Highlighting employee’s positive impact

Highlighting employee’s positive impact

Home » News

Highlighting employee’s positive impact

Charles Blakely has been a driver with our Transportation Department for four years. He is being recognized for his compassion, dedication and the wonderful service he provides each day.

After retiring from the Department of Veteran Affairs, Charles wanted something to do with his time, so he began working at Community Services. Prior to that, Charles served in the Navy and he worked at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center and Bethlehem Steel. He said he continues to work at our agency because he truly enjoys it. He likes his coworkers and the individuals he sees every day.

Transportation Manager Jonathan Brant said, “Charles has a unique character, personality and class that I wish I could replicate. He is the kind of person that makes the world a better place.”

Jonathan said Charles displays good manners, respect, compassion, a code of ethics, and a dedication to serve others every minute of every day, and he does it all with humility. Charles has a positive attitude, even when he finds himself in sticky situations. He manages to brighten even the worst days. He treats everyone with dignity and respect.

Charles would say that he is just doing his job, but in reality he provides exemplary service every day. Charles engages the people he serves and their families and support groups. He ensures that the individuals on his bus and their loved ones are confident that they are in good hands when placed in his care.

Charles does a million little things that have monumental impacts. When he sees that the floor is dirty, he sweeps it. He cleans a mess when he finds one, helps push out a car stuck in the snow, shovels snow when the plow doesn’t quite get everything, and helps brush off the snow of others’ cars. Charles reminds his coworkers that everything will be okay when they feel overwhelmed and so much more.

He goes above and beyond by reaching out to families of the people he transports and communicates if he will be early or late. During the cold weather, Charles made sure that no one had to wait in the cold for him. He works with programs to let them know if there are any issues or concerns with the people he transports, and he keeps everyone safe.

Executive Assistant Colleen Sullivan said, “My daughter, Reilly, was getting on the van and somehow she wrapped the seat belt around one of her tires of her wheelchair. Charles was very calm, did not blame her or make her feel bad, and talked to her as he fixed it to keep her calm.”

Charles’ charm will win you over instantly. His kindness and warm personality will improve your day in just one short conversation. Charles is an absolute gentleman and a role model for everyone. Thank you, Charles, for all that you do to support the people we serve and your coworkers. We are so lucky to have you as a part of the Community Services Team!

Charles Blakely headshot

Celebrating Easter with some fun activities

Celebrating Easter with some fun activities

Home » News

Celebrating Easter with some fun activities

People at our IRAs and Community Based Day Hab celebrated the Easter holiday earlier this month with some fun activities!

Tina Gagnon, a DSP at one of our Southtown IRAs, dressed up as the Easter Bunny and brought sweet treats for each of the people she supports. She wanted to bring a safe and fun Easter experience to everyone at the IRA. Our Grand Island IRA also had some fun participating in a glow in the dark Easter egg hunt. Everyone had a blast wearing glow sticks and searching for the bright colored eggs. People at another Southtowns IRA also had a great time dyeing eggs different colors.

Participants at our Community Based Day Hab celebrated with a party, enjoying treats and Easter egg dyeing with their friends.

Thank you to all of our employees who helped organize these fun Easter activities so the people we support could enjoy and celebrate the holiday safely!

The Easter Bunny poses with a man we support
People we support enjoy an Easter party
Dyed eggs for Easter are drying on racks
The Easter Bunny gives a basket to a woman we support
People we support dye eggs for Easter
A young man wearing glow sticks gives the thumbs up
Glow in the dark eggs for a special Easter egg hunt
A young man we support wears glow stick glasses

Making strides toward independence

Making strides toward independence

Home » News

Making strides toward independence

At Community Services, our number one goal is making dreams come true for the people we support and helping them become independent.

Mary Ann has been working toward her goals with us for many years, and recently, she achieved two huge milestones!

