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Home… Away From Home

It was back in 2008 that I first learned of the Buffalo B-Team (see story). Since that time I have heard of the many volunteer efforts that the group has been involved in. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of these groups come and go… some with greater success than others. While the majority spent great time and effort looking for an identity and the right causes to support, I am happy to see a fresh wave of promoters who are steadily gaining traction. Another group that has recently surfaced and is embarking upon a from-afar form of community activism is the Buffalo Expat Network (BEN), formerly Buffalo Alumni Society (see story). The Buffalo News has an article on the group’s efforts in today’s paper. I spoke to News Staff Reported Steve Watson regarding the expat group after attending BEN’s recent local outreach party at Betty’s Restaurant (lead photo), and we both agreed that additional outside support should be encouraged on a number of levels. 

At this point, BEN is looking to initiate a series of Buffalo Revisit(ed) Weekends. The weekends (first one is Friday, April 30th – Sunday, May 2nd, 2010) are designed to encourage ex-pats to come back for action packed meet-ups that revolve around planned events such as the opening night of Buffalo Bushido, cocktail parties, art openings, and the Allentown Art Festival (the following weekend). These get-togethers are, in essence, ongoing expat activist versions of the all-encompassing expat event Citybration (run by Marti Gorman – originally Buffalo Old Home Week) – a three day bash concocted to draw expats home for organized events that include tours, a job fair, cocktail parties and a wrap-up Sunday brunch (June 24 – June 27). Citybration is intent on promoting permanent moves back to Buffalo through hands-on networking initiatives, while most of BEN’s members will continue to promote the city by tapping into valuable resources not readily available to Buffalo.

Be sure to tune into all of these group’s initiatives by visiting their websites for updates. In the meantime, if you would like to meet up with the Buffalo B-Team, be sure to attend their next get-together being held at WJ Morrissey Irish Pub (6pm – $5 at the door) on April 9th to benefit Crisis Services. The initiative is called Comfort Kits, and is intended to raise money in order to provide clothing for victims of sexual assault. 

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  • grad94

    glad to see events specifically targeted for recruiting expats again. i wish these folks every success with national outreach.

  • STANCSEA

    I wonder why we need folks from out of town to turn around our city? The about us section of the Buffalo Expat site is very patronizing to current Buffalonians.
    The best thing these folks can do for Buffalo is not leave in the first place. If they leave then the best thing they can do is move back. Sending back a pittance in donations or sitting on an advisory board is not going to change the direction of Buffalo. Doing a feel good project like comfort kits for sexual assault victims isn’t going to do much to help Buffalo. If you left and feel guilty about the state of affairs that we are in, then good for you. You should feel guilty because you are part of the problem here. If you want to feel less guilty then make amends and return home. If you don’t want to do that then keep doing what you are doing but don’t think that you are some kind of hero for it.

  • Travelrrr

    Nowhere do I see that the group intends to “turn around our city”. They clearly state that they seek to “support local efforts”. What is so bad about that?
    Really pathetic, some of the provincial attitude around here…

  • onestarmartin

    wow, thats all I can say, wow.

  • brownteeth

    I would agree that a part of our problem here with population loss is the mentality of older generations automatically telling recent grads that they should move because there’s no chance for them here. Should they go explore the world a bit? Sure, but it shouldn’t be so taboo to try to make a go of it here after.
    I found myself in such a position a few years ago and left town only to realize that it was not much better elsewhere. Sure I found a decent job but it did not pay nearly enough to cover living expenses. Now I am back and happy to be here. I have many more resources here and have no regrets about it. I know it’s not always so cut and dry but I think until we change our mentality that there’s no hope for young people here they will continue to leave without much consideration otherwise, it’s ingrained in our heads that we’re not good enough or something.

  • sbrof

    Brownteeth about sums it up. We are the drivers of our own fortune. We are in an industrial mentality that if there aren’t big industrial factories employing thousands of people… then there isn’t any point is staying around, even though most kids today wouldn’t ever want a job like that. So we tell them to leave instead of finding their own way.. or even better yet… making their own way. Like what is supported and pushed by people in other regions.
    I think this group is great and anything that can bring people with our common cultural heritage together to support, volunteer or even just talk is good. We need to remember where we are from and perhaps if the opportunities present themselves people can move back but to talk like STANSCEA is just self defeating.
    Why would you want to alienate people who love our region, no matter where they are… When there are so many people around that still speak poorly about us, most of them still live around here.

  • bhorvath

    All I can say to that comment is,…..double wow (wow wow)
    Is that iluvdogs looking at the camera? I think we met a ways back.
    Anyway, people leave hundreds of cities, the deal with Buffalo is so many feel “guilty” (read: would rather stay) about it and ultimately want to make it easier to stay and actually get at least an average piece of the pie that is today’s pie. How that’s done? I doubt we’ll know until it actually happens. Maybe WNY will partake in the next cycle of economic growth more so than it has in the past cycles and it will be noticeable.
    I was hoping a big steel plant would fall out of the sky like in Wizard of Oz, but you know my mind changes almost every day (because it can).

  • bhorvath

    I don’t think the younger gen would care about “being told…there’s no chance”.
    As David Bowie said “they’re quite aware of what they’re goin through”.
    I moved and found the opportunities far outweigh the increased cost of living, so we all have different experiences. It’s not ingrained in peoples head that WNY sucks either, it’s maybe ingrained in BRO commenters heads. I mean I never thought Buff sucked when I was a kid, even after 4 super bowls. I just thought the economy in WNY sucked.

  • bhorvath

    And,
    Check out my new logo.
    Totally rad.

  • brownteeth

    As I said it’s not cut and dry, and for me it was a mathematical fact that I was never going to achieve what I have here as quickly living elsewhere. The other thing is that few grads are willing to work for less out the gate to get a foot in the door and make their own way. That’s my point of view anyway.

  • The Kettle

    bhorvath>” “Is that iluvdogs looking at the camera?”
    If you are talking about me, no. Im older, heavier, and a different gender.

  • Pegger

    Here we have a grassroots movement of people who left the area for many reasons. Seems like there is a sentiment that they abandoned the place in acts tantamount to betrayal. They obviously miss the place so much that they are interested in finding ways to celebrate their hometown albeit from a distance. Who can fault them for this?
    Hopefully, this will grow into something that benefits everyone. Buffalo needs cheerleaders!