Category Archives: News

What’s New

COMMUNITY HEALTH NEWS

Coming This Summer: Empower for Elders

Empower for Elders is a new program for adults age 60 and over, including those who are physically frail, persons with dementia and/or memory loss of the Alzheimer’s type or related disorders.  It is a structured group activity program that will provide socialization and supportive services in a caring environment.  At the same time, Empower for Elders offers caregivers respite from their caregiving responsibilities.

The program is based on the philosophy that each individual has a need and capacity for socialization which does not diminish with age; that socialization helps prevent depression, loneliness, and premature institutionalization; and that supportive services in a caring environment can enable people with functional impairments to live their lives more fully.

Our goal is to provide a welcoming, home-like setting with warm, friendly, well-trained staff and volunteers who support the functioning, safety, and dignity of each participant.

Hours of operation:

  • Monday through Friday, during the hours of 8:00am – 5:00pm

We will also be accepting gently used or new board games, card games and craft supplies for this new initiative.

For more information, please contact Karen Smith, Director of Community Health Programs at 716-297-0798 ext 163 or ksmith@empower-wny.org.

TOP STORIES

The Butterfly Effect

Butterflies were the inspiration for art made by some students for the second annual art show.  Students got to watch the process of metamorphosis as live caterpillars changed to chrysalides and finally to beautiful butterflies, learning science and art simultaneously.   But, the experience had an unexpected, additional benefit we are calling the butterfly effect: a student with autism who previously did not talk a lot began spontaneously speaking to the butterflies, encouraging them to fly!

Ms. Shaila, the student’s teacher, expressed her surprise at this unexpected benefit:  “I never imagined that the experience of making art and interacting with live creatures would help a student become more verbal.  It goes to show that every effort makes a difference.”

Preparations for the art show, which took place May 18, began with classes reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  In Ms. Shaila’s class, the caterpillar in the story came to life, fascinating students as they transformed from chrysalides to butterflies.  Every morning, students gathered at the netted enclosure and asked “are the butterflies here yet?”  When the butterflies finally came out, the students’ were very excited to see them.

Ms. Shaila’s class made many craft activities based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar which also taught them facts about butterflies.  For example, children learned that butterflies have upper and lower wings while making butterflies out of coffee filters and bingo markers.  In another craft, the lesson that butterfly wings consist of soft and hard textures was taught while making butterfly collages with dried eggshells, soft tissue and dry colored rice and glue.

The art displayed at the art show on May 18 is representative of hours of fun and learning made meaningful by being tied to real life experiences and through the use of multiple subjects and activities.  Progress made by students, such as the one who began to spontaneously speak, shows the butterfly effect that occurs when this method of teaching is used.  It is this standard of excellence that makes the Children’s Academy the best pre-k in town!

A Big Win For #bfair2directcare, More Work Needed

After a 12-month advocacy initiative led by Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State and its affiliates, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Congress approved the 2017-18 state budget that included $45 million to raise salaries of direct care professionals who work directly with people with developmental disabilities.

While this commitment is good news, #bfair2directcare will continue as $45 million is needed in each of the next six year’s budgets to ensure a living wage for these workers.

Empower would like to thank Senator Robert Ortt and Assemblymember Angelo Morinello for their unwavering support of this effort.

Spectrum

Free Theater Camp Offered by Empower to Kids with Autism

For additional information, contact:
Elizabeth Cardamone, Director of Communication and Development
Office: (716) 297-0798, ext. 173, Cell: (773) 430-9499
E-mail: ecardamone@empower-wny.org

Free Theater Camp Offered by Empower to Kids with Autism

TOWN OF NIAGARA, N.Y., April 10, 2017 – Empower, the not-for-profit organization formerly known as Niagara Cerebral Palsy, will offer a free theater camp to children with autism, beginning June 6, 2017.  Up to 40 students who are between the ages of 7 and 15 and who have autism spectrum disorder, will be accepted.  To register, please contact Krystle D’Aloise at (716) 297-0798, ext. 120 or kdaloise@empower-wny.org.

