Community Services for Every1

Community Services Promotes Chmielnicki To COO

BUFFALO, NYSharon Chmielnicki has been promoted to Vice President of Programs and COO. She will be replacing Mindy Cervoni who has recently been promoted to President & CEO. Her extensive years of experience, passion for our Mission, and tremendous leadership skills made her a natural fit for the current promotion.

As Chief Operating Officer, Chmielnicki will be responsible for overall operation of all programs and services of the Agency, including program administration, service delivery, program staff supervision, monitoring of program services, completing required reports and maintenance of records. She ensures compliance of all programs with regulatory and contractual requirements. Also, ensures achievement of financials and program outcome objectives. Chmielnicki will serve as Acting CEO in the absence of the President and CEO.

David Kraus Joins Agency Board

Buffalo, NYDavid J. Kraus, a highly-qualified finance and accounting professional has been appointed to the Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled Board of Directors.

David Kraus joins the Board with 20+ years of accounting and finance experience in both private and public institutions. Before relocating to Buffalo, NY, Kraus was the CFO and a Partner of the Commonwealth Advisors in Baton Rouge, LA. In addition, Kraus is an active member of the WNY community. He is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Buffalo Peacemakers, and a member of the Corporate Compliance Committee and Finance and Audit Committee for the Developmentally Disabled. Kraus is also a certified Chartered Financial Analyst, Management Accountant, and certified in Investment Performance Measurement.

DD Day Conference

On May 28, 2015, Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled participated in the DD DAY Conference. This is the largest one day conference for people with developmental disabilities in the United States.

This year, during the 27th Annual Award Ceremony, Community Services took home the Partnership Award presented by the Self-Advocacy Association of NYS. This award is given to a business or organization who focuses on best practices for services and options for people with developmental disabilities and exemplifies innovative strategies when creating programs and services. Mark R. Foley accepted this award on behalf of the Agency, accompanied by members of our L.E.A.D.E.R.S self advocacy group.

Xavier Chestnut was honored with the Personal Achievement Award. This award is presented to a person with a developmental disability who has made a successful stride towards greater independence and has helped other individuals to do the same.  Xavier participates in our Self-Directed Services plan.  His bright smile and giving spirit exemplify what it means to be, “Living the Community Services Mission.” Congratulations Xavier!

To learn more about DDDAY!, visit

Juneteenth Parade


Juneteenth is a holiday in the United States that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas in June 1865, and more generally the emancipation of African American slaves throughout the South.

In Buffalo, NY, Juneteenth is celebrated from June 13th to the 14th. This year they celebrated their 40th consecutive Juneteenth Festival at Dr. Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Park.

For the first time, Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled participated in their Juneteenth Parade early Saturday, June 13th. They began at the corner of Genesee and Goodyear and proceeded into MLK Park.

At Community Services we strive to encourage the people that we serve to be productive, participating members in the community. We felt that participating in the Juneteenth parade would be an excellent opportunity to get both our employees and the people we serve involved with the community. The day couldn’t have gone any more perfect. Everyone arrived bright and early that Saturday morning with their blue shirts, ready to have some fun. They had pounds of candy to give to the children who were eagerly awaiting with their bags wide open; banners and signs with the Community Services logo on them, and music to add to the festivities. Everyone had such a great time that they were already thinking about ideas of what to do next year. Thank you everyone who participated in the Juneteenth Parade!

Morning Show Host Becomes Foundation Board Member

Laura Daniels, Mix96 (WMSX, 96.1 fm) Morning Show Host for “The Mix Morning Rush with Laura Daniels” has been appointed to the Community Services Support Foundation Board of Directors

Laura brings 17 years of experience in media and marketing to the Board. Born and raised in Jamestown, Laura returned to Western New York after 15 years in the Albany, NY radio market. There she hosted mornings at WYJB, B95.5 fm, an Albany Broadcasting Company station, and was also a radio personality on sister stations WFLY Fly 92.3, WDVT 94.5 The Drive (Rutland, VT), and WZMR 104.9. In November of 2012, she returned to Western New York to become host of her own morning show called “Mix Morning Rush with Laura Daniels.” Laura is also President of Laura Daniels, Inc., a voiceover and copywriting business, also offering independent consulting on on marketing strategies, creative conceptions, specific recruitment and ad placement. We are happy to welcome Laura to our Board and look forward to the great energy, and fresh ideas she will bring.

Community Services Receives $10K Grant

by Dinorah Santos

First Niagara Provides Financial Support for Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled

— Bank will provide grant funding for programs to help those with disabilities learn job skills —

BUFFALO, N.Y., February 12, 2015 – The First Niagara Foundation and Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled are partnering to provide vocational and career readiness skills for people living with developmental disabilities in the City of Buffalo.  The programs will help such individuals work to become productive, contributing members of the community.

The First Niagara Foundation is providing a $10,000 grant to fund the employment programs.  Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled assists people with developmental disabilities in achieving their highest level of independent living.

“First Niagara is committed to supporting initiatives that provide opportunities for all individuals to reach their full potential,” said Elizabeth Gurney, Executive Director of the First Niagara Foundation.  “We are proud to work with Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled to offer initiatives that increase self-sufficiency and create a thriving community.”

“Many of the individuals with developmental disabilities we support through our vocational services are living in poverty situations in the City.  The objective of our programs is to support them by teaching work skills, interpersonal communication and customer relations skills that will help them find productive work,” said Mark Foley, President and CEO of Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled.


About The First Niagara Foundation

The First Niagara Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable entity. Founded in 1998, the First Niagara Foundation is committed to supporting organizations in the communities in which we live and work, with specific focus on Youth and Education, Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization. In 2014, First Niagara contributed more than $10.0 million in charitable grants and sponsorships to community partners across the bank’s four-state footprint.

Community Services Welcomes Jennifer O’Brien as New CFO

by Dinorah Santos

Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled is pleased to welcome Jennifer O’Brien as the new Vice President of Finance & CFO.

In her role as Vice President of Finance & CFO, she will oversee all aspects of the Agency’s finances. O’Brien brings with her over 25 years of experience in accounting, budgeting and financial analysis. Prior to this, O’Brien was the Controller at Buffalo Hearing and Speech.  She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Empire State College and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Utica College.