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2015-2017 Program Investments

We are proud to invest $4.1 million in these 107  local programs in the first year of our 2015-2017 funding cycle.  Please see below for brief descriptions of each program provided by agencies as part of their program applications.

We are also investing $433,862 in seven special programs and initiatives - integral community services and programs with unique significance in achieving our Community Impact goals.


Focus Area

Agency

Program

Funding

Education

African American Cultural Center of Buffalo

Educational Cultural Enrichment

$25,000

Health & Wellness

Algonquin Sports for Kids, Inc.

Buffalo Soccer Club House Program

$10,000

Health & Wellness

Baker Victory Services

School-Based Mobile Dental Program

$15,650

Education

Baker Victory Services

Work Appreciation for Youth (WAY) Program

$15,500

Income

Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, Inc.

Comprehensive Housing Counseling

$59,750

Income

Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, Inc.

Family Self-Sufficiency Program

$20,000

Income

Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, Inc.

Individual Development Account Program

$37,500

Education

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Community Based Mentoring (Lackawanna)

$26,500

Education

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Group Mentoring Program

$20,000

Education

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Site Based Mentoring

$35,250

Education

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Transforming Buffalo-Mentoring and Education

$23,000

Education

Boys & Girls Club Depew-Lancaster

Youth Asset Development Program (YADP)

$18,000

Education

Boys & Girls Club of Orchard Park

Project Learn

$20,000

Education

Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo

Bridging the Gap

$180,567

Education

Boys & Girls Clubs of East Aurora and Holland

Project Learn

$64,000

Education

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northtowns

College and Career

$20,000

Education

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northtowns

Youth Asset Development Program (YADP)

$75,000

Income

Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers

BFNC Hope Center & Free Tax Preparation Network

$147,234

Education

Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center

Language to Literacy Program Phase III

$10,000

Health & Wellness

Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network

Community Health Worker Program

$43,500

Income

Buffalo Urban League

Employment Transition Services

$70,240

Income

Buffalo Urban League

Housing Counseling Program

$47,135

Health & Wellness

Buffalo Urban League

Senior Multi-Service Center

$42,000

Education

Buffalo Urban League

Youth Engagement Services (YES) Program

$23,000

Income

Center for Employment Opportunities

Comprehensive Employment Reentry Services

$40,000

Education

Child & Adolescent Treatment Services

21st Century Community Learning Center -East & South Park HS.

$28,490

Education

Child & Adolescent Treatment Services

Building Brighter Futures School Age After School Program

$82,550

Health & Wellness

Child & Adolescent Treatment Services

Child Advocacy Center

$55,000

Health & Wellness

Child & Adolescent Treatment Services

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adolescents

$66,500

Health & Wellness

Child & Adolescent Treatment Services

Intensive Case Manager (ICM) Wrap Program & Supportive Care

$29,000

Education

Child & Adolescent Treatment Services

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

$66,500

Education

Child & Family Services

Family Mental Health/Children's Educational Support Services

$99,680

Health & Wellness

Child & Family Services

Haven House

$49,000

Health & Wellness

Child & Family Services

Preventive Services Program

$41,000

Health & Wellness

Child & Family Services

Psychiatric Clinic Services

$20,000

Education

Child Care Resource Network

Child Development Associate (CDA)

$30,000

Income

Compass House

Compass House Emergency Shelter and Resource Center

$114,500

Health & Wellness

Compeer of Greater Buffalo, Inc.

Compeer for Adults

$15,000

Education

Compeer of Greater Buffalo, Inc.

Compeer for Kids Mentoring Program

$43,588

Health & Wellness

Compeer of Greater Buffalo, Inc.

Compeer for Older Adults Program

$17,000

Health & Wellness

Compeer of Greater Buffalo, Inc.

Vet2Vet

$10,000

Education

Computers for Children, Inc.

Full STEAM Ahead

$12,000

Education

Concerned Ecumenical Ministry

STAR After School Program

$30,000

Education

Cradle Beach

Living Classrooms

$18,000

Education

Cradle Beach

Project SOAR

$30,000

Education

Cradle Beach

Summer Enrichment Program

$45,752

Health & Wellness

Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Strengthening Families Program

$27,268

Education

Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Student Assistance Prevention Counseling (SAPC)

$20,000

Health & Wellness

Every Person Influences Children

Families in Transition

$29,250

Education

Every Person Influences Children

Just for Teens - Support for Pregnant and Parenting Teens

$21,974

Health & Wellness

Family Help Center

Core Services

$74,500

Education

Family Help Center

Full Service Schools (Closing the Gap)

$87,000

Health & Wellness

Family Justice Center

Family Justice Center of Erie County

$125,000

Education

Girl Scouts of WNY

Girl Scout Leadership Experience

$23,460

Income

Goodwill Industries of WNY

Employment & Training Services

$73,000

Health & Wellness

Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo, Inc.

Community and School Garden Education Series

$15,000

Health & Wellness

Hearts and Hands-Faith in Action

Hearts and Hands-Faith in Action

$45,000

Education

Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection

Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection

$50,000

Income

Horizon Health Services

Career Opportunity Center

$46,819

Health & Wellness

International Institute of Buffalo

Domestic Violence Support Services

$46,000

Income

International Institute of Buffalo

Employment Services for New Americans (ESNA)

$40,000

Income

Jericho Road Community Health Center

Financial Education Programs

$53,340

Education

Jericho Road Community Health Center

Focused Learning for Youth (FLY) Refugee Afterschool Program

$18,480

Health & Wellness

Jericho Road Community Health Center

Hope Refugee Drop-In Center (Health & Wellness)

$25,000

Income

Jericho Road Community Health Center

Hope Refugee Drop-In Center (Income)

$55,000

Education

Jericho Road Community Health Center

Parent-Child Home Program

$85,000

Health & Wellness

Jericho Road Community Health Center

Priscilla Project of Buffalo

$30,000

Education

Jewish Community Center

Holland Family Bldg. Early Childhood Center

$29,700

Income

Jewish Family Service

Project Integration

$55,232

Education

Junior Achievement of WNY

Financial Literacy Program for Youth Career & College Readiness

$18,000

Education

Kaleida Health

Early Childhood Direction Center

$28,000

Education

King Urban Life Center (KULC)

KULC/University at Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center

$20,000

Education

King Urban Life Center

Parent-Child Home Program

$85,000

Education

Literacy Empowerment Action Plan of WNY

LEAP ASAP (Academic Support Assistance Program)

$14,000

Education

Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY

Creative & Fun Kids Club

$30,748

Health & Wellness

Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY

Matt Urban Center Senior Services Program

$30,121

Income

Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY

Matt Urban Hope Center

$73,677

Health & Wellness

Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY

Matt Urban Hope Center (H&W)

$18,500

Education

Magic Penny Early Literacy

Magic Penny Early Literacy

$10,000

Education

Massachusetts Avenue Project

Growing Green

$15,000

Education

Mental Health Association

B.E.S.T. Basic Emotional Skills Training

$38,000

Education

Native American Community Services of Erie and Niagara Counties

NACS Youth Program

$35,000

Health & Wellness

Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.

Domestic Violence Advocacy at the Family Justice Center

$58,000

Education

Northwest Buffalo Community Center

Academic Improvement Program

$20,000

Health & Wellness

Northwest Buffalo Community Center

Elderly Program

$10,000

Health & Wellness

Olmsted Center

Senior Vision Services

$22,000

Education

Parent Network of WNY

Career & College Readiness for Students with Disabilities

$20,000

Education

Peace of the City Ministries

Peace of the City Ministries

$15,000

Education

Read to Succeed Buffalo

CARE Child Care

$60,600

Education

Read to Succeed Buffalo

CARE Elementary

$40,000

Health & Wellness

Rural Transit

Movin' Seniors

$10,000

Education

Seneca-Babcock Community Assoc.

"Prime Time" After School Program

$15,668

Income

Seneca-Babcock Community Assoc.

SNAP Workforce Development

$15,000

Income

The Salvation Army

Emergency Services

$86,000

Income

The Salvation Army

Employment Services

$30,000

Health & Wellness

The Salvation Army

Golden Age Center

$23,000

Income

The Service Collaborative of WNY

Opportunity Corps

$25,000

Income

Valley Community Association Inc.

Family Support Services Program

$10,000

Education

Valley Community Association Inc.

First in The Family

$10,000

Health & Wellness

Valley Community Association Inc.

Keep Moving Senior Program

$20,000

Education

Valley Community Association Inc.

Striving for Excellence

$65,000

Education

Valley Community Association Inc.

Valley Child Care

$55,158

Income

Westminster Economic Development Initiative, Inc. (WEDI)

Economic Development Program

$16,500

Education

Westminster Economic Development Initiative, Inc. (WEDI)

ENERGY Program

$13,000

Education

WNY United

Leaders in Training

$20,000

Education

WNY United

Mentoring and Academic Support

$15,000

Education

Young Audiences of WNY

Arts Rich Out-of-School-Time Programming

$15,000


TOTAL

 107 programs

$4,174,381






Supportive Initiatives Outside the RFP Process:




American Red Cross

Disaster Relief Services

$207,000


Catholic Charities of Buffalo

Closing the Gap

$80,195


Labor Services

Emergency Services

$30,000


Siemer Institute Match

Siemer Institute Match

$16,667


WNY 211 Call Center

Information & Referral

$90,000


WNY Holiday Partnership

WNY Holiday Partnership

$10,000


TOTAL


$433,862


 

Program Descriptions

The African American Cultural Center's Educational Enrichment Program provides to its participants a myriad of quality educational and arts services to improve develop and enhance their learning skills and their capacity to learn.  The target populations are students who attend the Buffalo Public Schools performing below New York State assessments in Reading and Math and live below poverty level. Eligible participants come from Schools in need of Improvement or low performing schools, parents or guardians must agree to be a part of the program.  The AACC believes that its unique Arts services provide supports and opportunities to acquire skills critical to learning. This blend of art enrichment with academic enhancement that has yielded positive outcomes.  The key program elements that provide the frame-work for assisting skill building for academic achievement include one-on-one mentoring, group discussions, artistic workshops which focus on individual performances and behavior modifications.  The benefits fall into three major categories:  improved academic performance and test scores; improved basic skills such as reading and mathematical skills and the capacity for creative thinking and improved attitudes and skills that promote the learning process itself particularly the ability to learn how to learn.

Artistic workshops have proven to have cognitive benefits which focus on the development of learning skills and academic performance. The design of this program, the agency annually reviews the National Best Practices/Model found in the ENA Center for Best Practices (www.nga.org/portal/site//menuitem) Evaluations of some recent Best Practices supports the agency's rational for Center's approach which concludes:

1.       The Arts can provide effective learning opportunities to the general student population

2.      Yield increased academic performances

3.      Reduce Absenteeism

4.       Provide better skill building to increase Self-esteem

5.       Develop creative thinking and problem solving

 

Algonquin Sports for Kids, Inc. (AS for Kids), was created as a sports-based youth development program that would provide children in the City of Buffalo with the opportunity to explore various sports that are not otherwise easily accessible to them. By creating safe, healthy environments, our programs focus on encouraging youth and family development with a core focus on healthy outcomes.

Currently, our core programs are through Buffalo Soccer Club (BSC), a soccer based youth development program. Through Buffalo Soccer Club we run a recreation-level House League program and an afterschool Soccer For Success program. Both programs focus on 60-90 minutes of physical activity two or three times a week, on a nutrition focused curriculum, on providing positive mentorship, and on engaging families in our programs.  Through these programs, 75% of participants have improved or maintained their BMI, 85% improved or maintained their aerobic capacity, and 84% said that they make healthier choices when deciding what to eat or drink after participating in the program.

Along with our attention to health and wellness, we use sports to encourage self-discipline, personal responsibility and teach anger management tactics to help our athletes grow into successful individuals, on and off of the field. We currently work with over 600 youth annually between the two programs.

 

Baker Victory Services (BVS) operates the Work Appreciation for Youth (WAY) Program to help youth and young adults realize the value of education and work while developing individual strengths to achieve both academic and personal success. The program provides life and career skills through a robust offering of in and out-of-school activities and curriculum enrichment opportunities. The program serves at-risk school-aged children ages 14-21 from Erie County school districts that have cognitive or developmental disabilities, mental health diagnoses, and/or identified emotional behavioral conditions. The WAY Program operates sites that provide: 1. Academic enrichment services that include tutoring and mentoring;  2. Career enrichment and mentoring services to prepare participants for the competitive community employment environment through interest inventories, career counseling, vocational planning, job coaching, job development, resume building, mobility training, interview practice, job search skills, and job shadowing; and life-skills workshops, crisis intervention, and career exploration activities.

 

Baker Victory Services (BVS), in conjunction with the Department of Health's Bureau of Dental Health, operates the School-Based Mobile Dental Program. This program provides critical preventive, screening, hygiene and reconstructive services to more than 1,000 school-age children across 35 sites concentrated in the highest areas of poverty in Western New York. 93% of the children served have no insurance or receive Medicaid.

 

Comprehensive Housing Counseling & Financial Education - Originally established in 1977 to administer federally-funded Section 8 renter assistance programs, Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, Inc. has grown into a full-service housing development, property management and housing counseling agency assisting well over 13,000 families annually. In addition to program administration, Belmont's services include:  housing development, restoration, and property management; consulting with municipalities and other non-profits; and housing counseling and education. Belmont, a HUD-Certified Housing and Financial Counseling agency, is Buffalo/Niagara region's largest HUD-certified agency with a counseling staff of 11 advising over 2,000 low-to-moderate income households annually on finding affordable rental opportunities, buying a home, financial management, foreclosure prevention, reverse mortgages, home maintenance, energy efficiency and green and healthy behaviors. Additional target audiences include persons in communities of concentrated poverty, persons with disabilities, veterans and military families, refugee, and the new or long-term unemployed.

 

Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) - Originally established in 1977 to administer federally-funded Section 8 renter assistance programs, Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, Inc. has grown into a full-service housing development, property management and housing counseling agency assisting well over 13,000 families annually.  Belmont has been offering the FSS program since 1994. Adult family members of Section 8 assisted households can voluntarily sign up for FSS, enter into a personalized education and training contract with a program caseworker, and receive job training and career counseling. FSS Coordinators also provide participants with referrals for child care, employment opportunities, child-support issues, civil litigation, and food pantries. The target population for this program is Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) holders including individuals and families who are living in areas of concentrated poverty, veterans, and new or long-term unemployed persons.

 

Individual Development Account Program - Originally established in 1977 to administer federally-funded Section 8 renter assistance programs, Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, Inc. has grown into a full-service housing development, property management, and housing counseling agency assisting well over 13,000 families annually.   Belmont administers an Individual Development Account (IDA) program in Western New York through the nationally recognized program, Assets for Independence.Assets for Independence (AFI) enables community-based nonprofits and government agencies to implement and demonstrate an assets-based approach for giving low-income families a hand up out of poverty. AFI projects, such as Belmont's, help participants save earned income in special-purpose, matched savings accounts called IDAs. Every dollar in savings deposited into an IDA by participants is matched by $4 through the AFI project, promoting savings and enabling participants to acquire a lasting asset. Families use their IDA savings, including the matching funds, to achieve any of three objectives: acquiring a first home, capitalizing a small business, or enrolling in postsecondary education or vocational training.  The IDA target population includes female heads of household that are either receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit, TANF, or have income under 200% of the poverty level

 

Be-A-Friend Program, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County (BBBSEC)  - Group Mentoring Program (GMP). For 43 years, the mission of BBBSEC has been to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. The GMP is designed to meet the needs of youth who would benefit not only from the attention and friendship of an adult role model, but also the social interaction provided through small group activities. This service option combines the critical elements of one-to-one mentoring with the unique benefits provided by the social group setting.  The GMP is a collaborative project, initially started in partnership with Erie County and currently delivered in partnership with Catholic Charities, to identify youth and supplement the services provided by the partner agency. The GMP utilizes a paid Mentor Advocate to provide mentoring services to children, ages 14-21, who are at a high-risk of dropping out of school or becoming involved in the juvenile justice system. The placement of high-risk youth in this age range into mentoring relationships with a paid agency staff person, instead of with volunteers, is necessary due to the particular difficulties this population presents in building relationships with adults. The GMP provides opportunities for children to learn workforce development skills while building educational and social skills. With nearly 15 years of experience providing the GMP to at-risk male youth, the GMP will begin to serve at-risk female youth by the end of 2014. UWBEC funding will help BBBSEC provide 60 children, males and females, who are at a high-risk of dropping out of school or becoming involved in the juvenile justice system, with quality mentoring relationships to help them reach their full potential.

