It’s no secret that Buffalo is on the rise. Articles are being written about us, cranes can be seen in downtown Buffalo, people are moving back and there are economic development initiatives that have the ability to continue driving our city forward. To say it’s an exciting time to live in Buffalo would be an understatement.
With all of this happening, it’s important to remember that in order for a city to rise, its people and communities must rise with it. Currently there are a large number of Buffalonians living below the poverty line, working families who have to ask themselves how they will heat their homes this winter and put food on their tables. There is still a lot of work to be done.
Buffalo is known as the City of Good Neighbors, and it is time to use our sense of community to continue with Buffalo’s growth. We can become a front porch society again, by welcoming conversations with our neighbors to understand their joys and their struggles. It is easy to live in our own world and to face only what we need to, but there are still people, many of whom are our friends, neighbors, and co-workers, that need help.
What can we do to improve the quality of life for those around us so we can all rise as one?
Find Your Passion
I have found my passion in a variety of organizations: Danceability, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Homespace, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Greater Bflo (YNPN) and United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. All of these non-profit organizations bring the Buffalo community together by serving those with wide-ranging needs. Take time to discover your passions and use that to find the causes, issues or initiatives that align with those passions. Do your research to find out what organizations you can get involved with that are helping find the solutions to those issues- trust me, there are many! For many of these organizations they are only as strong as their volunteers and by joining in, you become part of the solution.
Give It Your Time, Talent, and/or Treasure
There are many benefits of volunteering; it helps improve your physical health and decreases stress, just to name a few. Once you have found your passion, find time to devote to helping make a difference. It is an incredible feeling to live for something bigger than yourself, to help somebody who can never repay you. Someone you may never know.
If you don’t have time to donate, there is also no amount of money too small to make a difference. Whether you are giving a donation because you are unable to give your time, or simply because you feel it is the right thing to do, when you invest in the community, you are investing in the people.
People often believe that one person cannot make a difference, but when we combine our efforts with like-minded individuals, we make all the difference. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Become the person who reaches their hand out to help lift up others before lifting up themselves.
Because of the renaissance Buffalo is experiencing, we have the opportunity to become an even greater city. If we support each other, move from the backyard to the front porch, our community grows stronger- as our community grows stronger, our city will continue to rise.
About the author: Kayleigh is on the Board of Directors and Chair of Programming Committee at Homespace, Board of Directors and Director of Special Events with Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Greater Bflo (YNPN), and part of the United Way Committees for the Women’s Leadership Council, WNY Girls in Sports, and the Emerging/Young Leader’s Initiative.
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