Watch recognition video for DSPs of the Year
Watch recognition video for DSPs of the Year
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Rhonda Frederick People Inc. President and CEO
We are Grateful
This year has been marked by new challenges that no one could have foretold. Yet, despite these hurdles, we at People Inc. are celebrating the good that shines through during these difficult times. November is National Gratitude Month. With the hectic holiday season around the corner, I wanted to take this opportunity to share my appreciation. It may seem old-fashioned to send handwritten notes of thanks, but it’s a practice I’ve always greatly admired and followed. Although this newsletter reaches people electronically, the sentiment of appreciation remains the same – and I believe it is now more important than ever!
At People Inc., we strive to practice gratitude year-round, no matter our challenges:
  • Each day, people we support rely on the dedication of our essential direct support professionals. We are so thankful for their tireless commitment to excellence, especially during these challenging times!
  • We’re grateful for all of our administrative and support department staff for their ongoing professionalism, which helps our agency run smoothly, whether working in the office or remotely.
  • We are so thankful to the people we support and families for entrusting our agency to provide the necessary care and assistance – your loyalty and belief in us is so important to our team.
  • We’re very thankful to all of our donors and business partners who contribute to our agency’s 50 years of ongoing success, while helping to bridge financial gaps and expanding our partnerships.
  • We are also appreciative of everyone’s ongoing advocacy for the people we support by encouraging our government funders for continued financial and policy assistance.
Thank you for choosing People Inc. as an employer of choice, a support agency of choice, a charity of choice and as a business partner.
With heartfelt appreciation,
Rhonda Frederick
People Inc. President and CEO

People Inc. Debuts Video to Recognize
2020 DSPs of the Year

Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week is a unique time set aside to recognize and honor the contributions of direct support professionals across the country. At People Inc., we’re lucky to have some of the most dedicated and hardworking DSPs in Western New York and the Greater Rochester region – especially in the face of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Our DSPs are heroes whose work makes a true difference in the lives of the people we support! We received a record-breaking number of nominations this year, which came from employees and family members of those we support. As we could not celebrate in-person due to the pandemic, People Inc. created a video to show appreciation and recognize the 2020 DSPs of the Year. We hope you are as inspired by our winners as we are!
A Supported Employment participant working at Wegmans.
Telling the People Inc. Story Historical Moment
Ensuring that people with varying abilities secure and maintain meaningful, competitive employment is one of the many important goals of People Inc. that has evolved. One example is the People Inc. Supported Employment Program, which has been in existence since 1986, providing support for people with disabilities and helping them develop skills to secure employment. As time has gone by, agencies like People Inc. have encouraged businesses to create a more inclusive workforce and, as a result, perception regarding the benefits of hiring job seekers with disabilities has improved. Today, People Inc. provides benefits that eclipse those of 30 or even five years ago, as we continue to grow our services and increase our reach throughout Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. Additionally, affiliations with other organizations have expanded our pool of job seekers and organizational capacity. Hiring a qualified person with a disability brings greater benefits beyond just filling an open job – it means increased production, unique marketing opportunities and diverse perspectives. People Inc. is pleased to be a resource for and have long-time support from businesses, including Denny’s Restaurant; Greenfield Nursing Home; Holiday Inn Express; Home Depot; Market in the Square; Russell's Steaks, Chops and More Restaurant; Tim Horton’s; Tops Friendly Markets; Walgreens; Walmart and Wegmans; among many others. With nearly 300 varied types of business partners, People Inc. is proud to support people in their career goals through its Supported Employment and Vocational Services, along with Contract Manufacturing and Janitorial/Carpet Cleaning Solutions.
More of our agency’s historical moments are included in a photo album on the People Inc. Facebook.
Pictured in the photo are two of the original tErie County Legislator Edward A. Rath, III. The official statement was presented to People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick, acknowledging the dedication of our employees and ongoing commitment to the people we support!d James M. Boles, EdD (far right), former People Inc. president and CEO.
People Inc. Receives Proclamation in Honor of
50th Anniversary

In honor of the agency’s 50th anniversary, People Inc. received a recent proclamation from Erie County Legislator Edward A. Rath, III. The official statement was presented to People Inc. President and CEO Rhonda Frederick, acknowledging the dedication of our employees and ongoing commitment to the people we support!