 

Be-A-Friend Program, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County (BBBSEC) -  Site Based Mentoring (SBM) Program. For 43 years, the mission of BBBSEC has been to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. The SBM Program matches children (ages 5-14) with carefully screened and well-trained volunteer mentors. The SBM Program provides a carefully developed and planned curriculum with the support of a BBBSEC Site Coordinator for mentoring matches that meet once a week for approximately two hours. A portion of the time is spent on schoolwork, strengthening academics and building life skills, but each day also includes activities that are fun, to engage the child and keep them excited about coming back each week. The SBM Program assists children from very high-need neighborhoods with high percentages of poverty, single-parent homes and higher crime rates. The program currently operates at Enterprise Charter School (ECS) in downtown Buffalo. United Way of Buffalo & Erie County (UWBEC) funding will allow the SBM Program to provide 50 children facing adversity with individualized adult time focusing on the child's area of need, and the opportunity for the child to build social, emotional, interpersonal and academic skills. When these children are enrolled in our program and matched with carefully screened Big Brothers and Big Sisters they dramatically out-perform their peers that are not in our program. Among children currently enrolled in the SBM Program, 100% believe it is not okay to skip school, 80% had a positive attitude towards school, and 100% were promoted to the next grade level.

 

Be-A-Friend Program, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County (BBBSEC) - Transforming Buffalo Through Mentoring and Education (TBTME), IS an enhancement of our Community Based Mentoring (CBM) Program. This successful, educational and outcome driven program enhancement is provided in partnership with the Buffalo Public Schools (BPS).  The TBTME enhancement to our CBM Program was specifically developed to address the City of Buffalo's education crisis. The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County (UWBEC) is fully aware of the BPS poor graduation rate, which dropped to 47% in 2012. For years, BPS students have been exiting school without the skills they need to pursue secondary education, enter a trade school or find and maintain employment. The TBTME enhancement to our CBM Program builds upon BBBSEC's strengths developed over the past 43 years, during which caring and well-trained volunteer mentors positively impacted the lives of over 9,000 children facing adversity. With the TBTME enhancement to our CBM Program, there is a significant increased focus on keeping these children matched with a caring adult mentor until they walk across a stage with a high school diploma in hand. Children enrolled in our program dramatically out-perform their peers that are not in our program. Recent assessments show that among children participating in BBBSEC's mentoring programs, 100% believe it is not okay to skip school, 73% had a positive attitude towards school, and 98% were promoted to the next grade level. UWBEC funding will allow 250 children facing adversity, that attend BPS, to engage in a one-to-one mentoring relationship with carefully screened, well-trained and professionally supported volunteer mentors.

 

Be-A-Friend Program, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County (BBBSEC) - Community Based Mentoring (CBM) Program in the City of Lackawanna. This expansion will allow us to provide high-quality, one-to-one mentoring to 30 students who live in the City of Lackawanna. In the 2011-2012 Community Needs Assessment, the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County (UWBEC) identified the Lackawanna City School (LCS) District as a district of concern based on student performance (poor graduation rates), low student attendance and high rates of student suspensions. The City of Lackawanna also saw significant increases in poverty (21.2% increase from 2000-2010), which resulted in a high number of children in LCS who are eligible for free or reduced lunch (84% in 2011). For 43 years, the mission of BBBSEC has been to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. The CBM Program provides: (1) an opportunity for a child to establish a friendship with an adult who cares about him or her; (2) individualized adult attention focused on the child's area of need; and (3) an opportunity for the child to build social, emotional, interpersonal and educational skills. Children enrolled in our CBM program dramatically out-perform their peers that are not in our program. Recent assessments show that among children participating in BBBSEC's mentoring programs, 100% believe it is not okay to skip school, 73% had a positive attitude towards school, and 98% were promoted to the next grade level. UWBEC funding will allow 30 children facing adversity who live in the City of Lackawanna, to engage in one-to-one mentoring relationships with carefully screened and professionally supported volunteer mentors to improve educational achievements and ultimately graduate from high school.


Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo  The purpose of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo's Bridging the Gap program is to help 2,500 youth a year realize productive and positive lives. Bridging the Gap is the educational centerpiece of programs designed to nurture the body, mind and soul of youth of all ages in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo afterschool and summer programs.  The population to be served is among the most at risk in the City of Buffalo for academic failure; alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse; premature sexual experimentation; violence, gang activity and juvenile delinquency.  Clubs staff, working with community based partners and volunteer mentors, will engage youth in educational programs focused on improving their performance in reading, math, and science so that they improve achievement on NYS Learning Standard assessments and graduate high school.  Programs will be offered to stimulate their curiosity in subject areas and careers so that they are motivated to continue in education; stop risky behavior; and righting their character so that they may resist the lure of delinquency and connect with their community thus resulting in a reduction in dropout rates. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo has been successful in past United Way performance measures.  We are anticipating reaching all of our goals for academic performance for youth in the Bridging the Gap program for the 2011-2012 school year.  Looking at our results after the third marking period in the schools, our results to date are:  70% of participants improved their grade point average, 69% of participants improved their average daily attendance, 76% of participants demonstrated pro-social behavior.  

 

The Depew-Lancaster Boys & Girls Club (DLBGC) is committed to providing academic enrichment and education services to area youth.  Club programming is designed around five core areas, created by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  The curriculum is intended to engage young people in activities with adults, peers and family members, enabling them to develop their self-esteem and reach their full potential.  Recognizing developmental principles, the core programs are based on physical, emotional, cultural, and social needs and interests of both girls and boys. The Depew-Lancaster Club serves an average of 500 children and youth annually, more than 25% of whom live in economically-disadvantaged circumstances.  Families rely on the Club to provide a safe, affordable and dependable after-school destination, where young people participate in both structured and unstructured programming in a healthy environment.  Without the Club, these young people would spend their after-school hours unsupervised, a situation which, research shows, too often increases the risk of delinquent activities and unhealthy behaviors. Depew-Lancaster Boys & Girls Club programs are designed to build a physical, emotional, academic and social development of every youth.  A youth who lacks skills in any one of these areas are less likely than other youth to become a contributing member of the community and a productive adult.  Clubhouse programming is designed to promote youth development and provide consistent opportunities for youth to be successful.  Measures to be tracked include Number and percent of youth who are promoted to the next grade, Number and percent of children, Grade 8 or below, who show improvement in Grade Point Average, Number and percent of school-aged children who demonstrate increased positive decision-making skills, Number and percent of school-aged children who demonstrate improved social/emotional development.

 

The Boys & Girls Clubs of East Aurora; Holland; EMW; and Springville are collaborating to request support from United Way to fund the Project Learn Educational Enhancement Strategy at each Club.  Project Learn reinforces academic enrichment, school engagement, decision making and social development of young people during time spent at the Clubs.  The strategy is based on research demonstrating that students perform much better in school when spending non-school hours engaged in fun, but academically beneficial activities.  Through Project Learn, Club staff use all program areas to create opportunities for these high yield learning activities (HYLAs) which include leisure reading, writing activities, discussions with knowledgeable adults, helping others, homework help, tutoring, leisure reading, and games (such as Scrabble) that develop young people's cognitive skills.  Project Learn also emphasizes parent involvement and collaboration between Clubs and school professionals as critical factors in creating the best after-school learning environment for Club members, ages 6-18. Our target population is youth, ages 5-18, with a special emphasis on students who are underachieving at school, making poor decisions, and socially immature.  The key program features of Project Learn are Power Hour (Homework Help/Tutoring Program) and HYLAs that are injected into all Club program areas. Project Learn is a strategy with proven success in that children attending Boys & Girls Clubs and participating in Power Hour and HYLAs perform better academically, maintain/improve grades from one marking period to the next, advance to the next grade level, achieve the merit/honor roll at school, make better decisions and are more socially developed than non-Club youth.

 

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northtowns (BGCNT) Youth Asset Development Program is committed to helping children develop the skills they need to become self-sufficient and successful adults.  The Clubs, located in Buffalo and northern Erie County, actively strives to enrich the lives of girls and boys, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.  BGCNT offers programs designed to help youth realize their potential in all areas of their lives and promotes development of protective factors that help to prevent risk-taking behaviors. To assure that youth served by our Clubs graduate and are prepared for higher education or employment, programming at all our Clubs has evolved to include a strong academic component.  As part of this change, BGCNT created the Youth Asset Development Program (YADP), a comprehensive educational curriculum comprised of five core programs: Power Hour, Project Learn, SMART Moves, Torch Club and Keystone Club.  These five programs, developed by Boys & Girls Clubs of America, utilize Best Practices to assure attainment of program goals.  Ongoing assessments of these programs indicate that they have a positive impact on student behavior and academic achievement.  Performance measures to be attained include: # and % of school-age children who are promoted to the next grade, # and % of children who secure life skills, # and % of children who demonstrate increased positive decision-making skills, # and % of children who demonstrate improved social-emotional development. Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northtowns' Erie County Clubs serve an average of 4,000 youth annually and over 500 youth daily, approximately 65% of whom come from economically disadvantaged homes.  The service area includes four public housing facilities.  More than 500 youth are anticipated to participate in the YADP in the coming year.

 

The Northtowns Boys & Girls Clubs (BGCNT) is committed to helping youth develop the skills they need to become self-sufficient and successful adults.  The Clubs, located in Buffalo and northern Erie County, actively strives to enrich the lives of girls and boys, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.  BGCNT offers programs designed to help youth realize their potential in all areas of their lives and promotes development of protective factors that help to prevent risk-taking behaviors.  To assure that youth served by our Clubs graduate and are prepared for higher education or employment, programming at all our Clubs has evolved to include a strong academic component.  For older youth, this is supplemented with programs that enable youth to regain credits needed to complete high school, explore colleges and the requirements for enrollment, develop employment related skills, and secure employment. Ongoing assessments of these programs indicate that they have a positive impact on student behavior, academic achievement, college enrollment, and employment opportunities.  Performance measures to be attained include:includ number of youth receiving life skills training, number of individuals receiving career enrichment, exploration or professional development services, and number of youth securing employment.  Northtowns Boys & Girls Clubs' Erie County Clubs serve an average of 3,000 youth annually and over 500 youth daily, approximately 65% of whom come from economically disadvantaged homes.  The service area includes four public housing facilities.  Approximately 200 high school youth are anticipated to participate in the teen College and Career program in the coming year.

 

The Orchard Park Boys and Girls Club's Project Learn is a high quality afterschool education enhancement program designed to help children and youth reach their full learning potential.  Students that receive free or reduced lunches and children, in grades 2 through 5, that are identified as in need of academic intervention services by the Orchard Park School District will be specifically targeted.   We believe that by providing early, intense intervention to these children, more students will reach proficiency levels in grades 3, 4, 5, and 8. Program features include the traditional BGCA's program and its five key components, with the incorporation of an internet based reading incentive program and weekly trips to the Orchard Park Public Library to select independent reading books, use of Triumph Learning's Ladders to Success: NYS English Language Arts & Mathematics assessment preparation materials, homework assistance, tutoring, and high-yield learning activities in order to improve academic performance, improve daily attendance in school, and increase the number of children who are promoted to the next grade level.    In the recent past, Project Learn has been highly successful.  All became more motivated, attentive, and engaged.  The amount of time participants spent doing homework increased, as did their desire to improve or maintain their performance in school.  Our formalized strategy in 2012 shows that we are on target to meet or exceed all established United Way educational performance measures.

 

Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers, - BFNC Hope Center & Free Tax Preparation Network (FTPN) program. BFNC's Hope Center and FTPN is a 'one-stop' node from which low-income working families may better plan for and address their economic needs. The requested United Way investment will allow BFNC's Hope Center to integrate its financial and college access coaching, consumer legal services, and benefits assistance programs into the tax preparation cycle, which (1) experiences incredible participant volume and (2) mobilizes to 6 remote sites across the city. The BFNC's Hope Center assisted 9,672 individuals in 2013 with integrated economic empowerment and free tax services. BFNC Hope Center's successful tax preparation services present an opportunity to extend the benefits of the Center's core services to the estimated 8,000 households who will utilize tax preparation services during 2015.

 

In 2004, Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center developed the Language to Literacy program (LLP), a program that utilizes a research-based curriculum to build critical foundational skills for language and reading success. Since then, the Center has provided Phase I/II instruction to over 1,100 students through its clinic/school programs. After many years of successful implementation, feedback from educators and parents, and formal evaluation and substantial data analysis, BHSC proposes to develop and implement the third and final phase of the Language to Literacy Program (LLPIII). Phase III will continue to focus on listening, reading comprehension, and spelling at more advanced levels and intervention will begin to explicitly address written language skills. This next phase is a critical progression in the hierarchy of the skills students need to be successful with language and literacy academically, socially and vocationally. The goal of this request is to expand upon a successful curriculum that will directly impact student literacy and written language skills.  Specific objectives include:  (1) Development of engaging/relevant content; (2) Implementation of LLPIII in one school to develop best practices; and, (3) Assessment of student data to demonstrate effectiveness.

Phase III will be implemented at West Buffalo Charter School (WBCS) during the 2014-15 school year by BHSC staff, 3rd/4th grade Language and Literacy Instructors/classroom teachers.  Data collected from regular assessments and parent surveys will be utilized to develop best practices and prepare the program for replication.  Based on the successful results from Phase I and II, a minimum of 120 3rd and 4th grade students will demonstrate an increase in performance on the Aimsweb Reading and Maze Curriculum-Based Measurements.   This improvement will significantly impact student performance across content areas, as well as increase self-esteem and academic engagement.  

 

The Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network's (BPPN) enhanced CLC Community Health Worker Program proposal will provide individual services and community support to women, infants and families and will incorporate strategic goals to Eliminating Disparities in Perinatal Health. The program proposed will consists of staff, which are culturally diverse and bilingual engaging program participants (PP) by possessing the language skills and cultural competency needed to service the target program population which consist of identifying and servicing clients in 12 of 25 zip codes (14201, 14204, 14207, 14208, 14209, 14210, 14211, 14212, 14213, 14214, 14215 and 14216). Community Health Worker Program (CHWP) will target African American and Hispanic women before, during, in between and after their pregnancy, to reduce racial disparities in infant mortality and adverse perinatal outcomes. These targeted ethnic groups chosen for this project have historically been the victims of poor maternal infant health outcome indicators, including infant mortality, premature births, low birth-weight births, poor compliance with activating early entry into prenatal care, poor utilization of preventive health care practices, low breastfeeding rates, etc. Community Health Workers (CHW) will conduct door to door outreach to identify and recruit program participants (PP), provide a full assessment to pinpoint their needs, assist with securing services and staff will on many occasions conduct the work of the project at the program participant's residence.  CHW's will be trained Certified Lactation Consultants (CLC) and will facilitate breastfeeding groups to program participants as well as to community participants.  These efforts will support maternal health and nutrition and strengthen the bond between parents and their babies.

 

The Buffalo Urban League's Employment Transition Services program provides employment services to meet the needs of individuals who are unemployed, under-employed, or dislocated workers. Our services target individuals who experience the highest rates of unemployment, 30% and above. They include: youth, ex-offenders, minorities, specifically African Americans, and individuals transitioning from public assistance. Our target groups incorporate the specific needs of the most recently long term unemployed, the disabled, those with ESL needs and those living in the most impoverished neighborhoods.  Case management, training and job search services provide the support and skill building required to enable the individual to achieve and retain employment as well as gain career advancement. Individuals participating in the program become job seekers armed with marketable skills and an action plan to enable them to obtain and retain employment. The program staff provides the client with intensive support and coaching and assistance to reduce barriers to the job search and post employment support to ensure job retention. Employment will enable individuals to become economically self-sufficient and productive members of the community, thereby improving their quality of life and contributing to the economy. To ensure coordination and linkages which maximize employment opportunities, our staff is co-located two days per week at the Buffalo Employment and Training Center (BETC). This allows a seamless integration of our clients into the community's One Stop services as a component of our case management and job placement services.  Identified needs of individuals comprised of the disabled, Veterans, refugees and immigrants are addressed with concurrent enrollment in Buffalo Urban League program services and other community resource agencies.  This insures accessibility to the most viable of employment services to this group.  The overall outcomes of this program has successfully assisted over 375 clients obtain employment annually.


