Empower Earns CQL Accreditation

The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) works with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure and improve quality of life and quality of services for people with disabilities, people with mental illness and older people.  For the past year, Empower has been gathering documentation on its policies and practices to demonstrate that it helps people to live their best lives through the provision of excellent services and supports towards the goal of earning CQL accreditation.

During the week of April 16-20, CQL reviewers visited Empower to assess whether the agency met the qualifications to be awarded CQL accreditation.  Reviewers learned about the organization through a presentation by Empower senior leadership team members, tours of all Empower sites, Personal Outcome Measures interviews, observations, and focus groups of family, self-advocacy and DSPs.  This information was compared against the documentation provided by Empower to determine whether CQL accreditation would be awarded.  Reviewers established that Empower demonstrated that its policies and practices meet the standard of accreditation with the condition that additional improvements would be made in specific areas over the next eighteen months.

The highlight of the week was a day-long gathering of key Empower stakeholders who included service recipients and their families, staff, Board members, community representatives, and  staff from OPWDD and the Self Advocacy Association of NYS.  Participants shared perspectives on how best to support people with disabilities in living their best lives and listened as service recipients described what fulfillment means to them.  This feedback will be used to shape the areas for improvement identified by CQL reviewers.

Empower is an organization that is constantly challenging itself and those it serves to be better.  This is why it sought and earned CQL accreditation, and why the pursuit of excellence will continue.  Onward!

Jackie McGrath Talks About Her Involvement In The Community

Jackie McGrath has received services from Empower for a long time, most recently learning job skills at the Empties for Empower Meadowbrook location.   She lives with her sister, Karen, and gets around to various volunteer and recreational activities thanks to her other sister, Terry.

Jackie fulfills her love of helping people by volunteering at Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital.  According to Jackie, “I enjoy meeting new people and helping them get to places [in the hospital.]  Recently, I helped a nurse who was a patient and who was very sick.  She told me I was sweet and requested me by name to help her again.  That makes me feel good.”

In addition, Jackie volunteers at Empower for Elders, helping with lunch set-ups and playing games with participants.  Once, when a service recipient was having trouble learning a game and putting herself down as a result, Jackie helped her work through her frustration and provided support to not negatively personalize the event.

Jackie also belongs to a women’s bowling league and plays bocci ball.  She likes to stay busy, and hopes her example will inspire others to get more involved in their communities.  Way to go,  Jackie!

Staff Referral Bonus Available

Empower is committed to ensuring people it serves receive the very best care; having enough staff to provide care is central to this commitment.  Lately, service providers are having to compete for employees with retailers like Target that pay similar wages for less demanding work.  That’s why Empower has been advocating for a living wage for direct care workers through the #bfair2directcare movement.

In addition, Empower created an incentive program whereby current staff (except members of the Senior Leadership Team and Human Resources department) can receive $150 for referring a DSP.  Receipt of the bonus is contingent on: a) notation on the job application that the person was referred and by whom, and b) the person referred must pass probation.

So, if you know someone who is looking for a job and enjoys helping people, tell them to fill out an application.  Applications are available at the administrative building and online.  You’ll get cash and they’ll get to be part of Team Empower!  Win, win!

Volunteer Needed

Empower is seeking a volunteer to sit at the front desk at its administrative office.  Duties include answering phones and greeting visitors.  The ideal candidate is someone who is available a few hours during the work week, and has a helpful and professional demeanor.  If interested, please contact Petrina at (716) 297-0798, x175 or