Called Spectrum Theater Program, the camp will meet twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Empower Children’s Academy, located at 9812 Lockport Road in the Town of Niagara. Theater instructors will lead students through group and individual acting exercises that build confidence, problem solving skills and social abilities.  Students will focus on gestures, eye contact, voice projection, listening to each other’s perspectives and improvisational skills. They will develop a play out of their own imaginations, memorize lines and perform in front of a live audience on Saturday, July 8, 2017.

According to Empower CEO, Jeff Paterson: “We held the camp twice in 2016, and both times, students showed marked improvement in their social skills as a result of participating.  Thanks to our two grantors, Arts Services Initiative of Western New York Inc. and The Children’s Guild Foundation, Empower is able to continue the Spectrum Theater Program in 2017, add a second theater instructor and expand enrollment from 20 to 40 students.”

With 300 employees and a $14 million budget, Empower is one of Western New York’s 50 largest nonprofit organizations. The administrative offices, preschool, community clinic and service coordination program are located on Lockport Road in the Town of Niagara. The job training and day programs division is based in Niagara Falls, while residential facilities are located throughout Niagara County. Licensed by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and the New York State Education Department, Empower is an affiliate of the Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State.

###

Free Theater Camp Offered by Empower to Kids with Autism

Proforma_23166_Empower Golf RSVP_CP1_Page_1

Fran and Gary Hall To Be Honored by Empower For Work on Behalf of People with Developmental Disabilities

For additional information, contact: Elizabeth Cardamone, Director of Communication and Development Office: (716) 297-0798, ext. 173, Cell: (773) 430-9499 E-mail: ecardamone@empower-wny.org

Fran and Gary Hall To Be Honored by Empower For Work on Behalf of People with Developmental Disabilities

TOWN OF NIAGARA, N.Y., May 9, 2017 – Empower, the not-for-profit organization formerly known as Niagara Cerebral Palsy, will award Fran and Gary Hall the Chairman’s Award at its annual golf tournament.

The golf tournament will take place on Monday, June 19 at the Niagara Frontier Country Club, 1058 Lake Rd., Youngstown, N.Y. 14174.  The award will be presented at the post-tournament dinner, which will be held at 6:30 p.m.  Dinner tickets are $60 per person,and may be purchased by phone at (716) 297-0798, ext. 120 or online at http://empower-wny.org.  Space is still available for golfers as well.

Fran and Gary Hall, longtime Niagara County residents and generous philanthropists, will receive this year’s Chairman’s Award for their generous support of Empower and numerous other community organizations.  A gift from the Halls enabled Empower to add new flooring, furniture and recreational items to its day program in Niagara Falls. They also played a lead role in opening the new Niagara Community Center on 66th Street, which they have generously opened for weekly visits from individuals supported by Empower.

“Fran and Gary’s fingerprints are all over this community, and their contributions have transformed lives,” said Empower Chief Executive Officer Jeff Paterson. “Yet they avoid the spotlight and seek no credit. Their humility and genuine goodness are what we admire most in them.”

With 300 employees and a $14 million budget, Empower is one of Western New York’s 60 largest nonprofit organizations. The administrative offices, preschool, community clinic and service coordination program are located on Lockport Road in the Town of Niagara. The job training and day programs division is based in Niagara Falls, while residential facilities are located throughout Niagara County. Licensed by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and the New York State Education Department, Empower is an affiliate of the Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State.

