Celebrating 25 years of Senior Living!
Celebrating 25 years of Senior Living!
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Celebrating 25 Years of People Inc. Senior Living
We’re excited to share that last month, People Inc. celebrated its twenty-fifth year of providing affordable and safe apartments for older adults! As people age, their needs change and services available to them become limited or difficult to access. Recognizing this, along with an increased number of older adults in our region, People Inc. broadened its scope as a human service agency to include, not only services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, but also older adults in need of affordable and safe housing. In 1993, the agency opened its first low-income senior living apartment complex, People Inc. Iris Senior Living in Hamburg, NY, which is now home to 49 tenants.
On November 8, an anniversary celebration event was held at this original location. Community leaders came together to share remarks, including: Jack Quinn Sr., former Congressmember; Lisa Pugliese of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Bonnie Lockwood, Special Projects director for New York Congressman Brian Higgins; Jim Connolly, former Town of Hamburg Board Member; Karen Hoak, a People Inc. supporter; and Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. president and CEO. Two original tenants, Mary Rosiek and Mary Grace Fitzery, were recognized. Long-time tenants, Dorothy Mortek and Grace Ward, shared their heartwarming and fun stories.
“Twenty-five years ago, we were thrilled to open the doors at People Inc. Iris Senior Living in Hamburg,” said Rhonda Frederick. “It’s been an honor to work alongside so many community members over the years to make the apartments a reality. These affordable apartments were made possible due to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 202 Program and we’re so grateful for their funding.”
To mark this achievement, a commemorative video made its debut at the event. To view the video, click here. Check out event photos on our Facebook page.
Over the last 25 years, People Inc. Senior Living has expanded, with a total of 20 locations throughout Western New York, including in Erie, Niagara, Genesee and Cattaraugus Counties. Today, 875 tenants, age 62 and older, choose to call People Inc. Senior Living home, right in the middle of communities they care about. Thank you to all of our tenants, families and partners for their support over the years!
Stevie’s Family Reunion
Steven, better known as “Stevie,” has lived at one of People Inc.’s group homes in Buffalo for more than 30 years. During this time, his family in Long Island has continued to play an important part in his life, staying in touch and sending gifts for his birthday and Christmas. However, health complications and distance have made it difficult for them to see him in person. In their absence, staff and fellow residents have become like a second family to Stevie – perhaps none more so than IRA Specialist Cheryl Rybicki. For the last several years, Cheryl has invited him to stay with her own family for holidays and special events.
Still, for all of the support he has received from staff and friends over the years, Cheryl wanted to give Stevie the opportunity to see his relatives. If the family couldn’t come to Western New York, then maybe Stevie could visit them in Long Island!
With Stevie’s 53rd birthday on the horizon, it was the perfect opportunity for a reunion. Cheryl worked with Jasmine Wiepert, senior residential supervisor, and Stevie’s sister, to plan a trip to the Big Apple. The planning process was no easy feat, but the group was determined to give Stevie an experience he would never forget.
Their hard work paid off. In early August, Cheryl and Stevie took a flight directly to New York City. It was the first time Stevie had been on a plane and, although he is nonverbal, Cheryl could tell that he enjoyed it. They spent their first day in Long Island exploring local restaurants and museums, then capped the evening off by relaxing at the hotel pool. Stevie loved the water so much that they stayed through the end of the lifeguard’s shift!
The next day was the big day. Stevie’s sister and brother-in-law had coordinated a party at their home to celebrate the reunion and Stevie’s birthday. Cheryl and Stevie arrived early to meet their hosts and prepare for the festivities. Little by little, other family members arrived and everyone was thrilled to see Stevie after so many years apart. All in all, the reunion was a huge success and there are already plans to have another one next year!
Cheryl shared, “It was wonderful being able to bring his family together and show him that, no matter where he is, he is very loved.”
Apartment Dedication Honors Long-time Supporters
A reception was held at our agency’s Carmen Road Apartments to celebrate a dedication of the building in October. Mort and Kathy Meyers, long-time supporters of People Inc., were posthumously honored. The reception was dedicated in memory and on the occasion of what would have been Mort’s 100th birthday. Members of the Meyers family, friends and staff gathered together to share memories and mark the occasion. A tribute plaque was presented and displayed within the building, which states: “These apartments honor Mort and Kathy Meyers who both shared the vision and lifelong commitment to create independent living for adults with special needs. May their spirit forever live within these walls.” The family made arrangements for the sale of the apartment building as a partial gift to People Inc., in order to benefit more individuals in need of housing for years to come.
Thank you to, Tom, Andrew and Gay Meyers. Special thanks to Gay for her warm hospitality in welcoming guests to her apartment, and to her brothers Andrew and Thomas, who traveled with their families from Boston, MA, for the occasion. We appreciate the ongoing support of the Meyers family.
