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disabilities

December 18, 2020 - 12:35pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) welcomes Kahlil Simon into his new position as a Housing Specialist.

In this role, he will assist individuals to apply for, and navigate, the programs and services offered through ILGR, including, coordinating housing evaluations for persons experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, household budget counseling, employment advocacy, home environmental accessibility consultation, as well as serving as a liaison with landlords.

Prior to this promotion, Kahlil Simon served ILGR as a Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Peer Specialist, where he earned a New York Peer Specialist Provisional Certification.

Before his coming to the Agency, he had worked as an Imaging Services Secretary at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, where he was recognized with an Exemplary Service Award. During his tenure at the Medical Center, Simon was inspired to seek work that was more community service-oriented, ultimately obtaining employment with ILGR. 

About his new position, he says, “Here at ILGR, it’s my goal to provide a service to the members of our communities that are in need of assistance, while upholding the high standards of this organization.”

Simon attended Genesee Community College in Batavia after moving to the area from Brooklyn.

ILGR is delighted that Kahlil Simon will continue to serve the disability community in this new position.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

November 19, 2020 - 3:19pm
posted by Press Release in business, ILGR, disabilities.

Submitted photo and press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) welcomes Lucie Griffis (inset photo right) to its staff to be an Independent Living Outreach Specialist in their NYConnects program.

NYConnects is a statewide initiative, led locally by ILGR, offering assistance in finding long-term supports so people can live independently.

Griffis will be assisting older adults and individuals with disabilities, and their families, in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, to access these resources including, securing public benefits and obtaining personal care services, to enable them to remain living independently in the communities of their choice. 

Among her prior positions, Griffis was a Job Coach/Direct Support Assistant in the Pathway to Employment Program of the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities; and was an Adolescent Vocational Exploration Intern at the Genesee County Job Development and Career Center in Batavia.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Community and Human Services from the State University of New York Empire State College, Class of 2018; and an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York Genesee Community College, Class of 1996.

“I’m glad to be joining the Independent Living of the Genesee Region team. I look forward to assisting those in need in the Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming County areas,” says Griffis.

ILGR is delighted that Griffis is bringing her passion and experience in helping people with disabilities to serve the GOW region in her new capacity.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

November 13, 2020 - 12:50pm

Press release:

After 50 years of people with disabilities fighting for an equal voice in issues affecting their lives, and equal access to opportunities, young people with disabilities are building off those efforts to ensure they are authentically and meaningfully involved in all decisions that affect them.

The Young Leaders and Advocates Network (YLAN), whose statewide efforts ensures the voices of young people with disabilities will be heard in the development and implementation of programs and services set up to assist them, has become the sixth member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc.’s (WNYIL) Family of Agencies; who themselves have a 40-year history in fighting for equal access to opportunities for people with disabilities.

Though based in Albany, YLAN’s affiliation with WNYIL will allow them to have a greater impact in Western New York’s eight counties, where more than 35,000 people 14 to 30 years of age live with a disability. WNYIL Inc. will assist YLAN in their local, as well as statewide initiatives, to ensure young people with disabilities have a “seat at the table."

Young people are uniting to change systems, so they get the support and services they need with the respect and dignity they deserve. YLAN provides a safe and empowering space for youth-organizing, supports young people with disabilities to speak up for themselves, and assists partners to effectively engage and support young people with disabilities.

YLAN Director, Brianna Gower, points out, "Young people are not just the leaders of tomorrow, we are leaders of today. We are strong, resilient, and capable of more than we are often given credit for. Through this Network we are going to bring youth voice and create change. Not only following national best practices but setting them.”

Who is YLAN for? Young people, ages 14-30, residing anywhere in New York State who self-identify as having a disability, or experience in state systems such as Special Education, Mental Health, Juvenile Justice, Foster Care, or Addiction Recovery, can become a member, join our statewide groups, and participate in other opportunities offered by the Network. Additionally, partners and adult allies who work with young people with disabilities can request training and technical assistance to support their efforts.

