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VOL. 17, Issue 3                                                                December 2017
Exceptional Recycling @ Tri-Main Center
Tri-Main Center (TMC) facilitates an extensive recycling program throughout the building. This very ambitious undertaking is made possible and successful with the participation of Exceptional Recycling Services.

Exceptional Recycling Services is a recycling initiative founded in 2014. The six crew members range in age between 17 and 21, each with a diagnosed disability and from very diverse backgrounds. The recycling crew members may change each school year, yet are always students currently enrolled at the Occupational Training Center (OTC), located within TMC. The major component of the OTC curriculum is to assist all students with a transition plan into adulthood, with the emphasis placed on employment skills. 

As a hands-on method of teaching employment skills to the students, OTC vocational trainers seek real work settings where students can volunteer their services, while simultaneously gaining real life employment experience. Once an establishment agrees to open its facility to our students, its a win-win partnership. The business establishment  has extra help, and the students have a genuine work place to learn skills specific to the placement.  

Additionally, regardless of the placement, students learn “soft employment skills” such as being on time, being socially appropriate, being helpful and respectful and learning to take initiative. Often taken for granted, these skills are targeted for students at OTC. While members of the recycling  crew are emptying recycling bins,strategically placed throughout the TMC, they are learning and internalizing these essential work skills. Upon graduation, they will be valuable assets for employment.  A casual conversation between a TMC tenant and a recycling crew member, waiting for the elevator, is rich in learning potential.  Research studies consistently find that mastering social interaction skills for persons with a disability is essential to employment retention!

Both of the facilitators of Exceptional Recycling Services, teacher Anna Klapakis and teaching assistant 
Dolly Allen, hope that each student participant in the crew  goes on to secure independent and competitive paid employment. Klapakis and Allen genuinely believe their students have many abilities that are overlooked. It is a struggle to make the general population see beyond the label of a diagnosed disability and give their students a well-deserved opportunity. 

“Granted, initially a student may need some extra time and reinforcement at learning a skill. However, once mastered, I challenge any general education student to compete with one of my students with a diagnosed disability” stated Klapakis (a 34 year veteran with this population).“My dream outcome of a students’ participation with Exceptional Recycling Services would be a business hiring one of the crew members to serve as a ‘recycling initiative facilitator’ for that respective business” states Allen (a 15 year veteran with this population).

Each week, the team takes full paper recycling receptacles to the loading dock to exchange for empty ones. Plastic and metal items are deposited in bins the team moves from floor to floor, and then taken to the recycling station at the loading dock for sorting and cleaning, preparing them for removal from the building. Items that cannot be recycled by TMC vendors are taken back to OTC to be picked up by the City of Buffalo.  Without the participation of our Exceptional Team, a mere fraction of materials would be recycled and garbage would be greatly increased.

Meet the members of the Exceptional Recycling Team: Mica, JaTara, RayRay, Marquis and Tabitha.  They shared their thoughts on the program and recycling and how we can make our recycling even more exceptional.

What is your favorite part of the recycling program?
Mica – It helps to save the world, and I do other things than classwork.
JaTara – I like working together and working with Jeremiah.
Tabitha – I like being at the loading dock. I like the sorting.
Marquis – I like to move around. I don’t like to stay still.
RayRay- I make spending money.
What have you learned from the recycling program?
Mica – I can do it at home. And I can teach the kids at the program I work at.
JaTara – I taught my family to recycle. I also learned how to get things done. I learned about recycling in high school.
Tabitha – I learned not to crush cans and taught my dad that. I learned to sort and organize.
Marquis – I learned team work  and to recycle at home too.
RayRay- I learned how to recycle.
Have you thought about what job you might want after this?
Mica – Work in retail – I love fashion. I have an internship at Marshalls and just got a job there!
JaTara – Work in a small building. I want a job where I can talk to people.
Tabitha- I work at Big Lots and like that! I do pricing.
Marquis- I like to crush the cardboard and would like to do maintenance. I like organizing and making things cleaner.
How does recycling help your community?
Mica – If everyone works together, we’ll save the earth. Then everyone can live here and be happier and healthier.
JaTara – We don’t see garbage piling up everywhere. I don’t like to see people dropping their garbage on the ground. I pick it up and through it away.
Tabitha- It keeps things out of landfills. I can teach neighbors how to recycle.
Marquis- It makes the earth better. We need more recycling stations.
RayRay – It cleans up the streets.
How can you support the recycling program and efforts of the team at TMC? Here are a few simple rules for recycling, from our experts:
Please do not place garbage/trash in recycling receptacles, (there is usually a trash receptacle located next to the recycling receptacle at each recycling station throughout the TMC)

Please place empty containers in recycling receptacles, no remaining coffee, juice, beer, etc., please.  It makes the sorting process more time consuming, messy and costly. Please rinse items, if possible and needed.

Please refrain from stuffing tissues, gum, food, paper, etc.  into containers for recycling.

Please do not place any compost materials in recycling receptacles.

Please note that leaking (corroded) batteries should not be placed in battery collection containers.
            45 JEWETT AVENUE               
                NOW LEASING 

       For leasing information call 835-3366 or
Our expanding campus includes 2 buildings on the next block of Halbert, now combined as 45 Jewett Ave. The first phase of restoration was completed in 2016 and now houses Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers and Community Action Organization. A new parking lot serves tenants and visitors to the building.

The next phase is underway. All new Low E windows and wood floors have been installed. A section of the front of the building was demolished to increase the square footage, providing space for first floor retail and 3 market rate residential units. For leasing information, please contact




         ixpress of WNY

Friday, December 15 @ noon

 Tri-Main Center Lower Lobby

   Occupational Training Center
    Holiday Concert

              Get in the spirit!
       Join us for festive music
      from the students at OTC

       Friday, December 22 @ noon
 Tri-Main Center Lobby by the tree

              4th Friday   

    @ Buffalo Arts Studio     

             Suite 500

Friday, December 22, 5:00 - 8:00

Neglia Ballet now offers:
Yoga Classes Wednesday 6:30 - 7:30
Adult Ballet Thursdays 7:00 - 8:30 starting January 4
         The next Electronics Recycling Drive will be held January 16 - 18.
             What can you recycle? Check the Sunnking Inc. website:

We also recycle: cardboard, plastic, paper, metal, glass, cooking oil, batteries, ink cartridges and electronics. We hope that our tenants have the information they need to utilize the recycling options. Directions and information are available by calling the Management Office.
                New Tenants and Relocations                 

Welcome to our new tenant: SarEli Photography in Suite # 437. 
Buffalo Niagara Counseling has moved to                  Suite # 414. 

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