Heritage Christian Services (HCS) is a nonsectarian human services agency that supports over 2,000 children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) from across Buffalo and Rochester, NY through a multitude of programs including respite care, community habilitation, employment supports, residential programming, and recreational activities. The agency was incorporated as Heritage Christian Home in 1980 and opened its first home for nine children with developmental disabilities in 1984. In 2003, Heritage Christian Home changed its name to Heritage Christian Services, to more accurately reflect the range of programs now offered.


The Children's Guild Foundation of Buffalo has awarded a grant to Heritage Christian Services for the Free to be Me/Club Adventure

Funds provided by the Children's Guild Foundation will be used to fund “Free To Be Me”, a pilot program and awareness campaign designed by HCS staff for children in grades K-3 from across the WNY region, aimed at teaching them about disabilities of all kinds, and that people with disabilities—their peers in particular—should be treated with kindness, respect, and empathy. These lessons will be conveyed to the children through games and engaging discussions, prompting them to evaluate how they interact with their friends and classmates who might have disabilities and arming them with the understanding that everyone is different, and that’s ok! “Free To Be Me” will explore topics such as:

- Disabilities you can see (being in a wheelchair) vs. disabilities you can’t see (ADHD)
- Moving past awareness and into acceptance
- Breaking down and moving away from stereotypes about disabilities
- Using people-first language (saying “people with autism” rather than “autistic people”)
- Teaching that kids with disabilities want to be treated like everyone else
- When to offer help and when to respect a person’s independence

Will be released in the fall Spirit magazine from Heritage Christian Services:

“Support from the Children’s Guild Foundation will allow Heritage Christian to provide awareness and education about disabilities in classrooms across Western New York.”

For more information go to:  heritagechristianservices.org