How can they participate? Members can join virtual statewide working groups that will be meeting monthly (details to be announced). In light of current COVID-19 regulations, events and opportunities for young people and partners will be provided virtually, shared through our listserv and social media. People can join our listserv by visiting our website at www.YLANetworkNY.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @YLANetworkNY. They can also email [email protected] or contact (518) 258-4006 for additional information.

YLAN will be hosting focus groups and other events throughout the year to empower young people with disabilities and hear directly from them on their experiences and issues that are important to them to guide our statewide advocacy efforts.

The Western New York Independent Living Inc. Family of Agencies offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

September 28, 2020 - 4:47pm

Submitted photo and press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is pleased to announce the promotion of Kristen Lazarony (inset photo left) to Independent Living Specialist in the RapidRehousing Program, where she will be helping individuals with disabilities in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties to obtain housing in the homes and communities of their choice.

Lazarony previously served as a Facilitated Enroller in ILGR’s Medicaid Application Assistance Program, helping people with disabilities and older adults, obtain medical insurance.

Prior to joining ILGR, she served in varied positions in the medical field with several local companies including United Memorial Medical Center, WellNow Urgent Care, and Pembroke Family Medicine.

Lazarony is a graduate of Batavia High School, Class of 2003.

ILGR is delighted that Lazarony will be serving the disability community in this new position.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

September 17, 2020 - 3:12pm
posted by Press Release in ILGR, disabilities, news, Voting, 2020 election, free van rides.

Press release:

Independence Express, the transportation branch of Western New York Independent Living Inc., will provide free van rides to people with disabilities living in Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties who need a ride to vote on Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 3rd).

Or, if you would prefer to cast your vote prior to Election Day, you can get a ride to a designated early voting site in your county during its limited hours of operation between Oct. 24th and Nov. 1st.

In addition, Independence Express will also deliver ballots for anyone, with or without disabilities, to their respective Board of Elections in our five-county service area.

Independence Express has wheelchair-accessible vehicles for those with mobility challenges, if needed. While we can’t help anyone up or down stairs, we can take people to their voting place and then back home or to work, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

If you are a person with a disability and would like the free service offered by Independence Express, please email [email protected] with “Election Day” in the subject, and providing this information:

  • The rider’s name;
  • Address;
  • Phone number;
  • If rider uses a wheelchair or if rider is ambulatory;
  • The name and address of the polling place;
  • If anyone is going with the rider, such as a Personal Care Attendant (PCA);
  • And lastly, the rider's first choice of the time to go to the polls.

Alternately, one may call Christian at (716) 836-0822, ext. 108, to set up a ride. If there is high demand at times, requests will be honored on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Please give at least two days’ notice to ensure your ride.

Voting is your right – and we can help you exercise it!

The Western New York Independent Living Inc. Family of Agencies offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

August 4, 2020 - 6:02pm

BUFFALO -- The Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service is proud to announce that -- in addition to broadcasting over the air – its livestream and programs are now available online. The new service debuted July 31.

For people who can see, hold a book or newspaper, and turn a page, reading a printed publication is no big deal. But for thousands of people in Western New York, including Genesee County, who are blind, have low vision, or have other print disabilities, it is.

Over the last 30 years, hundreds of volunteers for the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service have been reading local and national newspapers, magazines, books and other publication over a private radio transmission that was available to listeners who were loaned a special radio receiver.

While the broad range of reading material shared by the radio station with its listeners every day was great, the station always struggled to serve more people since every listener needed one of the radios.

And while the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service will continue broadcasting over the air, adding an internet broadcast is a game-changer. Listeners will be able to access the programs they want, when they want them, wherever they are, on any internet-connected device – including smart phones and smart speakers, tablets, desktop and laptop computers.

And not only will listeners be able to catch the livestream just like they werelistening to the radio, they’ll be able to download and listen to many of the service’s most popular programs on their favorite podcast platform. Did they the miss the live reading of the morning paper? Pull down the podcast and catch up!

The new online functionality will also allow the organization to round out its reading list by adding new publications to its portfolio.

The Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service has served tens of thousands of listeners since it was founded in 1987. But that number has always been limited by the number of radios it had available to loan. No longer.

