Engelic, woman with Down syndrome, writes children’s book
Engelic, woman with Down syndrome, writes children’s book
Engelic Writes to Make the World a Better Place
Engelic Everett, 33, is committed to making the world a better place for everyone, especially those with disabilities. She started her own company making shirts with positive messages, creating a brand and website based on advocacy. A recipient of People Inc.’s services, Engelic lives and thrives with Down syndrome. Most recently, she wrote a children’s book called Olivia The Bully, published by the Museum of disABILITY History and available at its store later this month. To learn more about Engelic’s writing endeavors and why bullying awareness and prevention is an important cause to her, click here.
Three Ways to Stay DD Aware
In recognition of March as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, the People Inc. family encourages everyone to recognize ability, not disability, all month long and throughout the year! Here are a few ways to learn more and advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities:
1. Visit the Museum of disABILITY History, the only museum of its kind in the U.S., dedicated to the collection of artifacts relating to the history of people with disabilities. A project of People Inc., the Museum helps visitors experience a visual story that shares the lives, triumphs and struggles of people with disabilities. A 10 percent savings will be offered in the Museum’s store throughout the month of March.
2. Sign the pledge to support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech.
3. Spread the word about successes and accomplishments of people with developmental disabilities through your personal social media. Use the hashtag, #DDAware17.
To learn more about programs and services for a loved one with a developmental disability or for someone you assist, contact People Inc.’s Admissions and Referral Services Department at 716.880.3700.
Members of People Inc.’s Guys Group, a social program for young men with developmental disabilities, were out and about encouraging people at local coffee shops to sign the Spread the Word to End the Word pledge.
Parents and co-chairpersons of the DDAWNY Family Committee recognize Senator Robert Ortt for his leadership on the bFair2DirectCare campaign.
Advocating for Direct Support Professionals
Western New York is fortunate to have a group of state assemblymembers and senators who work with each other on issues that are important to the community. Over the past year, People Inc. has been at the forefront of the bFair2DirectCare campaign, which encourages elected officials to include funding for direct support professional (DSP) wage increases in the New York State budget. As an agency that relies on the dedicated work of DSPs, we need help to make this possible. Since the campaign started, the Western New York Delegation has advocated for DSPs.
Earlier this month, People Inc. joined the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY) as part of its annual advocacy day in Albany. Parents, people with developmental disabilities and staff members delivered a very important message to the delegation, thanking them for their support and spreading the message that they are needed now more than ever!
DDAWNY collaborated with associations from throughout the state this year. Hundreds of people from Lake Erie to the Atlantic Ocean were there to tell members of the state Legislature to BE FAIR TO DIRECT CARE. People Inc. is pleased to report that that a majority of the state Assembly and Senate are on record in support of putting $45 million dollars in the state budget for a living wage for DSPs. Every member of the Western New York Delegation is as well. It is now the goal to get the leaders of the Senate and the Assembly to do the same with the Governor as part of their budget agreement by March 31.
There is still time to get involved with the campaign by following social media pages on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag, #bFair2DirectCare, and calling or writing to your local government officials.
People Inc. and DDAWNY joined members of the Western New York Delegation in Albany recently regarding the bFair2DirectCare campaign.
Rhonda Frederick Named One of WNY’s Most Influential People
Buffalo Business First has named People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick as the 30th most influential person in Western New York. The announcement was part of the newspaper’s Power 250, an annual list of 250 of the most influential men and women in the area. Congratulations, Rhonda!

Applications Open/Welcomed for Housing Project Wait List
People Inc.’s new integrated housing project, Highland School Apartments on 105 Highland Avenue in Tonawanda, is now welcoming apartment applications for its wait list. The project brings together a diverse group of people; tenants can be those with disabilities and the general public who are income eligible.
Highland School Apartments houses 35 one-bedroom and three two-bedroom handicap adaptable apartments that include kitchen appliances. Tenants are welcome to have one small pet. The building also includes a community room with Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, storage in each apartment and a 24-hour on call emergency service.
The adaptive reuse project includes substantial rehabilitation of the two-story former Highland School, into an integrated, vibrant residential community. Income limits are based on the current federal rate and are subject to change. To learn how to apply for the wait list, click here, call 716.880.3890 or email housing@people-inc.org.
Featured Jobs of the Month: Respite Instructor and Facilities Technician
From direct support to maintenance, People Inc. has numerous career opportunities available. Learn more about our featured jobs:
Respite Program Instructor: We are seeking program instructors for Afternoon Respite programs that provide after school care for young people with developmental disabilities, ages 5 to 21. Program instructors assist with enriching activities, such as homework, arts and crafts, peer socialization and community outings.
Facilities Technician in Amherst: This position inspects property on a regular basis, completes all minor repairs and maintenance, and has broad mechanical, electrical, plumbing and carpentry knowledge.
To apply for one of these employment opportunities or view other openings, click here.
People Inc.’s Senior Companion Program Needs Your Help
People Inc.’s Senior Companion Program currently has more than 70 volunteers and provides assistance to more than 90 seniors in Erie County. The program’s volunteers assist seniors who have difficulty with daily living tasks so that they can retain independence. It has been reported that President Trump’s Office of Management and Budget is in the process of drawing up plans for a Fiscal Year 2018 budget, which could possibly eliminate funding for the program. As an agency that sponsors the Erie County Senior Companion Program, your help is needed to contact senators and representatives to defend funding for National Services. Click here for a phone script and numbers to call.
Recent news stories that include information from People Inc. and agency representatives.

