Niagara University Joins City of Niagara Falls, P2 Collaborative to Create a Healthier Niagara Falls

September 12, 2011  |  by Michael Freedman

  • The kickoff to “Creating a Healthier Niagara Falls: A Neighborhood Empowerment Approach” was celebrated with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting.

  • Marcia Massaro, public housing manager for the Niagara Falls Housing Authority

  • Rev. Harvey Kelley, pastor at New Hope Baptist Church

  • Jill Shuey, executive director of ReNU Niagara

  • Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster

  • Niagara Falls City Administrator Donna Owens

On Friday, Sept. 9, the City of Niagara Falls, the P2 Collaborative of Western New York, and Niagara University cut a ribbon to signify the opening of a new outreach office intended to educate city residents on ways to live healthier. “Creating a Healthier Niagara Falls: A Neighborhood Empowerment Approach” was made possible by a $300,000 grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation.

The celebratory event, held at the entrance to Anthony Spallino Towers in downtown Niagara Falls, was attended by the collaborating entities and numerous city residents.

“You’re most valuable resource is your people,” attested Niagara Falls City Administrator Donna Owens toward the beginning of the program. “In order to turn the city around, you have to invest in your people.”

The outreach office, located inside Spallino Towers (720 Tenth St.), is intended to provide a setting for neighbors to get information about the grant and partner resources. It will also serve as a meeting space to plan for events and activities that will improve their community. Other services and opportunities will include workshops and events focused on increasing health, wellness and safety. Space for the office is being provided by the Niagara Falls Housing Authority, one of more than 30 implementation partners involved with the project.

“We are grateful that the Housing Authority is willing to provide the space to help connect residents with resources to improve their individual health but also to the resources that will strengthen their neighborhoods and enhance their quality of life,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster. “We are going to harness the energy and enthusiasm of the largest possible coalition of grassroots members to promote a healthier lifestyle for our residents.”

The “Creating a Healthier Niagara Falls” project was instituted to improve the individual health and quality of life of residents in designated Niagara Falls neighborhoods by building a system of community-based resources and linkages. Implementation strategies will focus on leadership, environmental beautification, health and wellness, disease prevention and safety. The initiative will engage and build the capacity of residents to initiate projects that will improve their neighborhoods and create a healthy, livable and safe community. In addition, it will also alter how healthcare and human service agencies, municipal, community and faith-based organizations and local businesses work together to increase the likelihood of achieving the goals of the project.

“Niagara University is not only concerned with that place down the road,” stated Dr. Bonnie Rose, NU’s executive vice president. “Equally important to us is to be able to get out into the community and fulfill our mission by helping those who need us. We are awfully proud to be a part of this project.”

For more information, please contact Jill A. Shuey, executive director of ReNU Niagara, at 716.205.0287.