News Articles

Freaky Friday!


CCNY recently entered the Twilight Zone, or at least Buffalo’s version of it.

Our Vendor Coordinator, Alana, who was recommended by her predecessor, Amanda, for the position turns out to be second cousins once removed with her!

Even more amusingly, they both only found out a couple weeks ago via Facebook.  Alana said, “We spent a good amount of time in shock over this since we have known each other for about five years and just stumbled across this information.  Not even using an ancestry DNA system. So, Amanda refers me for her position, I currently sit at her desk and do the same work that she had, and we come to find out that we are related.  It goes to show just how small a world it is, especially in Buffalo.  Amanda’s parents and grandparents came to attend our Hibschweiler family reunion last weekend with about forty other relatives.  Her parents ended up winning our second annual bocce ball tournament.”

Amanda confirmed: “It was really a shot in the dark, but Alana and I are friends on Facebook and I saw someone post on Alana’s page with the last name Hibschweiler.  And that is not a super common last name… So I was like, ‘well, I think if we go back, maybe we can find a common denominator, so I asked for more info such as her mom’s parents’ names and I gave her my grandparents’ name.  Then I reached out to my mom and asked her if she knew anyone with these names and my mom was actually at her parents’ house and my grandma was like ‘We’re going to Norine’s this weekend!’ and literally the rest is history… I didn’t even know Alana was my cousin when I recommended her to replace me because she is awesome and now knowing we’re related, she’s even more awesome!  I live in Indiana now, but I will be back for the next Hibschweiler family reunion.”

With odds like these, they might want to consider Powerball.

Data and Performance Management in the Community

David Monroe, our Director of Evaluation and Analytics, discussing the purpose of dashboards and data dissemination.

This week/ for the last few days, CCNY has been training local organizations about the nuts-and-bolts of data evaluation, analytics, and business intelligence.  Today, we’re presenting to another local non-profit, the Service Collaborative, about data and performance management.  We’ll be sharing best practices for logic models and dashboard development to ensure quality data is being collected and readily analyzed, which in turn maximizes positive program outcomes.  Read more about our PIE Performance Report here.

Evaluation and Improvement Strategies: Spotlight On Yoga


Yoga’s been all the rage for some time now in ‘wellness’ and mainstream communities alike.  In fact, as of 2016, the number of people practicing yoga in the US nearly doubled.  But what is wellness really?  And is yoga the mind-body panacea so many claim it is?

As a healthcare and quality improvement-oriented organization, we thought it’d be interesting to poll a microcosm of the non-profit sector, i.e., our own staff, to get a cross-section of attitudes and beliefs about yoga. We conducted an anonymous survey and despite the small sample (n = 14), found a wide range of experiences with yoga.

The vast majority of our employees have tried yoga at least once. Interestingly, although a majority (51.7%) have been practicing yoga for several years (one person for almost two decades), 41.7% still consider themselves to be Beginners.

There was overlap in positive and negative associations with yoga.
Exactly half of our employees practice mindfulness.

Since this wasn’t a complex study being submitted for peer review, our internal survey was decidedly casual in approach. However, at its core, was a key data collection technique: interviewing. This allowed us to capture more balanced and nuanced perspectives than a questionnaire alone could have, which in turn echoed the variance in the wider population. A selection of these is available below.

As reported in the New York Times, yoga can actually be quite dangerous for some people, even seasoned instructors.  Contrary to the typical Western approach to medical care, it is important to recognize that a one-size-fits-all strategy does not work for one’s own body and by extension, for entire companies and societies. We each have to figure out what works for us given our unique set of circumstances.

Ultimately, it all comes down to choices. We can choose to improve ourselves. We can choose to find alternatives when things don’t work out. We can choose not to give up.

Better data means better choices and better outcomes.

To find out more about how CCNY can tailor process improvements to your organization’s needs, call us at (716) 855-0007, ext. 317 or e-mail

Meghan’s Albany Adventure


My trip to Albany for the NYS 21st CCLC RoS Spring Conference was my first experience traveling professionally for a conference. It was held at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center over the course of three days, consisting of multiple general sessions and workshops for participants to choose for to further develop professional qualities needed to implement, manage, and evaluate the variety of after-school programming that is funded by the 21st CCLC grant.

Workshop and session topics were comprehensive and included literacy and equity among children, social-emotional learning, and trauma-informed care. During the evaluators’ session, an open discussion and collaboration about the current evaluation report requirements took place between all the evaluators and representatives from the NYS Department of Education. It was a powerful experience to be engaged with other evaluation professionals. Given that this was my first time attending, it was a treat to network and converse with seasoned peers. On the last day, I chose to participate in a roundtable discussion about the McKinney-Vento Law and its impact on youth programming.

We were also well fed during the entire event. The Desmond provided breakfast and lunch across multiple days so I had the opportunity to try their famous bread pudding, which was definitely a consistent theme and talking point throughout the conference. It was even referenced in numerous 21CCLC e-mails leading up to my trip (for good reason– it was delicious). In the brief downtime that I had (emphasis on brief) I took a dip in the pool and ventured out to the Crossgates Mall. All in all, it was a great experience filled with networking, a wealth of new information, and of course, dessert.

CCNY Attending The 21st CCLC Spring 2019 Conference


From May 29th to 31st, our evaluator, Meghan Harris, will be attending the Afterschool Experience 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Symposium in Albany.

This conference is hosted by the 21st CCLC Rest-of-State (ROS) Resource Center for the purposes of giving CCLC grantees an opportunity to learn more about grant guideline changes, improve foundational skills for improving after-school programs, and connect with other organizations who have similar missions.

