People Inc. featured on TV and radio, plus much more!
People Inc. featured on TV and radio, plus much more!
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Program participants at South Buffalo-based Dog Ears Bookstore last month.
Program participants at South Buffalo-based Dog Ears Bookstore last month.
Sharing Books and Community
Our People Inc. Young Adult Life Transitions (YALT), Community Prevocational and Community Active People (CAP) Programs rekindled their partnership with South Buffalo-based Dog Ears Bookstore last month. The groups met to discuss the return of their “books on wheels” program, which supplies and delivers books to our various People Inc. Senior Living locations throughout Western New York, free of charge, in the hope of building relationships and community. In previous years, the volunteer activity has proven to be a great outlet for bringing different generations together, while providing all involved with social and skill-building opportunities. We look forward to the program’s return later this year!
COLA Budget Updates
It was announced by Governor Kathy Hochul that a crucial cost of living adjustment in the New York State budget will be included. Disability service providers, such as People Inc., are primed to get a 5.4 percent cost-of-living increase to help boost wages. “This would so help people be able to stay here," said Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. president and CEO, who began her career at People Inc. in an entry-level direct support position. “People come here, they love their job, they love what they do. But they have to be able to live, they have to be able to pay their rent and put food on the table.”
This is a developing story. Learn more in an article by The Buffalo News. Thank you to our staff, people we support, families and community members who continue to advocate – this is necessary to keep going forward. Please know that when asked for phone calls, emails or letters to elected officials, your contributions are important and appreciated!
Autism Acceptance Month
April is Autism Acceptance Month! Recognition began in 1970 as “Autism Awareness Month,” but has since changed to “Acceptance” to highlight the fact that, although autism’s existence in society is visible, acceptance of autism as a natural condition still remains a difficulty faced by the Autism community. People Inc. is proud to support many autistic people in achieving their goals! Our Admission and Referral Services Department is available to provide information about our agency supports that may be helpful for yourself, a family member or someone you assist – contact the team at or 716.880.3700 (Western New York) or 585.441.9300 (Greater Rochester region).
People Inc. Staff Featured on LCTV.
People Inc. Staff Featured on LCTV Focusing on Recruitment Needs
Being patient, motivated and caring are just a few of the qualities needed to be a People Inc. direct support professional! Our very own staff Angela Covey of Residential Services and Zakia Middlebrooks of Talent Acquisition shared this, as well as info about our agency’s recruitment needs on Lockport Community Television’s WNY Tonight show. They talked about our various career opportunities, what it is like to assist people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as our outstanding employee benefits. View the show!

Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. president and CEO and Sarah Bohnstadt and Linda Pellegrino.
Senior Radio Buffalo to Highlight People Inc. Services
We're pleased to share that People Inc. will be featured on Senior Radio Buffalo for the next several upcoming months! Senior Radio Buffalo is a local show hosted by Linda Pellegrino, designed to educate the 55+ senior community, airing on WBEN-AM 930. Our team of staff will be featured monthly, focusing on our agency supports that assist seniors and older adults from our various apartment settings and home health care to rehabilitation services and companionship supports to case management, as well as our Pooled Trusts Program. The first guests are Rhonda Frederick, People Inc. president and CEO and Sarah Bohnstadt of our People Inc. Senior Living Team. The segments will air on Saturday, April 16 and on Saturday, April 23, both at 11 a.m. They talk about our amazing senior services, including affordable apartment options. We’re excited to be working with Linda Pellegrino, who has been a fantastic advocate for our agency. If you don’t catch the show live, it will be posted within the week on the Senior Radio Buffalo website in the On Demand section.
Senior Companion volunteer, Gwendolyn Parks
Helping Seniors in Need
Do you have some time to spare? Do you enjoy talking on the phone? Or, do you have a family member who wants to help seniors by volunteering? There are many ways to give back and this April is a great time to start, as we celebrate National Volunteer Month! People Inc. is seeking volunteers to support and advocate for seniors year-round. Here’s some information about rewarding volunteer opportunities for yourself or to pass along to a family member or friend who would like to volunteer:
• The People Inc. Senior Companion Program welcomes volunteers 55 or over, who live in Erie County and meet income guidelines to assist older adults with grocery shopping, light cooking and housekeeping. If you prefer to connect with people by phone, then you are in luck! Our volunteers also have the opportunity to reach out to recipients virtually through our program’s “Phone Connection” initiative. Trained volunteers earn a stipend, mileage and meal reimbursement. For more information, contact Alissa Yax at or call 716.768.2381.
• Do you have problem-solving skills and a passion to help older adults? Volunteers are needed year-round to advocate for older adults through the People Inc., New York State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and Center for Elder Law & Justice. Volunteers, called ombudsmen, promote the rights of residents who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties. The program screens interested candidates and provides training sessions. Ombudsmen bring problem-solving skills as they visit long-term care facilities to help residents resolve complaints. Ombudsman volunteer opportunities are available for those who work in professional fields, such as paralegals, human service staff, social workers and business professionals. Many volunteers are also recent retirees, ranging from those who have worked within education systems, administration or engineering fields. Schedules are flexible. Volunteers are trained to properly listen to, investigate and help resolve concerns on behalf of long-term care residents. To learn more about becoming an ombudsman volunteer and our upcoming training session, email or call 716.817.9222 or toll-free at 1.844.527.5509.
Paralympian and author Mike Schultz reads an excerpt from his book, Driven to Ride.
Paralympian and author Mike Schultz reads an excerpt from his book, Driven to Ride.
Our People Inc. Rehabilitative Health Services team members are joined by Mike Schultz and his wife Sara (standing/center) and co-author, Matt Higgins (left, sitting).
Our People Inc. Rehabilitative Health Services team members
are joined by Mike Schultz and his wife Sara (standing/center) and
co-author, Matt Higgins (left, sitting).
Pictured left to right: Matt Higgins, Katie Moses Swope, Mike Schultz and Sara Schultz.
Pictured left to right:
Matt Higgins, Katie Moses Swope, Mike Schultz and Sara Schultz.
“Monster” Mike Schultz Shared Challenges and Triumphs in
Engaging Presentation

People Inc. was excited to host “Monster” Mike Schultz, Paralympic athlete and gold and silver medalist, for a presentation and book signing on Tuesday, March 29, at our People Inc. Health Services Building! Mike shared his experiences with injury and the perseverance to continue a competitive career, along with a video called, “Going for Gold.” He spoke about his book, Driven to Ride: The True Story of an Elite Athlete Who Rebuilt His Leg, His Life and His Career. The book, co-authored by Western New York native, Matt Higgins, covers sports, business, Schultz’s experiences with injury, recovery and triumph, as well as working together as a team with his wife Sara.
“We were extremely proud to host our very first community event at our People Inc. Health Services Building with Monster Mike Shultz; his wife Sara; co-author Matt Higgins and Mike’s publicist, Katie Moses Swope,” said Dr. Becky Korosi, PT, DPT, ATC, associate vice president of People Inc. Rehabilitative Health Services and Social Work. “It was a privilege to meet such an accomplished athlete and entrepreneur, who shared his inspiring story and aspirations. This event made a lasting impression on our own Rehab Team as we, ourselves, strive to help our patients reach their personal functional goals.”
The audience consisted of area physicians, community members, our Rehab and Social Work Team, collegiate representatives, extreme sport enthusiasts and families. They showed great engagement with Mike’s story and asked questions that led to invigorating discussions. Attendees had the chance to purchase books, get autographs and meet Mike. The event was also an opportunity for people in the healthcare field and community to check out the new building and meet our clinicians of People Inc. Rehabilitative Health and Social Work Services, Home Health Care Services and People First Mobility.

View photos from the event in our Facebook photo album, plus a video interview with Mike!