The Buffalo Urban League, Inc. (BUL) provides Housing Counseling and Financial Literacy that serves residents primarily in Erie County. We provide counseling and educational services targeted to  low-to-moderate income households, minorities, the homeless, and the elderly, which include: Mortgage Default and Delinquency Counseling; Tenant Counseling; Homeless Counseling;  Housing Consumer Education; Financial Literacy Education; Predatory Lending; and Fair Housing Education. Our program allows us to: educate individuals to avoid or reduce foreclosures, provide counseling and legal assistance to those homeowners who are facing foreclosure and/or bankruptcy; and/ or have been taken advantage of by abusive and unethical lenders, educate consumers about predatory (high cost) lending scams, sub-prime / predatory mortgages, and refinancing, counsel individuals seeking rental assistance, educate consumers on financial literacy, to include debt management and credit repair. We take a holistic comprehensive customer centered approach to serving our clients, by offering individual and families our internal resources and linkages with organizations providing social and economic resources. These community collaborations allow us to be a continuing resource for residents' increasing self-sufficiency and economic empowerment.  Buffalo Urban League's program has assisted 1094 individuals who participated in: counseling for foreclosure prevention, financial literacy, rental assistance and/or attended workshops/presentations. Of the individuals who were served through rental counseling, over 82% were able to make and maintain rent payments for six months or more. Additionally, 64% of our clients requiring financial management assistance were able to create and utilize a money management plan. Our continual outreach activities will be done by our housing counselors in conjunction with our legal partners at various locations throughout the City of Buffalo and County of Erie.


The Buffalo Urban League's Senior Multi-Service Service Center is dedicated to providing low income seniors age 55 and older (including those with a disability) with: (1) access to high quality food and physical activity (2) information and access to services and options for increased quality of life. Program services will ultimately increase the opportunity for independent living while decreasing the need for seniors to prematurely enter nursing homes due to chronic diseases. Program services include: Congregate dining- daily nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snacks;  Food Pantry provides bi-weekly food packages to cover 4-days of nutrition; Transportation to and from program services, medical and business appointments, shopping and field trips;  Telephone Assurance Program( TAP)  regular telephone contact with Seniors who are homebound  and/or who do not come to the Center to ensure their safety and well being; Forms Completion Assistance which gives individual assistance to seniors in completing applications for resources they are eligible to receive; Health related workshops and seminars to provide up to date information and access to services;  Health & Wellness Screenings and Socialization through a host of activities aimed at positive socialization and fun such as: current events discussions,  arts & crafts, choir, plays, games, movies, and  field trips.  There is no fee to participate in the program though there is a suggested donation based on income for the congregate dining program. The Senior Multi-Service Center has a three year average of 92% in meeting program outcomes.

 

The Buffalo Urban League, Inc. Youth Engagement Services program is designed to achieve improved overall academic, personal and social development; increase high school graduation rates and facilitate transition into post-secondary education, training or the workforce for at risk youth ages 14 -21.   The program equips and empowers low income youth to become self-sufficient by addressing their educational, economic, family and social challenges.  Services provided include: Educational Support, Life Skills Support and Career Development. Mentors are used to support the participants. The program serves on average, 75 youth during the year and 130 during the summer. An individualized service plan is developed for each youth that coordinates the various services required to overcome the issues facing the student.  To avoid learning loss over the summer, the program operates a Summer Earn and Learn program component designed to provide continued academic enrichment and the opportunity for the youth to gain valuable work experience and earn money while learning.  Over the last three years, the program has achieved the following outcomes: 260 or 94.8% of youth were promoted to the next grade level; 274 or 100% remained in school and improved attendance; 89 or 93.6% of the high school seniors applied to college and 83 or 87.3% enrolled into college; and 27 went into training, jobs, apprenticeships and/or the military; 100% of the seniors graduated from high school or achieved their GED.  The program draws students through our partnerships with the Buffalo Public School System; Erie County Department of Social Services, Family Court, juvenile justice and other community and faith based organizations. Referrals also come from Urban League programming areas. This collaboration between programs allows for a comprehensive, culturally sensitive response to the issues facing families that goes beyond simply addressing the presenting problem.

 

The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO),  Comprehensive Employment Reentry Services for the Formerly Incarcerated is dedicated to providing immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services to men and women (ages 18+) with recent criminal convictions. Our highly structured and tightly supervised program helps participants regain the skills and confidence needed for a successful transition to a stable, productive life.  CEO's program combines four key elements: job readiness training, paid transitional work, job placement assistance, and retention support. Since becoming an independent nonprofit in 1996, CEO has made over 17,000 full-time job placements with hundreds of businesses throughout New York State. CEO opened its doors in Buffalo in 2009, and has since served over 911 formerly incarcerated individuals through transitional employment and job coaching support, and secured 730 placements in full-time, unsubsidized jobs throughout Erie County.  United Way of Buffalo & Erie County funding will support retention services, a critical component of its program. Once a participant has obtained a job in the community, CEO retention specialists provide continuity of support that can help them stay attached to the work force. These services also help develop long-term goals toward gaining the skills and education needed to move to higher paying jobs.

 

Child & Adolescent Treatment Services- Building Brighter Futures BBF- The mission of BBF   program is to enhance Students' academic achievement, social emotional development and to foster lifelong interests in the arts, recreation, and other areas by providing high quality out-of school opportunities that keep children safe, help them thrive and that meaningfully engage and support adult family members in helping their children and families succeed. The program serves at-risk students and their families in grades 9-12 who attend East and South Park High Schools. Services include academic supports, mentoring, life- skills, physical activity, health and wellness, technology, socio-emotional supports, STEAM, career exploration, college preparation and planning, leadership and more. The program has three overall goals. The first will be to enhance the academic achievement and college and career readiness of students participating in the program. The second is increasing their ability to make pro-social choices in their behavior in home, school and community. The third goal concentrates on increasing family involvement. Each year CATS aims to meet and exceed all of their internal objectives that include the following United Way measures # of students promoted to the next grade level, #of students enrolled in specialized skill and knowledge- building programs through expanded learning opportunities # of students exhibiting developmentally appropriate social-emotional and/or behavioral skills as well as additional measures. In 2012-2013 BBF combined to serve 1584 students. Students in the BBF program demonstrated improved academic performance, social and emotional development, school attendance, and stronger connection to the school day. In 2012-2013 students 95 % of students were promoted to the next grade level,  85 % demonstrated an improvement in social emotional skills and 100% received specialized skill and knowledge- building programs.

 

Child and Adolescent Treatment Services ICM Wrap Program works with youth ages 5 - 18 years and their immediate family members throughout Erie County to maintain the youth safely in their community family setting, and avoid costly out-of-home placements.  The Supportive Care Coordination (SCC) Program operates with similar focus, targeting a population of youth who have been referred through the Juvenile Justice system.  Wraparound services are provided in both programs by utilizing a nationally recognized, evidence -based model that encompasses client empowerment and advocacy.  Care Coordinators access and link families to natural supports in the community, they model problem-solving skills and encourage goal oriented activities to meet family needs.  Partnerships are formed with the entire family to identify a collective Family Vision, and goals are created to form a Plan of Care (POC) or treatment plan.  Monthly Child and Family Team (CFT) meetings are held with team members who are chosen by family members for their ability to support the family in obtaining goals. 

Sustainable progress continues to be noted within the ICM Wrap program since 2011, as we are continually able to demonstrate the Best Standards of Practice as established within our System of Care (SOC).  In 2013, pertaining to our past performance indicators, 100% of our youth and families received safety/crisis plans; 85% of all youth served remain safely within their home setting not requiring an out of home placement (hospitalization or residential placement), and 86% of our youth demonstrated a marked improvement in emotional, behavioral, psychiatric and/or psychological health and well-being. 

 

The Lee Gross Anthone Child Advocacy Center, (CAC), is a program of Child & Adolescent Treatment Services, Inc., (CATS).  The mission of CATS is to effectively treat children ages 3-21 with mental health challenges by reducing emotional sufferings, behavioral issues and the impact of psychological trauma through psychiatric services, counseling and community based programs.  The mission of the CAC is to integrate and coordinate services to meet the needs of child victims of sexual and serious physical abuse and their caregivers at a single, child friendly facility.  Such response is intended to reduce trauma, promote accountability and facilitate healing. The population served consists of children who are alleged victims of sexual and/or serious physical abuse and their non-offending caregivers who live in Erie County.  The CAC is the seat of Erie County's Multi-Disciplinary Team, (MDT).  The MDT has representation from Erie County child abuse professionals in the fields of law enforcement, prosecution, social services, medical, mental health and victim advocacy.  Key MDT services provided at the CAC are MDT child forensic interviews, forensically competent medical examinations, clinical therapy including trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, (tf-cbt), case coordination services, in which Case Coordinators provide supportive services to the child and caregiver, including working with the MDT on creation of a safety plan, assisting the client with filing for crime victim compensation benefits, acting as a liaison with MDT partners.  This funding will be used as a match to draw down critical funding from the Erie County Departments of Mental Health and Social Services which supports key personnel including direct service staff and administration.  UW funding will also support critical operational costs such as rent and utilities, and interpretation services.

 

Child & Adolescent Treatment Services- Building Brighter Futures BBF- The mission of BBF   program is to enhance Students' academic achievement, social emotional development and to foster lifelong interests in the arts, recreation, and other areas by providing high quality out-of school opportunities that keep children safe, help them thrive and that meaningfully engage and support adult family members in helping their children and families succeed. The program serves at-risk students and their families in grades K-8 who attend Buffalo Public Schools 18, 66 & 93. Services include academic supports, mentoring, life- skills, physical activity, health and wellness, technology, socio-emotional supports, STEAM, career exploration, college preparation and planning, leadership and more. The program has three overall goals. The first will be to enhance the academic achievement and college and career readiness of students participating in the program. The second is increasing their ability to make pro-social choices in their behavior in home, school and community. The third goal concentrates on increasing family involvement. Each year CATS aims to meet and exceed all of their internal objectives that include the following United Way measures # of students promoted to the next grade level, #of students enrolled in specialized skill and knowledge- building programs through expanded learning opportunities # of students exhibiting developmentally appropriate social-emotional and/or behavioral skills as well as additional measures. In 2012-2013 BBF combined to serve 1584 students. Students in the BBF program demonstrated improved academic performance, social and emotional development, school attendance, and stronger connection to the school day. In 2012-2013 students 95 % of students were promoted to the next grade level,  85 % demonstrated an improvement in social emotional skills and 100% received specialized skill and knowledge- building programs.

 

Child & Adolescent Treatment Services - CATS Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Program is an evidenced-based treatment deriving from cognitive behavior therapy.  DBT helps clients identify thoughts, beliefs and assumptions that make their lives challenging, and provides them with tools to learn different ways of thinking and reacting.  DBT has been found effective for individuals with suicidal and other severely dysfunctional behaviors.  DBT aims to keep clients alive, committed to treatment, and help them build a better quality of life.  Our DBT program operates on an outpatient basis and serves to keep teens out of the hospital and in the care of their families by providing skills and support to assist them with emotional health challenges they face.  The following modalities are implemented to keep our program adherent to the DBT model and support its mission of preventing inpatient hospitalization and helping clients "build a life worth living." 

Individual therapy sessions allow clients to share personal thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are potentially life threatening, interfering with their progress in treatment, and/or impacting their quality of life.  Special techniques are used to help clients gain awareness and motivation for change. In group sessions, skills are taught to clients and their parent/guardian that will assist them in meeting their treatment goals, including those related to personal health and safety.  Telephone consultation is available to clients/families to help them in applying skills they have learned when dealing with urges to harm themselves, are at risk for hospitalization, or in high stress.  The therapist provides skills coaching, assesses risks and develops safety plans.  Therapist team consultation meetings are held weekly and aim at preventing therapist burn out and ensure therapists remain adherent to the model.  DBT philosophies and skills are used by the therapists with one another in this meeting to support the program's mission. 

 

Child & Adolescent Treatment Services (CATS)Parent -Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) program is an evidenced-based treatment program working with at-risk children 3-7 and their parent/guardian.  The therapist provides live coaching from behind a one way mirror via a wireless ear bud, guiding the parent/guardian in using effective skills to increase their child's positive behavior and decrease negative behavior.  PCIT is designed for children whose behaviors include disruptive or oppositional behavior, aggression, hyperactivity and behavioral problems stemming from traumatic experiences.  Families are seen weekly for 14-18 sessions until the parent/guardian learns skills to increase positive behaviors, respond to undesired behaviors and model and reinforce constructive ways to deal with emotions.  Teacher - Child Interaction Training (TCIT) is an adaptation of PCIT which trains daycare and preschool teachers to create a positive classroom environment that improves the behavior of all children in the classroom, especially children with extremely challenging behaviors.  Teachers are coached in the classroom using skills based on PCIT protocols.  It provides teachers with a therapeutic approach to working with children who do not respond to typical classroom discipline.  Defining features of PCIT and TCIT are that they are strength based, assessment driven, short-term approaches, distinguished by working with the parent or teacher and child together, using live, direct coaching.  Both PCIT and TCIT have shown that children's behavior has improved both at home and at daycare or preschool, when parents and childcare professionals learn how to praise appropriate behavior and to set firm consistent limits. 

 

The Child Care Resource Network (CCRN) is a resource & referral agency that supports families, providers and the community by advancing and developing quality early care and education.  The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education (ECE) and is a key stepping-stone on the path of career advancement in ECE.  This is based on a core set of competency standards, which guide early care professionals as they work toward becoming qualified teachers of young children and is recognized by the profession as a vital part of professional development.  The credential is awarded to child care providers who have demonstrated their skill in working with young children and their families by successfully completing the CDA process.  CDAs have knowledge of how to put the CDA Competency Standards into practice and understanding of why those standards help children move with success from one developmental stage to another. Put simply, CDAs know how to nurture the emotional, physical, intellectual, and social development of children.  Our program offers early childhood educators a comprehensive approach to successfully completing the credential.  Participants have the option of participating in 120 hours of classroom or online instruction.  In both cases, participants are assigned an education specialist to support them in the development of the required portfolio and mentor them in their programs in an effort to increase the quality of care provided to their children. Courses run cyclically, with two sections of both the traditional and online offered each year.   Over the past three years, sixty-nine candidates successfully completed our program and received the CDA credential.  Using the nationally recognized Harms & Clifford Environmental rating scales1, which assesses program quality using a calibrated scale, the CCRN follows program quality throughout the credentialing process

 

Child & Family Services' Haven House Counseling and Advocacy Program - Beginning in 1979, Haven House (HH) has provided a broad range of residential and community-based services designed to empower victims of domestic violence (DV) and support them in seeking safety, self-determination and justice.  Haven House provides victims with the resources needed to rebuild their lives by offering a 24-hour hotline, residential (shelter and transitional housing) and non-residential services.  The non-residential services are referred to as the Counseling and Advocacy Program (CAP).  CAP helps families victimized by domestic violence become safer through confidential counseling, support groups, and legal advocacy in locations throughout Erie County, including police departments and courts.   From a trauma-informed perspective, CAP works with victims to understand the dynamics of domestic violence, identify risks of further domestic abuse, understand their rights as victims, identify and access protective interventions, develop a safety plan to escape from the abuse and the confidence necessary to implement that safety plan.  Advocacy is provided with the police and courts to obtain orders of protection and/or participate in the successful prosecution of the violent intimate partner or family member.  In 2013, Haven House served 1,949 victims of domestic violence and helped 1,872 victims implement a safety plan; of those individuals, 1,217 were receiving legal advocacy services from Haven House with 795 receiving assistance with obtaining an Order of Protection, 176 victims receiving individual counseling services, and 59 victims at risk of losing custody of their children completed a domestic violence Education Group.   

 

Child & Family Services' Psychiatric Clinic - continue to provide psychiatric screening, medical screening, medication management, and health monitoring to children and adults with serious mental health issues requiring intensive intervention.  Our program, described in the most recent audit by the Office of Mental Health as "the health monitoring gold standard," sees incoming patients within 60 days; other area clinics have average waiting periods of six months.  Our success in delivering psychiatric services includes reducing the number of preventable hospital stays by addressing a social condition that negatively impacts health. 

