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Posts Tagged ‘special needs western new york’

“Dinner for a Difference” | Buffalo Bills Helping CP Community

cerebral palsy benefit

Cerebral Palsy is a condition that doesn’t discriminate, it truly affects a cross section of life.  While no community, race, gender or socioeconomic class is spared, it’s when communities come together that real understanding and progress can be achieved.

Buffalo Bill Eric Wood knows the perils of CP all too well.  While the hulking 6’4, 310-pound Center focuses on battling fellow behemoths on Sundays, he has experienced the emotions — struggles and victories that accompany supporting a family member with the condition.  His younger brother suffered from severe CP and unfortunately passed away when Eric was just 14-years-old.  

His first-hand experience of how CP affects families served as the inspiration for his philanthropic efforts through the Eric Wood Foundation, founded in 2014.  The organization works to both raise aid to give individuals with CP “exciting experiences” and provide financial relief to their families in Buffalo and Louisville, KY where Wood attended college.  

4 Things to Know About Cerebral Palsy

Wood held his second annual “Dinner for a Difference” this past Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom in Downtown Buffalo.  The event serves as an outlet to give back to both communities that have influenced his life.  

The 3-course dinner provided opportunity to converse over cocktails, bid on select memorabilia and meet other members of the Buffalo Bills — all while raising money to support the CP community.  Several of Wood’s teammates, including quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Richie Incognito, and Sammy Watkins, served Hors d’oeuvres as diners were treated to live music along with the memorable evening.  

Wood’s initiative spotlights Individuals with special needs in Buffalo, NY as he remembers what kind of issues members of his family worked through.

“My brother spent the majority of his life in a home or at the hospital. so when I meet families with sick children, I feel like I can relate,” Wood said.  “The times that my brother was at home, we had a nurse in our house 24-7—that’s invasive on a family. I understand a lot of the struggle financially and emotionally that happens. So when I set out to start a foundation, we had a few goals.”

Bills Center Eric Wood Hosts 2nd Annual ‘Dinner For A Difference’ | TWC News

Wood’s foundation augments community efforts and brings additional positive attention to developmental disabilities in Erie County.  Assistance is available including therapies, assistive technology/devices and vocational training for  the developmentally disabled in WNY     

Last year’s event alone raised $60,000 that has and will continue to make a difference in the lives of thousands of ill children.  Whether an individual suffers from Cerebral Palsy personally or has been affected by a  family member who does, Eric Wood’s outreach continues to teach important lessons.  Specifically that community is an integral part of establishing support, understanding and most importantly….progress.

 

7 Stars of “Bachelor Pad” Shine | Aspire of WNY Home Featured on Channel 4 & The Buffalo News

Three years ago, a group of friends took a major step and were able to live independently for the first time. The best part? They were able to move into their own place, all under one roof. Last week, the seven young men from Western New were the stars of a heartwarming story of friendship, togetherness, and freedom. You may have seen the video via WIVB Buffalo, or read about it in the Buffalo News.

David, Jared, Jeff, Patrick, Craig, William, & Michael have always been close. For years, their families’ hoped that they could get their own place, but with such a large amount of people on the New York State list, it was a pleasant surprise for everyone.

It was a winding journey for the families of the 7 bachelors, which started about seven years ago. Much like any other mid-to-upper 20’s guy, they each wanted to branch out and have their own life, but thoughts of isolation or lack of assistance is the fear for any parent of an individual with a developmental disability. After looking at over 20 properties, everything took a positive turn when they, along with Aspire, were able to meet with state developmental disability officials to seek approval of the “non-certified residence” on Main St. & Eggert Rd. 

With each of the guys all standing in each meeting to show state officials that this was their choice, the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities approved the budget, Aspire bought the house, and the bachelor pad was born.