Career Spotlight: Direct Support Professionals for Respite Programs
People Inc. is pleased to announce exciting part time direct support professional opportunities in our Respite Programs! One of the open positions runs Monday through Friday, from 2 to 6 p.m., while the other runs between 6 to 10 p.m. during the week, plus Saturday evenings. These Respite programs provide relief to those who are responsible for the primary care and support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The programs are located in Lockport, Amherst, Depew, Buffalo, East Aurora, Rochester and Kenmore/Tonawanda. Paid training is provided, plus outstanding benefits! Apply online.
Tribute Gifts Welcome
You can help support People Inc. by honoring a loved one who has passed away, celebrating an occasion or recognizing someone special with a Tribute Gift. Tribute Gifts can be made at any time throughout the year to benefit the People Inc. Foundation, supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families and older adults.

In Memory of: A gift in memory of someone is a thoughtful way to memorialize the life of a loved one, while continuing to support a mission you or they cared deeply about.

In Honor of: Celebrations, such as birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, awards, weddings or any occasion that brings joy.
Your generosity is greatly appreciated! Tribute Gifts can be made online or if you have any questions, contact Christine Melchiorre at or 716.817.7269.
People Inc. Principal Psychologist Karen Battaglia, PsyD
David Wantuck of Deaf Access Services, an affiliate of People Inc.
People Inc. Staff Share their Expertise
Our People Inc. staff and partners offer an array of expertise that help educate the community about the people we support and our various agency services. Staff are also available to members of the media to share their expertise. Here are a couple examples of how our team can be of assistance:
People Inc. Principal Psychologist Karen Battaglia, PsyD, is available for presentations, including her findings on health and service outcomes following the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities' move from Medicaid Service Coordination to Care Coordination. For more information, contact Dr. Battaglia at or 716.432.4335.
This year’s Academy Awards featured a historic win for the Deaf and disability communities! The film, CODA, which tells the story of Emilia, a child of Deaf adults (CODA) who attempts to help her family's struggling fishing business while pursuing her own aspirations of being a singer, garnered awards for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay! David Wantuck of Deaf Access Services, an affiliate of People Inc., shared insight with WGRZ-TV Channel 2 about the film’s success and what it means for people with hearing loss.
DEI Virtual Conference Registration Open – Two People Inc. Staff to be Presenters
Registration is now open for the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Virtual Conference, on Wednesday, May 18. The event is co-presented by AHRC Nassau and The Arc of the United States. Brad Watts and Pam Kefi of People Inc. are among the conference presenters. At the DEI Virtual Conference, explore issues at the intersection of disability and race. Join leaders from the private and public sector focused on connecting attendees with the latest insight, research, and most importantly, with each other. Learn more and register.
Get Social with Us!
There’s a lot going on within our agency – our goal is to make sure you’re caught up! A great way to stay updated is through our social media channels. We deliver agency news, updates about our supports, career opportunities and fun photos, plus info about our affiliates. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.
Pictured from left to right: Julie Haase-Smith, LCSW-R, Clinical Social Worker, supervisor; Jennelle Whitcomb, LCSW; Amanda Kastelic, LMSW and Heather Zukowski, LCSW, Clinical Social Worker.
Dedicated Social Work Team
Our People Inc. Social Work Team is committed to making a difference in the lives of those they support. Using a person-centered approach, they offer a variety of modalities to meet each person’s unique needs by providing individual, group and family therapy, treating a variety of needs. Our team is available year-round for children, adolescents, adults and families. Learn more at or call 716.566.5050.
Pictured from left to right: Julie Haase-Smith, LCSW-R, Clinical Social Worker, supervisor; Jennelle Whitcomb, LCSW; Amanda Kastelic, LMSW and Heather Zukowski, LCSW, Clinical Social Worker.
Multiple Apartment Options Accepting Applications
People Inc. provides a wide-variety of apartment options across Western New York that are accepting applications. Here’s the latest news that may benefit you, a loved one or someone you support:
A Kitchen at Oakwood Senior Apartments.
People Inc. Oakwood Senior Apartments: Located at 15 Oakwood Avenue in Blasdell, NY, one- and two-bedroom units are available. This brand NEW apartment complex is for people 55+ years, income-eligible. Additionally, there are seven furnished set-aside apartments for people 55+ who are income-eligible and are frail elderly homeless individuals. Section 8 vouchers accepted. The apartment units include a refrigerator, stove and dishwasher, plus safety features and building laundry facilities. Tenants may have one small pet. People Inc. Oakwood Senior Apartments are near a major bus route, as well as within blocks of restaurants and shopping.
A tenant in her kitchen at Linwood Lafayette.
People Inc. Linwood Lafayette Senior Apartments: Located at 637 Linwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY (corner of Linwood and Lafayette Avenues), the apartments are for people age 55+ and income-eligible. A one-bedroom market rate unit is available with rent at $1,077 per month with a minimum income of $28,500 and the maximum income of $45,600. The maintenance-free apartments include a refrigerator, stove and dishwasher, plus there are safety features, on-site laundry facilities, pet-friendly and AC.