Child & Family Services recognizes that healthy families are the building blocks of our WNY community.  Licensed by the NYS Office of Mental Health, the agency's psychiatric services are staffed by skilled, licensed professionals who work with youth, adults and seniors to help them become healthy members of our community.  Intake counselors screen clients over one to three visits to determine the need for psychiatric services; approximately 40% of our clients are recommended for psychiatric care.  All clients are evaluated for health needs, and those requiring psychiatric intervention are seen by a nurse and psychiatric nurse practitioner or psychiatrist.  Our clinic offers assessment, treatment and counseling services for a comprehensive range of emotional and behavioral problems resulting from mental health issues including, but not limited to, mood disorders, childhood/adolescent disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, and adjustment disorders.  Our current clients range in age from four to 71.

Over the course of the past several years, we have found an ever-increasing need and demand for psychiatric health services.  We plan to expand services by adding a second full-time psychiatric nurse practitioner as well as a second full-time licensed practical nurse. 

 

Child & Family Services' Family Mental Health Program - Child & Family Services recognizes that healthy families are the building blocks of our Western New York community.  Licensed by the NYS Office of Mental Health, the outpatient mental health clinic provides counseling and psychiatric services in a confidential and supportive environment. Therapists offer outpatient assessment, treatment and counseling services for a comprehensive range of emotional and behavioral problems including, but not limited to, mood disorders, childhood/adolescent disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, and adjustment disorders. Counselors and clients work together to address students' mental health issues in a process that can last as briefly as one session or last for multiple years.  Appropriate services are determined on an individual basis by the client and counselor. 

Over the course of the past several years, we have found an ever-increasing need and demand for children's mental health services, particularly as it relates to their success in school.  Through the Family Mental Health Program we offer unique interventions to address specific needs of children and subsequently support their academic success; among these interventions are: anger management therapy, youth sex offender management, play therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing therapy and art therapy. Most recently, we have established a relationship with Say Yes to Education and beginning in the fall of 2015 will be providing mental health services to students within the Buffalo Public Schools.

 

Child & Family Services Preventive Services Program serves vulnerable families in Erie County, assisting children at risk of placement outside the home, families needing assistance in expediting the safe return of children who have been placed, and supporting kinship placements.  Our program staff has an average of 15 years' experience working with families and children at risk and have specialized training in working with these populations.  All services provided by our program staff incorporate a strength-based, solution-focused approach within the framework of a trauma-informed perspective.  Services are home-based and include individual and family counseling, case management services, and advocacy.  The expected outcome is, children will remain in their homes and be safe from abuse or neglect.  The Preventive Services Program has successfully met the performance measures of ensuring families complete an effective safety plan, parents improve parenting skills, and children remain safe at home or are able to return to a home safe from abuse.

 

Compass House, a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) in the City of Buffalo, offers safe shelter and services for runaway and homeless youth from across Erie County.  Compass House has a 42-year track record of advocating for the community's most vulnerable youth and remains Western New York's only Shelter and Resource Center for adolescents of all gender identities ages 12-24.  All services are voluntary, confidential, free, and easy to access through the agency's 24-Hour Helpline at (716) 886-0935 and Safe Place Program linking youth in crisis with receiving sites (such as Tops Friendly Markets and the NFTA) and around-the-clock volunteer-staffed transportation to Compass House.  Open 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, Compass House's thirteen-bed Emergency Shelter provides basic emergency needs, individualized case management, linkage and referral to other community resources, as well as aftercare support for both youth ages 12-17 and their families, by extension.  Beyond immediate shelter, Compass House addresses many of the core issues that lead to homelessness among our young community through our Resource Center, a non-residential case management program for youth ages 14-24.  Compass House provides extensive, individualized case management services structured to prevent a young person from needing to survive on the streets to prevent future runaway incidents and reduce the possibility of chronic homelessness.  Compass House's interventions achieve real results to reduce a young person's reliance on traditional child welfare, mental health, law enforcement, and juvenile justice system interventions.   In a context where young and their families live in unsafe homes, or on the edge of homelessness, with few options and serious consequences to their health, safety and well-being, Compass House's mission is an urgent priority in a community where 28% of Erie County's homeless are children under the age of 18 (Homeless Alliance of WNY, 2012).

 

Compeer of Greater Buffalo Compeer for Kids Mentoring Program serves children who are considered hard-to-serve with multiple risk factors that often include a history of abuse, neglect, or other trauma.  They will be ages 3 through 17, and live in the City of Buffalo and Erie County.  Under the United Way's Education Platform, Compeer for Kids Mentoring Program has been proven to improve the social-emotional relationship skills of school-aged children and youth through structured and trusting mentoring relationships.  In 2013, we provided high quality, long-term, one-on-one mentoring to 121 youths and engaged another 200+ youths with letters, phone calls, monthly newsletters, and invitations to monthly social activities. Among surveyed youths, 93% reported going to school more, and 100% reported that they were doing homework more often and getting better grades compared to before they had their mentor.  Adult volunteer mentors who will model positive, responsible behavior for the targeted youth will be recruited, trained, and matched by Compeer.  Compeer mentors will devote on average between two and four hours a week for a minimum of one year.  The Compeer program is nationally recognized as best practice for mentoring and follows evidence-based policies and procedures. Compeer's mentoring program creates strength-based, structured, and trusting one-to-one relationships between caring adults and at-risk youth for support, encouragement, and friendship.  A mentor is not a parent, therapist, guidance counselor, coach, tutor, or probation officer.  And yet, mentored youths are likely to experience better relationships with parents, express goals for their future, improve academic performance, and stay out of the justice system.  High quality mentoring has proven to be a powerful tool to help at-risk youths achieve their true potential.

 

Compeer of Greater Buffalo Vet2Vet Program.  Founded in 1985, Compeer is a unique agency in Erie County inspired by the belief that "relationships are key to resiliency" and "friendship is powerful medicine."  Compeer began a targeted program in November of 2011 matching volunteers who are Veterans in peer friendship and mentoring relationships with other Veterans who are striving for optimal mental health and a high quality of life, but who may be having difficulties re-integrating back into society.  The Compeer Vet2Vet Program recruits, interviews, screens, trains, matches, and monitors veteran volunteer mentors who are interested in actively helping fellow veterans by providing emotional support through one-to-one friendships.  While Veterans in need receive support, understanding and encouragement in the community, trained veteran volunteers get the opportunity to engage in community service and experience self-worth by offering supportive friendship.  In 2012 the Compeer Model was reviewed and approved by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Registry for Evidence-based Programs and Practices as an evidence-based program model for individuals diagnosed with such mental health conditions as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, Clinical Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Bi-Polar Disorder.  This recognition designates Compeer as having nationally recognized best practices for mentoring such as outreach, screening, training, monitoring, and evaluation; activities and projects designed to strengthen or rekindle unique talents and skills; re-integration into the community to reach and maintain optimum quality of life; unpaid volunteers who serve as mentors and advocates; linkages to community services and activities; respite for family caregivers; and Compeer-sponsored monthly group activities.

 

Compeer of Greater Buffalo Compeer for Older Adults Program.  Founded in 1985, Compeer is a unique agency in Erie County inspired by the belief that "relationships are key to resiliency" and "friendship is good medicine." Compeer has served older adults since its inception and in the fall of 1994 Compeer began a targeted program matching volunteers in one-to-one friendship and mentoring relationships with socially isolated older adults, age 60 years and above who are striving for optimal mental health and a high quality of life.  These individuals are at-risk for out of home placement - meeting the criteria of mental health symptoms often with physical/medical issues, substance abuse, and poverty.  The Compeer for Older Adults Program recruits, interviews, screens, trains, matches, and monitors volunteer friends who are interested in actively helping people 60 years old and above by providing emotional support through friendship. Friendships forged through these relationships close the gap between community isolation and social integration.  Compeer is currently the largest provider of best practice and evidence-based mentoring/friendship services to elders with a mental health diagnosis in Erie County.  Currently the Compeer for Older Adults Program serves over 100 elderly clients annually.  Key features of Compeer include: nationally recognized best practices for mentoring, including outreach, screening, training, monitoring, and evaluation; activities and projects designed to strengthen or rekindle unique talents and skills; re-integration into the community to reach and maintain optimum quality of life; unpaid volunteers who serve as mentors and advocates; linkages to community services and activities; respite for family caregivers; and Compeer-sponsored monthly group activities.  Ninety-eight percent of the volunteers report that they feel they have improved the quality of life for their older adult matches.

 

Compeer of Greater Buffalo Compeer for Adults Program - Founded in 1985, Compeer is a unique agency in Erie County inspired by the belief that "relationships are key to resiliency" and "friendship is good medicine."  Compeer, since its inception, has served socially isolated adults age 18-59 years who are striving for optimal mental health and a high quality of life.  These individuals are at-risk for hospitalization or other out of home placement.  The Compeer for Adults Program recruits, interviews, screens, trains, matches, and monitors volunteers who are interested in actively helping people 18-59 years old by providing emotional support through friendship and social activities.  Friendships forged through these relationships close the gap between community isolation and social integration.  Currently the Compeer for Adults Program serves over 100 adult clients annually.  Key features of Compeer's model include: nationally recognized best practices for mentoring, including outreach, screening, training, monitoring, and evaluation; activities and projects designed to strengthen or rekindle unique talents and skills; re-integration into the community to reach and maintain optimum quality of life; unpaid volunteers who serve as mentors and advocates; linkages to community services and activities; respite for family caregivers; and Compeer-sponsored monthly group activities.  Ninety-eight percent of the volunteers report that they feel they have improved the quality of life for their adult matches.  A current volunteer says, " My friend Laurie has really come a long way.  When we first met Laurie would call me and talk to me about her fear of crossing the street.  Here we are two years later and she can cross the street alone.  She even schedules the Para-Transit to pick her up so she can participate in Compeer events.  It's awesome!"

 

Computers For Children, Inc. (CFC) a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. Established 1997, CFC's mission is to enhance educational opportunities and enrich lives through technology. We give students access to technology by providing technology labs, learning centers, and academic training. An essential CFC service includes donating refurbished/updated computers to schools in poor neighborhoods (60-200% poverty rate according to 2010 US Census) that cannot afford to outfit classrooms and computer labs.  CFC has helped approximately 100,000 youngsters and installed more than 30,000 refurbished computers to schools, agencies and homes in need. CFC is the foremost non-academic entity that delivers computer technology training andSTEAM programs to at-risk middle and high school students in the region. We provide opportunities for hands-on experience in hardware construction, software applications (Microsoft Office training), robotics, program coding, and website design. These skills enhance workforce marketability and contribute to success in college. Upon course completion, students are given a computer to keep permanently.  We train their parents/caregivers in Internet safety before the computer is installed. Our program, "Keeping Kids Safe On-line," is an initiative developed among the NY State Attorney General's Office, FBI Cyber Crimes, and the Missing & Exploited Children's program.  Post training, students provide labor to CFC by helping to refurbish and install computers in designated schools.  Past performance measure - students enrolled in specialized skill and knowledge building programs (e.g. STEAM) Success Rate: 95% program graduation and parent/caregiver participation. Participating youth: in 2010 CFC recorded  57% average increase in software knowledge to 2013 88% increase. Students apply new skills to generate school reports and other related research, conduct job searches, and complete online job applications. Overall, CFC students are more effective at using technology as an academic and workplace tool as opposed to only personal social exchanges.

 

Concerned Ecumenical Ministry (CEM) has been operating the STAR After School Program for students in grades k-8 since 2005. The program offers academic assistance, snacks, enrichment activities, mentoring, and community service projects in a safe and nurturing environment with caring adults during non-school hours. The program has operated in various community sites and public schools.  CEM is seeking funding to continue the program we currently offer in Buffalo Public School #6. CEM has been working in partnership with School #6 for the past four years. During that time, the school went from having 10% Limited English Proficient (LEP) students to over 37%.   The target population for the program is BPS #6 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Our current funding supports a program for children in grades three through eight. The principal has requested that we expand program to include kindergarten through second grade. This expansion would increase the number of students in our program by 60 students for a total of 250. The program we offer was developed in partnership with the school administration and reflects the school improvement plan. Most of the students in the program have been referred by teachers or the Student Support Team. Students in the program strengthen their relationship with the school, improve their academic outcomes, and improve their social and emotional expression.  The STAR program offers academic support by providing tutoring by a certified teacher. We offer a variety enrichment activities including drill team, science club, art and photography classes, drumming and dance, and similar activities. We work closely with the school to align our behavioral policies. Our activities engage the parents, promoting parent and family involvement with the school.

 

Cradle Beach (CB) has been serving children from communities of high concentrations of poverty and children with disabilities for over 126 years.  In 2008, we developed and implemented Project SOAR (SOAR) in the Buffalo Public Schools (BPS).  Today, Project SOAR is in BPS #43, #72, and #93 and collaborates with BPS, Closing the Gap, Say Yes, and other agencies in order to provide academic, social/emotional, and higher order skill development.  The core goals of SOAR are to increase academic performance, increase daily attendance, increase grade promotion, decrease negative behaviors, improve emotional intelligence, and expand the overall development of these children through meaningful experiences.  Project SOAR offers weekend retreats, the Summer Enrichment Program (10-day residential summer camp), 6 additional weeks of summer educational programming, mentoring, tutoring, lunch bunch academic support, and after school programming.  This extends the total number of support hours by 702 hours per child or the equivalent of 114 school days annually.  SOAR is currently ending its fifth year serving 220 children in the 3rd through 7th grades at partner schools.  Annually, each school adds a new group of twenty 3rd graders into the program as the other children move up.  The goal is to follow these children through Grade 12 to track the impact of SOAR on student achievement, grade promotion and, eventually, graduation rates.  We will be adding an additional 60 children at each school as well as adding 50 students at BPS #198 The International Preparatory school over the next two years for a total of 390 children by the end of the 2016-17 academic year. 

 

Cradle Beach (CB) has been serving children from communities of high concentrations of poverty and children with disabilities for over 126 years.  In 2008, as a complement to our Summer Enrichment Program and in order to offer year-round programming, we developed and implemented Project SOAR (SOAR) in the Buffalo Public Schools (BPS).  Today, through innovative partnerships, we have developed evidence-based programming that has demonstrated outcomes in the academic, social/emotional, and higher order skill development of our participants.  This proposal will build on this success by substantially expanding our existing experiential science and math programming for school-age children while simultaneously addressing significant skills gaps in future college students who wish to major in STEM fields.  This will be accomplished by utilizing our facilities on Lake Erie, with offers over 60 acres of wooded land, 1200 linear feet of beach space, year round overnight accommodations, and a myriad of ecological environments. Over the last year we have expanded existing partnerships around STEM with SUNY Buffalo State, Buffalo Urban Outdoor Education (BUOE), Time Warner, UB's ISEP Initiative, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA), and the Buffalo Public Schools (BPS).  The program will be flexible by offering 1/2-day, full-day, and overnight experiences.  This expanded program will incorporate a student-centered, active learning, multi-venue model and infuse current advances in science education in order to light the passion of students who only experience science in the classroom. This new program, Living Classrooms, will serve thousands of students incorporating science, research, observation, experiential learning, and the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) by building on existing CB programs.

 

The Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) at Cradle Beach is an evidence-based program aligned with research completed by Johns Hopkins University and the Summer Learning Association, which shows that children from disadvantaged backgrounds stay on track at school when they participate in a summer enrichment program and low income children who do not participate fall behind by almost 2 years by 9th grade.  The 10-day residential camping experience builds 19 of the 40 Developmental Assets and is part of the Cradle Beach year-round programming strategy that provides students with an equivalent of 114 extra school days annually.  Residential summer learning at Cradle Beach provides hands-on experiential learning through 17 "playstations" that children choose.  Children participate in fun, active activities that build their self-confidence, self-esteem, science, math and ELA skills. Our SEP keeps students engaged in learning, teach new skills, and encourage children to develop previously-unseen talents.  Further, SEP has demonstrated a positive impact on Emotional Intelligence which has a statistically significant relationship with increased academic achievement.  Cradle Beach serves an average of 800 youth annually in SEP, between the ages of eight and 16, with nearly 73% of campers at or below poverty level.  Almost 80% of all campers come from zip codes in the City of Buffalo. 

