Citizen Planning School

2014 Champions

CPSChamps2014_full

17 Champions for Change in 2014 plan a change in their communities

Through the first year of the Citizen Planning School, our “Champions for Change” worked through a planning process to nurture an idea to make sustainable changes in their local community. With technical assistance from professionals and graduate students of UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, the Champions conducted research, formed partnerships, and identified necessary steps and actions to move their ideas forward.

IdeaSummitBooklet250Champions for Change featured in the 2014 Idea Summit Booklet
Read about all of the 2014 Champions for Change and the ideas they presented at the 2014 Idea Summit. The projects vary in stage of development, focus areas and scale. We look forward to seeing where they go in the future.

Watch all of their videos on our YouTube 2014 Champions for Change playlist here.


 

Aimee Buyea

Aimee  is president and co-founder of Sugar City, a volunteer-run arts and culture collective in Buffalo that acts as a music venue, art gallery, and community meeting space. Sugar City started as a grassroots experiment to fill the need for low cost, accessible, and all-ages exhibition space. Now, Sugar City plays a vital role in contributing to the culture of Buffalo’s West Side community and offers various needed programs.

Contact information: aimee.buyea@gmail.com

Click here to read about her project.


Geraldine Griffin

Geraldine is founder and chairperson of 1415 Community Organization Inc., a registered nonprofit focused on providing community events for families, promoting social skills development among youths, and restoring pride to its neighborhood. The organization offers several services and events for the community, including an annual Easter egg hunt, Community “PRIDE” day, and an essay contest.

Contact information: Gerrie@14215.org

Click here to read about her project.

 


 

Mary Ellen Haefner

Mary Ellen has been a member of the Education Committee of Preservation Buffalo Niagara since 2011. Recently she contributed to developing the organization’s 2014 tour schedule as well as its professional development program.

Contact information: dlg1977@verizon.net

Click here to read about her project.

Amherst Bee coverage of Mary Ellen’s project 6/8/2014).


Shirley Hamilton

Shirley is a community activist working with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) of Niagara Falls to promote economic, social, and environmental justice in the city.

Contact information: mshamiltonsj@gmail.com

Click here to read about her project.

Niagara Gazette Article about Shirley’s Project (10/26/2014)


Lynn Magdol

Lynn serves on the Board of Citizens for Regional Transit and is the treasurer of the Lancaster-Melbourne block club. She is also on the Buffalo Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Board through which she has been working with City departments on education and reporting programs to improve sidewalk snow removal.

Contact information: lmagdol@gmail.com

Click here to read about her project.


Della Miller

For over 25 years, Della has been involved in various levels of the food and nutrition industry. Starting her career in high school, she has worked in hospital foodservice, founded and managed various community food co-ops and gardens, developed and managed nutrition training and programming for New York State regions I & II, and monitored more than 20 licensed food service facilities in Erie County. She has also served on many health, nutrition and wellness committees.

Contact information: Foodlink716@gmail.com; 716-218-0373

Click here to read about her project.


Kathleen Murphy

Kathleen is involved with the Junior League of Buffalo (JLB), which is an organization of women volunteers committed to building better communities. In particular, Kathleen serves as the program coordinator of Future Blooms, a building beautification program that symbolizes the promise of new life for old structures.

Contact information: jlbfutureblooms@gmail.com

Click here to read about her project.

Buffalo Rising coverage of Future Blooms: 10/13/2014, 5/13/2014, 4/22/2014


Beverly Newkirk

Beverly is founder and executive director of “It Takes a Village,” a community action organization aimed towards promoting the mental, physical, and spiritual well-being of inner city residents of all ages, and thus empowering them to become productive citizens. In addition, Beverly is involved with community organizations such as the Coalition for Economic Justice and the Partnership for the Public Good.

Contact information: beverlynewkirk58@yahoo.com

Click here to read about her project.