‘Bachelor pad’ offers independence for seven men with Down syndrome | The Buffalo News

Today the “bachelor pad” offers the guys’ the freedom to live a fulfilling, independent life while providing peace of mind for their families. Despite the fact that each of the guys’ have down syndrome, this household isn’t much different than other male millennials,

“You walk in the house, a couple of guys will be sitting on the couch with their iPads, someone will be in his room listening to music, someone else doing laundry or playing board games,” said Fred Suchman, one of the staff members from ASPIRE of WNY. “It’s a normal house.” Buffalo News

Each of the housemates meet weekly to discuss chores, scheduling, and when the next Bills or Sabres game is on. They frequently watch the games together on their flat screen televisions, talk a little smack over a game of billiards, and they each have their own certain amount of money through their jobs and social security.

Jeffrey’s father had this to say about his son’s lifestyle.

“He’s so independent that he blows me off when I have a barbecue or something, he says, ‘Sorry, I’m busy, Dad.’ ”

Although the house is staffed 24 hours a day by Aspire, the guys live very independent lives. They all have their own jobs and six of them skate for SABAH, another organization that aims to enrich the lives of individuals challenged by physical, cognitive, and/or emotional disabilities.  SABAH executive Director Sheila O’Brien told the News how the guys have matured since moving in together.

“I can see over the last two or three years, they take things more seriously and they watch out for each other more. They’ve grown up.”

Living together, living independently, living safely. The seven stars of the story don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

7 Stars of “Bachelor Pad” Shine | Aspire of WNY Home Featured on Channel 4 & The Buffalo News

Three years ago, a group of friends took a major step and were able to live independently for the first time. The best part? They were able to move into their own place, all under one roof. Last week, the seven young men from Western New were the stars of a heartwarming story of friendship, togetherness, and freedom. You may have seen the video via WIVB Buffalo, or read about it in the Buffalo News.

David, Jared, Jeff, Patrick, Craig, William, & Michael have always been close. For years, their families’ hoped that they could get their own place, but with such a large amount of people on the New York State list, it was a pleasant surprise for everyone.

It was a winding journey for the families of the 7 bachelors, which started about seven years ago. Much like any other mid-to-upper 20’s guy, they each wanted to branch out and have their own life, but thoughts of isolation or lack of assistance is the fear for any parent of an individual with a developmental disability. After looking at over 20 properties, everything took a positive turn when they, along with Aspire, were able to meet with state developmental disability officials to seek approval of the “non-certified residence” on Main St. & Eggert Rd. 

With each of the guys all standing in each meeting to show state officials that this was their choice, the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities approved the budget, Aspire bought the house, and the bachelor pad was born.

‘Bachelor pad’ offers independence for seven men with Down syndrome | The Buffalo News

Today the “bachelor pad” offers the guys’ the freedom to live a fulfilling, independent life while providing peace of mind for their families. Despite the fact that each of the guys’ have down syndrome, this household isn’t much different than other male millennials,

“You walk in the house, a couple of guys will be sitting on the couch with their iPads, someone will be in his room listening to music, someone else doing laundry or playing board games,” said Fred Suchman, one of the staff members from ASPIRE of WNY. “It’s a normal house.” Buffalo News

Each of the housemates meet weekly to discuss chores, scheduling, and when the next Bills or Sabres game is on. They frequently watch the games together on their flat screen televisions, talk a little smack over a game of billiards, and they each have their own certain amount of money through their jobs and social security.

Jeffrey’s father had this to say about his son’s lifestyle.

“He’s so independent that he blows me off when I have a barbecue or something, he says, ‘Sorry, I’m busy, Dad.’ ”

Although the house is staffed 24 hours a day by Aspire, the guys live very independent lives. They all have their own jobs and six of them skate for SABAH, another organization that aims to enrich the lives of individuals challenged by physical, cognitive, and/or emotional disabilities.  SABAH executive Director Sheila O’Brien told the News how the guys have matured since moving in together.

“I can see over the last two or three years, they take things more seriously and they watch out for each other more. They’ve grown up.”

Living together, living independently, living safely. The seven stars of the story don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

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