$750 sign-on bonuses for certain positions, apartment opportunities
$750 sign-on bonuses for certain positions, apartment opportunities
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A still photo of Robert on ABC News.
Children’s Book Author Robert Kneitinger Featured on ABC World News
In the March 2021 issue of People in the News, we shared information about Robert Kneitinger, children’s book author and illustrator. Since then, Robert was featured nationally on ABC World News Tonight with David Muir! Robert, who lives with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, receives People Inc. Self-Directed Services. The person-centered program encourages people with disabilities to manage a plan based around their own needs and preferences, enabling them to enjoy meaningful experiences, personal growth, and to live and work in the community of their choice. Robert’s books show that a person on the Autism spectrum can accomplish their dreams with hard work and perseverance. Since being featured on this national news segment, Robert’s book sales have increased by 30 percent on Amazon, including titles: The Adventures of Bixie and Myron, The Adventures of Bixie and Myron Happy Birthday and How I Met Bixie. Congratulations to Robert for sharing his message across the country!
Want to help people like Robert remain independent? 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 call 716.817.7269.
Seeking a Career Where You Can
Make an Impact?

$750 Sign-on bonus available for some designated direct support positions and up to $1,500 sign-on bonus for designated management positions*
You, or someone you know, can join our team of nearly 4,000 strong and help people achieve their dreams and goals across Western New York and the Greater Rochester region! As an essential employer, we’re hiring compassionate, creative and energetic people for positions across the career spectrum – from entry level to management. 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. Many of our positions qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine as they are available. At People Inc., we offer virtual interviews, paid comprehensive training, a variety of flexible and consistent schedules, mentoring and career advancement. Our great benefits include: health insurance, paid time off, tuition reimbursement and discounts. To apply or to view all employment openings, go to People Inc. Career Opportunities or call 716.322.7050 for more information. *The sign on bonus is subject to change and/or may be discontinued at any time.
We’re Grateful for Our Nurses
It was National Nurses Week during the month of May and People Inc. thanks its incredible nurses for delivering compassion and strength on a daily basis to the people we support all year long! Their dedication shines brightly, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. “To all of our nurses across People Inc., whether you are caring for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their homes, in our community, sharing your expertise with families or providing support behind the scenes, thank you for your service,” said Bonnie Sloma, senior vice president for People Inc. “I commend the dedication of our nurses who serve on the front lines, especially during the global COVID-19 pandemic. I’m so proud of our nursing team as they step in to provide support wherever there may be a need.”
Murals Unveiled at People Inc.
Avenue Apartments
Last month, a Mural Unveiling and Artists Recognition event was held for our People Inc. Jefferson Avenue Apartments in Buffalo, NY! This initiative is a collaboration between People Inc. and The WNY Urban Arts Collective. We were pleased to have Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown and John Baker, president of The WNY Urban Arts Collective, join us to recognize local artists, whose work represents the rich history of Jefferson Avenue. People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick shared how this community collaboration is an important reflection of our agency values, including diversity and inclusion, while also highlighting our mission and 50-year program history. Brad Watts, People Inc. Community Relations coordinator, emceed the event and explained how this partnership came together.
“The five murals not only expand our city’s collection of beautiful outdoor art, they also embody themes that reflect the hopes, dreams and challenges of this neighborhood’s residents,” shared Mayor Byron W. Brown. “For those who view the murals every day and visitors who come here specifically to view them, these works of art will tell the story of how far this neighborhood and Buffalo’s east side have come and the spirit that is making them a critical piece of Buffalo’s renaissance.”

