Lt Governor Kathy Hochul celebrates new apartments!
Lt Governor Kathy Hochul celebrates new apartments!
Celebrating New People Inc. Highland School Apartments
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and other Elected Officials Show Support
On November 14, New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, New York State Senator Chris Jacobs, City of Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis, community leaders and People Inc. representatives gathered to celebrate the official opening of People Inc. Highland School Apartments! They all shared heartfelt remarks. Tenant Kimberlie Dickinson, who is also a People Inc. employee, shared her personal story on what it means to live affordably and have new housing opportunities. To view photos from the event, click here.

Located at 105 Highland Avenue in Tonawanda, Highland School Apartments house 35, one-bedroom and three, two-bedroom handicap-adaptable apartments, some of which have been specifically designed for individuals who have mobility, vision and hearing impairments. The complex brings together a diverse group of people, including those with disabilities and the general public, who are income-eligible.

We were delighted to welcome Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul to be part of this event to commemorate the apartment building opening. “This is a truly collaborative effort that gives a vacant school a new lease on life and provides a home for those who otherwise might struggle to afford one,” the Lieutenant Governor said.

People Inc. subsidiary, People Community Housing Development Corporation, received approval in 2015 to move forward with its affordable housing project from a building that had been vacant in the City of Tonawanda since 2009. The adaptive reuse project included substantial rehabilitation of the two-story former Highland School into apartments for an integrated, residential community.

Rhonda Frederick, president and CEO, People Inc. said, “The innovative program model is one element of our agency’s strategic development as we continue to provide quality housing to a diverse community.”
Apartment applications are still being accepted. To learn more about eligibility or to set up a tour, click here or call 716.880.3890. To learn more about the event, click here for an article in The Buffalo News and here for a story on WBFO 88.7.
Setting the Stage for Success
Julia Harris loves writing and storytelling. In August 2017, thanks to a whole lot of determination and teamwork, she was able to showcase both of these skills – on the big stage.

With support from her Medicaid Service Coordinator Caitlin Keane and Life Quality Coach Sue Gerhardt, Julia started attending writing workshops to further explore her talents. The classes, held at People Inc.’s Arts Experience, gave Julia an outlet to share her work with a diverse group of writers. For the first session, she brought “The Contest,” a piece she’d written about a young woman named Lisa, who enters a dance competition and suffers a tragedy that only love can help her overcome.

Beth Geyer, People Inc. day services program director and writing group coordinator, immediately saw something special in Julia’s work. “I could tell right away that she was a natural storyteller,” Beth shared. Impressed by the 24-year-old’s strong grasp on character development, Beth was certain the story would be well-suited to another format: a play.

On board with this exciting idea, Julia worked one-on-one with Beth to transform the narrative into a script for a play. The finished product was so strong that Beth offered to buy the script from Julia on behalf of Unique Theatre Company, a local, integrated company of artists that Beth oversees as artistic director.

From this point forward, “The Contest” took on new life when Unique Theatre Company incorporated the new play into a three-act production called “2Love.” Julia, herself, auditioned for several parts and landed the lead role of Lisa. When asked about the experience, which culminated in sold out shows at the Jewish Community Center in Getzville, Julia exclaimed: “I loved it! I was able to make so many new friends. It just goes to show that miracles happen when you believe!”

What is next for Julia? Along with writing some new stories, she is looking forward to sharing her motivational speeches to help inspire others. We’re so proud of Julia and the incredible team who helped to make her dream a reality!
People Inc. Honored by Amherst Senior Citizens Foundation
We are happy to share that People Inc. earned the Leadership Award from the Amherst Senior Citizens Foundation. The award recognizes a person or organization that demonstrates outstanding leadership by promoting and developing activities, which provide a favorable climate for seniors to age within the community. We are proud to provide various programs and services for seniors in Amherst and throughout Western New York. Last month, People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick accepted the award on our agency’s behalf at the Amherst Senior Citizens Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration.
Pictured left to right: Karen Welsch, Senior Citizens Volunteer Award recipient; Rhonda Frederick, Senior Leadership Award recipient; Dal Giuliani, Amherst Senior Citizens Foundation executive director; and Mary Lou Rath, Senior Community Leader Award recipient.
Elmwood Health Center in the Spotlight
There is some exciting news for the Elmwood Health Center (EHC), an affiliate of People Inc., and we are happy to share these updates:

A $5,000 grant from the J.M. McDonald Foundation, Inc. and a matching grant of $2,035 from the Maria M. Love Convalescent Fund, totaling $7,035, were used to purchase an additional NuStep recumbent cross-trainer machine and accessories for use at the EHC. The EHC provides a number of services, including rehabilitative care. Since many rehabilitation clients have limitations caused by developmental disabilities and aging, the NuStep recumbent cross-trainer is a high demand piece of equipment for many undergoing physical therapy. Over the last five years, the EHC has maintained one NuStep, which has benefitted 100 individuals. The purchase of this additional machine allows at least another 50 people to make use of the NuStep and reap the benefits of low-impact, total body workouts for people of all ability levels. To learn more, click here.

