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Empties for Empower

Fri, Apr 22nd 2016 10:30 am
Empower CEO Jeff Paterson cuts the ribbon at the Empties for Empower grand opening ceremony. He is surrounded by officials and members of the organization. From left: Empower Board President Dr. Salvatore Passanese, Kevin Penberthy (Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Region 1 deputy director), state Assemblyman John Ceretto, Paterson, Santino Bax, state Sen. Robert G. Ortt, James Olan and worksite supervisor Jill Patterson. (Photo by Lauren Zaepfel)
Empower CEO Jeff Paterson cuts the ribbon at the Empties for Empower grand opening ceremony. He is surrounded by officials and members of the organization. From left: Empower Board President Dr. Salvatore Passanese, Kevin Penberthy (Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Region 1 deputy director), state Assemblyman John Ceretto, Paterson, Santino Bax, state Sen. Robert G. Ortt, James Olan and worksite supervisor Jill Patterson. (Photo by Lauren Zaepfel)

Officials help celebrate bottle, can redemption center grand opening

Empower, the not-for-profit organization formerly known as Niagara Cerebral Palsy, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 15 for Empties for Empower, its newly opened bottle and can redemption center at 4701 Military Road (near the Route 31 intersection).

The center serves as a job training and employment readiness program for individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities who work at the center. Funding for the program is provided through the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

Users can choose to keep their full deposit or donate it to Empower, while Empower also receives some money back on every bottle.

"There's a major shift underway in the New York state in the way we provide job training and work experiences for people with disabilities," Empower CEO Jeff Paterson said. "There's a real focus to make sure that people with disabilities aren't in a building somewhere by themselves - that they're out in the community and fully integrated into the life of the community. This facility is our down payment on the continued shift in our programs to fulfill that goal of the state."

"The goal is to provide as many opportunities to be a part of our community as possible. This is going to do that," state Sen. Robert G. Ortt said.

During the ceremony, state Assemblyman John Ceretto presented Paterson with a certificate of merit.

Ceretto said, in his own household, "We have bags of this and it's always a question, 'Who's going to bring it back to the stores?' Now we have a place to go. And we know that those dollars that we're saving will be put to good use, because we're going to help a child or adult with disabilities."

The center is open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. To contact the center directly, call 716-545-0023.

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