Museum of disABILITY History Celebrates 20 Years
It all started with a need and an idea. Now, 20 years since its inception, the Museum of disABILITY History has become a place that has received local and national attention! A project of People Inc., the idea for the Museum of disABILITY History was born in 1998 when founder, James M. Boles, EdD, and former People Inc. president and CEO was teaching a college course. He discovered there was no single educational resource to send his college students to learn about the history of people with disabilities. Fast forward two decades and thousands of people have utilized the Museum as a resource and as an outlet to explore disability history, challenges and accomplishments.
The Museum of disABILITY History is the only one of its kind in the United States dedicated to advancing the understanding, acceptance and independence of people with disabilities. To mark its 20 years, about a hundred local supporters gathered together for a Fundraiser and Auction event held at the Museum on May 19. Attendees enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, wine and desserts, and many were lucky silent auction and basket raffle winners! During the event, the Museum of disABILITY History presented its Chris Burke Award for Excellence in Disability Advocacy to two honorees. The honorees were: Lynn Sommerstein, a lecturer in Buffalo State’s Exceptional Education Department, and Sujeet Desai, an award-winning musician who was born with Down syndrome. Through their advocacy efforts, they exemplify the value of contributing significant work in the disability community and make inclusion a priority. Additionally, a Certificate of Nomination was provided to fellow award nominees, including: Jonathan Doherty, Robert Edwards Jr., Carl Grayson and Doug J. Usiak.
A highlight of the evening was a series of congratulatory videos for the Museum’s anniversary and exceptional work by the cast of ABC’s Speechless. The television show is about Maya DiMeo, a wife and mom who will do anything for her husband, Jimmy, and their kids Ray, Dylan, and JJ – her eldest son with cerebral palsy. The video clips included messages from the cast, including Minnie Driver, John Ross Bowie and Micah Fowler.
The Museum is thrilled to have supporters who helped make the fundraiser a huge success. “This is my wife Katrina’s and my third year chairing this reception,” shared Jeffery Zeplowitz, fundraiser co-chairperson. “We are strong supporters of the Museum and appreciate all the work they do. For the 20th anniversary reception, we decided to throw everything at the wall, which included Buffalo Sabres and Bills alumni and comic book superheroes in attendance, as well as a special video from Texas Congressman Pete Sessions and videos from ABC’s Speechless cast. It was a wonderful event and we were happy that it was a great success.”
The Museum is also thankful to its event emcee, Angela Christoforos of WIVB-TV Channel 4, who is a big-hearted advocate for people with disabilities, including her brother, who has autism.
Located in Buffalo, NY, the Museum’s exhibits, collections, publications, archives and educational programs create awareness and a platform for dialogue and discovery. Community members are encouraged to visit the Museum of disABILITY History throughout the year. To view photos from the fundraiser event, click here.
Celebrating our Nurses!
During Nurses Week and Month, we celebrated the many contributions of our nurses! You many have noticed some of these dedicated employees highlighted on People Inc.’s social media channels. All year long, we appreciate and recognize more than 100 nurses and licensed practical nurses who are part of our People Inc. family. Each day, they provide great compassion, skill and strength to the individuals we serve in our group homes, People Inc.’s Elmwood Health Center and in-home through People Home Health Care Services.
One of our nurses, Angie Scott, says her job is the farthest thing from mundane and she wouldn’t have it any other way! An RN with People Inc. for nearly 11 years, she provides nursing support for individuals at our three respite houses and a group home. Mornings are typically spent reviewing paperwork and discussing individuals’ medical needs with her tightknit team, while afternoons involve assisting people directly. She triages on-site and by phone, helps with specialized procedures and trains coworkers to administer medications.
“I love my job and being part of such an awesome team,” Angie shares. “Working here, I’ve formed some great relationships with individuals and their families, which means so much to me.” As a mother of three, Angie also appreciates the job’s benefits and flexible schedule. It’s not as fast-paced as working in a hospital and allows for more personal connections with the people she assists. “It’s a rewarding and fulfilling career and I can’t imagine myself working anywhere else.”
