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Dare to Repair Back in the Habit in 2020

Dare to Repair is best when shared! Download our flyer to post online or around your neighborhood.

Dare to Repair Cafes are back and better than ever in 2020! Coming off three years of sharing repairs across WNY, The Tool Library, Buffalo Recycles, and their partners in repair have hosted 18 repair cafes, successfully fixed 394 items, and diverted 3,186 lbs. of trash from local landfills.

Those looking to ‘get fixed’ for free can attend one of several upcoming Dare to Repair Cafe events this spring:

  • Thursday, February 27th 5-7pm Dudley Branch Library (2010 South Park Ave)
  • Saturday, March 21st 10am – 1pm Reinstein Woods Educational Center (93 Honorine Ave)
  • Saturday, April 4th 9am-11:30am Highgate Heights Elementary School (600 Highgate Ave)
  • Saturday, May 16th 10am – 1pm Isaias Gonzalez-Soto Branch Library (280 Porter Ave)

Thanks to new partnerships with the Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries, Dare to Repair Cafes will be bringing free fixes to a library branch near you!

It’s important to highlight that Dare to Repair Cafes are entirely volunteer-run. When asked what kept them coming back for more, one of our fixers, Paul Jones, had this to say:

From an early age I was, mostly unwillingly, Dad’s fix-it helper; back in the day when make do was required. As an adult I don’t regret acquiring the fix-it skills, they save money, time and offer a sense of accomplishment. Now I am grateful for the opportunity, using my skills and joining others to recycle and repair items that otherwise end in the trash. Moreover, I relish the chance to pass-on simple skills and curiosity, especially to youngsters who come with Mom or Dad.

Individuals interested in getting more involved with the Dare to Repair Cafes as a volunteer or fixer are encouraged to fill out this form and attend the upcoming planning meet (note: we ALWAYS need fixers!):

Why Repair?

As a society, we throw away vast amounts of stuff. Current estimates put the amount of trash generated by Americans each year at 254 million tons! As current recycling technologies reach their limits of usefulness, reducing, re-using, and repairing the things we consume has become and increasingly important solution to addressing the challenge of the growing global waste stream. The problem is we often lack the knowledge or confidence necessary to make even the most basic of repairs.

Dave Harter, Founder of Knowledgefire, troubleshoots a stereo console with its owner.

The Dare to Repair Cafe is Western New York’s take on the global Repair Cafe movement, which started more than 10 years ago in Amsterdam. Conceived as a way to rethink waste and transform our throw away economy at the local level by teaching traditional, hands-on repair skills, the Repair Cafe model is helping to rekindle fixer culture across the globe. Repair Cafes connect highly skilled volunteer fixers to individuals with broken items and, through hands-on instruction and troubleshooting, teach people the value, ease, and sense of accomplishment repair can bring. Small shifts in our thinking and habits can have a huge impact on one of our world’s most pressing challenges.

Originally the brainchild of the City of Buffalo Department of Recycling and the Tool Library, the initiative has grown into a broad-based partnership that includes: Knowledgefire, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, The Foundry, Valu Home Centers, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Friends of Reinstein Woods, UB Sustainability, Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, Say Yes Buffalo/BPS Community Schools, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

Special thanks to all the dedicated fixers who make these events possible and to the Clif Bar Foundation for sponsoring the Dare to Repair Cafes and keeping these events free to participants.

Lead photo: Tom Guerra, a Dare to Repair fixer, troubleshoots a vintage stand mixer at the November Dare to Repair event.

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Written by Darren Cotton

Darren Cotton

Darren Cotton works as Director of Community Development & Planning at the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA). His work primarily focuses on housing rehabilitation, small business development, and community capacity building in the neighborhood's surrounding the University at Buffalo's South Campus. Prior to this, Darren served as an Associate Planner at the UB Regional Institute working on a regional sustainability initiative, the remediation of industrial brownfields, and an overhaul of Buffalo's zoning code. As a graduate student at UB, Darren founded the University Heights Tool Library in response to his experience renting from an absentee landlord. With a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies and Linguistics and a Master's Degree in Urban Planning all from UB, Darren works to bridge the gap between research, policy, and grassroots activism and is a firm believer that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

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