible automatically. Only bids that are equal to or greater than the starting bid amount will be accepted. There will be two rounds of bidding. Instructions are available online for the Headway of WNY Virtual Silent Auction.
If you have any questions, would like to make an appointment for an item drop off or have questions about placing a bid, contact Christine Melchiorre at cmelchiorre@HeadwayofWNY.org or 716.408.3117.
Assistance for People with TBI: Virtual Support Groups
Headway of WNY provides support for people and families with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), other cognitive conditions, seniors and veterans. The agency offers a variety of services to the Western New York community, including: support groups, identification of supports, educational programs, symposiums, outreach, special fundraising events and a bi-annual newsletter.

Support groups are currently meeting virtually on the first and third Tuesday of each month,
from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Upcoming dates are July 6 and July 20. To join these groups, send
your name, phone number, email address and meeting date(s) you would like to attend to support@headwayofwny.org. Virtual connection instructions will be provided to your email address. If you have questions, call 716.408.3120.

Headway of WNY is also 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. These waiver programs are administered by Headway and offered to those who meet eligibility requirements.
Keep up-to-date by going to Headway’s website and following their Facebook page.
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