 

The Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA) has worked for the past fifteen years in partnership with many local agencies conducting The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) for parents and their children ages three to 15.  SFP is a national model and is the first research-based parenting program specifically designed for substance abusing parents and their children.   This evidence-based program aims to assist families in reaching the goal of breaking the cycle of addiction.  The SFP is a multi-component, family focused program that provides prevention and intervention services for three to 15 year old children and their parents who are actively involved in, or recently completed substance abuse treatment.  Included in the SFP curriculum are; discussions, demonstrations, role modeling, videos, role plays, tests, homework and public acknowledgement of personal behaviors.  SFP strategies include the provision of age appropriate information in a culturally sensitive manner. There is a particular emphasis placed on communication and family strength building, the promotion of positive alternatives to drug use, and training in the areas of communication, decision making and problem solving for parents and their children as it relates to the family, school and the workplace.   In addition, SFP staff is trained to identify those parents in need of assistance and provide a referral and linkages to additional services including employment and vocational educational services.  The SFP has yielded statistically significant results indicating both an increase in parenting skills and relationship building between parents and children. The establishment of these protective factors helps to reduce the cycle of substance abuse and addiction among the youth. ECCPASA is therefore seeking to expand this effective prevention programming throughout Erie County.

 

The Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA) has worked for over twenty-three years conducting the Student Assistance Prevention Counseling Program (SAPC) throughout Erie County.  SAPC provides comprehensive prevention and early-intervention services for high-risk youth in grades K to 12. This selected/indicated program places experienced counselors in school settings to work one-on-one with students who have been identified as being at high risk for abusing substances and/or those who have a family history of addiction. Eligible students receive SAPC services for education, support and referrals for problems associated with alcohol and other drugs.  SAPC addresses a variety of social, emotional and/or maladaptive behaviors that interfere with academic success.  SAPC provides an umbrella of comprehensive prevention and early intervention programs.  It is a client centered multi-disciplinary program incorporating evidenced based strategies and research to increase protective factors, reduce risk factors, promote resilience, and incorporate the 40 Developmental Assets.  SAPC professionals develop on-going, year-round relationships with students, parents/guardians, and schools. SAPC provides support for students who have completed or are currently enrolled in ECCPASA's Strengthening Families Program (SFP) which targets students who are living with a parent/guardian who is in recovery or in active addiction to substances. The SAPC Program also serves youth coming out of treatment for relapse prevention, those referred from the court system, and referrals from concerned parents or family members. SAPC assists school staff to identify students who need assistance and support.  In an effort to improve student success, family members, school personnel and other persons important in the student's life are involved.  When necessary, SAPC refers students and their families to appropriate community support services.

 

Families in Transition (FiT) is a research-based parenting education program serving high-risk/high-need parents in Erie County, NY. FiT participants are "at risk" for a variety of personal and familial problems including substance abuse, mental health issues, domestic violence, and child abuse and neglect, often resulting in loss of custody of their children. Participants are referred by the domestic and family court system and others that are seeking support on their own to help them overcome personal challenges that interfere with being effective parents. FiT serves nearly 600 parents annually with a waiting list for services exceeding 3 months.  Since its inception in 2001, FiT has consistently yielded results demonstrating a decrease in family violence, modification of negative behavior toward their children, and parents reporting improved relationships with their children. The intensive parenting program is based on EPIC's highly effective active learning delivery model, offered as a 5-week series. Each 3 hour session includes discussion on a variety of topics related to parenting, emotional growth, non-violent solutions, communication, and literacy. The topics are complemented with a supportive group work structure that includes an "emotional check in" to begin each session, and stress reduction activities to end each session. FiT's curriculum is tailored for three developmental age groups: Infants & Toddlers, Young Children, and Young Adolescents.  FiT was recently awarded one of 26 federal Service to Science grants from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, providing technical assistance and consulting to advance FiT towards evidence-based program status. This process is informing multiple aspects of the program in preparation for a full-scale research project.

 

Just for Teens (JFT) is designed and implemented by EPIC - Every Person Influences Children and provided in 12 Buffalo Public High/Charter Schools as well as two residential programs for pregnant and parenting teens in foster careThe research-based JFT curriculum includes 24 workshops in the categories of Fundamental Parenting Skills, Bonding with Your Child, Relationships, and Personal Well-Being. The curricular experience is enhanced by community service providers who address topics essential to teens caring for themselves and their baby.  JFT guides and supports improved in-school behavior, attendance and academic performance as a vehicle to a better life for participants and their child, with most recent statistics indicating that 75% of those who attend JFT advance to the next grade or graduate. The graduation rate for the last year available is 67% for JFT participants, significantly higher than the BPS graduation rate (47%) or national average (41%). The program serves approximately 150 pregnant and parenting teens each year, primarily in high schools. Workshops, entitled "Lunch Bunch," are typically scheduled during the school lunch period in a private room and include a free nutritious lunch. Sessions are 30-45 minute small group interactive discussions led by a trained EPIC facilitator. We work closely with school or residential personnel to ensure integration and continuity of care for teen participants and their babies.

 

Family Help Center's (FHC) Closing the Gap (CTG) In Student Performance Program is a collaborative project with United Way, Buffalo Public Schools and other human services agencies, designed to improve student academic achievement by addressing non-academic social and emotional needs that may challenge their ability to learn.  The services provided by the FHC's Family Workers are a key part of a student's support plan, done in coordination with the school's CTG team and site-based school team create. Services provided include, but are not limited to, crisis intervention, mentoring, counseling, facilitating peer groups, parent engagement, case management, transportation  and concrete needs assistance i.e. food, clothing, and holiday gifts. Home visits are conducted to encourage parental engagement in issues outside of school which may be affecting the student's school life.  The most recent outcomes on the program's identified performance measures were 96.5% of the students served had one or more non-academic need met and 92% of the students improved in their daily school attendance.  FHC has been part of the CTG collaboration since 2000, and six years ago was invited to be part of a Federal grant which expired in 2013. To continue providing services to meet the needs of the students in all 4 schools, 1 full time FHC Senior Family Worker's time was split between two of the 4 schools on a part time basis, resulting in a decrease in the number of students being served.  FHC currently provides services in 4 Buffalo Public Schools with 2 full time Family Workers and 1 Working Supervisor.  We are asking for funding through United Way to include 3 Full Time Senior Family Workers and a Working Supervisor. This will enable FHC to continue providing the unique family services provided by FHC and meeting the needs of more students.

 

Family Help Center's (FHC) Core Services program starts with our cornerstone and best known service, the Family Helpline, with a FHC worker or volunteer answering live, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Parents and caregivers (and persons concerned about a family) can call for anything regarding their children, birth to 21, and their own parenting and home environment. The Helpline resolves some parents' concerns in one or a few phone conversations, such as a referral to other organizations. Other Core services are: 1) in-home crisis intervention when a caller is in need of urgent help such as  formula when mom has no money or transportation (we respond through a "24/7 worker on-call" system), 2) short term case management, doing "whatever it takes" to address a family's needs, 3) parent training using the evidence-based  "Parenting Wisely " program, and 4) basic needs through our Food Pantry, Clothes Closet plus free diapers, formula, car seats, cribs, and Pack-N Plays. We plan to develop a Parent Café, offering informal parent-to-parent peer support. Services are aimed at securing and enhancing the safety and wellbeing of children and reducing and eliminating health and safety risks to children. Many referrals are received from Child Protection. When a worker does in-home crisis intervention, they assist in de-escalating a situation when home dynamics may be spiraling out of control. They help the family develop an immediate crisis plan to address critical family circumstances that led to the call. After the crisis is settled the worker helps with a short term follow-up action plan and links the family to needed services and follows up to insure a solid linkage. Core consistently exceeds expectations on United Way's identified performance measures in addressing family crisis, child safety, parenting education and effective connection to resources for other needed services.

 

The Family Justice Center of Erie County, Inc. (FJC), is a collaboration of various community agencies working together to create a "one stop shop" for victims of domestic/intimate partner violence and their children.  The Center provides a coordinated, efficient and user-friendly service delivery model that decreases barriers, improves the delivery of services to victims, enhances victim safety, and increases offender accountability.  Along with 13 on-site and over 20 off-site partner agencies, the Center provides one safe and secure location for victims to access the multitude of services they will need to safely escape the abuse.  A victim walking through the Center's doors can speak with a domestic violence advocate for counseling and to create a safety plan, meet with a representative to address any civil legal concerns, talk with a police officer regarding filing criminal charges, meet with a nurse to document injuries, video conference with family court to obtain an order of protection, get linked with emergency housing, etc.  In addition, the FJC provides transportation and language/translation assistance.  With past funding from United Way, the FJC has been able to reach over 10,000 domestic violence victims.  The Family Justice Center is requesting $150,000 in funding to not only maintain the centralization of domestic violence services in Erie County, but also to expand the collaboration to address any unmet needs.

 

Girl Scouts of Western New York (GSWNY) is the region's pre-eminent girl leadership organization dedicated solely to girls. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), After School Program in Underserved Communities provides age-appropriate leadership experiences to increase girls' developmental assets and social competencies.  The GSLE is administered by trained Girl Scout staff or volunteers in after school settings or programs.  Girls pursue activities in safe, structured environments which encourage them to develop their individual potential, develop values for decision making, learn to relate to others, and share responsibility for contributing to their community.  Activities strive to remove some of the barriers that prevent girls from achieving their full potential both academically and personally. The content of all Girl Scout Journeys have been correlated by grade level to the new national Common Core Standards and the 21st Century Skills standards, as well as to the Health & PE, Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies learning objectives for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For New York State, Girl Scout Journeys directly correlate to New York State Core Curriculum strand/standards.  Past performance records have been positive. In 2013 more than 500  girls in the after school program and an additional 6823 girls received Girl Scout programming within the City of Buffalo and Erie County, of whom 81% increased life skills, 77% increased positive decision making skills and 80% reported customer satisfaction. GSWNY respectfully requests the amount of $60,000 each year of the 2015-2017 funding period to continue the Girl Scouts Leadership Experience for 500 at-risk and underserved girls per year within Buffalo and Erie County.

 

Goodwill Industries of Western New York, Inc. is a 94-year old, autonomous community-based not-for-profit agency that delivers comprehensive Job Training/Employment programs with wrap-around services to adults having all types and combinations of vocationally disadvantaging and/or disabling conditions. Through its services, our agency empowers and assists these individuals to obtain, maintain and advance in employment, accrue assets and achieve their highest level of independence.  We serve four specific populations: persons with physical, developmental and mental disabilities, Public Assistance recipients, Veterans, and former alcohol/substance abusers. 95% of clients reside within the City of Buffalo.   All Goodwill programs and services are individualized based on the client's strengths, abilities, needs and preferences...and designed to achieve identified, measured outcomes within specified time frames. Our approach is holistic and collaborative where additional resources are required to address non-vocational issues impacting employability, family stability and quality of life.  Every client undergoes a preliminary Evaluation whose findings guide development of an Individual Plan for Employment and the client's choice of hands-on Training Programs in retail, industrial production or warehouse operations, E-commerce or environmental services; we also refer to a broad range of other training related to area workforce needs and opportunities. Training lasts approximately three months; towards the end the client begins working with a Goodwill Job Developer who contacts employers, assists in preparing resumes and applications, and provides transportation to interviews. Once a client secures employment, we maintain communication to resolve issues that may arise, helping to ensure retention.  Goodwill programs, services and administration are accredited at the highest level by CARF, the national Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitative Facilities.

 

Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo (GGB) Community and School Garden Education Series plans to continue its highly successful Education Series through 2017 with the support of United Way of Buffalo and Erie County. Converging factors of property abandonment, poverty, food insecurity and the high incidence of diet-related diseases rank Buffalo among one of the least healthy cities in the U.S. Faced with these significant challenges and the added prevalence of environmental harms and risks, Buffalo residents seek opportunities to mitigate these factors by establishing community and school gardens in their neighborhoods.  The Education Series provides participants with the fundamental information and tools necessary to mitigate environmental risks, change eating behaviors, increase physical activity and improve quality of life through sustainably managed community and school gardens.  At least 40 Workshops, open to participants of all ages and income levels but targeted toward low income families and youth, are held yearly in locations throughout affected communities in the City of Buffalo; specifically, classroom style workshops are held at Urban Roots Community Garden Center and the GGB office.  Hands-on workshops are held in community and school gardens. Workshops include a "Growing" series to include lessons on sustainability such as composting and water practices; a "Fitness" series which takes place in the gardens, utilizing them as active space while engaging participants in physical activity; and a "Healthy Harvest" series focused on food production and preservation. In addition, 20 school-based workshops are held, demonstrating to low-income youth in Buffalo Public Schools the benefits of community garden involvement, and a hands-on seed-starting exercise to start them on their food-producing adventure. A "Community Garden Resource Toolkit" is produced for distribution to all lead gardeners.

 

Hearts and Hands-Faith in Action, Inc. is a neighbor helping neighbor volunteer organization supporting the independence of older and disabled adults and their care givers since 2003.  We strive to uphold our care receivers' dignity, improve their quality of life and enhance their ability to stay in their homes by linking them with trained volunteers who provide non-medical support services, including transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping and other errands, minor home repair and maintenance, wellness checks, friendly visits, and caregiver respite at no charge. Our program delays or eliminates the need for expensive institutional healthcare, supports the health and independence of those we serve, and supports people caring for their older or disabled family members. 336 carefully screened and trained volunteers currently serve 565 care receivers.  From April 2013-April 2014, our volunteers gave 9,244 hours of service and drove over 117,000 miles on behalf of our care receivers.  Hearts and Hands collaborates with 45 community partners including: 37 faith-based organizations that help identify care receivers and volunteers; municipalities that donate office space, equipment and maintenance; and private and public funders that support our program coordination and expansion.  Services are currently offered to residents of Akron/Newstead, Alden, Clarence, Holland, Marilla, Wales, the Tonawanda Indian Reservation and the surrounding communities. Demand for our services has been growing exponentially as awareness of our program grows, and as our population ages and their family members leave the region in search of other opportunities or are busy facing challenges of their own lives.  We are currently working with faith based and community organizations to expand into Amherst, Lockport and Boston, NY.  We expect the number of people we serve to triple and our volunteers to double in the next two years, or as funding for expansion allows.

 

Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection (HW-SC) is a nationally recognized youth development organization proven to double graduation rates for at-risk youth. HW-SC is a school-home-work partnership providing long-term mentorship through Youth Advocates working in the school with students in grades 9-12 as well as those two years post-graduation. HW-SC identifies and targets students capable of success but due to adverse circumstanced need assistance focusing on their education and /or staying in school. Students are eligible if they demonstrate two or more risk factors for high school dropout.  HW-SC began as a community-owned model in 1987, and now serves over 3,500 students over multiple sites in the northeast.  In 2003, HW-SC was recognized by the US Department of Labor and the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC) in Washington, D.C. for "demonstrating best practices in youth development and employment". In 2009, the American Youth Policy Forum recognized HW-SC among 23 of the nation's most effective youth development programs that "Support Youth on the Path to College and Beyond."

 

Horizon Health Services (HHS)   Career Opportunity Center is seeking support for the delivery of vocational and educational training, placement, and post-placement support for adolescents and adults primarily residing in the Buffalo inner-city who have mental health and chemical dependency disabilities.  Horizon is the largest and most comprehensive provider of mental health and chemical dependency services in WNY - providing treatment services since 1975 and educational/ vocational services since 1986.  Our clients face extraordinary challenges in seeking, securing and retaining employment, including: limited education/job experience due to the onset of the disorders during their school years; their lack of "world of work" functioning skills; psychiatric symptoms that interfere with their functioning; co-occurring physical disabilities associated with the side effects of their medications; and poor nutritional habits, dysfunctional lifestyles, and high risk behaviors.  Our vocational services are based on a nationally recognized evidence-based model that emphasizes client choice, the integration of vocational and treatment services, the rapid onset of job searching, and ongoing pre and post-placement supports. We propose to provide: employment skill training to prepare clients to access and retain competitive employment through developing key employment skills and behaviors; skills training and peer support to address the challenges of job searching; job placement in meaningful employment based on their skills and interests, and ongoing job support services to ensure retention through the period of work adjustment and beyond.  The program has historically been supported through contracts with the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and the NYS Adult Career and Continuing Educational Services - Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR).