Exclusive Calendar for Supporting Members
Interested in helping People Inc. carry out its mission all year long? You can by becoming a People Inc. Foundation Supporting Member – pledge a recurring gift of $10 a month or a one-time gift of $100 or more annually. For a limited time, KeyBank will match new Supporting Member gifts, up to the first $10,000!
As token of our appreciation, all Supporting Members will receive an exclusive 2019 calendar! This year, it features beautiful artwork created by many talented individuals who receive programs and services through People Inc. To match this year’s theme, the calendar is a picture-perfect representation of our region’s four seasons.
In addition to the calendar, as a Supporting Member, you will receive other benefits, including:
  • An additional calendar mailed to a person of your choice
  • Certificate of Appreciation
  • VIP status at our annual Supporting Member event
  • Personal updates throughout the year
  • Surprise gift
  • Inclusion in published donor listings
To become a Supporting Member, click here. For more information, contact Jennifer Robinson, at jrobinson@people-inc.org or 716.817.7269.
Fun with the Buffalo Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres, along with a generous corporate donor, recently made a suite available to People Inc. to enjoy a big win over the Ottawa Senators for Jason Pominville’s one-thousandth game. People Inc. participants, staff and their families and friends had an awesome time meeting Sabretooth and enjoying one another’s company. Rich Jureller, vice president of community relations and president for the Buffalo Sabres Foundation, as well as Saralynn Ruhland, account services representative and receptionist, have been instrumental in creating a very fruitful relationship with People Inc. for the 2018-2019 season and beyond. Go Sabres!
New Housing Projects Featured
Two new People Inc. housing projects, under construction, both in Buffalo, NY, were recently featured to spread the word to the community:
  • Monday Minute, a community-focused segment from the Amherst Chamber of Commerce: Amherst Chamber President and CEO A.J. Baynes met with Rhonda Frederick, president and CEO of People Inc., to discuss our new mixed-use project at Jefferson and Northampton on Buffalo’s East Side. To view the video, click here.
  • Check out this behind-the-scenes look from Montante Group at progress on our Linwood Avenue Apartments in Buffalo. People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick joined President of Montante Construction Doug Elia to discuss exciting advancements.
Celebrating Award-Winning Employees
Over the past few months, People Inc. employees have been making their mark in the community in various ways. We’re so proud to acknowledge some of them here:
Brittany Deans
Tom Ess
Concetta Ferguson
Rhonda Frederick
Leonard Lannie
Brittany Deans, recruiter, was honored at the 7th Annual Changemakers 30 Under 30 Awards. Each year, the Changemakers 30 Under 30 Awards are held to commemorate special achievements and unique attributes of 30 leaders in the Western New York community. Brittany joined the People Inc. team in 2015 as an HR specialist and quickly rose to the role of recruiter. Active in the community, she has proven herself a great example of positivity and commitment to those around her.
Tom Ess, associate vice president and emergency preparedness coordinator, recently graduated from the Buffalo Division Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Citizens Academy. The group, carefully selected by the FBI out of dozens of nominations, is comprised of community, business, civic and religious leaders. Tom now joins Nestor Hernandez, People Inc. associate vice president, and Bradford Watts, community relations coordinator, as alumni of this very selective and esteemed program.
Concetta Ferguson, People Inc. senior vice president, was selected to receive the 2019 Community Leader Award from the National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York. The award recognizes individuals in Western New York who have made significant contributions to the region through their involvement in volunteer activities and/or special achievements in specific areas of community and professional life. Concetta is currently Treasurer of the City Honors School Crew Board and is an ambassador for People Inc., volunteering in many projects with other agency representatives and bringing awareness to community inclusion and support for people with disabilities.
Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. president and CEO, was named the 29th most influential person in Western New York by Buffalo Business First. 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.
Leonard Lannie, lead payroll specialist, was recognized at the 2018 Black Achievers Awards Banquet, held in October. The Black Achievers Awards honor outstanding individuals and seek to show the community the variety and quality of achievements of African Americans in Western New York. A member of the People Inc. team since 2012, Leonard began his career as a direct support professional and has steadily risen through the ranks. His drive, passion and dedication make him a shining example for others in the community.
National Attention for Museum of disABILITY History
We’re proud to share that the Museum of disABILITY History, a project of People Inc., has been featured nationally and locally in the media over the last few months. As the only museum of its kind in the U.S. dedicated to advancing the understanding, acceptance and independence of people with disabilities, this attention helps the Museum of disABILITY History share its story and mission with a
much wider audience. Here are some highlights:

AmeriDisability Magazine: November is Epilepsy Awareness Month (page 34, courtesy ad on page 17).
Museum of disABILITY History: An Inclusive Space of the Past, Present Future.

The Independent: 10 of the Best Places to Find Political Inspiration.

The New York Times: It’s Time for a National Museum of Disability.

The Washington Post: “An archive honoring the voices and experiences of disabled people”

WKBW-TV Channel 7: Exhibit Sheds Light on Forgotten Lives.

Photojournalist Brian Cahn of Zuma Press, a news photo wire service, visited the Museum of disABILITY History, on November 27 – photos may be used for future use in national media outlets.
To learn more, visit 3826 Main Street, Buffalo, NY; email info@museumofdisability.org or call 716.629.3626. You can also
stay updated on the Museum’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Featured Job of the Month: Behavioral Intervention Specialist
People Inc. is currently hiring a full time primary instructor who will plan, coordinate and implement meaningful activities for individuals with developmental disabilities; community activities that promote independence, inclusion and productivity
with consultation and supervision from the appropriate team members. The candidate will also assist in developing and implementing day habilitation plans. Requirements: Must be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma/GED and a
New York State Driver’s
License that meets agency policy. To apply or to view all of our openings, click here.
Holiday Cards Now Available
Purchase holiday cards from the People Inc. Foundation and spread cheer! This year’s greeting cards are now for sale featuring artwork created by Robert Kneitinger, Winter Scene, and Magenta Rose Crawford, Country Snowman. Limited stock of Skater Girl, by Mary Espinosa, is also available.
To order holiday cards online, click here. They can be shipped or picked up at our administrative headquarters at 1219 North Forest Road, Williamsville, NY. Card sales allow our agency
to continue providing support for people with developmental disabilities, special needs and older adults. For more information, contact Jennifer Robinson at jrobinson@people-inc.org
or call 716.817.7269.
Shop and AmazonSmile Gives
Support People Inc.
this holiday season while shopping for family
and friends! With AmazonSmile, .05 percent of every purchase is donated to the People Inc. Foundation, allowing us to continue providing quality services for people with developmental disabilities, special needs and older adults. To start shopping, click here. On your first visit, select People Inc.
as your charitable organization for eligible purchases before you begin. From that point on, People Inc. will be saved and every eligible purchase you make on AmazonSmile will result
in a donation. Enjoy shopping for wish list items, like: electronics, games, toys, books, appliances and more to support People Inc.!
Academy Place Senior Apartments Accepting Applications
People Inc. is pleased to
be managing Academy Place Senior Apartments in Gowanda, NY. Located at 1 School Street in Gowanda, NY, the complex provides HUD Section 202 Affordable Housing and New York State Tax Credit apartments. If you have a family member or work with an older adult who may be interested in these apartments, please share this information. The apartments provide affordable and safe housing for independent seniors age 62 and up who meet the federally-mandated household income guidelines. Apartment applications are currently being accepted.
Monthly rent is based on the tenant’s income, which includes some utilities. The building consists of 28 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units; some of which have been specifically designed for individuals who are vision and/or hearing impaired. Apartments include a kitchen with appliances. A community room and laundry facilities
are available on each floor. Additionally, storage and a 24-hour on-call emergency service are provided. Tenants may have one small pet.
For more information or an application for Academy Place Senior Apartments or for one
of our other People Inc. Senior Living locations, email Senior Living or call 716.817.9090.
New Date: Medical Cannabis Symposium
Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc.,
will host a Medical Cannabis Symposium on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, at the University at Buffalo Center for Tomorrow, in Amherst, NY (previously scheduled for January 23).
The featured speaker will be Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, medical director, Cannabis Clinic at DENT Neurologic Institute.
The event will be from 8:15 a.m. to noon and will include breakfast. Updates will be posted on Headway’s website and Facebook. For more information, call 716.408.3100.
DAWNY’s Annual Legislative Breakfast Rescheduled
Please note that the DDAWNY Family Committee’s Annual Legislative Breakfast on Friday, December 7 has been rescheduled for Tuesday, January 8, 2019, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Millennium Hotel, 2040 Walden Avenue, Cheektowaga, NY. If you already registered for the event, you have been registered for the new date.
To RSVP, click here.
If you have questions, email DDAWNY Family Committee.
Recent news stories that include information from People Inc. and agency representatives.
“Nonprofits can’t find enough workers:” People Inc. included. Buffalo Business First, November 16, 2018.
“Largest Buffalo Million Dollar Non-Profits (ranked by Revenue 2016):” People Inc. is listed as number one. Buffalo Business First, November 16, 2018.
“All About Nonprofits: Revenue tops $2.9B for Million Dollar Nonprofits:” People Inc. included. Buffalo Business First, November 12, 2018.
“People Inc. shifts focus of housing projects:” People Inc. featured. Buffalo Business First, November 12, 2018.
“People Inc. buys North Tonawanda school for affordable housing project:” People Inc. featured. The Buffalo News, November 9, 2018.
“11 Western New York nursing homes rank among the best in the nation:” People Inc. Ombudsman Program included, WKBW-TV Channel 7, October 30, 2018.
CNN: A Photographic Treatment for People with Dementia
“That image triggered something very deep in him, a very deep memory that made him feel so strong.”
Disability Scoop: Music Therapy Yields Gains for Children with Autism
“While symptom severity remained unchanged in the all of the children following the sessions, parents of those whose therapy included music reported gains in their children’s social communication and their family’s quality of life.”
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Golisano, foundation give $5.8M to St. John Fisher for Disability Nursing Institute
“The gift will be used to create the Golisano Institute of Developmental Disabilities Nursing, a program with curriculum designed to teach nursing students to be better advocates and health care providers for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”