###

Fran and Gary Hall Honored at Empower Golf Tournament

SERVICE COORDINATION NEWS

Giving Tree

Right after Thanksgiving, the Medicaid Service Coordination team put up a tree by the front door.  On the tree were ornaments with gift requests from families served by this division who cannot afford to make these wishes come true for their children.  Thanks to the generosity of Empower staff and a $700 grant from the United Way of Greater Niagara Student Fund, the tree was bare well before the holiday and an abundance of gifts were donated. Thanks to everyone who participated.

bikes Empower giving tree gifts 12.15.16

COMMUNITY HOUSING NEWS

Halloween Spooktacular

Once again, Community Housing haunted the halls of an innocent and unsuspecting fire hall for our annual Halloween Spooktacular party. This was a great time for not only our residents, but also our friends from the vocational division. Everyone enjoyed great food, music and scary costumes and decorations.

Frank Rice Profiled in Living the Values Nominee Video

In January, Frank Rice, a nurse in the community Housing division, was nominated for a Living the Values award by his co-worker, Anna Stickney.  In this video, Anna explains how Frank embodies collaboration, one of Empower’s five core values.

Community Housing Celebrates the Super Bowl

Community Housing celebrated the Super Bowl as any family does, with lots of snacks, hollering and mixed opinions about who should win.

Steele Circle Super Bowl

COMMUNICATION/DEVELOPMENT NEWS

Spectrum Theater Program: 2016 Final Report, Program will Continue in 2017

Joe Stevens (second from right) was a wonderful mentor to students, including (from left to right) Joshua, Brendan and Jacob

Joe Stevens (second from right) was a wonderful mentor to students, including (from left to right) Joshua, Brendan and Jacob

The Spectrum Theater Program, which provides free theater classes to children with autism, wrapped up its second session on December 3 with a final performance called Little Red Head that delighted the audience.  In reviewing the program, it was determined that students were better able to maintain eye contact, wait their turn to speak and show empathy as a result of their participation.  Click here to read the 2016 final report.

Empower again received a $1,500 grant from the Arts Services Initiative of Western New York to continue the program in 2017. Efforts to obtain additional funding are underway.

As In 2016, the program will run in two session, held in the summer and fall of 2017 at Empower Children’s Academy. To be eligible, children need to be between the ages of 7-15 and have an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis.  For more information, please contact Elizabeth Cardamone at 716-297-0798, x173 or ecardamone@empower-wny.org.

Empower Receives $299,133 Grant

The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York awarded Empower a $299,133 grant to replace the aging roof and heating and cooling systems at the 9812 location, that houses the school, clinic and administrative offices.  It was a very competitive grant process (of the 635 agencies that applied, 237 received grants) with organizations of Empower’s size needing to score more than 90 points to be awarded a grant.  This is the biggest grant in Empower’s sixty year history and is critical to the agency’s infrastructure and financial stability.

Annual Appeal Brings In $7,000

For the first time in years, Empower sent out an annual appeal in November to over 600 prospective contributors, resulting in 35 donors giving a total of $7,000 (average donation was $200.)  This money will be used to expand the fundraising program with the goal of increasing the organization’s capacity to cultivate donors and offer donors more options on how they can support Empower. 

Thank you to everyone who contributed, and to Matrix Imaging Solutions, Inc. for sending out the mailing.   If you have not yet donated, there’s still time.  Click here to make an online contribution, or contact Elizabeth Cardamone at 716-297-0798, x173 or ecardamone@empower-wny.org.

Living the Values Awards Luncheon

In October, Empower held its first external function recognizing eight individuals, companies and organizations in the community for their support of the agency and developmental disabilities.  Over 90 people gathered to celebrate the contributions of those being honored.  Videos about each awardee were shown in advance of award presentations.  Here is the video about Charles Dieteman who upholds Empower’s value of leadership for being a wonderful disabilities ambassador.  Every year, Charles raises cerebral palsy awareness and money that is then donated to Empower.  Each award was linked one of Empower’s five values.  The seven additional awardees are:

Empower Values Excellence

Inspiring Individual Award

Matt Minderler

Student

Lewiston-Porter High School

Empower Values Leadership

Leading Luminary Award

Mark Laurrie

Superintendent

Niagara Falls City School District

Empower Values Leadership

Junior Leading luminary Award

Charles Dieteman

Student

Lewiston-Porter Middle School

Empower Values Accountability

Faithful Funder Award

The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation

Empower Values Collaboration

Priceless Partner Award

The Parent Network of Western New York

Empower Values Dignity

Committed Contractor Award

Matrix Imaging Solutions, Inc.