There are an estimated 20,000 people in WNY who are blind or have low vision. There are another 40,000 who have a cognitive impairment or a physical disability that makes reading difficult or impossible. Although its unlikely that every one of them will tune in, many now can.

The new online Podcasts & Streaming Initiative was made possible through a seed grant from the James H. Cummings Foundation that helped open the door to a major grant from the Facebook Journalism Project. Support from the Christos Foundation, the East Hill Foundation, the Erie-Niagara Sunshine Exchange Club, and Ingram Micro rounded out the funding.

Links, feeds and more information for the expanded service can be found on the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service’s website at www.nfradioreading.org.

Among the station’s program schedule are live readings of the Buffalo News six days a week and USA Today five days a week. The station also airs the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Niagara Gazette, Dunkirk Observer, weekly newspapers like the local Bees and Business First, a variety of magazines, and books curated from the NY Times Best Seller list.

The broadcast is carried over a subcarrier frequency provided by Buffalo Toronto Public Media through WNED 94.5 FM.

Niagara Frontier Radio Reading is an affiliate of Western New York Independent Living, a community-based nonprofit organization that serves more than 7,000 people with disabilities annually through peer counseling, support for independent living, transitional services, advocacy and information & referrals.

The agency is primarily funded through philanthropic contributions and donations, grants, and special events. The organization currently receives no government funding. Major supporters include the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, Nascentia Health, WNY Independent Living, the WNY Lions Clubs, and the United Ways of WNY.

April 3, 2020 - 4:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in ILGR, GOW, covid-19, coronavirus, news, disabilities.
Press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR), the largest organization of, and for, people with disabilities in the GOW counties, continues to stay open, using today’s technology. 

Concerns raised by the need to limit the spread of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease-2019) pandemic have changed how it serves the community. We are running support groups online and we are doing “face-to-face meetings” but they are now just over the computer or phone, to empower people with disabilities, including established consumers, new referrals, and others that have just discovered us.

Here are just some of the avenues that have been developed to connect with the community:

  • The drivers of Independence Express van transportation service are delivering food, paperwork and medicine to people with disabilities who are unable to get to and from stores, offices, and businesses, free of charge.
  • Working from home, Peer Counselors are providing person-to-person contact, offering relief for the isolation of dozens of individuals trapped in their homes.
  • Independent Living Specialists, Peer Advocates, and Health Home Care Coordinators are insuring that people with disabilities continue to receive their Benefits; participate in government programs and services; are given instructions on Independent Living Skills like cooking, cleaning, money management and other aspects of organizing a person’s life. 
  • The Medicaid Application Assistance Program is working to make sure that individuals who are blind, over 65 years old, or disabled can acquire and/or maintain the appropriate health insurance. People with disabilities will not be forgotten during this time when monitoring one’s health is critical.
  • Our Taking Control Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program has been identified as an “essential program”, ensuring: that people with disabilities in need of in-home health care are receiving the service; that their Personal Assistants (PAs) are given proper orientation to perform the job; that hours and work benefits are managed appropriately, that the PAs are paid on time, and are reliable.
  • NY Connects works with State and local Offices of the Aging or Senior Services to enable the elderly, persons with disabilities and caregivers to access needed information and services during this time of anxiety.
  • Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service’s volunteer readers provide current news and information, as well as respite from the hour-by-hour stress of the pandemic, by broadcasting the printed word 7 days per week, 24 hours per day to people with a print disability.

Assisting their brothers and sisters with disabilities to stay safe and healthy while remaining in the community, the men and women of WNYIL are not only overcoming their own functional limitations but are giving back to the communities in which they live, work, and now fight for all of us.

If you know someone who is in need of any of these services, call ILGR at (585) 815-8501; or go to our website at www.wnyil.org/ILGR  Be aware that you are not alone nor helpless.

January 25, 2020 - 11:54am
posted by Billie Owens in news, ILGR, disabilities.

Press release:

The Western New York Independent Living Inc. Family of Agencies (WNYIL) will be holding its 40th Annual Meeting of members, consumers, staff, and other friends of the Agency on June 9 – and wants to do something new and exciting.

