Funding Approval for new apartments
Funding Approval for new apartments
Pictured L-R: Justin Leis, Fred Pytlak, Alex May, Kaitlin Frisicaro and Anne Paulk.
Alex Expresses Himself Through Art
Alex May focuses on creating various forms of art and recently had a dream come true! Last month, he had his work on display at the Chicken Coop in West Seneca, something he has always wanted to do to showcase his talents.
For five years, Alex has been attending People Inc.’s Arts Experience, a fine arts day habilitation program. He enjoys creating mixed media pieces of family gatherings, ice skating, cowboys and nature.
“My art is about the things in my life that make me happy,” Alex said. His art show debut included a crowd of friends and family members who gathered to view his framed work. “I feel very good and am so proud of myself,” Alex shared following the show. He has already started on new art pieces and is planning another event for next year!
Funding Approval for Linwood/Lafayette Apartments
People Inc.’s Community Housing Development Organization is pleased to announce that it has received official notification from the New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) of funding for its 37-unit apartment project at 637 Linwood Avenue in Buffalo. In conjunction with the Gates Circle renovation initiative, the project will help revitalize the community with much needed housing. New construction of mixed income apartments, for people age 55 years and older, will also include seven units for individuals with developmental disabilities age 55 years and older who live independently.
The apartments will be located on the long-vacant parking lot on Linwood and Lafayette Streets in Buffalo. Located next to a high-end senior living complex planned by Canterbury Woods, the project will provide an affordable option for the diverse neighborhood. The one-bedroom apartments will include a kitchen with appliances. Tenant income limits will be based on current federal rates. The apartment building will include a community room with a small kitchen, on-site laundry facilities, ample green space and courtyards.
“We are thrilled that we have the support of New York State Homes and Community Renewal and the New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) for this important project,” said Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. president and CEO. “We would also like to extend our thanks to community groups and the important partners who have supported our affordable housing opportunity.”
Media covered the news of this exciting new project including, Buffalo Business First and The Buffalo News.
Stacey Edwards
We our Nurses
A good nurse needs a proper license and certifications, but that’s not all it takes. The job is also about patience, skills and compassionate care. It’s about treating people with dignity and respect, collaborating closely with physicians and reassuring family members.
During Nurses Week, May 6 to 12, and all year long, we appreciate and recognize the more than 100 nurses and licensed practical nurses who are part of our People Inc. family. Every day, they provide great compassion and strength to the individuals we serve in our group homes, People Inc.’s Elmwood Health Center and in-home through People Home Health Care Services.
One of our nurses, Stacey Edwards, RN, has worked at People Inc. since 2014. She travels anywhere from five to ten different sites per week to train staff. A nursing support staff member in the Residential Nursing Department, Stacey loves that she has a strong support system of managers and co-workers and gets to see the people she treats on a routine basis. “You make friends with your co-workers and the individuals you serve,” Stacey said.
We are so grateful to Stacey and all of the nurses on the
People Inc. team!

