Cruising Toward a New Goal
Israel “Izzy” Cruz is an active young man in his twenties. He enjoys spending time with his family, going to the movies, going out to dinner and watching his brother’s baseball games.
“One thing about me is that just because I am in a wheelchair, I don’t let it stop me from achieving my goals,” Izzy said. “I finished high school and I’m working an awesome part-time job.”
That awesome job is as a docent at our Museum of disABILITY History. In that role, he provides tours to visitors and conducts research on various disability-related topics. Born with cerebral palsy, Izzy receives services from People Inc.’s Supported Employment and Service Coordination Programs, as well as the Elmwood Health Center, an affiliate of People Inc. His employment coach Janet McNevin says that his job as a docent has given him confidence and focus.
“I have worked with him for the past two years and I have seen him open up,” said Janet. “He is hard working and outgoing and he wants to do more to advocate for people with disabilities. Nothing stops him.”
It’s that persistence that is keeping Izzy focused on his latest endeavor: obtaining a wheelchair van so that he and his family can continue to be active. Over the past several months he has explored every avenue possible to get his family a van but with no luck. Undaunted, he recently launched his own personal fundraising campaign through GoFundMe.
GoFundMe allows users to create their own website and describe what they are raising money for, the amount they hope to raise and upload photos or video. Once the website is created, GoFundMe allows users to share their project with people through integrated social network links (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and email.
“It has been great to watch him go through this process, writing letters, making contact with people, being creative, learning and growing,” said Janet. “I have all my fingers and toes crossed and have no doubt he will do this.”
To learn more and help Izzy achieve his goal, click here.
Transportation for People with Disabilities, Seniors gets a Boost
On September 4, Congressman Brian Higgins and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced that seven Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY) agencies including People Inc., and others, will receive federal funds for accessible vans and other mobility programs that will improve transportation in Western New York for people with disabilities and seniors.
“People Inc. is extremely grateful for these funds which support our goal of helping the individuals we serve live more independently and participate in an accepting society," said Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. president and CEO and president of the DDAWNY, at a ceremony held at our agency’s headquarters.
“A daily commute to work, reaching medical appointments and staying active in the community can be a challenge without reliable means of transportation,” said Congressman Higgins. “These funds will go a long way towards ensuring all members of our community have access to transportation, a sense of independence and a high quality of life.”
Read more about the grant in the press release and article.
Pictured L-R: Tim Pfol, Southeast Works; Stephen Anderson, Summit Center; Kim Earle, Heritage Centers; Elaine Duquette, Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara; John Beyer, Catholic Health; Mindy Cervoni, Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled; Congressman Higgins; Rhonda Frederick, People Inc.; Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz; Frank Cammarata, Erie County Office for the Disabled; Randy Hoak, Erie County Department of Senior Services; and Samuel Mattle, Peer to Peer Program.
Golf Tournament Breaks Fundraising Record, Enjoy Event Photos
People Inc. Foundation’s 14th Annual Drive Fore Disabilities Golf Tournament held on August 17 was an outstanding success thanks to our generous sponsors, donors, golfers and volunteers! We are thrilled to announce the event reached a milestone this year with net proceeds surpassing the $100K mark for the first time ever, coming in at just over $103,000! Our second highest amount was just under $95K in 2011.
Whether you sponsored golf teams or tee signs, donated auction or in kind items, bid on auction items or volunteered, the 12,000 individuals we serve each year sincerely appreciate your support! Pencil in August 22, 2016 for next year’s event! Click here for fun event photos. Password: Fore
Thank You, Volunteers!
People Inc. was a proud participant in the 23rd annual United Way of Buffalo and Erie County Day of Caring. Held on August 19, volunteers from Rich Products Corporation, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Delaware North visited our agency and did a great job assisting with various projects. Thank you, volunteers, for giving us your time and talent!
Live-in Building Caretaker Positions Available
People Inc. Senior Living is hiring for three live-in building caretaker positions for locations in Cheektowaga, Hamburg and North Buffalo. The role includes responsibility for the safety and security of the senior living apartment buildings during weeknights and weekends, property maintenance and being on call during scheduled hours. Candidates are eligible to work a secondary, exempt position during off hours. If you or someone you know is interested, click on the above links to apply.
People Inc. in the Community
Last month, People Inc. held a Community Day at our Main Street Day Habilitation Program to celebrate, recognize and spend some time with our wonderful supporters and neighbors. We were joined by Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, a member of the New York State Assembly representing Assembly District 141, partners in health services, first responders and other community members, stakeholders and partners. A lot of team spirit was shown throughout the festivities!
New Resource Guide for Veterans with Brain Injuries
The second edition of the Resource Guide for Veterans with Brain Injuries, produced by Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., is now available to veterans and their families. This edition includes more than 30 organizations from Western New York and nationally. This guide is made possible with the help of United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, Freedom Village and Catholic Charities. If you would like a copy of the resource guide, contact Headway of WNY at 716.408.3100 or 716.408.3110, or click here to download a copy.
Living Healthy: Diabetes Workshop Series
Do you or a family member have diabetes and want to take charge of your life? Join us on Tuesdays, September 22 through October 27, from 1:30 to 4 p.m., at People Inc. Pine Senior Living, 6231 Tonawanda Creek Road North, Lockport. Registration is open for the free six-week Living Healthy workshop for people with diabetes and/or their caregivers. Tips and strategies for living well with this chronic condition will be provided. Registration is required. To register or for more information, e-mail or call 716.773.0907.

