Emceeing the 4th Annual Night for Independence Gala

This weekend, I emceed the 4th annual Night for Independence at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens in Depew. The event was organized by Western New York Independent Living, which is one of several agencies in the WNY area that provides services for people with disabilities.

Proceeds raised from the event benefit Independence Express, which is an effort to connect people with disabilities to accessible transportation throughout WNY. Accessible transportation is SO important, and I know that firsthand because my 25-year-old brother Polyvios is on the autism spectrum.

Fortunately, my mother is able to work part-time and she can to tend to my brothers needs all week long (which is a full time job in itself.) She drives him to all of his doctor appointments, to and from day programs, my father’s restaurant where he does prep work, art classes, you name it. The part-time job, programs, and services keep my brother productive, independent, and an active member of society.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for all people with disabilities. Sometimes family members have to work full-time, some pass away suddenly, or some just aren’t in the area. That leaves people with disabilities in the dark, and without a trusted family member or friend to provide them safe accessible transportation.

For more than 35 years, WNY Independent Living has made accessible transportation a reality for people with disabilities throughout Western New York. Independence Express transports individuals for employment, medical needs, recreation, and community involvement. A Night for Independence is the annual fundraiser that helps keep Independence Express vans on the road. An important service that helps so many people.

It was an honor to be a part of an event to support a cause that is close to my heart!

(Side note: Another Rent the Runway win! I rented my Nicole Miller gown for a fraction of the retail price!)


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