Faces of the Foundation Newsletter Shares Stories of Support from the Frontlines
The Fall 2020 special edition of the People Inc. Faces of the Foundation newsletter features stories of support from the frontlines. This year has been one of uncertainty, confusion and even fear – our staff members have rallied together in a unified commitment, focusing on the safety and well-being of the people we support. Stories include examples of dedication, commitment and empathy.
Embrace the Difference® wrap bracelets.
People Inc. holiday cards.
Support People Inc. by Shopping
Here are some shopping opportunities to take advantage of, all while supporting People Inc.:
Shop for a Gift that Sparkles: If you’re looking for a beautiful piece of jewelry for someone special this holiday season, look no further than the new Embrace the Difference® wrap bracelets with a silver-tone butterfly charm. Styles to choose from include: black, crystal or a dark purple, teal and fuchsia jewel-toned, seed bead design on a silver wire to add a bit of dazzle. Bracelets are $30.00 each and can be ordered at:
Holiday Cards: People Inc. Foundation holiday cards are a nice way to brighten someone’s day, like family, friends and customers! There are three designs to choose from, all created by people we support! Proceeds from the sale benefit programs and services provided by People Inc. Choose your design and purchase packs of eight cards with envelopes for $9.99 each: Order your bracelets and holidays cards now! Limited supplies available; bracelets and cards can be shipped for an additional cost per item. For more information or to schedule a pickup, contact Melanie Brown at or call 716.817.7450.
AmazonSmile: Help support People Inc., while holiday shopping for your family and friends from the comfort of your own home! When you purchase electronics, toys, books and more, AmazonSmile donates .05 percent of every purchase to the People Inc. Foundation. To start shopping, go to On your first visit, select People Inc. as your charitable organization for eligible purchases – People Inc. will be saved and every eligible purchase you make on AmazonSmile will result in a donation. Enjoy your holiday shopping!
Help Support COVID-19 Relief Fund
Support our programs and services by donating to the People Inc. Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund. Donations will assist thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, special needs, families and older adults throughout Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. Your donation will help bridge the gap of extra expenses for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and enhanced cleaning products, as well as technology for remote support and to help people stay connected with family and friends. Donate $20 or more and receive a People Inc. Heroes Awareness Wristband. Contributions of any amount are greatly appreciated.
Pictured L-R: Kristen Pautler, employment specialist, People Inc.; Bryan Devans, co-chair of the WNY Employment Consortium; Christopher Chase,
employee; Tina Polito, program director of Vocational Services, People Inc.; Robert Drozda, manager,
Len-Co Lumber and Dennis Martinez, ACCES-VR,
WNY Employment Consortium.
People Inc. Recognized for Business Partnerships
October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Some highlights from our agency communications included:
• New York State Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) celebrated the work of partners who join together to make the connection between businesses seeking qualified workers and workers who just happen to be people with varying abilities. On a local level, these partnerships are celebrated through the WNY Employment Consortium. Since the annual luncheon was not possible due to the pandemic, members of the committee visited all of the nominees. People Inc. proudly nominated the Dick Road Wegmans in Depew, NY, and Len-Co Lumber in Clarence, NY, for their inclusive and supportive employment practices, as well as outstanding partnership with the People Inc. Supported Employment Program (SEMP). Wegmans was also named a Regional Winner by the statewide ACCES-VR. Learn more about these partnerships.
• Since 1999, Ian Rolfe has worked for Metz Culinary Management, which provides dining services for Niagara University. Thanks to earning a paycheck, Ian bought a car! Find out more about Ian in a feature story in the Niagara Gazette and how a People Inc. job coach/employment specialist helps him maintain his employment.
• New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) featured in their social media two people who receive assistance through the People Inc. SEMP – Doug Szafranski, who works as a cart attendant for Tops Friendly Markets in Amherst, NY, and Christopher Chase, a general laborer who works at Len-Co Lumber in Clarence, NY.
People Inc. is proud to support people across Western New York and the Greater Rochester region to attain meaningful employment. Join us in raising awareness year-round by supporting inclusive businesses in your community and encouraging companies to hire workers of all abilities. To learn more about how to get employed through the People Inc. Supported Employment Program or to become a business partner, contact James Scutt at or call 716.817.5750.
People we serve with pumpkins they have carved for Halloween.
Fall Fun
This fall season, people we support and staff have been finding safe ways to stay active and creative! Check out all of the festive photos on our People Inc. Facebook photo album.
A photo of Jessica Milano.