Kara Oliver

Kara is the program specialist for the National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York (NFJC). She is also a diversity facilitator for Hilbert College’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, where she has developed numerous workshops that focus on race, gender equality, and LGBT issues, among others.

Contact information: koliver89@gmail.com

Click here to read about her project.


Ruth Otberg-Cooper

Ruth is a community activist highly involved in the Memorial Park Block Club of Niagara Falls. With other members of this club, she has been advocating against “slumlord” activity in her neighborhood to local government officials, developers, and other stakeholders. Specifically, her group is working on a council challenge that pushes for the replacement of the neighborhood’s antiquated code enforcement system as well as the promotion of homeownership in order to proactively address blight.

Contact information: memorialparkblockclub@yahoo.com

Click here to read about her project.


Paul Pérez

Paul is a young minority male who is interested in transforming politics, government, and not-for-profit management to be more equitable as well as efficient. He is a leader who provides individuals as well as communities with the tools and fundamentals they need to realize their potential. Paul is involved with the Buffalo Urban League of Young Professionals, as well as the City of Buffalo’s Citizen Participation Academy, through which he learns how to navigate city hall and the responsibilities of each department.

Contact information: perepc26@gmail.com

Click here to read about his project.


Daria Pratcher

Daria is an attorney and community activist who volunteers as the housing director for her block club, Fillmore-Leroy Area Residents, Inc. (FLARE). Prior to becoming housing director, Daria served on the Board of Directors for FLARE for 11 years. She has a long track record of rehabilitating old and dilapidated houses into sources of pride for her neighborhood.

Contact information: dlpratcher@dlpratcherlawoffice.com

Click here to read about her project.


Jill Rohring

Jill is a community activist who is currently serving on the Village of Wilson Planning Board and is a charter member of Watch Wilson Grow, a community group that partners with both public and private organizations who focus on creating lasting improvements to the area. Since 1997 Watch Wilson Grow has leveraged local funds with grants and in-kind services to produce improvements to the Wilson community valued at over $250,000.

Contact information: Jillrohring@ymail.com

Click here to read about her project.


Alison Schweichler

Alison is a counselor as well as a community activist, for both the Climate Reality Leadership Corporation and Western New York Drilling Defense. Both organizations advocate for sustainable efforts in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. Alison contributes to the work of these organizations through frequently writing letters and op-ed pieces, petitioning, and attending rallies.

Contact information: asch1006@yahoo.com

Click here to read about her project.


Ashley Smith

Ashley works as the communications coordinator for the Elmwood Village Association, whose mission is to work with businesses and residents to improve the quality of life for the community in its entirety. She also recently joined the Buffalo Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Board. Ashley takes pride in her bikable and walkable neighborhood, and wants to ensure that the EV continues to accommodate car-free lifestyles like her own.

Contact information: ashley@elmwoodvillage.org

Click here to read about her project.


 

Bobbie Thoman

Bobbie is a community activist earning her Master’s Degree in Canadian-US Relations at the University at Buffalo in conjunction with Brock University in Ontario. She is also currently a participant of LiveNF, a progressive housing program in Niagara Falls that provides incentives for students and young professionals to move into the city. Bobbie hopes to one day work for a sustainability focused organization that helps revitalize the environment and economy of Western New York.

Contact information: bobbieth@buffalo.edu

Click here to read about her project.


Gail Wells

Gail is an activist and a leader. Growing up in Harlem during the 1950’s and 60’s, Gail was exposed to many legendary civil rights leaders who taught her about the use of non-violence to inspire social change. Since then, Gail has organized countless cultural and educational activities that have caused social change both in New York City and Buffalo. Her accomplishments include co-founding the University at Buffalo’s Black Student Union, serving on the first Juneteenth Committee, and co-editing Buffalo’s first Black owned magazine, Buffalo After Dark. Gail was also co-owner of Watu Sokoni (also known as “The People’s Market”), and co-founder of the Center for Positive thought (also known as the “Black Dance Workshop”).

Contact information: wellsgv@bufalostate.edu

Click here to read about her project.