Share, , , Google Plus, Reddit, Pinterest, StumbleUpon


Posted in:

Learning Choices Network: Best of Buffalo Urban Immersion

How do you get young people interested in getting involved with urban issues? You make it easy for them to learn how to participate in a way that benefits them and the community. Later today, Learning Choices Network (LCN) will be setting up at Larkinville (Larkin Square) to preview an innovative summer program for youth ages 12-18. The program is called Best of Buffalo Urban Immersion and you can learn more about it by joining others from 3:30pm-6pm. 
Essentially, what we are looking at here is a free pilot program where young people will be able to immerse themselves into local architecture, dance, arts, politics, community activism, music, and innovation. By doing this, urban issues will be explored, along the lines of urban planning, transportation, food, education, and local culture.
According to program itinerary, participants will venture out in search of “exploring downtown hot spots, cool neighborhoods, hyper-local media, writing, photography, video, local food, breakdancing, art, architecture, political organizing, behind-the-scenes personal tours, and real time community networking.”
“True learning is always a dynamic process. As we transform Buffalo, we’re learning how to thrive amidst rapid change. Our Urban Immersion connects young people with real experience, connections to their local community, and a personalized education.” – Megan Mills Hoffman (LCN Co-organizer)
Often times, when it comes to pursuing careers, it’s not just what you know, it’s also who you know. LCN wants to make sure that participants in the program are able to access summer employment, internships, colleges, and careers when they want, which is why it can be extremely helpful to network with the current change-makers in Buffalo who are already making an impact on this city’s landscape.
Visit for additional information, and to learn about future programming opportunities. Also see Facebook
The best learning is not found at a desk endlessly preparing for tests. Learning happens through engagement within one’s environment and among the people occupying it. –LCN
INTROS & ORIENTATION | with participants, parents and staff
HYPER-LOCAL MEDIA | story making & media
LOCAL FOOD | from seeds to systems
ARTS & CULTURE | seeing, feeling, experiencing, expressing
TEXTURE OF THE CITY | environment, architecture, transportation
THE PERSONAL IS POLITICAL | initiate, create, lead, communicate
Guest Facilitators for Best of Buffalo Urban Immersion
Max Collins is a photographer and public artist from East Aurora, NY who received his BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art & Design in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  He currently works as an freelance photographer and muralist while maintaining a studio in the Elmwood Village in Buffalo, New York. Using a technique of pasting his images, he uses his photography to create artwork on unique surfaces and create large scale murals on buildings and homes.  He has executed multiple murals in Buffalo as well as in Los Angeles, CA, Ann Arbor, MI, and Lexington, KY.
Seamus Gallivan was born and raised in Buffalo, graduated from the Park School and Canisius College, and has spent a quarter of his life elsewhere. After stints in four cities between Florida and Texas working in Minor League Baseball and local youth programs, he repatriated to the City of Good Neighbors in 2009 and soon after founded The Good Neighborhood, a community-driven company online with a daily dose of the greater good and on the town with a cause for every event. 
Chris Hawley was born in Buffalo, reared in the Southtowns and later South Carolina, and schooled in New York. Today he’s back in Buffalo and hard at work at implementing a new zoning code as an urban planner for the City. As a lifelong activist, and now a professional urban planner who has also worked for a developer and a U.S. senator, he’s been focused on the tough work of getting things done and moving the ball forward.
Bernice Radle lives, works and plays in Buffalo, NY. She works full time at Buffalo Energy, a premier building energy consulting firm based in Buffalo. Bernice is a passionate lover of buildings, Buffalo and historic preservation. Bernice plays a leadership role in the Buffalo’s Young Preservationists where she helps to create, manage and coordinate projects, initiatives and events. She is also very active in several other organizations including NESEA, Women Elect and Preservation Buffalo Niagara. In 2012, Bernice received three great honors – she was chosen as one of Buffalo’s 30 under 30 in 2012 by Buffalo Business First, labeled a “Game Changer” by Buffalo Spree and was a keynote speaker at the NESEA Building Energy conference in Boston, Massachusetts. 
Lisa Tucker is the owner and publisher of Edible Buffalo magazine, Western New York’s leading source for news and stories about local food. She is also the co-founder and Board President for Field & Fork Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to building a thriving regional food system in WNY through education and outreach. Through her work with the magazine and non-profit organization, Lisa has been involved in various regional initiatives including the agriculture working groups for the Regional Economic Development and Western New York Sustainability plans. She is the driving force behind the regional Connections Conference that brings together stakeholders in the food community to address challenges and inspire solutions to create a sustainable food system.
