Category Archives: Our News

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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.






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


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.


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



In 2016, Empower began offering theater workshops to improve social skills in children, ages 7 to 15, who have autism spectrum disorder.  Students have the option of registering with a sibling or friend. Preference is given to Niagara County residents.

Autism services coordinator, Robin Stevens, meets with students and their families to get to know them and to determine program goals based on needs and interests.  This information is used to customize lessons and measure program effectiveness.

Over the course of 10 weeks, acting instructor, Brianna Lanoye, leads students through group and individual exercises focusing on gestures, eye contact, voice projection,  leadership, listening to each others’ perspectives and improvisational skills.

Students showcase their hard work in a final performance attended by family and friends.