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Empower expands programming thanks to 3 new grants


Fri, May 26th 2017 04:25 pm
Empower, the not-for-profit organization formerly known as Niagara Cerebral Palsy, has received three grants to support individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families in becoming more independent and more involved in their communities.
"Empower at Home" is a pilot program that will address the shift occurring in New York and across the nation toward community-based services for people with disabilities. Through a $52,460 grant from The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, Empower will offer intensive in-home supports as an alternative to group home placements. There are currently 11,000 New Yorkers on a waiting list for group home placements, so individuals with disabilities and their families need a broader array of housing options.
Through a $24,719 grant from The KeyBank Foundation, Empower will purchase equipment for a new document scanning and shredding service. The service, which will be available to small businesses, nonprofits and households, will provide paid work experience for individuals with disabilities.
In 2016, Empower helped children with autism improve their social skills through theater in a program called the Spectrum Theater Program. A $4,100 grant from The Children's Guild Foundation will enable Empower to hire another theater instructor and extend the social-skill-building benefit to an additional 20 students with autism in 2017.
Empower CEO Jeff Paterson said, "Here in New York and nationwide, people with developmental disabilities want to be more independent and engaged with their communities. Although very different in design, these three programs are alike in supporting this goal.
"I want to thank The Tower Foundation, The Key Bank Foundation and The Children's Guild Foundation for investing in these innovative programs that I believe will become statewide models for integration and independence."
With 300 employees and a $14 million budget, Empower is one of Western New York's 60 largest nonprofit organizations. The administrative offices, preschool, community clinic and service coordination program are located on Lockport Road in the Town of Niagara. The job training and day programs division is based in Niagara Falls, while residential facilities are located throughout Niagara County.
Licensed by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and the New York State Education Department, Empower is an affiliate of the Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State.

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