We’re so thankful to all of the nurses on the People Inc. team!
Ryan Lynn Fisher Happy to Support Charities
For the past four years, Ryan Lynn Fisher has supported the People Inc. Drive Fore Disabilities Foundation Golf Tournament and Auction by serving as the auction chairperson. In between
her full time job as a senior account executive for Independent Health, being a wife and mother of two sons and volunteering for other charities, she balances her time because she believes in our agency’s mission and wants to help support our Foundation. To learn more about Ryan, click here.
Advocacy for the LGBTQ I/DD Movement Goes National
People Inc. Advocacy Coordinator Rick Banner will be in Washington, D.C. July 11-12 as part of a distinguished speaker’s panel at the annual conference of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities. Rick has been an integral part of developing a presentation titled, “The LGBTQ I/DD Movement Comes Out of the Closet!”
Rick has been co-chairperson of the Annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day Conference and a co-presenter at PrideAbility Workshops, as well as SANYS and NYSACRA statewide conferences. This presentation has been highly praised that it will now command a national audience. The presentation’s three main objectives are to:
1. Identify the educational, social and self-advocacy needs of LGBTQ people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD)
2. Understand the barriers of isolation, discrimination and transportation, which LGBTQ people with I/DD experience
3. Adopt solutions that:
- Create programming at the local, state and national levels to build the LGBTQ I/DD movement
- Connect LGBTQ people with I/DD with one another to create community
- Promote inclusion of people with I/DD who identify as LGBTQ in the larger LGBTQ community
This is important because LGBTQ people with I/DD have identified loneliness, rejection, discrimination and isolation from their peers, family, staff and community members as significant issues that impede their ability to live self-directed lives. Growing social support networks that focus on creating community and inclusion will enhance the quality of their lives. People Inc. is proud to have Rick representing our agency on the national stage to promote awareness about what matters most to LGBTQ people living with I/DD.
People Inc. Foundation’s Advisors Meet
If you are a financial advisor, attorney or tax professional specializing
in Estates/Trusts, Charitable Giving and/or Special Needs Planning, join us for cocktails and conversation at our “Advisors Meet and Greet” on Tuesday, June 5, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at People Inc.’s headquarters, 1219 North Forest Road, Williamsville, NY. This is an opportunity to meet members of our agency’s leadership team, Foundation Board and staff, while learning more about People Inc., our Foundation and how we may work together in serving a community we care about deeply. The “hot topic” for the evening is the Third Party Pooled Trust and its important connection to Planned Giving.
Space is limited. Kindly RSVP by May 31 to Christine Mathieu, Legacy officer, at email@example.com or call 716.817.7256.
2017 Annual Report
In 2017, we worked together to strengthen People Inc.’s services, advocate for one another and work toward our mission of ensuring that people with developmental disabilities, special needs and older adults have the support they need to participate and succeed in an accepting society. To learn more about the impact of making connections and our accomplishments from the past year, click here for the agency’s 2017 Annual Report.
I Love My Job!
As a residential director, John has the opportunity to use a wide variety of skills in this work.
He oversees five of our residential locations, helping to support a staff that assists 36 individuals. He finds that working alongside people with disabilities has taught him a lot about himself, including his own desire to build a career at People Inc. John first joined the agency nine years ago, when he was working in a group home. He later moved on to become a team leader and senior residential supervisor before taking on his current role.
“In every aspect you are surrounded by some of the most caring people in any community,” John shared. “People Inc. offers the opportunity for personal and career growth, and you are really able to help people.”
Want a job you’ll love like John? Click here.
Featured Job of the Month: Facilities Technician
People Inc. is currently hiring a Facilities Technician for the Amherst,
NY area, who will
be responsible for
the completion of maintenance tasks with minimum supervision and as directed by the facility coordinator. The candidate will be responsible for reporting any condition effecting building services and consumer or employee safety and comfort; will accompany the facility coordinator on tours of sites to help identify potential problems in specific areas of responsibility, including: site maintenance, janitorial, physical plant and preventative maintenance that could result in the sites inability to pass state survey. Requirements: High School Diploma or GED preferred, one to two years of general maintenance experience and a valid NYS Driver’s License. To apply for this employment opportunity or view other available openings click here.
