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

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

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


Lewiston-Porter High School

Empower Values Leadership

Leading Luminary Award

Mark Laurrie


Niagara Falls City School District

Empower Values Leadership

Junior Leading luminary Award

Charles Dieteman


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.