Congratulations Jess!

Congratulations to ITOWNY member Jess Levesque on her 2020 AUTISM SPECTRUM award nomination! We are so proud of you!

“We have had a record number of submissions for nominees of the Els for Autism Spectrum Award, and have been blown away by each entry. It has been such a pleasure to read about each of these nominees’ stories, accomplishments, and contributions to the Autism community.”

Saturday Series

Saturday Series: Inclusion in the Arts – Shameka Andrews

This week (8/1 at 8pm), we are excited to welcome Shameka Andrews to ITOWNY’s Series on Inclusion in the Arts!

About Shameka:

Shameka Andrews is a disability advocate and consultant she provide resources to people with disabilities, their families and community organizations. She currently is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Self-Advocacy Association of NYS. The Self-Advocacy Association of New York is an organization for and run by people with development disabilities. SANYS helps people with developmental disabilities speak up for themselves and others.

Shameka is the author of the children’s book Butterfly on Wheels and has collaborated with other author book projects such as Behind the Smile : 15 Women Who Survived the Storm

Shameka is a member of the Commissioners Advisory Council of the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. She also serves on the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, The board of Catholic Charities Disability Service. Shameka has an Associates Degrees in Business Management from Mildred Elley Business School.

In 2006, Shameka was the title Ms. Wheelchair NY after being second runner up in 2005. Ms. Wheelchair America is an organization that promotes Disability Awareness and celebrates and the accomplishments of women and girls in wheelchairs.

In 2013 Shameka became the State Coordinator for the Ms. Wheelchair NY Program

When she is not working Shameka loves traveling, listening to music and going to Zumba and Yoga classes.

This is a FREE event! Email to register!


Happy Birthday ADA!

ITOWNY did a thing! And our video is LIVE! Happy Birthday ADA!! Like and share our video and help us win this challenge!! Would also love to speak with folks in media who might be interested in our journey!

Disability representation in the media is important now more than ever. (Did you know 1 in 4 people have a disability yet this is not represented in the media?! Let’s fix that!)

Check out the documentary shorts submitted to the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge to show your support! 

Saturday Series

Saturday Series: Inclusion in the Arts – Amy D. Shephard-Teal

This Saturday, 7/25 at 8pm, we have the honor of having Amy D. Shephard-Teal hang out with us and discuss inclusion in the arts!

About Amy:

Amy teaches both private voice lessons and the Sophomore and Junior voice classes at Niagara University. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and a Master of Music in Music Education with NY Teaching Certification from The Eastman School Of Music. Amy enjoys a busy and diverse teaching and performing career in the WNY region. As a performer, she has been described as “delightful in her absolutely-rock-solid performance” (Buffalo Rising), and “perfect in voice and comic timing,” (Buffalo News). As a classical artist, Professor Teal has performed with The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Lytes, Opera Sacra, Cheektowaga Symphony, Amherst Chamber Ensemble, Genesee Valley Orchestra and Chorus, Erwin H. Johnson Memorial Fund Concert Series, Opera Buffs Concert Series, and Buffalo Opera Unlimited. Some of her operatic roles include Despina in Cosi Fan Tutte, Madame Warblewell in The Impresario, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Gianetta in The Elixir of Love, and Cunnegonde in Candide. A crossover artist, equally at home on the musical theatre stage, she has performed roles at Art Park, The Riviera, Lancaster Opera House, & O’Connell & Company. As an educator, she believes in creating strong relationships with her students and in fostering mutual respect. She was honored to be nominated by a student and included in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” Music Honors Edition, as a “teacher who made a difference”. Her students have won contests, and placed in competitions such as, Classical Singer Magazine, Golden Voices of America, BPO Idol, The 10,000 Maniacs tour and NBC’s The Voice. In addition to her work at NU, Amy directs plays and musicals for Lewiston Porter School District and owns and operates Teals Niagara Theatre & Music at The Niagara Arts & Cultural Center in Niagara Falls.

See you at 8pm on Saturday.