For years, WNYIL has honored an individual and a company, each of which has made an outstanding contribution to activities benefitting the community of citizens with disabilities in the preceding year. Previously, Agency staff have discussed candidates internally and reached a consensus; but, for this landmark anniversary, we are offering YOU an opportunity to nominate people and corporations that meet the following criteria – but your responses are needed by May 15. Here are the awards:

Elayne G. Wels Community Support Award: This award is given to an individual who personally and/or professionally supports, promotes and embraces the Independent Living philosophy throughout the community.

Corporate Support Award: An award given to a company that supports WNYIL and promotes and embraces the Independent Living philosophy throughout the community. Some honorees from prior years include: the Northtown Automotive Companies; Main Mobility; Jaeckle, Fleischmann & Mugel LLP (now part of Bond, Schoeneck and King PLLC); the University Heights Arts Association;and Zajac Funeral Home Inc.

In case you wondered, the Independent Living (IL) philosophy is the belief that the person who has a disability is the best expert on her/his needs and should be empowered to make the final decision on personal services and solutions, and must be heard in issues of systemic advocacy. It is the product of the Independent Living civil rights movement of citizens with disabilities that began in the 1960s, and has spawned hundreds of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) nationwide, including one in Genesee County on West Main Street in Batavia.

If you are aware of an individual and/or a company which has served those with disabilities, please contact Daniel Colpoys, WNYIL’s Chief Community Engagement officer at (716) 836-0822, ext. 166; or email him with the nominee’s name, a paragraph about his/her/its qualifications and contact information, as well as YOUR name and contact information, to [email protected].

Thank you for your willingness to help acknowledge deserving members of our community!

The Western New York Independent Living Inc. Family of Agencies offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

November 19, 2019 - 12:31pm

Press release:

Are you currently unemployed and subsisting on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) but are considering seeking employment and could use some assistance? This may be just the opportunity that you're looking for!

Batavia’s premier consumer-run human service and advocacy agency for people with disabilities, Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is holding a FREE Ticket To Work Program and Benefits Advisement Information Session at the ILGR office in the Crickler Executive Business Center, at 319 W. Main St., (the former Pepsi Distribution Building) Batavia.

It will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday Dec. 10; light refreshments will be provided.

Offered through the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), the Ticket to Work (TTW) program is a free and voluntary program that can help Social Security beneficiaries go to work, get a good job that may lead to a career, and become financially independent, all while they keep their Medicare or Medicaid.

Individuals who receive Social Security benefits because of a disability and are age 18 through 64 probably already qualify for the program. TTW offers participants with disabilities access to meaningful employment with the assistance of Ticket to Work employment service providers called Employment Networks (EN). It may be a good fit for you if you want to improve your earning potential and are committed to preparing for long-term success in the workplace.

For more information or to register, please contact: Donna Becker at (585) 815-8501, ext. 411, or email her at [email protected].

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

October 29, 2019 - 12:21pm

Press release:

One of the greatest privileges we have as American citizens is to vote for the elected leaders that we choose – but for many individuals with disabilities who wish to do so in person, getting to their polling place may be a challenge.

In Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans or Wyoming counties, Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL) can help!

Independence Express, the transportation branch of WNYIL, will provide van rides, free of charge, to people with disabilities who need one to vote on Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 5th).

Independence Express has wheelchair-accessible vehicles for those with mobility challenges, and ambulatory people can get transportation, too. While we can’t help anyone up or down stairs, and they must rely on friends or relatives for that, we can take people to their voting place and then back home or to work, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., (except during drivers' lunch from 12 to 1 p.m.).  

If this is appealing, please email [email protected] with “Election Day” in the subject, and provide this information:

  • The rider’s name;
  • Address;
  • Phone number;
  • If rider uses a wheelchair (or write "WC"), or if rider is ambulatory ("AMB");
  • The name and address of the polling place (i.e., Ascension Parish, 15 Sumner St., Batavia, NY 14020);
  • If anyone is going with them, such as a Personal Care Attendant (PCA).
  • [If more than one extra person or PCA, give the number of PCAs -- we can only take up to three people at one time];
  • The rider's first choice of the time to go to the polls.

Alternately, one may call Christian at 716-836-0822, ext. 108, to set up a ride. If there is high demand at times, requests will be honored on a "first-come, first-served" basis.  