Click here to see their videos.

 

 

 

 

COMMUNITY HEALTH NEWS

Foot Pain? 

Take the First step towards a healthier future!

Dr. Caputi, our podiatrist, is kind and experienced, proving care in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere

Dr. Caputi, our podiatrist, is kind, patient and experienced, delivering quality care in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere

Empower’s Podiatry Clinic provides general foot care, as well as wellness and maintenance exams for at-risk patients, such as those with diabetes or circulation problems.  Our podiatrist, Dr. Richard Caputi, DPM, has been with us for over 3 years and patient care and satisfaction are always a priority to him.  We accept Medicare and Medicaid, some Managed Long Term Care Insurances as well as very reasonable private pay rates.  We are always happy to accept new patients.  For more information on scheduling an appointment or to see if we accept your insurance, please give our friendly clinic staff a call at (716) 297-0798 ext. 189.

Pictured left to right: Michele Dier, Jenna Carroll, Lorne Santoro, Bri Carroll and Romany Giove

JOB TRAINING NEWS

Polo Ralph Lauren Family Brings Cheer to Empower Day Program

Pictured left to right: Michele, Jenna Carroll, Lorne Santoro, Bri Carroll and Romany Giove

Pictured left to right: Michele Dier, Jenna Carroll, Lorne Santoro, Bri Carroll and Romany Giove

Empower’s Job Training and Day Program staff would like to express their sincere appreciation to the Polo Ralph Lauren store for their generosity throughout the year.  Store Manager, Romany Giove and her elves visited Empower on holidays throughout the year, bringing with them yummy treats.  At Christmas, two individuals received coats, boots, gloves, sneakers, pajamas, socks, slippers, purses, book bags, hygiene products and arts and crafts supplies.  Thank you, Romany and your elves for brightening our year with your cheer.

Employer Spotlight: C&W Services

Empower employment counselors, Jennifer Burns (left) and Mike Marra (right) present Robert Gordon (middle), C&W Services District Manager, with the Employer of the Year award in October

Empower employment counselors, Jennifer Burns (left) and Mike Marra (right) present Robert Gordon (middle), C&W Services District Manager, with the Employer of the Year award in October

C&W Services is an integrated facility provider that employs five individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.  Each worker is supported by an Empower employment counselor who helps them gain job skills and find a job that matches their interests and abilities.  After being hired, workers and their coaches continue to meet biweekly for ongoing coaching and follow-along support.

Established in 2010, the partnership between Empower and C & W Services has been strong and mutually beneficial. Workers earn a wage, feel proud and self-sufficient and meet many people. C & W Services and their clients enjoy clean spaces thanks to the hard work of individuals who are conscientious and pleasant to be around.

C & W Services received the Exceptional Employer Award in October in honor of its collaboration with Empower and the individuals it supports.

2 NEW BUSES GRANTED TO EMPOWER

Empower received 2 new trucks through the FTA Section 5310 Grant program

Empower received 2 new buses through the FTA Section 5310 Grant program

Empower’s Job Training and Day Program division recently received two new buses thanks to a grant funded by the United States Department of Transportation and by the Federal Transit Administration.  With the addition of these vehicles, Day Program participants can go on more community outings, and be transported to and from the Day Program, which is critical to those who live more than three quarters of a mile from a bus route and therefore cannot use public transportation.

Tree Decorated for Festival of Trees

Like the Children’s Academy, Empower’s job training and day program division also participated in the Power Vista’s Festival of Trees with this beautifully-decorated tree.

Job training/day program division contributed a beatifully decorate tree to the Power Authority's Festival of Trees

Job training/day program division contributed this lovely tree to the Power Authority’s Festival of Trees