September 28, 2018

Lifetime Assistance Honors Tom Golisano and Golisano Foundation with Inspiration Award

Ann Costello posing for a photo with a group of people at the Lifetime Assistance Inspiration Awards

( l to r) Tom Smithgall, Lifetime Assistance Board Chair; Don Alhart, 13WHAM News Anchor; Ann Costello, DIrector of the Golisano Foundation; Narim Lewis, Special Olympics Athlete who represented the US in the 2007 Shanghai Olympics; and Jamie Branciforte, President and CEO of LIfetime Assistance. Ann accepted the Lifetime Assistancxwe Inspiration Award on behalf of Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation.

Lifetime Assistance, the region’s largest and most comprehensive agency serving people with developmental disabilities, celebrated its 40th anniversary tonight.

It marked the milestone with several activities including The Heart of Lifetime, a collection of messages of what Lifetime means to families, donors, businesses, and the community, and a big 40 th Anniversary Celebration for more than 700 Lifetime staff members, service recipients and invited guests at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Ann Costello speaking at a podium at the Lifetime Assistance Inspiration AwardsTwo very special pioneers in the field of developmental disability services were honored at the event. Donna Lowry, a founder of Lifetime Assistance along with her husband Don, was presented the Lifetime Legacy Award. Tom Golisano, and the Golisano Foundation were presented the Lifetime Inspiration Award. Ann Costello Director of the Golisano Foundation accepted the Inspitation Award on Mr. Golisano’s behalf.

Four Decades of Growth and Progress

Lifetime’s four decades of growth and progress have spanned a dramatic period of change in how care is provided and what kind of services are available for people with disabilities.

Lifetime Assistance has been a key player in the movement to help people come out of the darkness of being warehoused and forgotten in institutions to thriving in inclusive communities with independence, pride, productivity and dignity.

Lifetime Assistance began in 1978 as a day treatment program for 32 people in one location in Brockport. It was born out of a conversation around a kitchen table with four devoted families who were concerned about the lack of care options for their children fast-approaching adulthood.

That single program has since grown to become the region’s largest agency serving more than 1,800 people with developmental disabilities. Lifetime Assistance now offers a full spectrum of individualized services at 70 residential, day service and community program sites throughout western New York.

With a staff of more than 1,500, some of whom were the original trailblazers of this pioneering enterprise, children and adults are able to receive essential support to reach their maximum potential and level of independence, helping them live with dignity and purpose.

Lifetime’s 40th anniversary will be a celebration of the accomplishments of those with disabilities who have overcome so much and the people and partners of Lifetime Assistance, who have worked tirelessly to break down barriers and change the world for people of all abilities, helping them to reach their greatest potential.

Lifetime’s Pioneering Firsts

Since 1978 Lifetime’s milestones and pioneering “firsts” have continued to assure meaningful, inclusive lives for people of all abilities.

  • First community residence opens in 1979.
  • First supervised apartments in the region opens in 1986 on Buffalo Road.
  • First supportive apartment, President’s Village, opens in Brockport In 1988.
  • First home in Monroe County to serve children with behavioral challenges opened on Chili Avenue.
  • First voluntarily operated Family Care service in the 10-county region opens in 1992.
  • First Individualized Residential Alternative apartment in Monroe County, Clarkson Apartments opened in 1994.
  • First Preventive Parenting Support program, Lowry Day Treatment, opens in 1994.
  • First condos, Windsor Condos, opens in 1997.
  • First Individualized Residential Alternative for children with intellectual or developmental opens in 1999.
  • LeRoy, Lifetime’s first Genesee County site in 2003.
  • Started Providing In-Home Respite Services in 2013.
  • First Shared Living home opens in 2014.
  • First integrated housing complex in the area, Frances Apartments, opens in 2017.

Today, Lifetime Assistance employs more than 1500 people to provide services spanning Residential Services and Support , Day Services , Community Services , Vocational Services and Recreational Services.

Advocating for Inclusion in Housing, Employment and the Community

Lifetime Assistance has been a powerful advocate for inclusion, working with dozens of community businesses, creating opportunities for partnerships and employment. Through these partnerships, an understanding of the vast amount of talent and skill among individuals with developmental disabilities has been developed, providing more opportunities for inclusion and success.

“The inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in employment, housing and the community was unheard of 40 years ago,” Branciforte said. “We have come a long way since then.”

Entrepreneurial and Collaborative

With opportunities also come challenges. In a field that is laden with red tape, mandates and regulations, funding and staffing shortages, Branciforte and Lifetime Assistance continue to navigate those challenges, changing attitudes and perceptions about people with disabilities. One of the ways they have done this is by creating partnerships with others with common motivations, beliefs and challenges.

“This is a tremendously complex environment, so we can accomplish a lot more by working with peer agencies, board members, and community leaders, than we ever would alone,” added Branciforte. ”It is an uphill climb to begin with. We wouldn’t be able to succeed without those collaborations and common direction, energy and hard work, getting the investment from many people. We are grateful to all those who have stood with us over these past 40 years. They have helped us become a strong, spirited entrepreneurial organization that helps those in need lead inclusive, meaningful lives.”

A Leader in Job Creation

Donald W. Whitney, Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation President, said “Lifetime Assistance is a well-known and highly respected agency in our community. It is a leader in creating jobs for people with developmental disabilities.”

Lifetime’s LAICO, Industries & Services, has been providing meaningful work to individuals with developmental disabilities since 1980. Employing more than 100 people in jobs and skill development in four divisions –  Lifetime Occasions CateringClassified Scanning and Shreddingproductionsupported employment and janitorial service – Lifetime supports businesses with high quality, on-time, on-budget workmanship.

At the core of Lifetime’s success in helping thousands of people live more independently and be productive is starting with the person and their individual unique needs.

Ernie Haywood, who began working at Lifetime as a Relief Worker 37 years ago, and is now Senior Vice President, said, “We have never lost sight of our mission over the years as we always put those we support in front of us. What a tribute to our founding board that 40 years later we remain true to their commitment to always put the individuals we serve first and to provide supports and services throughout their lifetime.”

One example of the thousands of custom solutions Lifetime has created that have changed lives is Carol Montesano. Carol was one of six people who moved from a nursing home into a new state-of-the-art Lifetime home on Calkins Road after extensive renovations and lift and transfer equipment was installed to make the home barrier free. Carol, like so many others, had previously been living in a nursing home because a home with the right assistive devices wasn’t available.

“I feel so independent being able to open and close doors by myself, thanks to the remote opener,” said Carol. “My roommates and I are so thankful for our new lifts and therapy tub, they have changed our lives. Moving here has changed my life, and we are all one big family now.”

About Lifetime Assistance

Lifetime Assistance Inc. is the largest, most comprehensive agency in the Greater Rochester area serving children and adults with developmental disabilities. It serves more than 1,800 people every day at more than 70 sites providing a full spectrum of individualized services to help children and adults with developmental disabilities reach their maximum potential by promoting self-reliance, independence, dignity and success. Lifetime is accredited by the Council on Quality and Leadership. Only 300 agencies nationwide and just 10% of agencies in New York State have earned this honor, demonstrating the highest quality of service.

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