NBI Areas of Focus
Urban Education Initiatives
Launched second cohort of Emerging Health Care Scholars program. Funded by First Niagara Foundation and KeyBank, this enrichment program, designed to encourage high school students to enter health care careers, is conducted by Canisius College Pre-Health students who work with Math, Science Technology School, Bennett High School and School #45 students.
Created a partnership with Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) Community Schools Saturday academies programs. Canisius student volunteers provided enrichment programs at Hamlin Park, Lydia T. Wright and Burkard Vocational Schools.
Increased student teacher placements in Buffalo Public Schools. To help BPS students find success and to share best practices of the School of Education, Canisius continued to place pre-service teaching candidates and student teachers in Community Schools in the City of Buffalo.
Created instructional modules for WNY United Against Drugs and Alcohol Leadership into Tomorrow Summer program. Provided 130 rising 7th and 8th graders from Buffalo Public and suburban schools with virtual campus tours with admissions guides and gifted Canisius swag. Also, conducted career exploration sessions with our Career Services Staff.
Inaugurated a Juneteenth celebration and community clean-up. Partnered with Office of Diversity and Inclusion, REACH Buffalo, and City of Buffalo Office of Citizen Services to hold a neighborhood cleanup followed by an educational program on the history and meaning of Juneteenth conducted by Tradition Keepers: Black Storytellers of WNY. Over 100 faculty, staff, students and neighborhood residents participated.
Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
Launched M & T Bank Multicultural Business Owners Innovation Lab. In collaboration with David Femi, M&T Bank Director of Multicultural Banking, and with the participation of George Palumbo and Craig Rogers, professors of economics, Mary Owusu, assistant professor of marketing and Sara Vescio, director of the Women’s Business Center, NBI conducted a six-week course to help 25 small business from the East Side of Buffalo. create business plans, gain access to credit, and learn to market their companies. Concluding with a pitch competition, selected businesses won $10,000 in seed money.
Assumed Directorship of Western New York Prosperity Fellowship. The Fellowship Program assists undergraduate and graduate students at Canisius College and UB who are actively preparing for careers that further economic development and growth in the Western New York area. The Fellowship Program combines financial assistance in the form of scholarships with paid, credit-bearing internships to assist Fellows in acquiring both academic and practical experiences in their intended professions.
Partnered with Women’s Business Center (WBC) at Canisius College. Participated as an “influencer” in the Allyship program-- a six-week program matching influencers with business owners to expand their networks and connect them with resources to grow their businesses.
Neighborhood Development and Revitalization
Garnered $13,500 in local grants to begin work on Jefferson Ave. garden. Canisius College donated four vacant lots to the community for development as a community garden and space for convening. Neighborhood residents, parishioners at the Upper Room Church of God in Christ, Mayor’s Summer Youth program and Canisius students created garden beds as an initial step toward creating a full vegetable and flower garden with spaces for meditation, reflection, and community events. We are working with master gardener Gail Wells and Rita Hubbard Robinson of Neuwater Associates to bring to fruition our vision of an inviting green space that can also provide fresh produce to the food pantry at the Upper Room Church. Requests for an additional $10,000 are pending.
Supported the African American Health Equity Task Force with resources for the Walk of Healing. Canisius’ Physician Assistant and Pre-Health students work in partnership with the task force to address health disparities on the East Side of Buffalo. Vans shuttled participants from the Freedom Wall to the African American Heritage Corridor. Students participated in the walk and celebratory activities.
Created seats at the table with the City of Buffalo on improvements to the Jefferson Avenue streetscape. The parking ramp demolition at Jefferson and E. Delavan provides opportunities to reimagine the streetscape on Jefferson Avenue between Main St. and E. Utica St. Students, faculty and staff in partnership with community members provided ideas and refined plans for improvements with City of Buffalo planners and landscape architects.
Installed crosswalks and striping at Florida St. and Donaldson Ave. Working with Go Bike Buffalo, Deyron Tabb of PUSH Buffalo, Oswaldo Mestre, Director of Citizen Services, and the Commissioner of Public Works, we safely connected Hamlin Park School with playground and exercise equipment on Florida St. The city also installed speed humps on Florida and Northland to calm traffic in the residential area near the school and improve safety for students.
Erected free little libraries at three locations in Hamlin Park. Partners included Patrick Cook, Principal at Hamlin Park School, Hamlin Park Taxpayers Association, Canisius College WNY Residency Fellows, Grace Church, Masten Park Councilman Ulysees Wingo and Masten Park Free Little Library coordinators.
Deepened community engagement at the East West Community Garden on Lafayette Avenue. College staff and community members cultivated garden beds and donated produce to First Fruits Food Pantry at Lincoln Church. A garden closing celebration with neighborhood friends was held on November 20.
Continued working with the African American Health Equity Task Force. Connected Canisius’ Physician Assistant and pre-health programs with Kimberly Slew Ngambe, Executive Director of the Health Equity Task Force which resulted in collaboration on Health Equity Week, a series of educational and service activities.
Community Based Learning and Community Service
Virtual Service Week (April 2021) More than 350 people registered for VSW, including over 250 athletes who participated in clean ups in Hamlin Park, Tifft Farm, East-West Garden, West Side Rowing Club, The Foundry, People’s Park, and Delaware Park. Students also contributed to the Food Pantry at Lincoln Church and recorded story readings to share with our community partners.
Virtual Service Week- Health Equity (October 2021) Led by the Physician Assistant Program, more than 200 people worked with service partners, including St. Luke's Mission of Mercy, First Fruits Food Pantry, Buffalo Community Fridge, Empower, Most Valuable Parents (MVP) Organization, Boys and Girls Clubs, Delavan Grider Community Center, Journey’s End.
Partnered with Upper Room Church of God in Christ to host community activities on our campus. Programming included vaccination pop-up clinics, community fairs, worship services, exercise classes, movie nights, and food giveaways.