Recent news stories that include information from People Inc. and agency representatives.

“As school starts, homework is key for parents of students with special needs:” People Inc. is featured. The Buffalo News, September 5, 2015.

“Researcher looks into local mineral springs:” Museum of disABILITY History featured. Niagara Gazette, September 5, 2015.

“Buffalo planners consider proposal to convert School 63 into apartments:” People Inc. is mentioned. The Buffalo News, August 31, 2015.

“Jeff Sanderson on LCTV:” Jeff Sanderson, vice president of affiliations, and Rivershore, Inc., an affiliate of People Inc., is featured. LCTV, August 2015.
September 2015
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Your donation ensures that individuals with developmental disabilities and senior adults receive the services and care they need. By pledging a recurring payment of $10 a month or with a one-time gift of $100 or more, you can become one of our valued People Inc. Foundation Supporting Members. Look for new Member Perks for 2016! To donate, click here.
Craft and Bake Sale – Free Community Event
People Inc. Orchard Senior Living will host a Craft and Bake Sale for community members. Browse handmade crafts for sale and shop early for the holiday season! You can also meet with tenants, tour the building and learn about People Inc.’s Senior Living apartments, including income eligibility.
When: Saturday, September 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: 276 Waverly Street, Springville
RSVP/Information: 716.592.4640

Headway of WNY 6th Annual Walk, Run & Wheel, 5K
Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., is holding its Walk, Run & Wheel, 5K event along Buffalo’s waterfront to raise funds and awareness for people in our community who are living with traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities. The scenic course loops around Erie Basin Marina and continues up along Canalside and back to Templeton Landing. Post-race festivities will take place at Templeton Landing and will include refreshments, awards, basket auction and live music.
When: Sunday, September 13
Times: Check in/Packet Pickup at Templeton Landing from 8 to 8:45am.
Line up at 9a.m. and start time at 9:30a.m.
Where: Erie Basin Marina and Templeton Landing, 2 Templeton Terrace, Buffalo
Run/Wheel, 5K: General Rate: $25, Member Rate: $22
Walk/Wheel, 1-3 Miles: General Rate: $20, Member Rate: $18
Information: Click here or call 716.408.3100 or click here to register.

Join our People Inc. Team for the Alzheimer’s Walk
People Inc. is pleased to support the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and you’re encouraged to join our team! The event will be held on Saturday, September 19, at Delaware Park (Ring Road), Buffalo. Registration is at 8:30 a.m., followed by a ceremony at 10 a.m. and the walk starts at 10:20 a.m. To join our People Inc. team, click here, or for more information, contact April Caggiano at or by calling 716.768.2370.
Book Presentation and Signing by James M. Boles, EdD
The Museum of disABILITY History will welcome its founder and author James M. Boles, EdD, on Friday, October 16, from 7 to 9 p.m., for a presentation and book signing as part of our Dialogues on disABILITY Speaker Series. Dr. Boles will share his insight about his book, They Did No Harm: Alternative Medicine in Niagara Falls, NY, 1830-1930.
The book describes how medicine was primitive in the 1800s. Physicians often were untrained and licensing was not yet organized. In the same period, healing facilities and health products ranging from medicinal mineral water, patent medicine, food and devices were developing in Niagara Falls, NY as alternatives to traditional medicine. With good marketing and common wisdom, these enterprises used a variety of colorful methods, mostly harmless, to help their customers. Dr. Boles will provide an overview of the book and his research.
The event costs are: $6 for adults, $3.50 for students, seniors and human service employees and free for Museum members. To register or for more information, call 716.629.3626.
GoFundMe Fundraising Initiative Starting Soon
We are excited to share that a new fundraising initiative to benefit the Museum of disABILITY History will be starting soon! An official launch of a crowdfunding campaign on will begin in October.
Stay tuned for announcements on our website and through our social media outlets, Facebook and Twitter. For more information or to donate, contact Doug Farley, director, Museum of disABILITY History, at or by calling 716.629.3626.
WIVB-TV Channel 4: Millions in Funding to Boost Mobility for Seniors, Disabled
“More than a dozen local agencies will be splitting millions of dollars to boost transportation and mobility programs for seniors and people with disabilities.”
USA Today: New York School wants to Block Student with Down syndrome on 1st Day
“For one Long Island, New York, father, an issue that has been building for two years appears to be headed to a dramatic head on his son's first day of school.”