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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. Mayor Byron Brown hosted a virtual celebration on April 6, 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. The event was made accessible with captioning and an ASL interpreter provided by Deaf Access Services, an affiliate of People Inc.

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. She became a Senior Companion to stay busy while still earning a little extra money. Betty has said that her main goal when providing companionship is to “lift her clients up.” Since moving to Buffalo in 1957, she has been an active member of her community. Betty has remained active as a volunteer with Senior Companions even during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Instead of providing in-person services, Betty has been able to volunteer with our Senior Companion Phone Connection program. She has been able to keep in touch with four different seniors and keep them company over the phone. Even though she has not met them in person, Betty has developed a strong bond with each of them. She told us that she is very excited to finally be able to meet her clients in person. They are also very excited to be able to meet her. We are truly proud to have Betty recognized for her service as a Senior Companion. Her care and dedication shines brighter than a sunflower.

Yann was recognized for his tremendous flexibility and patience in delivering services to some of our area’s most vulnerable people. He is currently serving in his third service year with Deaf Access Services, an affiliate of People Inc. Yann assists Deaf refugees with their adjustment to life in the U.S. by providing cultural orientation, ASL instruction and promoting their self-sufficiency. In addition to this core service, Yann also represents Deaf Access Services while tending to his community gardening program with Grassroots Gardens Accessible Gardening Project. He is also a beekeeper and has created educational videos about bees and gardening for the local Deaf community. Thank you Yann for your service and for creating pathways to a better life for the Deaf community members in Buffalo.

Thank you Betty, Yann and all of the Senior Companion and ETHOS AmeriCorps members for creating stronger communities!

The event concluded with all of the present members raising their right hands and reciting the AmeriCorps pledge that each one had taken at the beginning of their service: “I will get things done for America - to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier. I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities. Faced with apathy, I will take action. Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground. Faced with adversity, I will persevere. I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond. I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.”

If you are interested in serving your community through one of the People Inc. AmeriCorps programs, or know someone who is, more information can be found on the ETHOS or Senior Companion sections on this website.

Western New York 1219 North Forest Road | P.O. Box 9033 | Williamsville, New York 14231 | Phone: 716.817.7400 | Toll Free NY 1.888.7PEOPLE | Fax: 716.634.3889

Rochester 1860 Buffalo Road | Rochester, NY 14624 | Phone 585.441.9300 | Fax 585.441.9398

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