About a year and a half ago, nine deeply-rooted Buffalonians envisioned a better Buffalo. The B-Team, their brainchild, was born shortly after. The group, ranging in their 20s-30s, represent a younger constituency of Buffalo lovers determined to make better the place they call home. And they’re always looking for people of any age to join. Oh, but there’s one requirement; you have to want to make a difference.
“We all had different ideas for the city,” Joe Malczewski, B-Team founder and Chairman said.
It’s the hands-on attitude that makes the B-Team work. They don’t simply brainstorm about how to improve the city, they throw on their workgloves and do it. They’re completely aware that even the smallest improvement is an improvement nonetheless, and can be added to an ever-growing list of betterment that, in time, affects a large portion of the community.
Take a look at their first big project entitled “City of Light”. The Bickford Edith Alice community was dealing with a death due to gang-related violence, and without a doubt needed a helping hand. The name, City of Light, is taken from Buffalo’s Pan-Am Exposition in 1901 that recalls the peak of our city, along with the Team’s dedication to renewing that sense of pride. It also gave the project a literal meaning, as B-Teamers–on a bitter cold December Sunday–strung Christmas lights on Alice Street houses, making it beautiful, and without a doubt, chasing away some of the darkness associated with their tragic loss.
And now, after working hard to meet their goals, the B-Team is ready to being Phase II, starting with the Buffalo Wing Festival. Last year, B-Teamers delivered two tons of wings in golf carts to businesses.
“We wanted to be ambassadors for Buffalo,” Malczewski said. “All of these out-of-town restaurant people were here, and we wanted to show off Buffalo.” It worked. Most B-Teamers were asked to work for various competitors the next day.
Drew Cerza, Wing King and a key Buffalo promoter, is one of the the B-Team’s biggest allies. With his help, the B-Team has been able to donate quite a bit to Buffalo charities.
Phase II also includes opening up the gates to ask any Buffalo group (high school fooball teams or big companies) what they need. The B-Team will do it. And that’s what makes them unique. The group exists to help other groups.
“There are so many great organizations here in Buffalo,” they said. “The B-Team is a dynamic group ready to help out any of them.”
On Wednesday, join them for a social hour at WJ Morrissey’s, 30 Mississippi Street, in the Cobblestone District. The action starts at 6:30, includes an update on the group at 7:15, and it ends at 9:30.
Being a member has its benefits. Not only does a B-Teamer improve the quality of life in Buffalo, but many members have been able to network for jobs. “As one girl in our group always says; ‘We’re rich in social capital,'” Matt said.
They’re problem-assassins for hire, ready to neutralize any Buffalo problem. And they do it for free. Join the B-Team, and enact some of the change we all want to see.
(Cover photo: B-Team’s City of Light project)