People and Places strives to recognize each individual's rights, talents, and abilities as they engage in special interests, new experiences, and make new friends in the amazing world of travel. It is through these travel experiences that people with disabilities touch the lives of those they meet along the way, enhancing the inclusion of people with special needs throughout the world.
We are a not-for-profit, 501(c) 3 organization providing small group, year-round vacation opportunities for persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Vacation experiences have been provided since 1975. Since that time, vacationers from around the country have traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and Mexico.
We encourage adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities to realize their potential as individuals.... to grow.... to change.....and to experience a life with a full range of opportunities. Vacations and travel experiences are one component of that spectrum.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dear Friends, We want to thank you for your interest in exploring vacation opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities! Yes, the wonders of travel excite, inspire, educate, amuse, and refresh us. Rich in diversity, it takes us beyond our immediate reality and shows us new ways of seeing both the world around us and ourselves.
It is through traveling throughout this amazing and beautiful world, that we seek to provide outstanding, safe, and fun experiences that truly engage our travelers with the essence and uniqueness of their chosen vacation.
From our early beginnings as a program provided by a local human services agency for persons with developmental disabilities, to a separate corporation within that agency, to our eventual independence as a not-for-profit corporation on our own, we have always endeavored to provide the highest quality services for those involved with us. We are forever grateful for the opportunities and support that our original parent agency, People Inc., of Buffalo, New York, provided to us for so many years. We will always have a special light in our hearts for all the kindness, flexibility, patience, and humor they have shown us over the years!
Our Director: In managing People and Places is Patty Brown Schieder, joining us first as a volunteer tour escort for many years, and then as Assistant Director and Vice President. Patty was absorbed with travel as a child, spending countless hours gazing through her Viewmaster at pictures of various national parks, the Taj Mahal, and the Great Wall of China ! After student teaching in Adelaide, in southern Australia, lots of personal travels around the world, a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling, and years working in residential services with persons with developmental disabilities, she brings to the program a rich diversity of education and travel experiences.
Our Assistant Director: Additionally, in partnership in managing People and Places, is Michele Venezia. You will find her organizational and creative talents expressed in all aspects of program management. She particularly loves designing the itineraries for all of our trips ! She brings to us her professional background of 20 years as a senior level accountant at a local CPA firm, as well as her personal cheerfulness, her love of travel, and her passion for rescuing animals.
Our Program Specialist: She is the friendly voice you hear when coordinating air arrangements, proper airline and cruise identification, and anything related to managing travel with our travel agent! Joanne brings a rich background of education and experience working in the field of human service. Also serving as a volunteer escort for People and Places for many years, you will find her attention to detail, safety, and fun travel experiences immersed in her passion to provide outstanding vacation services.
Also supporting our vacation services and managing the vast array of paperwork, is our office manager, Lisa Freitag. Lisa answers your phone calls, sends your Acceptance Package and manages all of your account information! She brings to us her background in theatre where her creative talent began with costume design in Washington DC and Buffalo, NY! While our tour escorts guide you on your vacation, Lisa is your pre-trip vacation guide!