We’re so proud of this project and appreciate all of the talented artists – we look forward to the continuation of this valuable partnership! View photos from this event on our People Inc. Facebook page.
Members of the Guys Group during their 6,000-mile journey.
Telling the People Inc. Story Historical Moment: 50th Anniversary Feature
In 2015, four young adults, supported by People Inc., embarked on a cross-country trip, alongside two staff members. The journey was the first of its kind for our agency. Jon Caldwell, Nick Feeterman, Aaron Hanson and Eric Johnson developed the idea while camping with the “Guys Group,” a former agency program that helped members discover and nurture their passions, build lasting friendships and develop life skills. Together, with then-life quality coaches, Nick Cacciotti and Christopher Zienski, they fundraised for the trip, rented an RV and documented the adventure with hand-held cameras. The 6,000-mile journey taught them everything from planning and budgeting to safety and social skills. Stops included cities in Colorado, Nevada, California and Arizona, with visits to national parks and landmarks. Along the way, they met staff members and management of organizations who support people with disabilities, collaborating and sharing program ideas. The journey attracted local and national media coverage. Upon their return, the group had hours of candid footage edited into an award-winning film, Six Guys, 6,000 Miles! For a stroll down memory lane, check out a couple past news stories about this cross-country trip from The Buffalo News and WBFO. People Inc. continues to support person-centered objectives, such as those available through the Personal Development Mentoring Program, which uses one-on-one coaching to achieve personalized goals.

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!
Betty Grazes from the Senior Companion Program
Betty Grazes
Yann Spindler from the ETHOS AmeriCorps program
Yann Spindler
National Service Recognition Day in Buffalo Acknowledged People Inc.
Buffalo, NY proved why it’s called the City of Good Neighbors on National Service Recognition Day. On April 6, Mayor Byron Brown’s Office hosted a virtual celebration to recognize the numerous AmeriCorps service members in Buffalo and their contributions to improving our communities. Buffalo is host to several different AmeriCorps programs, including two at People Inc. – the Senior Companion Program (AmeriCorps Seniors) and ETHOS AmeriCorps. Each AmeriCorps program nominated one of their members to be recognized for their dedication and to highlight their service. People Inc. nominated Betty Grazes from the Senior Companion Program and Yann Spindler from the ETHOS AmeriCorps program. Betty was recognized for her almost 25 years of providing companionship and developing strong bonds with the people she supports. Yann was recognized for his tremendous flexibility and patience in delivering services to some of our area’s most vulnerable people. Thank you Betty, Yann and all of the Senior Companion and ETHOS AmeriCorps members for creating stronger communities! The event was made accessible with captioning and an ASL interpreter provided by Deaf Access Services, an affiliate of People Inc. View highlights of the occasion on our website.
Registration is Now Open 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 online form. For more information on how to support our largest agency fundraising event, contact Melanie Brown at Melanie Brown at mbrown@people-inc.org or call 716.817.7450.
Find Gifts with AmazonSmile
Celebrating a graduation or Father’s Day? You can find the perfect gift, all while supporting our agency’s mission! The Amazon app makes it easy to shop and support People Inc., at no extra cost to you. Simply follow the instructions below to select People Inc. as your charity and activate AmazonSmile in the app. Amazon will donate a portion of your eligible mobile app purchases to People Inc.!
Here’s how it works:
  1. Download the Amazon app
  2. Open the app on your phone
  3. Select the main menu (=) and tap on “AmazonSmile” within Programs & Features
  4. Select “People Inc.” as your charity
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to activate AmazonSmile in the mobile app
You can also shop with AmazonSmile from a personal computer. Get started at smile.amazon.com.
Staff Kudos
We’re happy to recognize our team of staff for their accomplishments:
Bradford Watts, People Inc. Community Relations coordinator, earned the 2021 Community Service Award from the Buffalo Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. (NANBPWC). The achievement was recognized as part of the virtual Sojourner Truth Awards ceremony on May 1. Brad is a longtime member of the People Inc. family, who also serves as chairperson of the Parent Network of WNY Board of Directors, vice-chair of the National Federation for Just Communities of WNY (NFJC), active board member of the Buffalo Urban League and representative of VOICE Buffalo for People Inc.

