Seven Important Advocacy Tips
In recognition of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Aimee Levesque, the mom of an individual we serve, shares why it is important for families to advocate for their loved ones. Aimee’s daughter, Jessica, is a participant of our Arts Experience Program and former participant of Young Adult Life Transitions. Both fans of the arts, Aimee is co-founder and managing director and Jessica is an actor of Unique Productions (UP!), a company of artists that aspires to promote community integration through the arts by providing individuals with disabilities a chance to be artists, actors and writers.

To read Aimee’s tips, click here
KeyBank Doubles Donations
People Inc. is pleased to announce that we have received a $10,000 grant from KeyBank with a one-year commitment to match donations that will further help individuals with developmental disabilities, special needs and seniors live more independent and productive lives. To learn more, click here. To participate with a donation, click here.
EHC Diabetes Education Program Recognized for Excellence
The Elmwood Health Center (EHC), an affiliate of People Inc., recently received recertification for its Diabetes Education Program by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). EHC’s program remains in full compliance with the stringent national standards set by the AADE.

The news about the EHC’s recertification comes in the same month as The American Diabetes Association’s annual Diabetes Alert Day. Observed this year on March 24, Diabetes Alert Day is a one-day wake-up call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated.
To learn more, click here.
Family Support and Advisory Council is a Resource for Families
People Inc.’s Family Support and Advisory Council meets monthly and offers a chance for family members of the individuals we serve to meet and support one another, obtain insight on program development, discuss challenges and learn more about our programs and the resources that are available, in a supportive, friendly environment.
If you are a family member of an individual served by People Inc., or if you know of a family member who would benefit, click here to learn more.
People Inc. in the Community
Our leadership team, individuals and staff members work tirelessly to share our agency’s mission throughout our community through the For Your Community initiative. From Albany to our hometown, recent activity included:
Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. president and CEO, and representatives of the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY) met with Senator Patrick Gallivan in Albany to discuss the 2015-16 New York State budget and its impact on non-profit providers of services to people with developmental disabilities.
Kevin Horrigan and Jeff Sanderson of People Inc. and Barb DeLong, co-president of the DDAWNY Family Committee, met with Senator Robert Ortt, chairman of the Senate Mental Hygiene and Developmental Disabilities Committee in Albany to also discuss budget impact.

Terence Hasan, an employee of our Young Adult Life Transitions (YALT) Program and a former participant, spoke to the Kenmore Lions Club about personal outcomes, YALT and the community’s role in a society that accepts individuals with developmental disabilities.
Congratulations, Rivershore!
Rivershore. Inc., an affiliate of People Inc., was recently named recipient of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce’s Chairman’s Award. The award, one of 10 accolades given based on leadership, dedication and achievement in the community, will be presented at the annual Chamber Awards Gala on May 15, at the Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston. For gala information, click here.
Senior Companion Program
People Inc.’s Senior Companion Program assists seniors who have difficulty with daily living tasks so that they can retain their pride and independence. Among other activities, a Senior Companion may assist with tasks, such as grocery shopping and errands, providing friendship and companionship, alerting doctors and family members to potential problems and providing respite for caregivers.
To become a Senior Companion, you must be age 55 or older and live in Erie county. Companions must complete 40 hours of orientation training and earn a tax-free hourly stipend, as well as receive travel and meal reimbursement. To become a Senior Companion volunteer or to enroll a loved one to receive services, call 716.768.2381.
Recent news stories that include information from People Inc. and agency representatives.
“Supported Employment Programs Foster Independence:” People Inc.’s Supported Employment Program is featured. Buffalo Healthy Living, March 2015. 

“Meet the 2015 ATHENA Awards Finalists:” People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick is included. Buffalo Niagara Partnership, March 2, 2015. 

“The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic at the Museum of disABILITY History:” Article by author Rosanne Higgins features new exhibit at the Museum of disABILITY History, Blogspot, March 5, 2015. 
The Huffington Post: Restaurant Employs Deaf Servers, Gives them Access to Industry they were Once Excluded from
“Typically, you wouldn’t want your food request to fall on deaf ears. But at Signs Restaurant in Toronto, you’d be lucky to get the chance.”

NPR: Supporting A Spouse with Alzheimer’s: ‘I Don't Get Angry Anymore’
“….Now, as his symptoms continue to worsen, she takes a moment to reflect on how the disease is changing their marriage, sometimes in unexpected ways.”
March 2015
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End the R-Word
On March 4, we joined People Inc. supporter The Golisano Foundation in spreading the word to end the r-word. It’s not too late to show your support. Pledge here
Make Phone Calls for More Resources
Advocate for more resources for individuals with developmental disabilities in New York State. Additional funding is critically needed to provide new day and residential supports and services to meet the needs of those living at home, often with aging parents.
Please consider calling your senator, assemblymembers and legislative leaders and tell them that New York State must invest in supports and services for people with developmental disabilities. Tell them that New York must invest an additional $30 million on top of the Governor’s budget request to fund an additional 3,500 day and residential opportunities for people with developmental disabilities who are living at home.

Senate switchboard: 518.455. 2800. For a list of senators, click here.
Assembly switchboard: 518.455.4100. For a list of assemblymembers, click here.
Spring It On
Save the date for Spring It On 2015 beginning 8 a.m. on March 19, until 8 a.m. March 20. Don’t miss out on Buffalo Niagara's 24-hour online give-a-thon that is dedicated to supporting local charities like People Inc.; Headway of WNY, our affiliate; and the Museum of disABILITY History, a project of People Inc. More information on how to participate coming soon.
Paint on Tap 
Have fun painting, hanging out with friends and sipping wine at Paint on Tap in Williamsville, all to benefit People Inc. Choose from a beautiful bird painting on April 27, or majestic dandelion heads on July 6. There are easy-to-follow instructions and staff assistance, so you can create your own masterpiece in just one evening. You can even bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages. Click on the above dates to register; use the code “merlot” when prompted. For more information, contact Sarah Snyder at or 716.817.7269.
Limited-Time Exhibit Now Open
The Museum of disABILITY History opened the limited-time traveling exhibit, The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic, on February 27. The exhibit inspires dialogue about the treatment of those with mental illness and continues through April 11, at 3826 Main Street, Buffalo. Click here to learn more. To arrange a tour for your organization or school, call 716.629.3626. 
Rivershore 5K
The Rivershore 5K starts and finishes at Lewiston Landing on Saturday, May 2, with an 11 a.m. start time. Experience a scenic journey through the historic town, which includes the most challenging incline in the area. Proceeds benefit Rivershore, Inc., an affiliate of People Inc., to support people living with disabilities as they pursue and achieve a meaningful life. There is an alternate start for noncompetitive participants. Register here.

Annual Assistive Technology Conference
The 3rd Annual Assistive Technology Conference, “Implementing Technology from SmartHomes to SmartSupports,” will be held on Thursday, May 14, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Millennium Hotel, 2040 Walden Avenue, Cheektowaga. This year’s expo is themed Passport to Technology. Costs: All-day session is $150 and the afternoon session is $25. The conference is sponsored by People Inc., Parent Network of Western New York, Early Childhood Direction Center and Learning Partners. Learn more here or contact Tracey Kosmoski at, 716.817.7484.