Joan is Sewing Again Thanks to Senior Wishes
Joan Felvus has a passion for quilting and has made so many quilts for family and friends that she has lost count. Unable to leave her apartment often, she finds sewing to be therapeutic. For years, Joan and her late husband, James, made lasting memories when they created quilts for family members. But Joan’s hobby was put on hold for a year when her sewing machine broke and she was not able to afford a new one. Fortunately, Joan’s passion was recently reignited with the help of her apartment manager and a local program.
Barbara Jacobs, manager of People Inc. Pine Senior Living, where Joan lives, recognized her need and submitted a wish application to Senior Wishes, a unique, Western New York non-profit program that enriches the lives of seniors by granting them a meaningful wish that they would not be able to fulfill by their own means.
Originally, the Senior Wishes committee was going to get fabric for Joan. However, a Senior Wishes committee member contacted a local business, and Aurora Sewing Center in East Aurora generously donated a new sewing machine. When asked why this wish was granted, Senior Wishes Executive Director Wendy Miller Backman said, “It’s about what brings meaning to the senior. The sewing machine brought a special meaning to Joan. It gives her purpose and she is able to give back to her loved ones.”
Last month, the sewing machine was delivered to Joan. “I was so surprised and happy to get a brand-new sewing machine,” said Joan. The program’s committee also provided an Aurora Sewing Center gift card, so that Joan can select fabrics and accessories. Thanks to Senior Wishes, Joan is happily making quilts once again for friends and family, including two, new great-grandchildren!
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Awards Grant for People Inc.’s Elmwood Health Center
People Inc. is proud to announce that it has received a $5,832 Quality of Life grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The funds will be used to purchase a new electrocardiogram (ECG) and spirometry system for the Elmwood Health Center (EHC), an affiliate of People Inc. The equipment, which is compatible with the EHC’s Electronic Medical Record system, is used to monitor both heart and lung capacity in patients. The EHC 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. To learn more, click here.
David Renfrow (center) was one of 30 attendees at a recent ALICE training session.
People Inc. Leads Safety Efforts with ALICE Training
As a health and human services industry leader, People Inc. is proud to be one of the first agencies in New York state to offer Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate (ALICE) Training. The training course is designed to teach law enforcement, as well as school, church, hospital, workplace administrators and employees skills and strategies that bridge the gap between the time when a violent event begins and law enforcement arrives.
People Inc. is one of the first agencies in New York state to bring this cutting-edge training to its employees and is one of the first hosts of a Train the Trainer Program in the Western New York area. “People Inc. is proud to partner with the ALICE Training Institute, providing this valuable instruction to our staff and other organizations throughout the area,” said People Inc. Associate Vice President and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Thomas Ess.
In April, People Inc. hosted a two-day instructor course for human service agencies, law enforcement and school districts. David Renfrow, a senior residential supervisor at one of our group homes, was one of the 30 attendees. Having served as a police officer in Baltimore and in the U.S. Army, he understands the importance of emergency preparedness. “These types of situations can happen when you least expect them,” David said. “It’s a topic no one wants to deal with, but we need to all understand how to protect ourselves and the people we serve in case of an emergency.”
People Inc. will continue to offer ALICE Training Institute courses throughout the year. To learn more about the ALICE trainings or the agency’s other safety efforts, contact Thomas Ess at or 716.817.9208.
People Inc. Awarded by Deaf Access Services
We’re honored to share that People Inc. was recently presented the Language Access Award from Deaf Access Services (DAS). This award is given to a local business, non-profit or other organization that provides interpreting services to deaf and hard of hearing communities, while ensuring access to health, education, employment, legal services or other critical services. We are proud to serve such a diverse community!
Pictured L-R: Aaron Saykin, board member, DAS; Nelson Gannon, director of interpreting services, DAS; Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. president and CEO; and Pam Kefi, executive director, DAS.
Your First Look at Highland School Apartments
People Inc.’s new integrated housing project, Highland School Apartments, is nearing completion. Located on 105 Highland Avenue in Tonawanda, tenants are expected to move in early this summer. A tour of the facility was held this past week and we are excited to share photos of the nearly-completed project here.
The building includes one or two-bedroom apartments with kitchen appliances. Tenants are welcome to have one small pet. A community room with Wi-Fi, laundry facility, storage in each apartment and a 24-hour on-call emergency service will also be available. Apartment applications are still being accepted for the waitlist. To learn how to apply, click here, email or call 716.880.3890.
