Residents bake treats for four-legged friends

Residents bake treats for four-legged friends

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Residents bake treats for four-legged friends

The residents at one of our homes have been practicing their baking skills by making homemade treats for our four-legged friends. They used two different recipes to make dog cookies. Everyone helped to mix the ingredients, roll the dough, cut out the cookies and then bake them. They even had a few visitors act as taste testers! The residents plan to donate the treats to the SPCA.

A man cuts out shapes in dough on a cookie sheet
A woman cuts out shapes in dough
A group of homemade dog treats our residents baked
A man rolls out dough on a cookie sheet
A man pets a dog outside

Making special gifts for Father’s Day

Making special gifts for Father’s Day

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Making special gifts for Father’s Day

While social distancing, our IRA staff have worked hard to keep our residents’ safe, engaged and having fun. They have celebrated several holidays together, too.

Recently, the boys at one of our southtown IRAs were busy making special presents to celebrate Father’s Day!

They used popsicle sticks, wood and tools to make some really cool birdhouses. Once the birdhouses were constructed, the boys used paint to decorate them with bright colors and cartoon figures. The finished products looked great.

Thank you to our staff for arranging this activity. We love seeing their creativity shine!

A young man uses a power drill to make a birdhouse
A young man uses paint markers to decorate a birdhouse

Out of the Blue plans festive holiday lunch

Out of the Blue plans festive holiday lunch

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Out of the Blue plans festive holiday lunch

In December, our wonderful partners at Out of the Blue WNY held their annual holiday lunch for nearly 200 people we support.

Niagara Frontier American Legion Post 1041 was very generous in donating their hall free of charge to host the event. People were able to sing karaoke, socialize, and eat a delicious meal from Cabaret’s. Volunteers from Out of the Blue helped serve food and spent time getting to know some of the people we serve.

Santa and Mrs. Claus also made a visit, helping our Service Collaborative student volunteers serve cookies after lunch. DSP Michael Cirrito also spread some holiday cheer by playing some holiday carols on his trumpet, encouraging everyone to sing along.

 We a so grateful to Out of the Blue for arranging this as well as American Legion for hosting us!​

Adopt a Family Holiday Store another success

Adopt a Family Holiday Store another success

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Adopt a Family Holiday Store another success

Holiday spirit was in the air as we held our second Adopt a Family Holiday Store in December. We collected gift donations from several generous donors and set up a store at our 1845 Kenmore location to give families the opportunity to shop for gifts.

Thanks to our incredible donors, we were able to provide gifts to more than 150 children this year! In addition to picking out gifts, families were able to choose a homemade blanket as a family gift. Our volunteers helped families shop as well as wrap presents. Those who could not attend the event had gifts dropped off by our employees.

We would like to thank M&T Bank, Sweet Charlotte’s, BlueCross BlueShield of WNY, Millard Fillmore Surgery Center LLC, WNY Urology, Bath Fitter, Hamburg Schools and all of our employees and board members who donated. We would also like to thank everyone who gave monetary donations as well as Barb Burgstahler for making all the blankets for the families.

Finally, we would like to extend a big thank you to our volunteers who helped make this year’s holiday store possible. We can’t wait to get started on next year’s event!​

Proud of getting her first job

Proud of getting her first job

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Proud of getting her first job

Samantha felt a sense of pride and excitement when she recently obtained and started her first job.

Samantha has been employed at KeyBank Center through Pegula Sports & Entertainment (PSE) since September. She is responsible for helping clean the arena after events. Samantha enjoys working the day shift and has learned many new things while working, such as keeping a schedule, using the public transportation route to get to and from work, keeping herself safe by wearing gloves while she cleans, and navigating her way through KeyBank Center.

Samantha says that having a job requires her to be responsible, to work hard and to learn to manage her time. She has grown in independence, as she is now earning her own money. Samantha has also made a lot of new friends at her job.

Thanks to our partners at Pegula Sports Entertainment and the KeyBank Center for creating a great work environment!

Students develop skills through Banquet and Server Training

Students develop skills through Banquet and Server Training

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Students develop skills through Banquet and Server Training

Our third cohort of students from The Service Collaborative of WNY Inc. started our new Banquet and Restaurant Server training at the Jefferson Career Exploration Center .

During this course, the students will not only focus on the importance of Guest Services, but will also learn, through classroom lessons and use of the Banquet Suite, how to prepare a space for different dining experiences. In addition to this, the course will also feature guest speakers, tours of local businesses and job shadowing opportunities.

Recently, the class welcomed Heather Smith, Director of Human Resources from the Curtiss Hotel. Heather was able to provide the students with great insight as to what they look for in potential employees, while touching upon the importance of Guest Services as well. The students were truly impressed with what the Curtiss had to offer and showed much interest in becoming a part of their team someday! ​