Academy Place Senior Apartments Accepting Applications
As announced earlier this year, 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. 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. If you have a family member or work with a senior who may be interested in these apartments, please spread the word.
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/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.
An additional perk available to Academy Place tenants is a senior day and lunch program that is held within the building, sponsored by Cattaraugus County Senior Services. Additionally, tenants have a nearby program called Total Senior Care, available to residents of Gowanda, offering programs for qualified people age 55 and over who choose to stay active and yet need essential medical care in order to remain in their homes.
For more information or an application for Academy Place Senior Apartments, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716.817.9090.
Free Training for Parents
People Inc. offers the Incredible Years Program for parents of children with disabilities to gain valuable skills. The free training guides parents how to help their children develop, including: improving self-esteem and self-concept and decreasing negative behaviors at home, as well as decreasing peer aggression and disruptive behaviors in school. The program provides tips on how to cope with stress, avoid power struggles, determine appropriate consequences and develop creative and imaginative play with your child. For more information or to enroll in the summer sessions, contact Shannon Bianco at email@example.com or call 716.880.3826. The free training is made possible by a Family Support Services grant through the WNY DDSO.
Three ways to Support Golf Tournament and Auction
There are lots of way to support our 17th Annual People Inc. Drive Fore Disabilities Golf Tournament and Auction, which will be held on Monday, August 20, at the Orchard Park Country Club, 4777 South Buffalo Street, Orchard Park, NY.
Here’s how you can support the event:
1. Spread the word and see if your company will sponsor a golf team – registration is now open for our morning and afternoon rounds.
2. Not a golfer? A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available, including tee signs to promote your business.
3. Donate items for our silent and live auctions
or help solicit businesses. We would love items
like trips with travel accommodations, theater or event tickets, spa packages, wine tour, monthly floral delivery package and restaurant gift cards.
For more information, click here. To assist with our event or if you have questions, contact
Melanie Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716.817.7450.
Leaving Your Legacy
Most people don’t know
that one of the easiest and quickest ways for you to help carry People Inc.’s mission into the future is by making a planned gift via a beneficiary designation.
For example, if you own life insurance, you can name People Inc. as a beneficiary to receive 10 percent of
the death benefit (or a higher percentage if you
so choose). Whatever you decide is up to you and all
it takes is updating a simple form. Additionally, the
same is true if you have retirement accounts or a pension.
For more information or
if you have questions, contact Christine Mathieu, Legacy officer, at email@example.com
or call 716.817.7256.
Third Annual Veteran’s Symposium
Join People Inc. affiliate, Headway of WNY, for its Third Annual Veteran’s Symposium: “Be There,
Be Proud – Helping Current and Former Service Members and their Families Find Peace.” The free event will be on Wednesday,
June 13, from 10 a.m. to
2 p.m. at the Buffalo History Museum, One Museum Court, Buffalo.
In a continuous effort to support veterans, Headway of WNY, People Inc. and Catholic Charities, are
co-sponsoring this presentation.
The symposium features
a keynote speaker and four panelists covering a variety of holistic topics, including the benefits of art therapy and yoga. The keynote speaker is Stephen McCloskey of Project Emeritus and The Alpha & The Omega Retreat Inc. Panelists include: U.S.
Army Colonel James Becker, Reintegration specialist, VA Western New York Healthcare System; Annette M. Romeo, certified EFT practitioner, Veteran’s Stress Project; Kimberly Warner, LMSW, EMDR Trained Tragedy Assistance Program Services for Veterans; and Wendy Guyker, PhD, University at Buffalo, Yogis in Service.
Although it is a free event, registration is required
by June 5. Lunch will be provided. To learn more, click here or to reserve
your seat, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716.408.3110.