Volunteers Needed to Support Seniors
A senior’s life can be easier with a caring companion. This is where you can help! The People Inc. Senior Companion Program is currently recruiting for additional volunteers. The program assists older adults, 55 and up, living in Erie County, who need assistance with daily living tasks, so they can retain their independence.
Volunteers, known as "Companions," assist participating seniors with grocery shopping, going for walks, light cooking and housekeeping and provide a break for caregivers. The program matches qualified volunteers, also age 55 or over, who live in Erie County, with participating seniors. Volunteers earn a stipend, mileage and meal reimbursement, along with rewarding experiences.
To learn more and to find out about upcoming training sessions, call 716.768.2381.
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People Inc. Drive Fore Disabilities Golf Tournament and Auction
We are gearing up for our 16th Annual People Inc. Drive Fore Disabilities Golf Tournament and Auction, which will be held on Monday, August 21, at the Orchard Park Country Club, 4777 South Buffalo Street, 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 round of golf, silent auction and dinner. Registration is now open and a variety of sponsorship opportunities are available. Items for our auction are needed and welcomed.
For more information, click here. To register, click here or contact Jennifer Robinson at or 716.817.7269.
Featured Job of the Month: RNs and LPNs
People Inc. is hiring for a variety of positions throughout Western New York. Our featured jobs of the month are registered nurses and licensed practical nurses in both the residential and home health programs throughout the agency. Full and part-time positions are available, along with per diem nursing positions. At People Inc., RNs and LPNs receive flexible hours for a more balanced life, generous paid time off and health insurance for full-time employees, 401(k) plan and tuition reimbursement. Plus, there is currently a $500 sign-on bonus for RNs and LPNs. To apply for one of these employment opportunities or view other available openings, click here.
Museum of disABILITY History: Film and Speaker Series
The Museum of disABILITY History Film and Speaker Series will feature Diffability Hollywood, a documentary about Hollywood’s portrayal of people with disabilities in films throughout history. Filmmaker Adrian Esposito’s main goal in making this film is to portray people with disabilities in a less stereotypical way and to advocate for more inclusion of writers, directors and actors with disabilities in the movie industry. Esposito, an award-winning filmmaker, has autism and is a spokesperson for self-advocates, helping the world accept people with disabilities as capable and seeing their disabilities as “diffabilities.”
When: Saturday, June 17
Two Showings: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Reception with Q&A and refreshments: 5 p.m.
Where: Museum of disABILITY History, 3826 Main Street, Buffalo, NY
Tickets: $5.00 per person (limited seating available)
Info: Tickets are for sale in advance at the Museum of disABILITY History or on the day of the event, if space is available. To purchase or reserve tickets, call 716.629.3626.
Headway of WNY’s Annual Spring Gala
Headway’s 18th Annual Spring Gala, "Unite & Move Forward at the Atrium" will include an evening of silent auction bidding, basket raffles, live music and dinner. Proceeds benefit Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., to ensure that individuals in Western New York with brain injuries and other disabilities have access to advocacy, resources and support systems to enable them to live as independently as possible.
When: Thursday, May 18, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Where: Rich’s Atrium, 1 Robert Rich Way, Buffalo, NY
Tickets: $55 each and can be purchased by clicking here or $60 at the event
Info: 716.408.3117 or click here
Fun in the Sun with Music Brews and Cocktails
Hosted by the Rivershore Foundation, Inc., the Fun in the Sun with Music Brews and Cocktails event includes music by The Tim Britt Band, cash bar, 50/50 and basket raffle. Event benefits Rivershore, a division of People Inc., supporting people living with disabilities as they pursue and achieve a meaningful life.
When: Thursday, June 8, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Where: The Lewiston Stone House, 755 Center Street, Lewiston, NY
Cost: Cover charge is $5 per person
Info: To RSVP, call 716.524.2266, ext. 234
Recent news stories that include information from People Inc. and agency representatives.
“Planning Board OKs Lancaster Square project at Gates Circle:” People Inc. included. The Buffalo News, May 8, 2017.

“Abandoned History: Springs and artesian wells in Wolcottsville:” Series of abandoned history themed research-based articles by Museum of disABILITY History Founder James M. Boles, EdD. Lockport Union Sun and Journal, April 27, 2017.

ABC News: 12-year-old boy with Down syndrome and mom run cupcake shop
“When 12-year-old John Truel comes home from school, he greets customers, prepares orders and helps his mom wash dishes at their store Cupcakes on 8th.”

The Huffington Post: Why You Cannot See My Daughter’s Autism
“Strangers cannot see my daughter’s autism, but even those in our personal circle sometimes need to be reminded.”

WBFO 88.7: Students with autism reaching great strides at City Honors
“A Buffalo Public school is making sure students with autism are thriving. City Honors has a program called Students with Autism Rising to Success (STARS).”