“I got a job at Delta Sonic! Most of you know I was told I’d never be able to work or even live on my own. My struggles were so bad I didn’t even think I could do it,” she said.

Mary Ann worked hard to overcome challenges and is so excited to be working at her first job. She said she loves working at Delta Sonic. She works there three days a week and some of her responsibilities include helping to wipe down the cars after they go through the car wash.

Not only did she start a new job, but Mary Ann also moved into her first apartment! She said she enjoys being able to be on her own and do things for herself.

“If this agency didn’t exist, none of this would be possible,” Mary Ann said.

While we are thrilled to have helped Mary Ann achieve her dreams, she succeeded because of her hard work and effort. We are so proud of everything that Mary Ann has accomplished and grateful that she shared her story with us!

“I am where I need to be thanks to you all,” Mary Ann said. “I learn a lot down the line from you all, like not to use my disabilities as an excuse. It does not define me. I have an ability not a disability!”

Mary Ann headshot

Becoming a hero in the community

Becoming a hero in the community

Home » News

Becoming a hero in the community

Craig “Bucky” Carder, a Self-Hired Community Habilitation Assistant, is being recognized for helping Malachi, a young man he supports, give back to the community.

Malachi loves superheroes and he recently became one after donating blood to the American Red Cross. Malachi was talking with Bucky about how Bucky had recently donated blood and how the process works. Bucky asked Malachi if he had ever thought about donating his own blood and Malachi said no. When Bucky explained to Malachi that in donating blood he could save a life, Malachi instantly indicated that this was something he would like to do.

Just a few short months later an opportunity came up for Malachi to donate. Before going to his scheduled appointment, Malachi practiced answering some of the personal questions he would have to answer before donating. When Malachi arrived to the appointment to donate blood, he sailed through the questions with complete ease. The Red Cross staff were patient and very understanding with Malachi as he sat proudly and gave one unit of blood without any hurdles whatsoever. After several high fives, Malachi left his appointment feeling proud. Bucky even dressed up as “Captain Red Cross” in support of Malachi.

Since donating, Malachi has learned about how our blood contains iron. Bucky also encouraged Malachi to add the Red Cross app to his phone so he can track the amount of blood he donates throughout his life. When asked, Malachi said he plans to donate blood again.

Thank you, Bucky, for helping Malachi find a way to give back to his community and supporting him through the process!

Craig "Bucky" Carder dressed as Captain Red Cross
Malachi was happy to donate blood to help others.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a traditional meal

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a traditional meal

Home » News

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a traditional meal

​This year we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at our Jefferson Career Center in the Culinary Arts Suite with a traditional corned beef and cabbage meal.

Throughout the week, Chef Meredith discussed the background on this American Irish dinner, and the people we support had the opportunity to learn and make their own soda bread to go along with the dinner, both face to face and via Zoom.

While making the bread, they discussed portion size and oven safety as well as the ease of cooking this at home, promoting independent living skills and knowledge!

Picture of meal kits with corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes.
Picture of a young man we support with his St. Patrick's Day meal kit
Picture of homemade soda bread

Turning an internship into a job

Turning an internship into a job

Home » News

Turning an internship into a job

A headshot of Brandon

Brandon began his employment journey in the Employment Training Program, ETP, in March of 2020. ETP is a program funded through New York State.

Brandon worked with his job coach to discover various career fields and responsibilities, work on development of skills and to find and secure a paid internship. Brandon decided to do his internship at Community Services for Every1 at the Jefferson Career Exploration Center as a Custodian and began on March 17, 2020.

After completing his ETP internship, Brandon gained employment though our agency as the Custodian for our Jefferson Career Exploration Center in September 2020 and is doing wonderfully! He continues to work with his job coach and is truly a wonderful addition to the team. Brandon is always punctual, completes his daily tasks on time, monitors any needs and barriers that arise, communicates with other staff, and helps to ensure the building is clean and safe for everyone.

We are so proud of Brandon and excited to have him on our team!