Voting is your right – and we can help you exercise it!

The Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

April 8, 2019 - 1:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in disabilities, news, WYNIL.

Press release:

Once again, this year, the Western New York Independent Living Inc. Family of Agencies (WNYIL) is gathering nominations of members of the disability community who have made ongoing, significant contributions, such as support, assistance and inspiration to others.

The winner, selected from nominations made by the deadline -- 5 p.m. on Friday April 12 -- will be honored with WNYIL's Independent Citizen Award at its sixth annual "Night for Independence" Gala on Saturday May 4th at Events at the Wurlitzer, 908 Niagara Falls Blvd., North Tonawanda.

Ideally, the nominee should meet the five core values of this award: 

  • Exemplifying independence in the community, such as: by beginning a special project; by spearheading an awareness effort; or by gaining the support of decision-makers, for the benefit of others with disabilities or the general community;
  • Going above and beyond what would be expected to assist others, by offering personal experience or expertise, organizing individuals around an issue, enlisting partnerships, and/or revealing self-sacrificing work;
  • Remaining active in the community over an extended period, even after an initial success with an activity or major project;
  •  Rejecting others’ criticism or doubt, that potentially could have deterred the individual from striving to reach and achieve personal goals;
  •  Showing the world the value of one person’s actions by encouraging others to have a contributing, encouraging, and positive attitude about making the community a better place for all. 

If you are aware of an individual who has served those with disabilities, and who, you feel, would meet all these criteria, please contact Marykate Waringa of WNYIL’s Office of Community Engagement at (716) 836-0822, ext. 146; or email her with the candidate’s name, a paragraph about his/her qualifications and contact information, as well as YOUR name and contact information, to [email protected].

Thank you for your willingness to help acknowledge deserving members of our community! 

The Western New York Independent Living Inc. Family of Agencies offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

June 9, 2018 - 4:34pm

Ann and Dave Scherff, of Le Roy, are planning a rare getaway, a respite from caregiving for their disabled adult son who lives with them, and someone else is picking up the tab.

It's actually a nonprofit organization in Manlius, east of Syracuse, that is footing the bill for a two-day stay at a bed-and-breakfast inn. The motto of David's Refuge is "Caring for the Caregiver."

It is a mission with an outreach that is growing in Western New York.

Several Genesee County families like the Scherffs have benefitted from this charity, which provides respite, resources and support to parents and guardians of children with special needs or life-threatening conditions.

The goal is to help them be refreshed, restored and renewed in their caregiving roles.

It's easy to burn out.

"Knowing that someone else cares, that we're not alone, being supported -- has given me hope," Ann says.

The couple has a total of five adult children, three of whom have disabilities, but only one remains at home. Still, they have oversight responsiblity for their two other disabled sons, in addition to Ann's disabled sister-in-law.

When they go away, they arrange for professional nursing staff to care for their live-in son.

They have gone on four two-day hotel stays so far. Families aided by David's Refuge are eligible to go on one per year. Afterward, they are also given a $50 gift certificate to enjoy at a local restaurant.

"Doing something to put yourself first," as Ann says, is uncommon for people like the Scherffs.

Families such as theirs not infrequently incur extraordinary expenses while caring for their loved ones; not everything is covered by insurance or government assistance. So splurging on a weekend away is a luxury too rich to contemplate in a lot of cases, even though the results are beneficial to mind, body and spirit.

The widely recognized conundrum provides impetus for the outreach that David's Refuge does.

"We are currently serving 250 families, 120 of whom are from the Western New York area, including Rochester, Buffalo and surrounding communities," said Christine Corbett, director of philanthropy for David's Refuge.

To help their cause, the organization is hosting a fundraiser in Darien Center on Friday, June 15, at the new and beautiful boutique hotel River Spring Lodge. It is operated by David (AKA "Chef Dave") and Carolyn Hamer.

Called "Fireworks for Friends," the 7 to 10 p.m. event will feature a private fireworks display, live music, two beer or wine tickets, free parking and a silent auction. Culinary delights will be served up by Chef Dave, including hors d' oeuvres to pass as well as stationary appetizers.

