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Help Light Up the Extreme Makeover Neighborhood!

If you were a Sunday School kid growing up, you probably remember the old standby song, Brighten the Corner Where You Are:

     Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
     Do not wait to shed your light afar,
     To the many duties ever near you now be true,
     Brighten the corner where you are!

Even though Matt Carlucci of the Buffalo B-Team claims never to have heard that song, his group has been putting the philosophy into action for several years now.  And this year, in partnership with another organization solidly grounded in this philosophy — WNY AmeriCorps — the B-Team will bring the third year of their “City of Light” project to the Extreme Makeover neighborhood on Massachusetts Avenue.

One year after “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” the homes and businesses of the featured West Side neighborhood will be decorated with lights for the Holiday season at absolutely no cost to residents — and you can help!  The B-Team is looking for volunteers to return to Massachusetts Avenue to string lights, enjoy refreshments, and hold a Winter Carnival for residents on Sunday, December 5, 2010.

Volunteers interested in being a part of City of Light 2010 should sign up at the B-Team volunteer page, here. The B-Team and WNY AmeriCorps will provide all the materials and all volunteers will receive a commemorative t-shirt.

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Last year’s “City of Light 2009” project took place in the Seneca-Babcock neighborhood and saw a huge level of support from local residents, many of whom came out to volunteer. “People were leaning out their windows helping us string the lights,” Matt told me. The organizers are hopeful the Mass Ave neighborhood will do the same, perhaps with an infusion of the “Blue Shirt” volunteers from Extreme making a return visit.  “Delores Powell is the anchor of this project,” Matt said of the Grand Lady of last year’s Extreme Makeover.

Thumbnail image for cityoflight3.jpgCity of Light 2010 will take place on Sunday, December 5, 2010 from 12 Noon to 7 PM. Volunteers can sign up online for volunteer shifts from 12 PM-4PM or 3PM-7PM. Lunch and dinner will be provided to volunteers. Volunteers should dress appropriately for the weather.

The B-Team is composed of local, young professionals whose goal is to engage volunteers in Western New York to execute high impact projects and promote civic pride through participation. The “City of Light” project is their annual signature event.  At the core, it’s all about inspiration, Matt told me.  “City of Light is all about bringing back the splendor that Buffalo was known for when we were referred to as The City of Light.  It is our hope that this project will inspire and motivate people across the city to take pride in their own homes and take part in the spirit of the holidays.”  Matt credits the B-Team’s co-founder, Joe Malczewski, with the idea three years ago, which the group then put into practice in just a month or two in the Bickford, Edith, and Alice Block Club neighborhood.

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The idea is also to show the community that things can be improved without a lot of resources.  “We’re as grassroots and non-profit as you can get,” Matt told me, “because we essentially have no funds, or grants to give.”  This year, we’re lucky to have teamed up with WNY AmeriCorps, with their capacity and resources, to put our inspiration into effect.  WNY AmeriCorps is an independent non-profit, affiliated with the Corporation for National Service, which creates opportunities for all individuals to serve their communities and take civic responsibility.

Last year, WNY AmeriCorps brought significant human resources and organization capacity to the Extreme Makeover of Massachusetts Avenue.  “We’re hoping those who came out to volunteer for ‘Extreme’ will return to help decorate for the holidays,” said Mark Lazzara, CEO of WNY AmeriCorps. “I think it’s a fabulous opportunity for volunteers to bring their friends and families to see the selfless work they accomplished a year ago and witness the progress in the neighborhood.”

Keep the momentum of Extreme Makeover going — come out and help enlighten and brighten this corner of Our Fair City!

Volunteers interested in being a part of City of Light 2010 should sign up at the B-Team volunteer page, here. The B-Team and WNY AmeriCorps will provide all the materials and all volunteers will receive a commemorative t-shirt.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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