People Inc. Senior Living: Multiple maintenance-free one-bedroom apartment locations throughout Erie and Niagara Counties are for independent older adults age 62 and up who are income-eligible. Many locations are accepting applications, including Amherst, Angola, Blasdell, Buffalo, South Buffalo, Gowanda, Grand Island, Lackawanna, Lockport, Springville and Wheatfield. Two benefits of People Inc. Senior Living are affordable rent based on income and safety features. (*Our Gowanda location provides HUD Section 202 Affordable Housing and NYS Tax Credit apartments for seniors age 62+. Accessible unit available. Amenities vary. TTD/TTY: 1.800.662.1220).

Amenities vary. Staff members are available to provide age and income eligibility details for
any of our apartments. For more info or an application, email or call 716.880.3890.
News from Deaf Access Services
Support Deaf Access Services
An upcoming fundraiser for Deaf Access Services, “Deafinitely BBQ Season,” includes two great ways to support this affiliate of People Inc. that works to bridge gaps between the Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing communities throughout Western New York.
From April 15 to 22, an online auction will be open for supporters to bid on unique items. The auction closes on Friday, April 22, at 9 p.m.
Additionally, barbecue dinners will be available for purchase from BW’s Smokin’ Barrels Barbecue on Thursday, April 21, from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the People Inc. Administrative Offices, 1219 North Forest Road, Williamsville, NY. Meals can be ordered online in advance or on the day of the event, while supplies last. This is a drive-thru event only. Purchase tickets and view meal selections.
For more information about available programs and trainings through Deaf Access Services, contact, call 716.833.1637 or videophone at 716.335.9192. News and event updates are posted on the Deaf Access Services Facebook page.

Learn ASL
Deaf Access Services, an affiliate of People Inc., is offering American Sign Language (ASL) classes! The $135 virtual classes take place from April 19 to June 23, with a goal of empowering students to become allies and advocates, to understand Deaf Culture and to communicate by using ASL. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today by visiting the Deaf Access Services website or emailing Check out the flyer for additional details.
NEWS from Headway of WNY

Newsletter Available Online
Headway of WNY, an affiliate of People Inc., has its Spring/Summer 2022 biannual newsletter edition available online. It features support group news, benefits of adult day programs and a parent’s perspective about an unsung hero, along with a contribution from staff of the University at Buffalo’s (UB) Department of Rehabilitation Science. Check it out!
Headway assists people and families with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), other cognitive conditions, seniors and veterans. The agency offers a variety of services, including: support groups, identification of supports, educational services, waiver programs and outreach.

News from Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center
Lothlorien Clean Up day.
All Tidy for Upcoming Therapeutic Equine Riding Sessions
Last month, a group of 20 volunteers and staff at Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, an affiliate of People Inc., took part in a clean-up day! Together, they stacked hay bales in the barn, swept, vacuumed and reorganized gear. The arena and sibling play area were also tidied. Registration for the 2022 season is now open! Call 716.949.3551 for more details.
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. Follow Lothlorien on Facebook.
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