 

The International Institute of Buffalo was established in 1918 to assist refugees and immigrants overcome language and cultural barriers so they can become self-sufficient members of the WNY community.  IIB has over 90 years experience resettling refugees and helping limited English proficient clients lead productive lives. In FY 2012 IIB's resettlement program assisted 230 clients begin life in the US by linking them to education, housing, public, medical and employment services. In addition, IIB is committed to helping ALL refugees & immigrants in WNY move one step closer to achieving their employment and self sufficiency goals. The Institutes EMPLOYMENT SERVICES for New Americans (ESNA) program provides  culturally competent comprehensive employment services including: individualized assessment, employment preparation training activities (job club, world of work orientation in native language), resume preparation, assisting with overcoming employment barriers, and providing ongoing assistance once clients become employed, including advocacy, financial literacy, supportive services and employment upgrades. Client and employer demands for our program have exceeded our capacity. In addition we are receiving more requests from immigrant clients whose needs are not being served by mainstream agencies and we are not funded to provide services to this population but have been on a pro-bono basis.

 

As the only Domestic Violence (DV) service provider with cultural and linguistic expertise in serving immigrant victims of crime, International Institute of Buffalo (IIB) will use United Way funds  to maintain its enhanced response to limited-English speaking, foreign-born victims of DV in Erie County. Currently, IIB DV Advocates provide culturally competent, linguistically appropriate emergency and long-term services to approximately 120 victims from nearly 40 different countries of origin each year. As Erie County receives close to 2,000 new immigrants and refugees annually, the number of immigrant victims of DV also continues to rise, illuminating the inability of traditional health and criminal justice systems to meet their unique needs. The DV Advocate currently funded through the United Way, tailors services to decrease common social determinants faced by immigrant victims who seek protection and support through traditional systems, while simultaneously advocating within those systems to create true centralized access for all persons, regardless of linguistic or cultural impediments. IIB utilizes a client-centered, human-rights based, trauma-informed philosophy of care which translates into intensive advocacy and case management driven by client choice and priority. IIB Advocates conduct outreach to potential victims within the most isolated cultural communities, working collaboratively with refugee-led faith and service entities to provide education and information in a culturally sensitive manner.

 

Jericho Road Community Health Center (JRCHC)  - JRCHC Focused Learning for Youth (FLY) Afterschool Program was designed in 2007 to meet the specific needs of refugee middle school students residing primarily on the West Side of Buffalo.  Five days a week after school, in addition to a six week summer program, FLY provides refugee students in 6th through 9th grades with a safe, supportive, and impactful environment, cultivating student development and success.  As Students with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE) and English Language Learners (ELLs), refugee students play a seemingly endless game of catch-up.  While refugee students bring rich diversity to Buffalo, this population has consistently been identified as at-risk and underserved by the resettlement agencies and refugee communities of Buffalo.  FLY focuses primarily on oral and academic English language development, literacy, and math.  These skills provide the foundation for development and school success.  FLY staff and volunteers provide individualized instruction through one-on-one homework assistance, small-group tutoring and additional educational activities to help students access, understand, and perform according to the grade-level standards of their American peers.  In pursuit of healthy peer, family, and community relationships, we also provide character development and enrichment activities.  Through these program components, FLY addresses students' needs holistically in the context of mentoring relationships between adults and students.  Performance on UWBEC-identified measures over the last three years include 85 out of 86 students being promoted to the next grade level, 86 out of 86 students receiving academic enrichment, tutoring or mentoring services, and 86 out of 86  students receiving socio-emotional or behavior skills services. 

 

The Jericho Road Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP), an initiative of Jericho Road Community Health Center, is in its eighth year serving low-income and refugee families with children at risk of academic failure. Our target population is children, aged 18 months to 4 years, whose families are low-income, have limited education, and face language and literacy barriers across the East and West Sides of Buffalo. We are a certified replicate site of the National PCHP (www.parent-child.org), which is a 46-year old international, evidence-based model created to address rising high school dropout rates, which is a root cause of poverty, crime, and other factors of a low standard of living. The Jericho Road PCHP prepares young children for school success by stimulating positive parent-child verbal interaction and activities that develop critical language, early literacy and early math skills. At-risk children and families are paired with a trained Home Visitor who spends 30 minutes with a child and his or her primary caregiver twice a week in their home. Home Visitors gift program families with developmentally appropriate toys and books, used to model early-emergent literacy skills, dialogic reading and language-based play. Participants receive home visits for a minimum of 23 weeks each program year, over the course of two program years. Past performance on UWBEC-identified performance measures over the past three years include 265 (100%) program families receiving an in‐home parent support program with a language and literacy focus, 230 (86%) program children exhibiting developmentally appropriate language, literacy or mathematical skills, and 229 (86%) children exhibiting developmentally appropriate social-emotional and behavioral skills.

 

The Priscilla Project of Buffalo (PPB) is a pregnancy mentoring program for refugee women, an integral part of the holistic care provided to refugee patients through Jericho Road Community Health Center (JRCHC). The program targets women experiencing birth in the United States for the first time. PPB matches refugee women with the support of a volunteer mentor during pregnancy and a linguistically matched doula to provide interpretation and support during birth. PPB encourages a healthy lifestyle through utilization of Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) and the practice of breastfeeding. In the last three years, project staff has screened over 500 women for WIC and has assisted 249 to secure WIC. In addition the project has assisted 274 women to initiate breastfeeding, of which at least 99 (36%) were still breastfeeding after six months. Fifty six percent of the 176 clients that completed an exit interview were still breastfeeding after six months. From July 2013 through April 2014, the project assisted 203 refugee women from 19 countries.

 

The Hope Refugee Drop-In Center (HRDC) is an integral part of the integrative, holistic care provided to refugee patients at Jericho Road Community Health Center (JRCHC). The HRDC assists post-resettlement and secondary migrant refugees to overcome linguistic, cultural, and transportation barriers to accessing healthcare through culturally and linguistically appropriate safety-net services and advocacy. Using community-based participatory development, the HRDC provides client-driven services. Approximately 50% of service requests are medical in nature, including requests to schedule appointments, provide translation or transportation to medical appointments, or for assistance filling out medical paperwork, applying for health insurance, or with medical advocacy. With a client base of approximately 5,500 individuals, the HRDC serves as a bridge connecting refugees with medical and community services, and ensuring that barriers to accessing care are overcome. Past performance on UWBEC-identified performance measures include 5,861 individuals transported to specialist medical appointments, 5,872 individuals screened for health insurance, and 1,548 individuals with health insurance secured.

 

The Hope Refugee Drop-In Center (HRDC) is an integral part of the integrative, holistic care provided to refugee patients at Jericho Road Community Health Center (JRCHC). The HRDC assists post-resettlement and secondary migrant refugees to overcome linguistic, cultural, and transportation barriers to accessing income supports through culturally and linguistically appropriate safety-net services and advocacy. Using community-based participatory development, the HRDC provides client-driven services. Approximately 40% of service requests are connected with the Department of Social Services, including SNAP eligibility, Medicaid eligibility, TANF eligibility, recertification of benefits, forms, reading correspondence, and communicating with caseworkers. With a client base of approximately 5,500 individuals, the HRDC serves as a bridge connecting refugees with public benefits and community services, and ensuring that barriers to securing benefits or services are overcome. Past performance on UWBEC-identified performance measures include 5,872 individuals screened for SNAP and TANF, 4,520 individuals secured SNAP benefits and 1,473 individuals secured TANF benefits.

 

Jericho Road Community Health Center (JRCHC) -  Financial Education Programs are designed to foster financial literacy among our limited English proficiency, low-literacy refugee and low-income clients. The goal of our financial literacy education programming is to improve participants' money management skills and to provide them with the knowledge and confidence to secure and maintain assets. Financially Fit West provides eight-week basic financial literacy courses, which teach refugees in their own language about the principles of banking, budgeting, paying bills on time, proper credit use, and saving for the future. City Roots operates as a second tier program, which works to help refugee participants identify if a home purchase makes sound financial sense at this time for each family and then helps each family plan accordingly. City Roots classes are offered in Burmese, Karen and Nepali and are currently expanding to include additional language groups. With a history of more than 10 years of serving the refugee population of Buffalo, we are now building on our foundation of creating programs that are culturally matched to the population being served, and are now beginning to extend programming to meet the needs and challenges faced by low-income, English speaking patients of our 1609 Genesee Street clinical practice through Financially Fit East. With the support of United Way from 2009 to present, Financially Fit West has graduated 659 participants that continue moving toward economic self-sufficiency with improved financial literacy. City Roots has graduated 86 families in the classes, with 8 families purchasing homes and 17 establishing Individual Development Accounts (IDA).

 

The mission of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo, Inc. (JCC) is to build and strengthen the Jewish and Western New York Communities by providing recreational, educational, cultural and social programs and services that are consistent with Jewish values.  The JCC's vision is "Building Community and Enriching Lives".  The JCC's Early Childhood Center provides excellence in early care and education for children 6 weeks through 5 years old.  The Early Childhood Center holds NAEYC accreditation, the national standard for high quality as defined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.  Our program is also one of the first 400 to participate in Quality Stars New York, a new quality rating system.  The Early Childhood Center curriculum is designed to enhance the social, physical, emotional and cognitive growth of the children.  We create a nurturing world where children are given opportunities to develop positive self-image, self-reliance, social awareness and interaction, cooperation, concentration, imagination, and resourcefulness.  In addition to providing a developmentally appropriate and challenging curriculum for young children, enrichment activities are incorporated throughout the week.  These include: specialists to teach gym, music activities, dance/creative movement, and swimming; a storyteller, field trips and special visitors.  The JCC's Early Childhood Center is committed to meeting the needs of Buffalo families. In 2013 we renovated and expanded to accommodate increased demand for high quality child care in the city.  Our current enrollment is 167 children, with waiting lists in all the infant and toddler classrooms.  We continue to partner with the Buffalo Public Schools to provide Universal Pre-K in our classrooms for 4-year-olds, Aspire to include children with identified special needs, the Foster Grandparent Association (a program for low income senior adults who volunteer in our classrooms), and local colleges. 

 

Jewish Family Service of Buffalo & Erie County offers its "Project Integration" to address the economic and social self-sufficiency concerns of refugees and immigrants who experience protracted difficulty functioning in greater Buffalo. Project Integration is a 'bridging case management' extension of its conventional resettlement services.  Project Integration allows New American households, who experience particular difficulty with navigating the social service system and employment sector, to access essential economic supports, while learning English, building confidence and skills, and moving towards employment and economic advancement.  United Way funding will support 1 Bilingual/Bicultural Bridging Case Manager and 1 Bilingual/Bicultural Bridging Employment Counselor. The United Way will also support critical interpreter services for other limited English proficient New Americans.

 

Since 1958, Junior Achievement of Western New York has worked to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.  Junior Achievement's unique delivery, using community volunteers to deliver financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship related educational skills to children and youth, from kindergarten through high school, enabled us to reach well over 13,000 students in 2013-2014.  Students learn about themselves, the basics about finances, an understanding of economic concepts and the relationship between the level of education attained and earnings potential. These skills provide the foundation for more complex financial management and work readiness instruction in middle and high school.  As important as these things are, they are typically not taught sequentially in public schools.  Junior Achievement fills a critical gap, by helping children and youth understand the relationship between education, work, money, how to manage finances, and how to prepare for an economically healthy future.   While JA has been fortunate to have the sustained and generous support of many businesses that make it possible to serve these young people, we grew at a nearly 10% rate in 2012-13 with continued growth in 2013-14. We can no longer expect our business partners to keep up this pace. Funding will be used to implement its K-12 programs in school districts throughout Erie County, including underperforming Buffalo schools, which accounts for about 40% of students served.

 

The Early Childhood Direction Center (ECDC), part of Kaleida Health, provides information, referral and technical assistance to professionals and families of preschool children with suspected or diagnosed special needs in order to improve outcomes for young children. The key program features are training, telephone and on-site technical assistance to parents and early childhood professionals to increase early identification, improve knowledge and skills of early intervention services and assist in securing services for young children. On average, past performance has resulted in more than 80 children referred annually for needed early intervention services and more than 750 early childhood providers annually receiving training. Average survey results of the past three years for the questions "Did we treat you well?" were 100% and "Did we help you?" were 99%. 

 

The King Urban Life Center, Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) is a research-proven intensive school-readiness home-visiting program for toddlers and parents. PCHP targets families who are challenged by poverty and low-levels of education.  Each family has a trained Home-Visitor that comes into the home twice a week for one half-hour for a minimum of 23 weeks, for up to two program years.  The Home-Visitor brings educational books and toys, which are used to develop early-literacy and school-readiness skills, increase the parent-child verbal interaction, model positive parenting, and promote pro-social behaviors. The learning materials that are gifted to the family serve the additional purpose of creating an educational learning environment in the home that generalizes to other siblings and serves as a bridge to starting school.  Analysis of the Program outcomes show that the children and parents achieve statistically significant outcomes in Pre-Post Test design.  Additionally, long-term analysis of standardized assessment outcomes of PCHP and control group children entering kindergarten, leaving kindergarten and from 3rd and 4th grade NYS ELA and Math assessments show that PCHP graduates significantly outperform non-program children at each of these points. The success of PCHP clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of accessing and affecting families in the home and promoting the parent as the child's first and most important teacher.

 

The King Urban Life Center (KULC) and the University at Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center (UBEOC) have maintained a successful partnership for over 20 years.  Since 2002, the UBEOC at the KULC have provided tuition-free computer classes for adults and seniors in the community.  Now we are seeking to increase the level of services in the community with the Technology Enhanced Secondary - Post Secondary Preparation ProjectUBEOC will offer instruction and preparation for the NYS High School Equivalency (HSE) examination (Test Assessing Secondary Completion - TASC); training for certifications in Microsoft Office Software; and individualized support services to enter college or other post-secondary CTE (Career and Technical Education Programs).  UBEOC/KULC will offer an integrated approach to HSE instruction and preparation on-site at the KULC that will use classroom instruction and online-based tutorial programming.  Although currently, the TASC offered via paper and pencil, the NYS Education Department has indicated that their goal is to transition to a computer-based test.  Digital literacy training and repeated exposure to computer based academic testing will prepare adults will increase for success on the TASC; therefore digital literacy training (basic computer, keyboarding and internet navigation) will be offered along with certification training in the five major Microsoft Office Software programs (Word, Access, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook) beginner to advanced levels.  Students will have opportunity to earn industry certification of Microsoft Specialist if they complete certifications in all five areas.  This Program will target 20-40 adult learners who are at or below the 200% poverty level.  Students in program typically have low-levels of education and are not effectively accessing community resources.  The King Urban Life Center is located in the 14211 zip code in the City of Buffalo, a community that is both distressed and underserved. 

 

Literacy Empowerment Action Plan of Western New York, Inc. (LEAP of WNY)  LEAP~ASAP (Academic Support Assistance Program) -  LEAP~ASAP is a highly effective afterschool program that addresses the disparity in literacy proficiency between low-income children and their more affluent peers. LEAP~ASAP targets the needs of children in grades K-5 who reside in the Sheridan Parkside Village Courts, a low-income community located in the Town of Tonawanda. On average, 53 children have been tutored in the LEAP~ASAP program annually over the last three years.  The program has two main components: 1) collaborative, small group tutoring in literacy using research-based reading strategies; and  2) expansive children's library services  (i.e., homework and project assistance, reading and writing enrichment activities, book checkout, assistance with electronic resources, and  information literacy) in a  state-of-the-art children's library (birth-grade 12) located on-site in LEAP's Reading Clinic & Library.  The tutoring component is provided in two eight-week sessions, fall and spring of each school year. Tutors provide individualized literacy instruction to participants in groups of three, one day each week for one hour. Participants are also provided supplementary academic support through LEAP's library services for two hours each weekday over the entire academic year.   The success of LEAP~ASAP over the last three years has been consistently documented. On average, 100% of participants were promoted to the next grade, 96.9% improved in grade point average, and 91.7% improved their literacy skills. LEAP's library services for children birth-grade 12 is a unique component of the program. Previously a closed branch of the Erie County Libraries, LEAP's library serves all Sheridan Park residents and hosts approximately 160 visits from children each month.