People Inc. Continues Partnership with Housing Opportunities Made Equal
For more than 20 years, People Inc. has enjoyed a strong partnership with Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME). They have helped smooth the transition when People Inc. has introduced group homes and senior apartments into local communities. HOME is the only agency in Western New York that provides comprehensive services for people of housing discrimination.
Jessica Milano, part of the People Inc. Community Habilitation Team, joined the HOME Board of Directors earlier this year. Her role of secretary was previously held by Bradford Watts, People Inc. community relations coordinator. In addition, Jessica was named chair for the Fund and Development Committee, through which she helped organize HOME’s first-ever virtual basket auction.
“I’m grateful to the supports HOME has provided People Inc. and other organizations who battle housing discrimination for the people we support and many others in need,” Jessica shared.
“HOME is a small, yet powerful organization,” adds Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. president and CEO. “HOME’s commitment to inclusiveness and diversity aligns closely with that of People Inc., which has been promoting these values since our agency’s inception.”
A screen capture of a Leadership Buffalo Class of 2020 zoom class.
In the Community – Virtually
Representatives from People Inc. recently hosted a virtual presentation for the Leadership Buffalo Class of 2020. Thomas Ess, vice president of Emergency Management Safety and Security and Bradford Watts, Community Relations coordinator, spoke about healthcare disparities and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the topics included raising awareness for advocacy, political funding and the ongoing need for increased wages for direct support professionals.
Henry Wesley Votes Because He Never Forgets He Once ‘Had No Voice’
Recently, The Buffalo News released a story about the importance of voting, featuring Henry Wesley, a former resident of Willowbrook State School. Over the years, Henry has shared his journey of strength and resilience across the state and on a national level. Our People Inc. Associate Vice President David Mack-Hardiman shared how Henry is a role model.
COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates
People Inc. Family Conference Call Scheduled for November 23
Our COVID-19 Family Conference Call Updates are continuing and we thank everyone who has participated. The next scheduled information session for families of the people we support is Monday, November 23, at 6:30 p.m. During this call, agency management will provide operational updates, projected plans and answer questions. Questions may be sent in advance, and during the call, to, or texted to 716.868.9233. Given the anticipated volume of participants on the calls, this is the most effective way to have your question heard and answered. RSVP to 716.817.7400. Please note: an RSVP is needed because even if the conference call phone number remains the same, a new unique access code is issued specifically for each call.
Phone Lines and Email Available
As always, our focus remains on the safety of the people we support and our staff. We appreciate your understanding and feedback as we continue to navigate this unprecedented time together. Families are welcome to call group homes and programs for specific questions and participate in our Family Conference Calls. Updates are posted on the Coronavirus section of our website. We’re thankful for the patience of families and for community partners, who have shown our agency so much support.
To assist families and people supported through People Inc., a dedicated phone line and email address are available to share specific concerns related to COVID-19:
Phone: 716.817.7445
A Day Habilitation and Vocational Services COVID Phone Line is also available at 716.529.6505.
Additionally, an Advocacy Phone Line is available for people we support to ask non-emergency questions. The phone line can be called at 716.322.7070. Messages are monitored from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Fall in Love with a Career at People Inc.
Sign-on bonus available for some designated positions
People Inc. is hiring for evenings, overnights and weekends for a variety of part time, full time and temporary jobs to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A sign-on bonus of $600 for full time and $300 for part time is now available for some designated positions. In addition to direct support professionals, we are also seeking behavior technicians, RNs, LPNs, employment specialists and team leader/medical liaisons, to name a few of the rewarding careers at the agency. We offer virtual interviews, paid training, a variety of schedules and great benefits for various openings across Western New Work and the Greater Rochester region. To apply or to view all employment openings, go to the People Inc. Job Board or call 716.322.7050 for more information.
A livingroom at a Senior Living apartment, decorated in a comforting style.
Affordable Apartments Now Accepting Applications
Do you have an elderly family member or friend or someone you assist who is in need of affordable and maintenance-free living? People Inc. provides various options, including:
People Inc. Senior Living is for independent, older adults age 62 and up who are income-eligible. Apartment applications are accepted year-round for its 19 locations throughout Western New York, including Amherst, Angola, Blasdell, Clarence, Grand Island, Lackawanna, Lockport (border of Amherst), South Buffalo, Springville and Wheatfield (border of North Tonawanda). Two benefits of People Inc. Senior Living are affordable rent based on income and numerous safety features. As an added cost-savings, some utilities are included. Tenants are welcome to have one small pet. Info: Email or call 716.817.9090.
