ReNU Niagara, a community outreach program of Niagara University, is adding to its repertoire of programs thanks to a $27,374 grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The grant will enable ReNU Niagara and its community partners, the Niagara Falls Housing Authority, Sustainable Earth Solutions and Niagara Falls Weed and Seed, to implement a GreenRoots Leadership Development Program aimed at building a youth and adult sustainable resident leadership base in Niagara Falls to help reduce existing demographic disparities.
“The goal of this program is to build individual and civic empowerment capacity through effective training and the application of environmental revitalization projects,” said Jill A. Shuey, executive director of ReNU Niagara. “We are looking to provide residents of Niagara Falls with the creative tools to create change and positively impact their surroundings.”
Ultimately intended to address the leadership gap that exists in the city, the program’s mission intends to disprove common misconceptions that youths are not engaged in the process to make their community a “green” or “sustainable” community.
“The program will allow youths to take ownership of an environmental issue and implement the change they wish to see in their community through a series of twelve educational workshops,” stated Leehe Shmueli, an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving as a project coordinator with ReNU Niagara. “We are going to challenge the idea that young people are unable to or lack the drive to make positive impacts on the city that they call home.”
A youth track will begin on Jan. 18, 2011, with all sessions taking place on Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m. at the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Center. Adult tracks are expected to commence in late March.
Individuals interested in applying to participate in the GreenRoots Leadership Development Program may contact Leehe Shmueli at 716-205-0287 or ude.aragainnull@ileumhsl.
ReNU Niagara, established in 2006 with government support and university investment, has worked in partnership with non-profits and other community-based organizations to build individual and organizational capacity in the City of Niagara Falls and surrounding areas. Consistent with the core values of Niagara University, its mission is to engage, empower and educate diverse community stakeholders to improve Niagara Falls and the surrounding areas.
Niagara University is deeply committed to the social, economic and physical revitalization of the Buffalo-Niagara region. As a cornerstone of NU’s active engagement in the community and through its work with faculty, staff and collaborative partners, ReNU Niagara has completed projects to address urgent community needs and challenges. Examples include the establishment of community vegetable gardens, tax preparation assistance, resident and organizational training (entrepreneurial, business development, fundraising, non-profit management), GIS asset mapping and the creation of a centralized volunteer center.
The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo is a public charity that holds over 800 different charitable funds that were established by individuals, families, nonprofit agencies and businesses to benefit Western New York. Since 1919, the foundation has served the needs of this community and the wishes of their donors through personalized service, financial stewardship, local expertise, and community leadership.