The EHC was proud to partner with HEALTHeLINK for their Medical Minute, an educational series in which local healthcare leaders provide information about HEALTHeLINK and highlight the benefits of clinical information exchange in Western New York. For the EHC’s segment, Barbara Johnson, director of clinical services, shared how working with HEALTHeLINK has helped improve quality of care at the EHC. To view the video, click here.

The EHC also received some recognition at the Spotlight on Population Health (SOPHi) Awards & Expo. Hosted at Buffalo Riverworks last month, the event is aimed at improving population health for our community. Through this event, organizers hope to educate the community on the great work being done around population health. The EHC was highlighted in the Data Driven category, which recognizes organizations that are using data to drive implementation of programs, evidence-based/informed, best practices, as well as data-informed programming with measurable baselines and outcomes. Though, they did not come home with the award, the staff at EHC said that it was an honor to be nominated.

Located in North Buffalo, the Elmwood Health Center is a health care facility that 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.
Featured Job of the Month: Respite Instructor
People Inc. is seeking instructors who can provide after-school care to young people with developmental disabilities, ages 5 to 21, in our Afternoon Respite Programs. Respite instructors assist with arts and crafts, homework, peer socialization skills and community outings. A great opportunity for college students, these positions are Monday through Friday, from 2 to 6:30 p.m. with locations in Amherst, Buffalo, Depew and Lockport. To apply or view other openings, click here.
Providers Needed for Perfect Fit Program
People Inc.’s Perfect Fit Program, a unique residential setting for people with developmental disabilities, is enlisting additional providers throughout Western New York, particularly in Niagara County and the Southtowns. The program gives people an opportunity to become certified providers and open their homes, as well as their lives, to people with developmental disabilities. Providers offer inclusion and independence, all while helping someone achieve their goals. To learn more about becoming a Perfect Fit provider, contact Carrie Grant, People Inc. Perfect Fit program director, at or 716.345.6161.
Make a Difference in a Senior’s Life
A senior’s life can be easier with a caring companion. The People Inc. Senior Companion Program needs compassionate volunteers. If you’re 55 years or older, live in Erie County and meet income guidelines, won’t you join us? Companion volunteers assist participating seniors with grocery shopping, going for walks, light cooking and housekeeping, while providing a break for caregivers. Volunteers earn a stipend, mileage and meal reimbursement. It’s a win-win for everyone! Volunteers receive rewarding experiences and seniors can remain independent in their familiar surroundings. Click here to view a short informational video or call 716.768.2381 to learn more.
People First Mobility Helps Provide Life-Changing Devices
People First Mobility, a durable medical equipment supplier and an affiliate of People Inc., was proud to work with Suneel’s Light Foundation and Glory Be to Kids to provide Wilmington Robotic EXoskeleton (WREX) devices to 12 local boys living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The WREX devices will help the boys in their daily activities and to live more independently. To learn more, click here for an article from Spectrum News Buffalo.
Recent news stories that include information from People Inc. and agency representatives.

“Telemedicine pilot project offers new way to provide care for disabled:” People Inc. featured. Buffalo Business First, November 16, 2017.

“Abandoned History: Mail Pouch Tobacco barns, 1891-1992:” Series of abandoned history-themed, research-based articles by Museum of disABILITY History Founder James M. Boles, EdD. Lockport Union Sun and Journal, November 5, 2017.

“Million-Dollar Buffalo Nonprofits List:” People Inc. ranked as number one in the 2017 Million Dollar Nonprofit Lists, produced by Buffalo Business First. 2017 All About Nonprofits Business First Supplement, November 3, 2017.

“All About Nonprofits: People Inc. devises ways to add services, income:” People Inc. featured. Buffalo Business First, November 3, 2017.
“All About Nonprofits: 310 agencies with $2.67 billion in revenue:” People Inc. featured. Buffalo Business First, October 30, 2017.
Annual Meeting and Educational Presentation
Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., is pleased to announce that Dr. John J. Leddy, Primary Sports Medicine of the UB Concussion Clinic will be the featured speaker at its Annual Meeting and Educational Presentation. The event will be held on Wednesday, November 29, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the Museum of disABILITY History, 3826 Main Street, Buffalo, NY. The evening’s itinerary will include Headway’s annual and quarterly advisory council meeting, followed by an educational presentation with a question/answer session, featuring Dr. Leddy. Refreshments will be served. For more details, click here for a flyer.

