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Monthly Archives: June 2012

A Report from Syracuse’s North Side, by Dominic Robinson

Written by admin  • June 28, 2012

Our director, Dominic Robinson, is a contributing writer at The Post-Standard. His first article was published today and it details our new workforce training program, Health Train, and how this program fits into our larger hopes for the neighborhood.



“The North Side of Syracuse was a strong working-class community for more than a century. Most residents walked to and from their jobs each day. Major employers, combined with good housing and thriving commercial corridors, created a remarkable quality of life.

The North Side, of course, has seen this quality of life diminish over several decades. Those of us working to revitalize the neighborhood know there are no quick fixes.

It is clear, however, that one of our most important strategies is to once again make quality job opportunities accessible to North Side residents.”

Read the full article on syracuse.com.

The Westcott Neighborhood Bulb Project

Written by Emma Voigt  • June 27, 2012

“Bulb Give Away Day”, also known as “Garden Extravaganza Day”, is taking place this year on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at the Westcott Community Center. On this day, citywide neighborhood organizations and individuals may pick up free bulbs for planting. The only stipulation is that bulb recipients plant the flowers “where they can be seen from the street for all to enjoy.”

In the past, residents and organizations have come together to beautify their neighborhoods through this project, which began in 2003. In recent years the volunteers have given away more than 5,400 bulbs, but everyone should plan to arrive early because they run out fast. This year, daffodils and two types of tulip bulbs will be available.

For more information visit www.bulbproject.org, watch a video on the project and its founder, or visit their Facebook page.

Free Health Care Seminar

Written by admin  • June 26, 2012

CenterState CEO’s Small Business Assistance Program, which is made possible through Community Health Advocates, is hosting its first FREE seminar today at Attilio’s! The program will focus on how small businesses can get affordable health care and insurance, and how to take advantage of tax credits under the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA). This seminar is very useful for small businesses that want to provide insurance but are concerned about cost and confused about the types of insurance available. CenterState CEO will help explain the terminology and are backed up by excellent resources across the state from Community Health Advocates.

The event is taking place today at 12 p.m. Please contact Karen DeJoseph at (315) 470-1997 or kdejoseph@centerstateceo.com for additional information.

Photo Friday: Beauty in Unlikely Places

Written by admin  • June 22, 2012

While we’re watching our gardens grow we’re also taking note of the beauty popping up along the roadside and in vacant lots and properties throughout the neighborhood. Certain plants do well in this environment and one of our favorites is the Chicory plant.

Chicory flourishes in the wild, along roadsides, in fields and in abandoned areas. This makes a particularly beautiful contrast. It’s also edible! The leaves can be eaten fresh in a salad or cooked like spinach. Its roots can be roasted and brewed as a tea or coffee.


Cooking Up Edible Interactions

Written by Stephen Aguayo  • June 21, 2012

You’ve probably heard one of us rave about the diversity and potential that exists on the Northside. Or maybe you’ve seen it yourself. With a Multi-Cultural celebration, Syracuse’s World Refugee Day, taking place this Saturday it makes me consider what we – a mass of individuals with different stories, beliefs, and hopes – all have in common. World Refugee Day is a chance for our newest neighbors to introduce themselves to our City and build upon Syracuse’s already unique social and cultural fabric. When we recognize diversity we become exposed to the beautiful variety of life. However, understanding and taking part in this conversation can be difficult without a shared language. Music, art, and dance are capable of transcending these barriers, but the sharing of food can do this in a way that engages each of our five senses.

Culture Kitchen, a unique social enterprise in California, has brought together women from around the world to preserve and publicize their cooking traditions. In these classes, ethnic chefs – daughters, mothers, and grandmothers of all backgrounds – not only impart their knowledge of working in the kitchen, but also share the stories behind the meals they are preparing. The Culture Kitchen chefs transform kitchens into classrooms of the world where students not only cook and taste a wide array of culinary delights, they learn about the cultures and people that stand behind them. While there are no such cooking classes in Syracuse (yet!), our city has an impressive array of ethnic groceries and restaurants. And don’t forget that upcoming celebration where we can treat all of our sense to food prepared by Syracuse’s newest residents.


Photo Credit: Culture Kitchen Facebook page.

Banners on North Salina

Written by admin  • June 19, 2012

Up they go! A shot of the 300 block of N. Salina Street as banners are installed.

Photo Friday: Gardening Bounty

Written by Stasya Erickson  • June 15, 2012

It’s mid-June and our community gardens are the place to be!


World Refugee Day

Written by Emma Voigt  • June 14, 2012

Each June Syracuse commemorates World Refugee Day, which is a day set aside by the United Nations to recognize the strength, courage, and determination of those forced to flee their homes under disastrous circumstances.  Jasenko Mondom, a former Bosnian refugee who currently works as a Job Developer with the Syracuse City School District Refugee Assistance Program, sees the day as a good way for refugees to introduce themselves to Americans.  Despite Syracuse’s long history of resettlement, most Syracuse residents have little knowledge of refugees.   As Kate Holmes, Volunteer Coordinator for Refugee Resettlement at Catholic Charities of Onondaga County noted, Americans often only notice appearances.  Thus, they stereotype refugees as the women in headscarves or men in “skirts.” World Refugee Day showcases different cultures in a way that makes them more accessible to Americans.

