WXXI AM News

Need to Know

Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. & Sundays at 11:00 a.m. on WXXI-TV & on City 12

It’s a problem that’s not going away, in fact, it’s only getting worse. The heroin and opioid crisis in the Rochester region is taking lives, destroying families and neighborhoods, and shattering dreams.

On this edition of Need to Know we hear from addicts trying to reclaim their lives, a family with a message for others struggling to help their loved ones, experts working to peel away the layers of addiction and the women of a special coffee shop whose once broken dreams are being rebuilt.

The heroin and opioid epidemic is taking the lives of young and old in our region...and it’s only getting worse.

Thursday, November 2 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV is a special edition of Need to Know as addicts, families, and people involved in grassroots efforts speak out to help peel back the layers of addiction and provide a path for support.

Trick-or-Treat night is right around the corner. What you may not know is that dressing up in scary costumes and venturing from porch to porch to get that handful of sugar isn’t always easy or possible for everyone. For children with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities the centuries-old Halloween traditions are not always accessible and inclusive, but you can learn how they can be. 

On October 19, the Center for Disability Rights hosted a candidate forum on disability issues. WXXI’s Hélène Biandudi Hofer moderated the event last year where one question continued to come up for area politicians: Will you vote to approve ride-hailing even if companies are not required to ensure people of all abilities can access rides? Fast-forward 12 months and now Uber and Lyft are both operating in Rochester. But are they operating for everyone? Biandudi Hofer recently met with Center for Disability Rights Board Member Kenyatta DaCosta to get his take.

It’s a phrase some of you have likely heard more than once: “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” While researchers say the precise attribution is questionable, some would say the meaning behind the phrase bears some truth. But for the more than 10 percent of unemployed Americans with a disability - which is nearly double the unemployment rate of those without a disability - finding a job is the ultimate goal.

You’ll meet Justin, a young man who found a job he loves. A local organization believes Justin’s story is one of many that drive home the importance of building inclusive work communities to help understand the diverse strengths of all abilities.

Some people call it the “daily grind,” but on this edition of Need to Know you’ll meet others who describe it as a “daily dream.” We discuss power of employment for individuals with disabilities and why this month federal and local agencies are on calling on more companies to diversify their workforce.

Also on the show, ride-hailing companies now operating in upstate New York are intended to make getting from point A to point B easier. But do their services work for everyone?

And with Halloween right around the corner we look into what it takes to make the holiday’s festivities accessible and inclusive for all kids in our community. 

Are Rochester kids better off today than in 2011? That’s when a community-wide initiative called ROC The Future launched. The effort has been an all-hands-on-deck collaboration focused on one thing: improving the state of children in Rochester. On this Need to Know segment we’ll learn what’s working, what isn’t and if things are moving forward fast enough.

It all started with a group of about ten people eager to give back by helping others move forward. They were trained and equipped to take on the proud label of: mentor. Their “mentees” on the other hand had a different type of label, one associated with a host of stigmas due to a troubled past. The mentors: Rochester residents. The “mentees”: ex-offenders returning to the community from time served behind bars. That small group was the first class of mentors for the Judicial Process Commission’s Adult Mentoring Program. It launched more than 20 years ago.

On this edition of Need to Know we hear from a mentor- “mentee” partnership who describe how their relationship has influenced both of their lives. We’ll also learn whether mentoring programs are effective and how they impact the community at-large.

Mentors for ex-offenders. It’s just one strategy out of many intended to reduce recidivism rates and to help high-risk adults find a new life free of crime. Does it work? And does the community have a stake in the matter? We’ll find out on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, an update on just how well we’re all doing with what’s intended to be an “all-hands-on-deck effort” to help Rochester kids successfully progress from cradle to career.

And a Vietnam Veteran says sometimes it feels like he was just there. The experiences of war and the power of sharing one’s story nearly 50 years later.

It happened more than four decades ago, so why does its legacy still haunt us to this day? Uncovering the Attica prison uprising and how it impacted the current state of criminal justice on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, he’s the radio personality everyone calls “brother.” And he’s sharing stories about a brotherhood that saw him through some of the best of times and the worst of times. Don’t miss reflections of Vietnam with Brother Wease.

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