Headway of WNY, a not-for-profit agency, provides support groups, trainings and educational programs for survivors of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and their caregivers. It is also a support and advocacy agency for persons with TBI and other disabilities, as well as 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.

Event admission is $10 and there is no fee for Headway members. New memberships are welcomed now and at the event. For more information or to RSVP, email or call 716.408.3100.

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Share Warm Wishes with People Inc. Greeting Cards
The holiday season is upon us and it’s a great time to send cards to those you care about! We’ve made it easy to order People Inc. holiday cards that feature artwork created by our program participants and showcase the talents of people with developmental disabilities. You can order the cards on our website to be picked up in person or shipped right to your home. Orders placed by December 13 will be delivered by December 20. Cards may be picked up and also purchased at our People Inc. administrative headquarters, 1219 North Forest Road, Williamsville, NY. If you have any questions or would like to place a corporate order of cards, contact Jennifer Robinson in the People Inc. Foundation at or call 716.817.7269.
Save the Date for Giving Tuesday
You can help make a difference for young people with developmental disabilities. The People Inc. Foundation is participating in Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving that raises funds and awareness. The day falls on November 28, after the hustle and bustle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Your contribution will help benefit People Inc.’s new project, On Our Way @ Wayside, an innovative new service to be introduced in 2018. Three transitional apartments in Hamburg, NY will provide opportunities for young people 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.

A link to our donation page is currently available, if you would like to get a head start on a donation. If you have any questions, call Jennifer Robinson in the People Inc. Foundation at 716.817.7269. Stay tuned for updates on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for supporting our mission.
Shop and Support
People Inc.
Have you started your holiday shopping? By purchasing items through various programs that benefit the People Inc. Foundation, you can help ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities, special needs and seniors receive the supports they need. Check out the options listed below. Happy shopping!

Shop and Amazon Gives
Amazon will donate .5% of the proceeds of your purchases to the
People Inc. Foundation through Amazon Smile. It’s an easy way to give, plus no additional money is added to your shopping cost! To shop and support People Inc. all at the same time, click here.

Embrace the Difference
If you’re looking for a unique piece of jewelry for someone special, check out the Embrace the Difference® collection of bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Ten percent of your purchase will be donated to People Inc. upon designation. You can choose People Inc. as the beneficiary of your Embrace the Difference® purchase at Reeds Jewelers/Jenss Décor locations or online. To start shopping, click here.
Support our Mission with a Planned Gift
Did you know that you can gift your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or your required minimum distribution (RMD) to a charity like People Inc.? Well, you can! A simple gift option that is available is the IRA Charitable Rollover. You, the donor, can make an outright gift (distribution) from your IRA. This, now permanent part of the law, allows individuals age 70 ½ and older to make direct transfers totaling up to $100,000 per year to charities, without having to count the transfers as income for federal income tax purposes. Donors can count this gift towards their annual required minimum distribution. It’s a simple and effective way to meet both your financial and philanthropic goals.

For more information on Charitable IRAs or if you are looking for a professional advisor for guidance in charitable giving, contact Christine Mathieu at or 716.817.7256 for references.
“A Conversation about Mental Health”
As part of its Dialogues on disABILITY Speaker Series, the Museum of disABILITY History will host a free presentation called, “A Conversation about Mental Health,” on Friday, December 1, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at its location, 3826 Main Street, Buffalo, NY. The panel discussion will feature Keith O'Neil, former NFL football player who wrote a memoir titled, Under My Helmet: A Football Players Lifelong Battle with Bipolar Disorder; Karl Shallowhorn, who contributed to the book, Buffalo State Hospital: A History of the Institution in Light and Shadow; and Stephen Nawotniak, author of Handbook for Healthy Living with a Mood Disorder.

The speakers will share their personal stories, discuss key components of getting help and maintaining health, along with helpful tips for relationships and the workplace. They will also share ways that the stigma of mental health can be eliminated.

There will be books for sale and each presenter will be available for book signings. Event registration is encouraged. To RSVP, email David Mack-Hardiman at or call 716.629.3626.
Get Social with Us!
People Inc. news, program updates, fun photos and events are included on social media. It’s a great way to stay updated! Follow us on various social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.
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