Jordan Wollaber, People Inc. associate vice president of Residential Services, was recently recognized among Buffalo Business First’s 30 Under 30! Jordan began at People Inc. 10 years ago as a program instructor and rose to her current role, using a strong work ethic and excellent problem-solving skills. Throughout the past year, Jordan’s knowledge and ability to act quickly to prioritize projects has been instrumental in overseeing day-to-day operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. She continues to do a phenomenal job of leading the team during very challenging times. Learn more from Buffalo Business First.
COVID-19 Updates
Vaccines Are a “Game Changer” for People with Disabilities
People Inc. is dedicated to continuously providing educational information about the COVID-19 vaccine to our staff, people we support, families and the community. We are pleased to have been authorized by the NYS Department of Health to dispense the COVID-19 vaccine to many of our staff and people living in our residential group homes. The risk in New York State that someone with an intellectual and developmental disability will die from COVID-19 is 2.5 times higher than in the overall population. Despite falling virus case numbers, lockdowns and limited personal contact largely continue for most in the disabled community – though the growing number of those who have been vaccinated is making an impact.

“The vaccine is a game changer,” said Thomas Ess, vice president for Emergency Management, Safety and Security with People Inc., who is leading the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York Vaccine Task Force. Learn more from The Buffalo News.

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.
Associate Vice President Rehabilitation Services: Are you seeking a new challenge?
Exciting new leadership position available!
We are looking for the right person to lead our Rehabilitation Services Department, which includes PT, OT, SLP, Social Work Services, IPSIDD and a Wheelchair Clinic. The associate vice president of Rehabilitation Services will set the tone for the department, adhering to standards of performance, integration and guidance in all facets of professional services offered; as well as representing the department, collaborating (internally/externally), as part of a leading regional health and human services agency. The successful candidate will be responsible for the development and execution of business plans to support the growth of the department, while driving innovation and prioritizing new business opportunities. This position will be located at our new health center in North Buffalo. If you are someone that you know has a degree in a Rehab profession with more than five years of experience in a leadership role, then this may be the ideal position! Excellent benefits. Salary negotiable. Take the next step.
A direct support professional engaging with a program participant who uses a wheel chair.
Springville Area Group Home: Do you want to be part of building a team from the beginning?
Positions at every level available for new residence!

Imagine working in a newly-built home in a picturesque country setting. People Inc. is now hiring behavior technicians, team leaders and a clinical program manager for day, evening, overnight and weekend shifts to assist and coach young adults with developmental disabilities, so they can live as independently as possible. For direct care positions, such as behavior tech, experience is preferred, but not mandatory and a high school diploma or GED is required. We’re seeking compassionate, patient, creative and energetic people for full and part time positions. These are great career opportunities for people with education experience and/or backgrounds in education, psychology, criminal justice or social work. For college students, it is a great way to gain experience in your chosen field. A sign-on bonus of $750 is now offered for the behavior tech positions. For designated management positions, a sign-on bonus of up to $1,500 is also available. We offer virtual interviews, paid comprehensive training, a variety of flexible and consistent schedules, as well as mentoring and career advancement. We also offer health insurance, paid time off and tuition reimbursement, along with other great benefits. The sign-on bonus is subject to change and/or may be discontinued at any time. To apply or to view all employment openings, go to the People Inc. Job Board or call 716.322.7050 for more information. It is easy to sort by location or job title.
Nelson Hopkins Apartments exterior
The Nelson Hopkins Apartments
Affordable Apartments Accepting Applications
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.

