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Supporting Choices at The Edge

Mar 04, 2024

It’s the beginning of the day, and everyone is greeted with great enthusiasm as they come in the door of The Edge, People Inc.’s new “Day Habilitation Without Walls” program. The group is excited to learn updates from each other since they were last together. Both the people who attend and the staff show enthusiasm for the start of their day at this space on 66th Street in Niagara Falls.

The Edge offers adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities opportunities to interact in the community. It does not literally mean there are no walls, rather, that there is maximum community integration and activities tailored to each person.

After moving from the Golisano Center, the team at The Edge enjoys the flexibility provided in this new location. An array of activities are offered, including art, exercise, cooking, a stage with sound system, computers, use of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Niagara Community Center, just to name a few. The staff work with each person’s needs and interests, while empowering choices, to create the activities for the day.

On a recent Tuesday there was a flurry of activity and many people to meet, including:

  • Donte Griffin, a direct support professional who has been with People Inc. for two years, is quick to explain all the different activities the attendees can select from, explaining that every day is different here. “We might be drawing, playing a board or card game, having a ping-pong tournament, cooking – especially for the holidays, playing a very competitive game of basketball, bringing lots of energy to the stage with karaoke or covering safety training skills in the community,” he said. When he noticed that one of the people attending the program was having a challenging morning, Donte invited her to take a walk outside.  He knew that the calming environment of the neighborhood would provide her a chance to talk and relax.
  • Matthew Dinino, who welcomes you and introduces each person by name. He likes to play volleyball.
  • Tiffany Carr enjoys all the room and choices they have both at this new location and when they are out in the community. Her favorite activities are basketball, tennis and kickball. Tiffany likes seeing her friends each day and how friendly the staff is. She also enjoys the opportunities to walk in the neighborhood and explore the mall.
  • Tabitha Schuman says the staff are good listeners and very funny. She has many favorite activities, including doing research and word puzzles on the computer, singing rock music on the stage with karaoke and playing basketball.
  • Corey Cunningham enjoys coming to The Edge and is helping to build a “Lego” town. She also likes going to the community center to get exercise.
  • Marche Moody, a direct support professional who has been with the agency four years, is excited to be rebuilding the program after the COVID hiatus. “It is very refreshing to be in this new location where everyone can be themselves, and we have the room to work with each person. We have seen the people we support be more comfortable and really grow.” One of the activities Marche enjoys is accompanying the attendees to the Community Center for basketball, volleyball, kickball, and soccer, remarking on how competitive this group of people can be.

The staff are busy preparing for a future talent show, softball tournament and working in the community garden. Through partnerships with other area organizations and businesses, the team at The Edge will be expanding community-based volunteer and other opportunities.

“We have fun together and learn from each other,” Donte said. “We understand how difficult lives can be outside of here – so we work hard to create a safe place where the people we support can be themselves.”

Learn more about People Inc. Day Programs

A day at The Edge in photos: