I am writing to share my heartfelt appreciation for the immense benefits that the use of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Niagara Community Center has brought to the adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities that receive services from United Cerebral Palsy of Niagara County lnc. dba Empower. For the last few years Empower’s Job Training and Day Programs Division has utilized the Niagara Community Center each week for 2-3 hours on Mondays. Each week the Empower staff bring approximately 30 people we provide supports to. Annually approximately 50 different people from 4 different Empowers day program locations are given the opportunity to engage in various activities together at the center. Some of the activities that the Empower people participate in each week are games such as catching balls, kickball, hide and seek, parachute, kicking the soccer ball and throwing the basketball. I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to witness firsthand the positive impact of our Empower people participating in these games each week. The games encourage socialization and provide opportunities for enjoyment, laughter and stress relief while promoting cardiovascular health, endurance and strength. At the center, where there is plenty of space, Empower also runs their own music group. The lead staff plays his electric guitar. Empower people have fun singing with staff while utilizing various, simple instruments such as tambourines, triangles, maracas and symbols. Engaging with music stimulates attention, cognitive abilities and communication skills - both verbal and nonverbal. Performing their music for others at the center boosts their self -esteem and confidence. Twice a year, the Empower Day Programs utilize the center for our Annual Talent Show and Spring Party. These events involve approximately 100 Empower people and staff. The center with its handicap accessible bathrooms and large open space has worked extremely well for these events that so many enjoy. Events, in all honesty that Empower would not be able to provide if it were not for the generosity of the center not charging Empower. This is also true for the weekly Mondays, which are at no cost to Empower. Personally, I have been employed with Empower for 34 years and in that time, I have been involved with many community opportunities for our people. Without hesitation I would like to share that the Monday program at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr Niagara Community Center is one of the best Empower has been a part of. Our people verbalize how much fun they have at the center, and they really look forward to their "Niagara Center Mondays"
The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Niagara Community Center (RCWJ-NCC) holds a place in the hearts of the people Empower supports as well as the staff’s. The accessible facility hosts our day habilitation programs every Monday, providing several choices for physical activity, such as basketball, walking the spacious activity floor, and parachutes. The facility also supports various socialization and recreation opportunities, that without this center the people we support would not have such chances to spend time with one another as they attend different buildings throughout the county. This year, the RCWJ-NCC graciously provided a welcoming space to host the annual Job Training Day Program Talent Show, as well as our annual Spring Fling party. Everyone said it was the best one yet and cannot wait to do it again given the chance. The people we support tell their families and staff what a great time they have regularly. We are gracious for a continued partnership and thank the RCWJ-NCC for all they do to Empower the people we support to live the lives they choose.
People Inc., a multispecialty non-profit health and human services agency, provides programs and services to more than 12,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families and older adults throughout Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. With 4,000 employees, People Inc. is one of the region's largest employers. For over 50 years, our agency has worked toward a future where all people whose needs limit their integration into the community can reach their highest level of human potential as responsible members of society. People Inc. appreciates your invitation to participate in the fitness project. Integration with the community and meaningful activities are two aspirations desired by all the individuals we serve who have a developmental disability. Too often, they have experienced separation from their peers or been unable to participate because a facility is not accommodating. It is a credit to your Community Center that it is opened its doors to participants at our day programs. The participants have enjoyed dropping in at the Center to join the activities your offer over the past year. Your proposal to create a formal program, in collaboration with Niagara University, is a great next step. Our day habilitation centers near the center have talked with their participants. They have expressed interest in joining the following activities: basketball, soccer, cheer, football, softball, dance, and general fitness. Our staff are ready to assist with registering participants and transporting them to the community center so they can be part of the exciting programming.
School District of the City of Niagara Falls,
The Niagara Falls City School District is proud to partner with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Niagara Community Center. For several years, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Niagara Community Center has been a valued partner of the staff, students and families of the District. The Community Center has always supported athletic programming within the District, however in recent years, the Community Center has supported the ‘Future Stars’ program or students with developmental and learning disabilities in the District. The community center has served as a host, allowing for five schools, and over 200 students the opportunity to participate in various Special Olympics programs. This program would not be possible without the support and dedication of the Ralph Wilson-Niagara Community Center. Additional examples of community and district involvement include, hosting a District wide Pre-Kindergarten Celebration at the culmination of the ‘Week of the Young Child’. Niagara Falls Police Officer Cortez Bradberry hosted a fundraiser for the youth and families in the City of Niagara Falls. Multiple multi-cultural events hosted at the Community Center, again, providing an opportunity for all members of the district and community to enjoy the Community Center. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Niagara Community Center has been a valued partner of the Niagara Falls City School District. We look forward to continuing and expanding our partnership in the future.