The cuisine, which Chef Dave defines as "refined American," is highly praised. Guests gush that it is "incredible, exquisite, amazing and remarkable."

Cost per ticket is $50 for "Friends for Fireworks." River Spring Lodge is located at 1961A Church Road, Darien Center.

The Scherffs plan to attend.

To purchase tickets, visit here, or contact Christine Corbett at (315) 382-4204 or email her at [email protected]

To find out more about David's Refuge, click here.

Visit the River Spring Lodge online here.

April 10, 2018 - 1:57pm

Press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) has invited individuals from a number of local businesses and agencies to a “Lunch in the Dark” at the New York State School for the Blind (NYSSB) to experience lunch in a darkened environment in order to better understand eating and socializing with vision loss.

Taking place from 12 to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26th, at the School Gymnasium, 2A Richmond Ave., west of State Street, in Batavia, the event challenges the participants to dine using blindfolds as the only way to have a “total experience.” As a group, participants will discuss the best practices of making events with food more accessible, as well as strategies for eating with vision loss.

To encourage participation, Dibble Family Catering will offer a big spread: pasta with traditional red sauce, roast beef, honey-roasted turkey breast, chef salad, fresh rolls, coffee, tea, and dessert. The ticket price of $15 includes the meal, and some materials participants can take home.

After the meal, with the assistance of an ILGR staff person, they will have the chance to try out activities when blindfolded, such as using adapted devices.  Services of ILGR that may be useful to citizens who are visually impaired, such as the Medicaid Application Assistance Program, will be explored.

Members of the public who have not been formally invited are welcome to attend, if they preregister. For questions, or to RSVP, please call Donna Becker at 815-8501, ext. 411.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

April 9, 2018 - 4:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, genesee county, Announcements, disabilities, ILGR.

Press release:

Once again, the Western New York Independent Living Inc. Family of Agencies (WNYIL) is gathering nominations of members of the disability community who have made ongoing, significant contributions, such as support, assistance and inspiration to others.

Deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. Friday, April 13.

The winner will be honored with WNYIL's Independent Citizen Award at its Fifth Annual “Night for Independence" Gala on Saturday, May 12th at the Classics V Banquet & Conference Center, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst.

Ideally, the nominee should meet the five core values of this award: 

  • Exemplifying independence in the community, such as: by beginning a special project; by spearheading an awareness effort; or by gaining the support of decision-makers, for the benefit of others with disabilities or the general community;
  • Going above and beyond what would be expected to assist others, by offering personal experience or expertise, organizing individuals around an issue, enlisting partnerships, and/or revealing self-sacrificing work;
  • Remaining active in the community over an extended period, even after an initial success with an activity or major project;
  •  Rejecting others’ criticism or doubt, that potentially could have deterred the individual from striving to reach and achieve personal goals;
  •  Showing the world the value of one person’s actions by encouraging others to have a contributing, encouraging, and positive attitude about making the community a better place for all. 

If you are aware of an individual who has served those with disabilities, and who, you feel, would meet all these criteria, please contact Marykate Waringa of WNYIL’s Office of Community Engagement at (716) 836-0822, ext. 146; or email her with the candidate’s name, a paragraph about his/her qualifications and contact information, as well as YOUR name and contact information, to [email protected].

Thank you for your willingness to help acknowledge deserving members of our community! 

WNYIL is Western New York's largest cross-disability, consumer-directed, non-residential organization for persons with disabilities. At WNYIL, individuals of all ages and all types of disabilities learn to exercise their freedom of choice to take control of their own lives, in order to live more productively in, and contribute to, the community.

March 30, 2018 - 3:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in art, disabilities, ILGR, news, Announcements.

Press release:

The fourth ARTiculations Ability Exhibition® -- a forum for artists with disabilities in Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties to display their work publicly -- will open at Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) in Batavia on Tuesday, April 3.

Titled "Life, Lines & Light," it features the work of Beth Allen, DMV, a veterinarian and mental health activist, whose photographs of animals, plants and beautiful landscapes, mostly in Genesee County, depict inspirations from her own life journey.