An older woman sitting on the couch holding a gray tabby kitten.
People Inc. Senior Living Locations in Southern Tier and Lockport Accepting Applications
NOW available: One-bedroom Tax Credit apartment unit at
Academy Place Senior Apartments in Gowanda, managed by People Inc. The apartment building, ideal for older adults in the Southern Tier, is located at 1 School Street in Gowanda, NY. The HUD Section 202 Affordable Housing and NYS Tax Credit apartments provide housing for independent, older adults age 62 and up who meet income guidelines. Vouchers are accepted for Tax Credit units. View a video of this apartment building.
Download an application or call 716.817.9090.
Additionally, People Inc. Pine Senior Living in Lockport, NY (border of Amherst), provides affordable apartments with rent based on income and offers numerous safety features for independent, older adults age 62 and over who are income-eligible. The apartment building is located off Transit Road near Millersport Highway.
Info: Call 716.433.3381
To learn more about other People Inc. Senior Living locations throughout Western New York, email Seniorliving@people-inc.org or call 716.817.9090.
Virtual Training for Care Coordinators on Thursday, May 20
People Inc. invites interested care coordinators to join us on Thursday, May 20, as we host our monthly virtual “Lunch and Learn” workshop from noon to 1 p.m. The topic of “Employment Services” will be presented by Jamie Oswald, program director at People Inc. Some of the discussion will focus on:
• What employment services are available for the people you work with?
• Who qualifies for employment services?

• How do you apply for employment services and what is the process?
Registration is required. To register, contact Kim Russi at krussi@people-inc.org or 585.719.3424 by Tuesday, May 18. The online link will be sent via email upon registering.
News from Deaf Access Services
Participants at last month's fundraiser.
Participants at last month's fundraiser.
Raising Awareness and Support
Deaf Access Services, an affiliate of People Inc., is pleased to share the following updates to spread awareness and encourage support for the Deaf and hard of hearing communities:

COVID-19 Vaccination Presentation with ASL Interpreting and Captioning: Deaf Access Services will virtually conduct a free COVID-19 Vaccine Presentation on Tuesday, May 18, at 6 p.m., with ASL interpreting and captioning. Information will be presented by Bruce Naughton, MD, medical director of Univera Healthcare. For more information, contact David Wantuck at dwantuck@wnydas.org.
ASL Classes: ASL Spring class registration is open with various training levels. Classes start on Tuesday, May 18 and run through Thursday, July 22.

Thank You: A big thank you to the community for supporting Deaf Access Services fundraising activities last month, which included an online auction, BBQ dinner and virtual tour of the Museum of Deaf History, Arts and Culture, located in Olathe, Kansas. These activities raised over $6,000.
For more information about Deaf Access Services, 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
Each year, Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., holds a spring gala to raise funds in support of its mission. Due to the pandemic, the May 2020 event, Starry Night with Headway, was cancelled and all live events remain postponed until further notice. However, during these difficult times, with increased injuries to the brain, an ever-persistent need to keep seniors and people with physical disabilities out of nursing homes, as well as the need for increased family supports, Headway’s mission is more relevant now than ever before.
Headway of WNY needs your help to continue and expand their work throughout the region by supporting their 2021 Starry Night Spring Silent Auction. This online event will open on Wednesday, June 16 and close on Wednesday, June 30. Please join this new venture and consider donating a gift card or other new item for the auction. Items must be submitted with a completed donation form by Wednesday, May 26. Unfortunately, due to restrictions, previously-used items will not be accepted. Contactless drop-offs at the Headway office may be pre-arranged by appointment only. Drop-offs cannot take place without a scheduled appointment. Headway is extremely thankful for your help as they continue to move forward during these unprecedented times. All gifts will be acknowledged and are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

If you have any questions about this event or would like to make an appointment for an item drop off, 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 May 18, June 1 and June 15. 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.
News from Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center
A photo of two chestnut colored horses grazing in a field.
Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc. Featured in Buffalo Healthy Living
Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc. was featured online and in print for the May 2021 edition of Buffalo Healthy Living! “Horses are prey animals, so they have to use a different form of power in order to not only survive, but thrive,” said Maggie Keller in the article, who is the program director for Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center. “They’ll choose relationships over territory, cooperation over competition and inner intuition over logic. They can really connect with people, and guide us back to our inner GPS.”

Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc. is a non-profit, therapeutic horseback riding facility providing horsemanship and horseback riding opportunities for people with cognitive, physical, emotional and learning disabilities. Located outside the Village of East Aurora, NY, Lothlorien is the longest-running therapeutic program in Western New York, serving ages three and up.
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