 

The Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY's (the Matt Urban Center) mission is to provide programs that enhance the quality of life, preserve neighborhoods and encourage economic development.  For more than 36 years, the Matt Urban Center, formerly known as the Polish Community Center of Buffalo, Inc., has provided activities and programs that serve families and individuals from age 5 through to senior citizen.  Extensive services and programs are provided in three community locations:  1081 Broadway; 385 Paderewski Dr.; and 129 Lewis Street.  The Matt Urban Center Senior Services Program (MUC SSP) is seeking to expand its Case Management program by one Case Manager, and one full-time Van Operator to increase the transportation program back to previous levels, to meet the ever-increasing needs of our aging community.  The purpose of the MUC SSP is to assist frail, homebound senior citizens, age 60+, with maintaining their level of independence in their community of choice (house or apartment), by linking them with financial benefits and services. These linkages prolong or eliminate the need for placement in a supervised facility, such as assisted living or a nursing home.  Major financial programs include: Medicaid, the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), Food Stamps, and the Medicare Savings Plan, which covers the monthly Medicare premium.  Services accessed to support the client in the home include, but are not limited to: home delivered meals (Meals on Wheels), chore worker/housekeeper, personal care aide, social adult day care, a personal emergency response system (i.e., "Help!  I've fallen and I can't get up!"), and transportation.  In past years, the MUC SSP has accessed 60% of our clients to requested benefits or services.  More could have been helped, but access to services is not always immediate, due to limited funding.

 

The Matt Urban Hope Center, a department of the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of Western New York, acts as a one-stop resource center for the Broadway-Fillmore community and surrounding areas. Our primary goals are to increase access to services for low income individuals and families and to empower community members to improve their quality of life. We accomplish these goals through collaboration with a wide network of community agencies, and with a strength-based approach to client engagement.  Services provided at the Matt Urban Hope Center include: the Urban Diner by Friends of Night People, which is a restaurant-style soup kitchen; a food pantry; one-on-one and group financial education activities; our Hope Works job training program, which provides both hands-on experience and training in a classroom setting; housing search assistance; benefits screening and advocacy; health and wellness activities; family-friendly community events; a Homeless Outreach program that focuses on ending homelessness for individuals living on the streets; a Housing First program that provides permanent housing for chronically homeless individuals; a free tax preparation site; a rapid rehousing program; and supportive services for sex workers.  The Matt Urban Hope Center acts as a community hub by hosting community and block club meetings, as well as other endeavors initiated by area residents. We also do this by bringing in over 15 other agencies from throughout the community on a regular basis to provide services to our community. The services provided by these agencies include: mobile health services; HIV testing and services; affordable housing opportunities; educational programs and training opportunities; and safety planning support.

 

The Matt Urban Hope Center, a department of the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of Western New York, acts as a one-stop-shop resource center for the Broadway-Fillmore community and surrounding areas. Our primary goals are to increase access to services for low-income individuals and families and to empower community members to improve their quality of life. We accomplish these goals through collaboration with a wide network of community agencies, and with a strength-based approach to client engagement.  Services provided at the Matt Urban Hope Center include: the Urban Diner by Friends of Night People, a restaurant-style soup kitchen; a food pantry; one-on-one and group financial education activities; Hope Works job training program, which provides both hands-on experience and training in a classroom setting; housing search assistance; benefits screening and advocacy; health and wellness activities; family-friendly community events; outreach and housing services for the homeless; a free tax preparation site and supportive services for sex workers.  The Matt Urban Hope Center acts as a community hub by hosting community and block club meetings, as well as other endeavors initiated by area residents. We have identified the need to bring in essential support services to the parents (with a focus on single mothers). We started a grass roots "Mommy and Me" group to create a support network for the single mothers in the neighborhood who expressed a need. The program has been expanded to host EPIC's Families in Transition Parenting group. We work with a number of single-family households to create a support network and to assist them in linking to services, including safe housing, healthy foods and behavioral health services.  With these funds, we will sustain this extension of our programming and continue to aid a vulnerable population.

 

The Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY's (MUC) mission is to provide programs that enhance the quality of life, preserve neighborhoods and encourage economic development.  For more than 38 years, the MUC, formerly known as the Polish Community Center of Buffalo, Inc., has provided activities and programs that serve families and individuals from age 5 through to senior citizens.  The mission of the Creative and Fun Kids Club is to improve student's academic achievement, promote healthy social-emotional development, and cultivate the students' interest in different cultural, recreational, and academic activities that will develop and continue throughout their lifetime.  The program is designed to be a safe, educational and fun learning environment for children/youth living in impoverished communities and attending underperforming schools.  Our youth programming aims to fortify the development process of economically disadvantaged youth through academic, nutritional, recreational, social and emotional support.  Our services offer positive alternatives to at-risk youth ranging from pre-school to teen.  Our youth program is offered 5 days per week, Monday through Friday, from 2:30pm-6pm.  Teen programming at Polonia Hall is scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm-8pm.  All youth will participate in academic enrichment, receive homework assistance and character education, and be provided with a choice of enrichment activities to participate in.   All youth receive dinner either through the CACFP (T.J. Dulski Center) or at the Urban Diner (Polonia Hall). 

 

Magic Penny Early Literacy Program- Written English is a code for spoken English.  As with any code, the decryption algorithm must mirror the encryption algorithm.  Written English used phonemes to construct words.  Young children learn spoken English spontaneously through exposure. However, the English alphabetic writing system must be carefully taught beginning with the phonemes that are the basis for the system.  Early instruction in phonemic awareness should emphasize listening to the phonetically correct pronunciation of the phonemes, and systematic and explicit lessons on sound blending and sound segmenting.  Then the letters that represent the sounds, beginning with the simplest, must be systematically taught. Instruction in reading (decryption) and spelling/writing (encryption) must be logically integrated. After a subset of basic code sound/letter correspondences are learned, the child then quickly progresses to reading their first book, reading comprehension, and writing activities.   After the basic sound/letter(s) correspondences have been learned, the 'irregular' vowel and consonant spellings are systematically taught.  Since there are no consistently correct 'rules' to explain the irregularity of English spellings, children are instead taught that the sounds of English can be spelled in different ways.  Magic Penny uses a systematic instructional approach that is both pragmatic and probability-based. Decoding is practiced until it is automatic; this automaticity allows the child to concentrate on reading comprehension.  Conflicting instructional approaches are avoided as they confuse the beginning reader.  The Magic Penny Early Literacy Program has been shown to effectively and efficiently increase reading proficiency for children in Pre-Kindergarten through first grades in a variety of school settings and has achieved average success rates as high as 96% proficiency in 3rd,4th, 5th, and 6th grade as measured on the independently-administered New York State English Language Arts examination that assesses reading comprehension, writing, and listening.

  

Through our Growing Green Program, the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) is working to change the food system of Buffalo, NY by creating a sustainable and economically viable model of urban agriculture, creating economic opportunities for young people in the local food system and organizing young people to advocate for land use and food policy that meets the needs of community members.  Annually we employ and train 50 low-income youth, ages 14-20.  Youth not only learn job and life skills but are engaged in addressing documented community needs, improving food security and promoting healthier neighborhoods.  Growing Green trains youth to become community leaders to meet the direct food security needs of their urban neighborhoods, while giving them the confidence, skills and inspiration to be successful into adulthood.

We partner with young people, employing 4 main strategies to meet our goals, including:

Urban Farming:   Demonstrating intensive, sustainable food production techniques through urban farming and aquaponics

Food Distribution and Enterprise Development:   Distributing healthy affordable produce in food desert neighborhoods, through a farm stand and Mobile Market and developing a youth-run business specializing in locally made, value-added food products

Community education and training:  providing urban agriculture and food systems training, technical assistance, farm tours and field trips to community members, schools and other organizations.  Youth are trained to be educators and lead much of this work.

Civic Engagement:  Engaging youth and community members to promote policies for healthier neighborhoods and greater food security

Since 2003 we have successfully employed and trained over 500 youth and impacted over 19,000 through program activities. For the sixth consecutive year, 95% of our high school seniors have graduated high school and gone on to college. Most of them were the first person in their family to go to college. 

 

B.E.S.T. Program - Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc.   - Basic EmotionalSkills Training helps young children enter school ready to learn.  Children who interact appropriately with peers, teachers and family members are more likely to achieve academic success.   B.E.S.T. is provided in classrooms by our staff in two curriculum formats:

  • Teaching Kids to Care improves Pre-Kindergarten student behavior through the development and use of social and emotional skills such as: sharing, taking turns, understanding and expressing feelings, solving conflicts and making safe, healthy choices.
  • Too Good for Violence is a SAMHSA approved, evidence-based program.  At-risk Kindergarten through Grade Two students living in areas of concentrated poverty learn skills they need to deal with conflict, frustration, anger and disappointment in positive, age-appropriate ways.

                                                                                                                              

Both curriculums involve classroom teacher participation. Behavior management methods are modeled for teachers by our staff over a six to seven week series of presentations.  Specially designed teacher and family follow-up materials are provided. Though any child could benefit from B.E.S.T., we provide 75% of programming in the City of Buffalo and 14% in first and second ring suburban districts where issues of poverty and crime place students at greater risk. We have exceeded our United Way Performance Measures in all areas of program delivery by 4.5% to 15%.  B.E.S.T. is independently evaluated by Buffalo State College's Center for Health and Social Research. They have concluded:

"Results support the program's ability to demonstrate its positive impact on behavior at a young age."

Current funding allows us to provide B.E.S.T. for only 50% of Buffalo Public School Pre-K students. A one year grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo enabled us to significantly increase the number of schools and children served.

 

The Native American Community Services (NACS) After School Program fosters social and emotional competencies that support learning, growth and grade level improvement for students in 3rd - 8th grade, supportive of diverse learners, numerous cultures, emerging populations, special service needs and best practice. 

 

Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.   Civil Legal Assistance at the Family Justice Center, is currently the sole provider of civil legal services to victims of domestic violence at the Family Justice Center of Erie County (FJC).  The FJC provides a variety of services for victims at one location. In addition to civil legal assistance, the FJC gives victims access to counseling, lay advocacy, law enforcement, and forensic medical services.  Civil legal assistance provided includes legal information, giving victims advice and counsel with respect to their options, safety planning and legal representation.  Legal representation is provided in child support, custody, family offense and divorce cases.  Clients are interviewed by a highly experienced paralegal that assesses the client's civil legal needs and financial eligibility for services.  If the client needs family law representation, the client is referred to a program attorney.  If a client has other legal needs, particularly in the housing or public benefit areas another NLS attorney or paralegal may provide representation.  The paralegal also does safety planning.  Data indicates that clients received safety planning through NLS.  The data also indicates that the program succeeded in helping nearly 100% of victims it represented in court to obtain either an order of protection or a custody order.

 

Northwest Buffalo Community Center's Academic Improvement Program is a comprehensive program providing homework assistance, one-to-one and small-group tutoring, social skill-building, literacy skill-building, computer literacy, job readiness skills and recreation.  The target population is youth, age six to 18 years old who reside in the City of Buffalo in Erie County.  The program offers a variety of enrichment opportunities as well as technology access, which enables participants to utilize web-based academic enhancement programs that align well with Buffalo Public Schools programming.  As a United Way agency, NWBCC continues to strengthen its Academic Improvement Program, utilizing youth outcome data to guide program modifications.  In previous years NWBCC has consistently achieved or exceeded projected outcomes.  Within the last three years, our youth reading scores have increased one to two grade levels each year, a testament to the design of the program and the staff who supervise it. 

 

Northwest Buffalo Community Center provides comprehensive quality human services to improve the quality of life for residents of Northwest Buffalo.  NWBCC is the largest community center in Western New York, with approximately 1500 residents utilizing services provided at the main facility on a daily basis.  Our Elderly Services Program provides a variety of services for residents 60 years and older, including:  Nutrition Programs, 55 Alive, Transportation to medical appointments and shopping, linkage to HEAP funding, computer classes, aquatics and other services, as needed.  Staff currently providing services to the elderly have over 100 years of combined experience working with NWBCC, and are well-prepared to set and meet the identified performance measures to serve our elderly population.   The demand for transportation for the elderly and disabled has increased significantly in the past two years. In 2014, we added a second van that operates for 15 hours per week; still, demand is so high that we must prioritize requests for transportation. Medical appointments receive first priority, followed by nutrition-related transportation (to grocery stores or to NWBCC or other location offering hot meals for seniors), followed by less urgent requests. Demand is currently so high we are not able to honor all requests for nutrition-related transportation, which negatively impacts the health of the frail elderly and disabled.

 

The mission of the Olmsted Center for Sight is "To help people who are blind or visually impaired achieve their highest level of independence".   The goal of Senior Vision Services is to help empower seniors experiencing vision loss by maximizing their independence, safety and quality of life.  Our vision rehabilitation clinic provides specialized optometric evaluations to maximize functional vision through the use of spectacles, magnification and lighting when pharmaceuticals, standard lenses and/or surgery are no longer helpful. We also educate our consumers on their specific diagnosis and what they might experience as vision continues to deteriorate. In addition, Senior Vision Services can provide diabetic assessment, management and education, one on one as well as family/group counseling, and resource or linkage information all related to vision loss.  Transportation is available at no cost to the consumer and we accept all major insurances including Medicare and Medicaid.  Home assessments are provided by registered nurses to ensure client's safety and to help increase their independence in skills of daily living. Simple tasks including telephone usage, setting of thermostats, differentiating medications and simple meal preparation may be improved by introducing an adaptive technique or by administering tactile markings.  In addition, nurses provide information on additional resources and services available in the community.  Based on phone satisfaction surveys in 2013, consumers reported nearly a 100% success rate in acquiring an increase in knowledge and/or independence following their participation in the program.  This often results in the consumer's ability to remain in their own home and experience an improved quality of life.

 

Parent Network (PN) provides resources for families of individuals with special needs (birth to adulthood) and for professionals who work with these families. The changes in NYSED graduation requirements and multiple diploma pathways pose additional challenges for many students including but not limited to those with learning disabilities and/or mental health diagnoses.  Students who are on course to receive the safety net compensatory graduation option will potentially face new challenges as they transition from school into adulthood.  Secondary Transition is a particular strength of the staff at PN, who educates families on the critical importance of self-determination; exploration of careers and various pathways to graduation, and family involvement in preparing for life after school.  Parent Network will provide education and support to families and educators by providing various levels of 1-1 support.  Students who are on target to receive a local diploma via the Compensatory Safety Net Option for students with disabilities and those working toward the NYS exiting Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential will receive intensified support, career planning, and college preparation. An informative online video will be produced on the PN website. Focused resources, specifically designed to meet the needs of families in Erie County will be developed such as family friendly informational fact sheets, video clips, helpful tips embedded within slide shows and social media blasts. PN will host an annual full-day conference and engage groups like the DDAWNY Transition committee and WNY Collegiate Consortium and Disability Advocates. This exciting expansion will strengthen services for families and professionals through a supportive, educational coaching experience.

 

Since 1992, Peace of the City Ministries has been working to serve and empower at-risk children and teenagers in Buffalo's West Side.  We offer a wide range of relevant, effective programming that target the specific needs of young people living at or below the poverty line in one of the most economically-depressed, high-crime sections of Buffalo.  Programs are offered Monday through Thursday afternoons and include Homework Club, Literacy for All, Teen Empowerment, Creative Arts (featuring "Shakespeare Comes to 716") and numerous specialized classes.  Our programs are relationally-based and our target population includes Latino, African-American, Caucasian, Native American and Immigrant/Refugee. 

 

Read to Succeed Buffalo - The essence of RTSB's CARE (Community Alignment for Reading Excellence) is to maximize the foundations of literacy development in young children in communities of poverty by building an array of explicit, aligned and accountable literacy supports for teachers and children throughout the developmental period birth through age eight.  Domains of CARE include 1) Child Care - licensed home-based (largest modality of care for low-income families) 2) CARE Preschool - PreK/Head Start and 3) CARE Elementary -Kindergarten through 3rd) in targeted low-performing, high-poverty Buffalo Schools.  CARE builds on a literacy coaching and assessment methodology developed through a four-year Early Reading First (USDOE) grant in Buffalo that demonstrated consistent, statistically significant, effect on receptive oral language development of low-income three- and four-year-olds. The foundation of the early learning continuum in the CARE model is high quality, literacy-rich child care. The RTSB early childhood specialist focuses on providing environmental and child assessment strategies in the home care classroom to maximize learning and appropriate development at our earliest opportunity.  Similar to the preschool and elementary strategies, the early childhood specialist provides embedded support and professional development with all providers that addresses their individual needs, while aligning their practice with what is to come next, so their children present ready to learn in prek and the early grades.  Key to success is the consistent application of age-appropriate scientifically-based reading research strategies and assessments.   CARE Child Care uses nationally normed assessments that support differentiated and individualized instruction for closing the low-income achievement gap, while ensuring continued academic achievement for all students. Foundational goal of CARE Child Care is ensuring all children are ready to enter Kindergarten with the emergent literacy and social skills they need to be successful.