For Mondom, World Refugee Day offers an opportunity for refugees to thank the United States for opening its doors when other countries closed them.  Refugees can use this opportunity to announce their intention to “give [their] contribution to the prosperity of this country.”  As he noted, it is also an important time to remember that there are many refugees who have not yet reached safety.  Coming to America is a long and difficult process. Mondom says being allowed into the United States is on par with winning the lottery. Thus, he continues, World Refugee Day is a way to declare that those who are not here have not been forgotten, and that America’s long tradition of receiving refugees should continue.

In preparation for the event, which takes place this year on Saturday, June 23, refugee groups organize themselves into communities and decided what elements of their culture they want to share.  The refugees make their own decisions on what group to participate with.  According to Holmes, the average length of stay in a refugee camp is 17 years, so even though a person belongs to one ethnic group, they might feel more at home with another cultural group.  Mondom believes all refugees feel a certain level of kinship, for they all have a similar past.  He described how all refugees can identify with one another’s stories of strife and desire to reach the United States.

World Refugee Day will start at 10 am with a parade to City Hall from the 500 block of North Salina Street.  At 11 am the UN flag will be raised over City Hall and Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli will address the refugee community.  Holmes believes this is an important part of the day for refugees because many of them do not feel they can identify with any other flag.  Typically, the country they fled will not recognize them, but they may not have United States citizenship yet. At 12 pm events move to Hanover Square, where refugee groups offer tastes of their cuisines and perform traditional dances and songs.

Holmes agrees many refugees see this day as a good way to preserve their culture and share with people of different cultures.  Regardless of what information is available, each and every refugee has a story. Mondom believes heightened awareness of refugee situations also helps to ameliorate the resettlement process. World Refugee Day is an important time to recognize struggles and celebrate the ability to overcome them.  In the midst of celebration, the entire Syracuse community has the opportunity to get to know one another better.  Take this time to indulge in wonderful food and extend your welcome to Syracuse’s newest residents.



A Revolution of the Heart

Written by Sarah Pallo1 Comment • June 13, 2012

Sometimes you hear a story and it motivates you to do something, to make a change in your life that will positively impact others. This is exactly how I felt after listening to Mike DeSalvo, owner of HairanoiaSalon in the Hawley Green neighborhood on Syracuse’s Northside. His story has helped me think differently about hospitality, religion, and what it means to be an active member in the community.

Mike DeSalvo is a neighborhood man. He grew up on the Northside and now lives and works there. His home and salon are both beautiful, tastefully decorated and radiating a sense of peace and calm that welcomes everyone. Although such surface beauty is important, his acts of selflessness complete the picture. While working with the Jail Ministry in his earlier years, Mike created a strong support network for HIV positive prisoners. This type of built-in support system eventually became a part of his everyday life with the creation of the Friends of Dorothy Catholic Worker House.

Located on 212 Wayne Street, the old Victorian home that was once boarded up and falling apart is now intricately painted in 13 different colors and filled with years of memories. 20 years ago, Mike and his partner Nick Orth bought the building, renovated it, and opened their home to individuals suffering from AIDS. As a home-based, grassroots and community supported establishment, the Friends of Dorothy House provides a level of care that is unparalleled in this field.

Their home completely revolves around their guests, providing all the support, love and attention that a family member would give. Although they run a very small operation, they have a big impact. Having only 1-2 guests at a time allows them to give the kind of loving and primary care you cannot receive anywhere else.

Another amazing thing is that all of this is provided for free. Inspired and named after activist Dorothy Day, the house is committed to following her lead of voluntary poverty and mercy works as a way of life. This is a place where it doesn’t matter if you don’t have access to health care, money, or family. Every person is welcomed with open arms.

Both Mike and Nick are driven by their faith, which is manifested in their actions and attitudes. Christ, not the church, is their model. They have strong support from the community, especially from their current parish, St. Vincent DePaul’s Church.

Two weeks ago they held the last fundraiser event of the season for the Friends of Dorothy House. St. Vincent’s Parish was filled with friends, family, and neighbors young and old to remember and celebrate the work and lives of those who have found solace at the house. The food was delicious, but what was most impressive was the sense of community. The dinner brought together a diverse number of people all committed to the idea that the more we work together, share our stories, and help others, the better off we will be.

Build a Business: From Ideas to Realities

Written by admin  • June 12, 2012

Got a business idea? Want to turn it into reality? Get some assistance and inspiration tonight at Cooperative Federal’s free workshop– Build a Business: From Ideas to Realities- taking place from 6-8 p.m. at the Southwest Economic Business Resource Center (119 South Avenue).

This workshop will be lead by Ron Ehrenreich, Coop Fed’s CEO and Co-Founder!

Workshops are free and open to the public. Contact Regina at (315) 708-2070 or regina.drumm@drumm-marketing.com to reserve your spot.