“People Inc. readies for May opening at Tonawanda apartments:” People Inc.’s Highland School Apartments featured. Buffalo Business First, March 3, 3017
“Explore New York: Museum of disABILITY, the only of its kind in the U.S.:” The Museum of disABILITY History, a project of People Inc., is featured. Time Warner News Buffalo, March 2, 2017.
“Abandoned History: Sulphur Springs Hotel, Pendleton:” Series of abandoned history themed research-based articles by Museum of disABILITY History Founder James M. Boles, EdD. Lockport Union Sun and Journal, March 1, 2017.
“People Inc. prepares to open Highland School Apartments in Tonawanda:” People Inc.’s Highland School Apartments featured. The Buffalo News, February 27, 2017.
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Save the Date for Spring It On
Save the date for Buffalo Niagara’s 24-hour online give-a-thon, Spring It On, beginning at 6 p.m. on March 14, until 6 p.m. March 15. The one-day event is dedicated to supporting local charities and organizations like People Inc. This year, funds donated will benefit People Inc.’s newest project, On Our Way @ Wayside, an innovative new service to be introduced this fall. Two transitional apartments in Hamburg will provide opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to experience independent living, while receiving training to learn and gain skills that will help them succeed in their next step toward community living and increased independence.
Your generosity makes it possible for People Inc. to provide programs like On Our Way @ Wayside to help individuals with developmental disabilities lead more independent and productive lives. More information about the program and on how to donate will be available soon. To learn how to donate in advance, call 716.817.7269.
Film and Speaker Series
The Museum of disABILITY History Film and Speaker Series will feature a heartwarming story, Life, Animated, on Friday, April 28, at North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo, NY. There will be one showing at 7 p.m., followed by a film discussion.
Life, Animated is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man with autism who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. An emotional coming-of-age story, the film follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. Life, Animated was a 2017 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary.
Co-presented by Autism Services, Inc., the event’s goal is to educate viewers, offer different perspectives, challenge stereotypes and celebrate the contributions of people with disabilities.
Admission tickets are $7.50 each and will be available to purchase at North Park Theatre. For more information, call 716.629.3626. Updates will be posted on the Museum’s Facebook page.
“The Female Palette” Art Show
People Inc.’s Arts Experience, a fine arts day habilitation program, will host a show called “The Female Palette” to highlight work from its female participants with developmental disabilities. The works, incorporating numerous mediums, provide a glimpse into the thoughts, feelings and perceptions of this diverse group of talented women.
When: On display through April 1, 2017
Where: Planet Coffee Company, 1862 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo, NY
Info: 716.635.6526

Dining Out for Headway
In recognition of March as National Brain Injury Awareness Month, Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., is hosting Dining Out for Headway fundraiser.
When: Wednesday, March 29 and Thursday, March 30
Participating Restaurants:
- Bonefish Grill, 1247 Niagara Falls Boulevard (at the Boulevard Mall), Amherst, NY
- Lombardo Ristorante, 1198 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo, NY
Click here or call 716.408.3100
Democrat and Chronicle: Raise pay for people who care for New Yorkers with disabilities
“If nonprofit agencies are unable to care for the disabled, the state would have to do so, at far greater costs.”

Disability Scoop: Walgreens features model with Down syndrome
“We wanted this marketing campaign to be inclusive. This image felt authentic – it didn’t feel forced – and that worked for our brand.”

Today Show: Couple with Down syndrome celebrate 22 years of marriage, defying critics
“Critics claimed the marriage wouldn’t last, but the couple certainly proved them wrong.”