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. Info: Download an application or call 716.817.9090.
Rental applications are being accepted for the new People Inc. Grant Street Apartments, offering one and two-bedroom units. Located at 25 Grant Street in North Tonawanda, the apartments are for people who are head of household and 18 years or older, who meet income eligibility. Amenities include: Kitchen with refrigerator, stove and dishwasher; water and garbage removal included; on-site laundry facilities; safety features; air conditioning and on-site management. Tenants may have one small pet. Rent subsidies and/or rental vouchers accepted. Some apartments are designed for people who have mobility and vision challenges or who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Info: Email or call 716.693.4249.
Support Deaf Access Services “Virtually Winter” Online Fundraiser
While in-person events this season are on temporary hold, Deaf Access Services, an affiliate of People Inc., is still in need of support. The “Virtually Winter” online fundraiser to benefit Deaf Access Services will be held from Monday, November 16 through Sunday, November 22. Online donations of any amount are appreciated to help ensure that programs and services continue to reach the thousands of Deaf and hard of hearing people who depend on Deaf Access Services. To make a donation, go to
To learn more about supportive services available from Deaf Access Services for yourself, a loved one or for your business, email
NEWS from Headway of WNY
Support for People with TBI
Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., is pleased to share the following updates and supports for people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), as well as for their families and caregivers.
New Phone Number – Update Your Contacts: Please note that the only phone number for Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., is now 716.408.3120. Take a moment to update your contact lists and use this number for all Headway matters, including TBI and NHTD Waivers. The old main number (716.408.3100) is no longer in use.
Virtual Support Groups Available
What: Virtual Peer and Caregiver Support Groups by Headway of WNY to address brain injury-related topics, as well as mental health issues surrounding the current pandemic
Dates: First and third Tuesdays of each month – upcoming dates are November 17, December 1 and December 15
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: Headway’s Virtual Meeting Room
Contact: Please follow these directions for access:
  1. Send your name, phone number, email address and meeting date(s) you would like to attend to
  2. When your email is received, further virtual connection instructions will be provided via email
  3. If you have questions, call 716.408.3120
Membership Support: Headway of WNY relies on its members to sustain its mission. Membership is a vital component, helping to provide outreach and support in a variety of ways, including: support groups (currently offered virtually), advocacy, identification of other supports as needed, newsletters, mailings ongoing website and Facebook updates, as well as educational presentations/symposiums. Membership helps Headway continue to improve the lives of those living with a TBI or other cognitive disabilities, including family members and caregivers. Headway envisions a world where survivors of brain injury and those with related disabilities find meaning, move forward and know they are not alone.
New members are welcome and details are on the membership page of the Headway website. Members are encouraged to become involved in all aspects of Headway, including the Advisory Council, which provides consumer and professional guidance to advocate for Headway and its stakeholders, so they have increased access for resources and support systems. Headway is thankful for all of its current annual and life members, as well as renewing members.
A Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center participant with a horse in a stall.
Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center participants with a horse in a stall.
A Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center participant petting a horse.
Therapeutic Horse Programming and Surpassing Goals
Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, an affiliate of People Inc., shares their latest happenings:
“Me and My Horse” Group Outing Program: Beginning this past September, Lothlorien welcomed People Inc. programs for “Me and My Horse” outings. Groups from the Lockport Young Adult Life Transitions (YALT), Community Active People Program (CAPP), Delaware Day Skills, Agapé Day Services and Arts Experience gathered at the barn twice a week for a day of fun! Groups read to the horses, made crafts, wrote letters and drew pictures to put on the stalls, groomed the horses and did some work around the barn. There was even a Halloween parade with the ponies. Everyone had so much fun!
Lothlorien was Challenged to “Match the Match” and Surpassed Goal: Lothlorien’s only annual fundraiser, the Boots and Bling Barn Dance, was not held this year due to the pandemic. The high-quality, year-round care provided to horses is of utmost importance for their comfort and well-being. People in the community have always stepped up to help and one such person pledged to donate $25,000, if Lothlorien was able to raise at least $25,000 to Match the Match! Not only did Lothlorien match the $25,000, but its goal was surpassed at $29,095! All proceeds benefit the incredible program horses. Lothlorien thanks everyone who donated!
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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