A product of a partnership between ILGR and the University Heights Arts Association (UHAA), the Exhibit will be on display through June 22th.

The Opening Reception, is Friday, April 13th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at ILGR’s office, 113 Main St., Suite 5, in Batavia. Allen will be handing out a few of the photo postcards she has created for sharing as Door Prizes at the Reception.

An amateur photographer who picked up the hobby from her mother, Allen found the "mindfulness" she employs when taking pictures to be soothing for her mental health issues, and useful in the support groups she facilitates, so she has dubbed the process "Mindful Moments."

Other artists with disabilities residing in the Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties are encouraged to submit their work to this juried competition, as there will be additional ARTiculations® planned quarterly exhibits in the future.

For more than a year, ILGR has been “art partnering” for people with disabilities with the UHAA, a group of artists in North Buffalo with a commitment to community that places art in businesses and nonprofits through an established ARTpartnering program.

The organizers are pleased to note that the ARTiculations Ability Exhibitions® have “mapped” into UHAA’s system by placing a plaque with a Quick Response (QR) code scatter bar graph that can bring up information about it when scanned by your smart phone.

For questions on the event, please call Bridget Mosman at (585) 815-8501, ext. 400.

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

March 19, 2018 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, ILGR, arts, disabilities, Announcements, batavia.

Press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is seeking public-spirited citizens to spend a couple hours assembling bundles of materials that can be used to create artworks, to go to artists with disabilities.

The “Second Annual ARTcovz® Packaging Party” will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 31, at the ILGR office, 113 Main St. (near Center Street), Suite 5, in Batavia.

The Agency offers participants a light breakfast and the opportunity to make new friends, as they assemble: clay art packages; card boards, colored pencils and paint for drawing and painting; folding paper for origami projects; glue and binding materials for creating books, etc.

This is made possible thanks to the generosity of the North-Buffalo-based University Heights Arts Association (UHAA), a group of artists that serve as a driving creative force and educational resource to make a positive difference in people’s lives through the arts.

UHAA has stocked an ARTcovz® self-serve kiosk of art supplies in the ILGR lobby since March 2016, which has included: colored pencils, watercolor pencils, drawing (graphite) pencils, watercolor/ drawing paper, craft paper, origami paper, polymer clay, and art-oriented audio books on CD.

Having placed many ARTcovz® booths in public areas around Western New York, UHAA has partnered with ILGR to expand their outreach to people with disabilities.

While not mandatory to participate, those who plan to attend are encouraged to preregister, so there will be enough food on hand. For questions, or to RSVP, please call Bridget Mosman at (585) 815-8501, ext. 400.  

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) is a member of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies that offers an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

May 23, 2017 - 4:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, disabilities, ILGR.

Press release:

Locating affordable, accessible housing has long been a crucial need of senior citizens and people with disabilities who wish to live independently in the community. In a concerted effort to address this concern, Office for the Aging of Genesee County and Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) are holding a FREE buffet-style Landlords’ Breakfast, to which owners who rent housing in Genesee County are invited.

We are “rolling out the red carpet” by holding the event at Terry Hills Golf and Banquet Facility, 5122 Clinton Street, Batavia, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 31.

Landlords will have the opportunity to share applicant and tenant issues, and we will share information about the programs and wrap-around services we provide for renters.  For those landlords who generally see a high turnover rate, you can learn how ILGR can help to support your tenants, to encourage a more prolonged tenancy.

Those who plan to attend must pre-register, so there will be enough food on-hand. For questions, or to RSVP, please call Donna Becker at (585) 815-8501, ext. 411

This program is made possible through funds from the New York State Office for the Aging, NY Connects, the Older Americans Act, and the generous support of the Genesee County Legislature and Independent Living of the Genesee Region.

October 6, 2016 - 1:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in ILGR, politics, disabilities, news, Announcements.

Press release:

There will be a “Meet the Candidates” event in Batavia on Tuesday, Oct. 25, enabling Western New Yorkers with disabilities, or anyone from the community, to hear and discuss issues with some on the ballot in the November General Election.

The gathering will host those running for Federal, State, County and some local offices. Whatever your political views, this is your year to get involved!