As a quality improvement-oriented collective, we’re committed to our staff’s continual professional development so we can better serve our clients.

If you would like to hear more about how CCNY can enhance your project, please call us at (716) 855-0007, ext. 317 or email us at

Upcoming YOUTH POWER! Scholarship Deadline


YOUTH POWER! of Families Together in NYS is proud to announce that there are many scholarship opportunities left for youth/ young adults ages 18-30 looking to attend this year’s University of Youth Power (UYP).

What is UYP?

From 22nd to 25th June 2019, YOUTH POWER!  will be hosting the sixth annual University of YOUTH POWER! (UYP), a for-youth-by-youth social justice conference that is modeled after a college experience. UYP is the premier for-youth-by-youth social justice conference that is modeled after a college experience.  UYP is the premier youth peer leadership conference that provides Youth Peer Advocates and change agents the opportunity to build skills and expand their professional network.

UYP will take place in Albany, New York, at the College of Saint Rose. University of YOUTH POWER! includes professors from a variety of fields of work including: Disability Rights, Mental Health, Addiction, Foster Care, Juvenile Justice, Labor, Independent Living, and more.


There are MANY scholarship opportunities for youth to apply to by May 24th at noon!  Scholarships assist with registration and *some scholarships* with other aspects associated with the cost of UYP.


Youth and young adults can apply here.  Young people ages 18 to 30 may register with a major of either Peer Advocacy or Systems Advocacy.  Youth can register as either a resident student OR a day student!  Resident students have overnight accommodations in the apartment style dormitory as well as meals on campus.  All youth get a UYP handbook, a UYP t-shirt, and some other awesome gear!  For specific details, visit the link above.  Registration closes on May 29th.

2019 Agenda: To view a preview of classes, evening activities, etc., please click here.

*Classes and activities are subject to change.*

For general questions about UYP, please contact
Regarding professors and activity leaders, please contact
Regarding scholarships, please contact

Two WNY Funding Opportunities!


East Hill Foundation is currently accepting grant proposals from nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations that serve the Western New York area through the Foundation’s online grants portal.  This competitive grant process begins with a Letter of Intent Form, which is due on or before May 20, 2019.  All WNY 501(c)(3) organizations are welcome to apply; however, the East Hill Foundation Board of Directors encourages projects that serve basic human needs, such as providing food and shelter for the needy. 

The Foundation identifies and funds innovative, charitable projects designed to enhance the quality of life of the residents of Western New York, primarily Erie and Niagara counties.  Only one Letter of Intent Form per organization may be submitted. For additional information, please contact Michele Schmidt at or call (716) 204-0204, ext. 201.

The Health Foundation has partnered with the Brookdale Foundation Group to launch two new caregiver funding opportunities across Western and Central New York!

Agencies that provide caregiving support for people with early memory loss, or agencies that provide supportive services to relative caregivers are encouraged to apply for these two new initiatives.

These new opportunities are offered through the Health Foundation, as are part of two national grant initiatives established through the Brookdale Foundation Group over 20 years ago.

The caregiving funding opportunities are the National Group Respite Program and the Relatives as Parents Program.  A total of ten (10) organizations in WNY and CNY will receive funding for two-years for one of these two programs. The grants are $10,000 for the first year with an opportunity for a second tier grant of $5,000. Click here for more details.

Katie’s Paid Paid Vacation


Back in 2017, CCNY started an initiative called Paid Paid Vacation (PPV) to help foster company wellness. Every quarter, full-time staff here are entered into a draw for a chance to win $300 to be used towards something fun (not bills!) during a two-day vacation.  Those days are in addition to their usual paid time off. Our Coordinator of Clinical Program Development, Katie Miller, was our Q2 winner! In fact, it was her second time winning since PPV was first launched.

Here’s how she spent her recent mini-break:

” After a very long winter and a lot of big changes in 2019 already for the Miller-Mauro clan, the Paid Paid vacation was just what we needed! We trekked right over the border to Great Wolf Lodge and spent a of couple days swimming a lot, eating a lot, and catching up with each other. The timing was perfect!”

Indoor water slide.

Click to learn more about our unlimited vacation policy and last quarter’s PPV winner.

Vendor Agency Spotlight: The Arc Erie County


This month, we chatted with Mary Marranca-Hood (Associate Director of Community Support Services) and Laneesha Eve (Mental Health Community Program Manager) of the Arc Erie County to learn more about their work in the community and role in the Erie County Wraparound Vendor Network.  Founded in May 1954, they have grown to a staff of nearly one thousand employees.

“We serve the intellectually disabled population from birth to death and the Mental Health population 7-21, along with those who are medically fragile, intellectually disabled, and serious emotionally disturbed in Foster Care.  We have been part of the Erie County Children’s System of Care and the Vendor Network since 2004 when the network was developed.  Wraparound is a service designed to ‘wrap around the entire family’ building on a family strength-based model to reduce stress, focus on strengths, and rebuild the family to keep them together.

The rewards of being in the Network are to serve families and build relationships across the county.  Some challenges are the many changes and staying abreast of funding streams and the redesign of services.  The Arc is unique in its role as we have a reputation and an array of services to serve both the intellectually disabled and the mental health population.  Our area of expertise, focuses on medical, and physical challenges along with an array of services ranging from Respite to Supported Employment opportunities.”

Thanks to Mary and Lanesha for their thoughtful responses and to the Arc for being a part of our network!