LCN Organizers and Members
Megan Mills Hoffman grew up in southcentral Alaska, leaving the formal school classroom for an unstructured, informal, self-directed education from grades 5-12, returning to the classroom as a college student with a personalized transcript and admission to an out-of-state four year university honors program with a full tuition scholarship. She went on to work as a Resident Assistant in college residence life housing as a freshman, and assumed the role of a Head Resident as a sophomore, responsible for a student staff of twelve and a residence hall of 120 students. She has since attended and worked in college admissions, registrars, and development offices for two state universities, a state college, and a private university, completed a B.S. in Sociology, and built twenty years of experience working in community development and grassroots organizations. Since moving to Buffalo eight years ago she has worked as an arts advocate with local artists, Buffalo Rising and the Burchfield-Penney Art Center’s Capital Campaign for a New Museum. She currently serves on the board of Field & Fork Network and has served as board member for the Allentown Association where she initiated a monthly arts walk, and the Western New York Environmental Alliance where she chaired the Growing work group and served on the Regional Economic Development Council’s Agriculture committee. Now Director of Resource Development for Young Audiences, she dreams of the day when substantive and meaningful education options are easily accessible for every family.
Dr. John Newton retired from public school teaching to follow his dream of over 35 years to provide a healthy, humanistic learning environment. He has a Bachelor of Science in Human Development from St. Lawrence Uni
versity, a Masters of Science in Early Childhood from SUNY-Cortland, and a Doctorate in Elementary Education from Temple University. He is currently an adjunct instructor for SUNY-Fredonia in the Curriculum and Instruction Department. Dr. John was the New York State recipient of the Christa McAuliffe Fellowship for 1997-1998. Always innovative, his work with students has included one of the first internet projects, an AT&T Learning Circle in the 1980s featured around the world; an environmental project on zebra mussels that resulted in a United Nations presentation and a spot on Japanese television; the creation of the Great Lakes Student Summit, student presentations to the International Joint Commission as well as the Canadian ambassador; and the student-created Friends of Emery Park. Dr. John was one of the founders of Explore & More Children’s Museum.
Barb Haney-Cocca has been learning and teaching her whole life. After graduating from East Aurora High School, she worked as a wild-land firefighter in the US Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest while pursuing her bachelor’s of science degree in Environmental Studies from SUNY at Buffalo. While at UB she founded the Environmental Studies Group which later became UBGreens and was instrumental in developing the UB Recyclers and making the campus more environmentally conscience. She worked as an Environmental Educator for a number of years at a city park in Pittsburgh and state park in Pennsylvania. She volunteered for the Peace Corps in Guatemala in Environmental Management where she helped a community learn to care for a delicate eco-system called a cloud forest by teaching in the schools and community. After becoming a mother she entered the medical field as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and doula. She teaches prenatal yoga, is a doula trainer and has taught pediatric and ob/gyn residents about breastfeeding. Most recently she has a passion for education and is pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Buffalo in Learning and Instruction/secondary science. She teaches at Mandala School in East Aurora where she does best by learning about each student through radical listening and kindness.
Heather Russell is an architect of human development and motivation. An entrepreneur and mother she is passionate about the various ways that education takes place in everyday situations. Having founded Verve Dance Studio, Russell uses dance classes and community events as a platform to create a network of individuals who collectively care about and help to spread the value of education through art forms and self expression. Also working as a partner in independently owned Wireless Zone stores, she builds new formulas for success by defining a profit driven business venture around values of integrity, human development and the hierarchy of human needs.

Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

View All Articles by WCPerspective
Hide Comments
Show Comments
  • grad94

    since no one commented, i will. looks like an innovative, worthwhile program. way better for your kids than hanging out in front of the 7-11.