Time is 1 to 4 p.m. at Independent Living of the Genesee Region, 113 Main St., Suite 5, near Center Street.

Invitees from Genesee County included candidates for the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, State Senate, State Assembly, Genesee County Court and Sheriff, City of Batavia Councilmen and Town Justice.

For those who wish to be familiar with the “hot” disability issues, sheets of suggested questions will be provided, but participants are encouraged to ask about public concerns that are close to them. The location is fully disability accessible.

Additional information is available from Todd Vaarwerk at (716) 836-0822, ext. 101.

WNY Independent Living, Inc. is Western New York's largest cross-disability, consumer-directed, non-residential organization for persons with disabilities. At WNYIL, individuals of all ages and all types of disabilities learn to exercise their freedom of choice to take control of their own lives in order to live more productively in, and contribute to, the community.

November 3, 2015 - 2:22pm

Press release:

The legal rights of people with developmental disabilities who are seeking appropriate housing and some practical techniques to secure it will be explored in a FREE Accessible Housing Education Seminar. It takes place on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, from 1:30 to 3 p.m., at Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR), 113 Main St. (near Center Street), Suite 5, Batavia.

In addition to explaining the Fair Housing Act and other measures that bar disability-based discrimination, presenters will provide information and resources for navigating a provided regional list of housing options and other opportunities, advocating for reasonable accommodations and environmental modifications, and securing referrals and promising locations.

Housing specialist Robin Arnold-Scott of ILGR, and Todd Vaarwerk, director of Advocacy and Public Policy at Western New York Independent Living, Inc., will make a PowerPoint presentation as part of the seminar.

Anyone who is interested in attending should register by calling Donna at (585) 815-8501, ext. 411; or by e-mail at [email protected].

“Developmental disabilities” encompasses a number of central nervous system impairments that occur before age 22, including: cerebral palsy; epilepsy; autism; spinal cord injury; traumatic and acquired brain injury; learning disabilities such as dyslexia (reading disabilities), dysgraphia (writing disabilities), and visual tracking disorder; cognitive disabilities, Down Syndrome, and others.

ILGR is an agency dedicated to the mission that people with disabilities deserve true independence and equality, including at the workplace: the right to live their lives as they choose; a philosophy the Agency carries out by providing individuals the skills and resources to do it themselves. ILGR’s services include independent living skills training, advocacy, peer counseling, transportation, Braille transcription, a loan closet of medical equipment, housing assistance, information and referral, and many more.

October 15, 2015 - 12:23pm
posted by Billie Owens in WNYIL, disabilities.

Press release:

A focus group on Monday, Oct. 19th, will enable New Yorkers with disabilities in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, New York City and Batavia to have their voices heard on which programs most deserve Federal Independent Living funds allocated for the Empire State in the next three years.

The entity designated by the federal government to oversee this process, the New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC) has been gathering consumers’ input on the statewide plan for Independent Living (SPIL) for 2016-2019.

In our region, Western New York Independent Living, Inc. (WNYIL), is facilitating this effort by holding the focus group from 2 to 4 p.m. at its 3108 Main St. facility near Hertel Avenue, in Buffalo’s University District. However, video conferencing will permit participation by those at Independent Living of Niagara County, 746 Portage Road, near Pine Avenue in Niagara Falls, and at Independent Living of the Genesee Region at 113 Main St., Suite 5, in Batavia.

Funding ideas presented for past SPIL three-year plans that bore fruit include: the Statewide Self-Advocacy Network (SSAN) in which community-change advocates across New York work collaboratively to help localities become more disability-accessible; development of programs, such as Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Services (CDPAS), which give individuals control of their own Home Care Attendants; plus research into an array of disability issues, and training to enhance the quality of local services.

Those who wish to register can call Johanna at (716) 836-0822, ext. 120. Additional information is available from Todd Vaarwerk at (716) 836-0822, ext. 101.  Space is limited.

WNY Independent Living, Inc. is Western New York's largest cross-disability, consumer-directed, non-residential organization for persons with disabilities. At WNYIL, individuals of all ages and all types of disabilities learn to exercise their freedom of choice to take control of their own lives in order to live more productively in, and contribute to, the community.

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