 

Read to Succeed Buffalo - The essence of RTSB's CARE (Community Alignment for Reading Excellence) is to maximize the foundations of literacy development in young children in communities of poverty by building an array of explicit and accountable literacy supports for teachers and children throughout the early childhood developmental period of birth through age eight.  The three domains of CARE are 1) Child Care - licensed home-based child care (largest modality of care for low-income families) 2) CARE Preschool - PreK and Head Start and 3) CARE Elementary -Kindergarten through 3rd grade) in targeted low-performing, high poverty Buffalo Public Schools.  CARE builds on a literacy coaching and assessment methodology developed through a four-year Early Reading First (USDOE) grant in Buffalo, NY, that demonstrated consistent and statistically significant effect on the receptive oral language development of low-income three- and four-year-olds as measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-4) and which was grounded in educational theory and scientifically based reading research (SBRR).  RTSB Literacy Intervention Specialists, provide embedded support and professional development with all teachers along the continuum to ensure the consistent application of age appropriate SBRR strategies and assessments.   RTSB also administers, and interprets data to support teachers in differentiating instruction. CARE uses nationally normed assessments that support data informed and individualized instruction for closing the achievement gap, while ensuring continued academic achievement in higher performing students. Goals of the program include a) ensuring that all children are ready to enter Kindergarten with the emergent literacy skills they need to be successful, b) receive the intentional and explicit individualized instruction to build on that readiness and c) leave third grade reading with proficiency, regardless of the high levels of poverty of the school they are entering. 

 

Rural Transit Service, Inc. - Movin' Seniors focus is to provide affordable, safe, and reliable transportation to senior residents to destinations which allow them to maintain a happier, healthier and more independent lifestyle and to heighten senior involvement in the community.  Movin' Seniors main purpose though the Rural Transit Service organization is to provide transportation to senior citizens.  However, in addition to seniors Rural Transit will transport low/moderate income individuals and disabled clients.  Eligible residents are transported to dialysis clinics, medical offices, physical therapy, pharmacies, colleges, work places, nutrition sites, adult day cares, grocery stores, banks, salons/barbers, etc, with medical trips taking priority.  Rural Transit vehicles will transport residents with door to door service, anywhere that they need to go to complete their daily life routine.  The true value and strength of their service is verified by the fact that the driving and dispatching is entirely run by a volunteer workforce!  To date, almost 130 people volunteer their services as drivers, dispatchers and driver aides in the nine vans they operate.  They run on an exceptionally low operating budget, and in turn their clients are not required to contribute for their services provided, although donations are accepted and encouraged (suggested $3.00 donation per trip).  To date the program is operating in twenty five (25) municipalities in Erie County.  Rural Transit vans provide an average of over 13,000 rides each year.  Over 1,800 individuals are currently registered for active use on their vans. 

 

The Seneca-Babcock Community Association's (SBCA) Workforce Development program is an education and workforce development program that provides a myriad of services to clients in Erie County. The program provides education, employment, case management and job training opportunities to participants. The purpose of the Seneca-Babcock Community Association's Workforce Development program is to provide clients with the skills necessary to build a successful career. The Seneca-Babcock Workforce Development program uses an integrated service model that embraces a holistic approach by addressing the educational, employment, and social service needs of participants. Specifically, the SBCA's goals for clients completing the Workforce Development program are the following: placement in employment that has career potential, placement in an advanced occupational training program, or placement in postsecondary education that leads to an associate's degree or higher.  The Seneca-Babcock Community Association's Workforce Development Program helps individuals and families secure income supports, financial education, educational, and workforce training. In the past three years, 72 clients participating in the program have obtained their GED and 101 obtained jobs.

 

The Seneca-Babcock Community Association's "Prime Time" After School Program meets the needs of the youth living in poverty, in unsafe family and community circumstances, and/or at high risk for academic failure in the Seneca-Babcock Community.  The Seneca-Babcock Community Association's "Prime Time" After School Program is an education program designed to engage young people in learning, encourage them to succeed in school, and help them become lifelong learners.  The comprehensive program includes expanded afterschool and out of school time learning/enrichment opportunities.  The greater part of the activities in the Seneca-Babcock Community Association's "Prime Time" After School Program are based on NYS Learning Standards and include homework help, physical activity, nutrition classes, art classes, science classes, mentoring, recreation, Boy and Girl Scouts, family functions, and field trips.  Youth are exposed to new experiences and knowledge that they otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience.  In the past three years, 97% of youth participating in the program have been passed to the next grade level.

 

As part of its mission to meet basic needs, The Salvation Army provides emergency and supportive services to assist families in crisis. The Salvation Army's emergency services are comprised of its two core programs: Emergency Family Shelter and Emergency Family Assistance (EFA). Annually, approximately 13,000 people are served by EFA, receiving assistance with food, clothing, personal care items, prescriptions, utility bills and/or referrals. Families are screened for and assisted with securing SNAP benefits. Help with budgeting, banking and credit education is also available. Within the Emergency Family Shelter, temporary living accommodations and support programs are provided to approximately 500 homeless men, women and children each year. Services include secure housing, three full meals and one evening snack daily, all personal care items (soap, shampoo, diapers, etc.) and caseworkers to assist with securing permanent housing. Residents are also provided basic needs and financial literacy assistance through EFA. In order to continue serving the economically disadvantaged within our community.

 

The Salvation Army's Employment Services Program provides workfare, employment readiness training, job placement and supportive services to individuals referred by the Erie County Department of Social Services (ECDSS). Approximately 95% of the individuals served are female, head-of-household, public assistance recipients who lack the skills, education and resources needed to find and maintain gainful employment. Employment Services not only offers job placement services, but also provides participants with additional tools needed for employment search and success. These resources include job readiness and vocational training, comprehensive case management, job exploration, GED/TASC classes, resume preparation and eventually employment placement, further assisting them toward economic self-sufficiency. The Salvation Army seeks to increase employability among its job seekers by providing them with the proper resources and tools necessary to obtain and retain employment.

 

Since 1972, The Salvation Army's Golden Age Center has offered adults, ages 50 and older the opportunity to make new friends and participate in recreational, educational and spiritual activities in a safe and supportive environment. As a congregate meal site, the Center provides breakfast and hot lunches, Monday through Friday to program members. The Golden Age Center also provides numerous opportunities for members to stay active, engaged, and involved. Instructional classes, referrals, workshops, shopping, overnight trips, and recreation are but a few of the benefits of membership. Members can participate in computer and art classes, play cards and bingo, or just join their friends for lunch. This multi-purpose center provides an atmosphere that is not only mentally stimulating, but is also a critical resource that enables this underserved population the opportunity to progress through healthy aging, despite financial hardships. The program offers a fitness room, exercise classes and health workshops. In order to continue serving the older adult population within our community, it is our goal to improve the nutrition, physical health and emotional security of our members through increased mental activity, social well-being, enhanced social networks and improved health behaviors. Currently, the Golden Age Center has 250 members.

 

The Opportunity Corps (OC) program at The Service Collaborative of WNY (TSC) has 53 full-time AmeriCorps members providing financial literacy training in over 20 locations across Buffalo and Erie County. OC is committed to fighting poverty and helping individuals achieve economic self-sufficiency through financial education and training.  OC members serve in non-profit and educational institutions across WNY as one-on-one and small group financial literacy mentors. Since 2011, OC has served 26,993 economically disadvantaged adults with services including creating financial plans, accessing income supports, job readiness training, budgeting, credit review and repair and home ownership programs. 

 

The Valley Child Care (VCC) is an organization within the Valley Community Association (VCA).  The VCC is a non-profit child care center located in the Buffalo River Community and was created to serve the families of this low socio-economic area and to provide high quality child care to underprivileged children.  The Valley Child Care at the Larkin Building (LCo) was built in 2004 to accommodate working families in the newly renovated Larkin District.  Both centers serve children in 20 different ZIP codes throughout the area.  The VCC was created to meet the NYS standards of high quality child care with its architectural design, staffing model, and curriculum design.  Some of the key program features include Universal PreK, highly qualified and consistent staff, the proximity to the VCA Nature Park and Habitat Trail, and its ability to provide a safe, secure, and nurturing environment to children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. 

 

The Valley Community Association's "First In The Family" Program assists youth in applying, enrolling, and maintaining study at institutions of secondary education or in vocational trades.  The target population includes at-risk, impoverished youth, typically aged 16-24 years old.  Families, once convinced that college was unattainable, are participating process of enrolling their children in secondary education and trades.  The majority of the youth are the first in their families to attend college, allowing them to begin breaking the cycle of poverty.  The program is led by Dr. Julie Hall who offers personalized, one on one consultations with youth and their families, guides them step by step through the process including the daunting financial aid process, and continues to mentor youth through their higher education careers and beyond. 

 

The Valley Community Association, Inc. has been serving the Buffalo River Community since its inception in 1968 providing programming for individuals from infancy into old age.  "Keep Moving" is designed to encourage and maintain healthy lifestyles in elderly residents through providing affordable healthy meals, facilitated physical activity, peer interaction and socialization, and health care navigation and access to support services.  Program activities include congregate dining, low-impact aerobics exercise, cards and BINGO, healthy aging education, and individual case management.  Many recent studies have explored the long term benefits of regular physical and social activity as it relates to cognitive function, demonstrating the positive effects of maintaining an interactive and healthy lifestyle in order to enable continued independence and quality of life.  Recent studies have also shown the importance of community-based access for senior populations who see increased difficulty with navigating the today's complex system of services and access to support. The aging population of the Buffalo River Community is also, on average, low-income and follows national trends regarding chronic illnesses and disabilities presenting even more challenges to healthy aging. Through collaboration and partnership, the "Keep Moving" program also gives the local senior population access to regular on-site free screenings and consultations that give them better control over managing a variety of chronic conditions and allow them to age in place comfortably and independently.  This program is dedicated to promoting preventative measures and provides a network of support to improve the quality of life in the local senior population.

 

The Valley Community Association, Inc. (VCA) has been serving the Buffalo River Community since its inception in 1968 providing programming for individuals from infancy into old age.  The "Family Support Services" Program has existed since 1984 and is designed to assist individuals and families in the Buffalo River Community that are struggling to recover from financial crises and face daily challenges as a result of poverty.  Recent studies in areas of concentrated poverty show higher rates of chronic disease, lower rates of graduation, and lower quality of life as a result of limited access and resources.  The population of the Buffalo River Community has a high rate of extreme poverty and among them are high rates of disability and individuals with limited transportation.  The "Family Support Services" Program is dedicated to fostering independence and creating greater self-sufficiency and stability through community access to information and education, encouraging healthy behaviors through nutrition education and the provision of healthy foods, promoting employment through resume writing and job search services, and facilitating enrollment in services and supports offered through the City and County, such as Food Stamps, WIC, and HEAP. Services include screenings, individual case management with the Program Director, food pantry and nutrition education, and employment assistance. 

 

TheValley Community Association's"Striving For Excellence" Youth Program meets the needs of the "at risk" and impoverished youth in the Buffalo River Community.  The activities and programs that comprise the VCA's program improve student achievement and learning by offering a comprehensive, structured, schedule based program that includes not only academic remediation but also academic enrichment activities; a broad array of additional services, programs and activities; and family services. The program meets the diverse needs of all students by offering a variety of hands-on, project based, high quality, fun activities that meet student's different learning styles.  Activities are based on NYS Learning Standards and include homework help, physical education, art classes, STEM programming, Boy and Girl Scouts, family events, literacy programming, field trips, and more for youth in grades K-8.  Youth are exposed to new experiences and knowledge that they otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience.

 

Education Nurture Encouragement Readiness and Growth for Youth (ENERGY), a program of Westminster Economic Development Initiative has been in existence since 1997, serving youth on Buffalo's West Side. With no fees, children in grades 1-6 and from refugee and immigrant families attend the program two hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. This is the only program focusing on refugee and immigrant families in grades 1-6 in Western New York during the school year. The program creates an intimate caring environment where English Language Learners (ELL) gain social and cultural awareness and self-confidence through improving their language skills. A nutritious meal provides opportunities for intentional conversations, relationship building, and social interactions. Volunteers provide instruction in literacy and homework help. The low teacher-to-student ratio of 1:1.5 allows close monitoring of the students. ENERGY evaluates students at the beginning and end of the program year. Enrichment activities provide new experiences and build vocabulary. These activities include health and wellness, music, art, poetry, and life skills. ENERGY teaches financial literacy through a reward system that allows purchases of items in the ENERGY store. ENERGY makes home visits in the summer and occasionally in the school year. ENERGY offers at least three summer activities to the children and their families. It provides a safe, welcoming environment for children to learn and grow. The students claim they succeed in school because they attend ENERGY. Through surveys, they report that they are doing better in school, have less stress, and are improving their English ability. Families and students would like to increase the number of days they can participate in ENERGY. Students and volunteers vary in cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. As a result, diverse cultures are shared, and children blossom academically and socially.

 

Westminster Economic Development Initiative, Inc. (WEDI) manages the Economic Development Program that offers a pipeline from poverty to business ownership through financial training, technical assistance, and advocacy. The Program serves all prospective or current business owners, but focuses on persons in communities of concentrated poverty, refugees, immigrants, and veterans. The program begins with an intake process that explores the personal, social, and financial foundations that must be in place before opening a business. Depending on the need, staff refers the client to program partners. Intake includes establishing a personal budget, gaining access to food and shelter, training in financial literacy, credit repair, and services specific to the unique populations, like language services for refugees. Through individual business coaching with WEDI's Certified Business Advisor and associated staff, the client develops a business plan, cash flow projections, and other documents. Through WEDI support and advocacy, the client then opens a business, either at the West Side Bazaar, WEDI's retail, service, and food service small business incubator, or in vacant storefronts in the local community. The client meets quarterly with a volunteer business coach to report on progress and receive additional WEDI services in the form of business consulting and microloans. Through partnerships with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Buffalo State College, the refugee resettlement agencies, and many other human services agencies, WEDI is able to keep costs low, provide high quality services, and provide a stable pipeline to particular client needs.

 

WNY United Against Drugs and Alcohol Abuse - The Leaders in Training Summer Program is an intensive, five week academic enhancement and social skills development program for 7th grade students from high-risk, Buffalo Public partner schools.   The goals of the program are to improve student academic performance and improve student knowledge of social-emotional learning skills. 

 

WNY United Against Drugs and Alcohol Abuse  - The Mentoring and Academic Support (MAS) Program is a student academic enhancement and behavioral support program created by Western New York United (WNY United) and delivered to 3rd grade through 8th grade students in high-risk, WNY United partner Buffalo Public Schools (BPS). 

 

Young Audiences Arts Rich Out-of-School-Time Programs are designed to support and develop youth through arts learning to be prepared to build successful lives. Through Arts Rich Programs, youth who are at risk of educational and societal failure learn instead to impact their community positively.  Youth learn to invest in their education, live a rich family and neighborhood life, and move beyond high school into college or other career readiness preparations.  Professional artists who are leaders in the field offer programs that are culturally rich, relevant, active, and experiential. Programs are designed to incorporate the Common Core Learning Standards and to serve 21st Century needs. 870 youth participating in Arts Rich Programs in 2013-2014 receive life skills and special skill and knowledge-building training.  100% of these youth are supported in developing individual strengths to achieve academic and personal success.  Arts Rich Programs are improving the graduation rate, and decreasing the likelihood for young people to become involved in illegal activities, or activities that might challenge their abilities to be successful in school, in their home lives, their community, and as they become adults.  They allow youth to learn to understand the value of the arts, and their impact on their own community, as well as their ability to communicate understanding of significant cultural influences - widely diverse, historical and contemporary.  Through research and development, Young Audiences designs programs that harness the community's opportunities for change.  Our commitment to building the capacity of all partners: cultural organizations, schools and after school providers, makes us a unique and key convener for collective growth around promising practices for engaging youth.  Through a variety of professional development forums, we provide unusual opportunities for service providers to learn with and about one another, to discuss challenges, organize to advocate, and form solutions.  


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