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115 W Fayette Street Syracuse, NY 13202

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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Photo Friday: The Beauty of Assumption

Written by Stasya Erickson1 Comment • August 31, 2012

Our offices are located on the campus of Assumption Church. Everywhere I go in the city, I use its majestic towers as a point of reference. What lies inside the sacred space, though, is even more momentous. See for yourself:


We are fortunate to have this point of inspiration so near our work. Want to see it yourself? Assumption offers a virtual tour on their website and offers physical tours by appointment.


A Report from Syracuse’s North Side, by Joe Russo

Written by admin  • August 30, 2012

Our director, Dominic Robinson, is a contributing writer at The Post-Standard. In his third article, he introduces readers to Joe Russo:

“Joe Russo has loved the North Side as long as he can remember. As a kid, growing up in the neighborhood, he especially loved the vibrant business district on North Salina Street, where his dad owned Russo’s Camera Repair shop on the 900 block…

…Joe stopped into our offices recently to introduce himself and discuss where he might fit into our work. It occurred to both of us that our work with businesses today feels a lot like what they were doing back in the late 1970s.”


Read the full article on syracuse.com.


Volunteer for a Playground Build!

Written by admin  • August 29, 2012

Want to help the kids in our neighborhood have a safe, beautiful place to play? Interested in getting your hands dirty? Then sign up for the Lower Union Park Playground Community Build. Join Northside organizations, neighborhood residents, and other volunteers on September 20 and 21. Food will be provided. All skill levels welcome. For more information, please contact Maria Malagisi (315-498-7207 or playgroundbuild@gmail.com).

To learn more about the project, see this article the Post Standard ran in April.



Photo Friday: Sky on the Northside

Written by Stasya Erickson  • August 24, 2012

I’ve spent a lot of time looking up at the sky this week. Somehow, it seemed particularly beautiful on the Northside.


The Assumption Towers amid all that blue

Beauty found in unlikely places

Our office windows, reflecting back on the world

A Time for Kindness

Written by Emma Voigt  • August 23, 2012

Women Transcending Boundaries is having their third annual Acts of Kindness (A-OK!) weekend on September 8 – 9. The A-OK! weekend was founded as an annual remembrance of 9/11 and offers neighborhoods a chance to honor those lost by giving back to their own communities. Participants in weekends past have cleaned public spaces, repaired bikes and painted murals.

Although the Acts of Kindness committee will provide a template of activities to involve, inform, and inspire each group, participants are encouraged to be creative and invent their owns ways of giving back. The goal of the weekend is to build community and Women Transcending Boundaries hopes to accomplish this through the sharing of food, cultures and kindness.

Participants are encouraged to develop a Volunteer Project that achieves a community goal. This project should not only improve the community, but provide a venue for continued discussion, cultural exchange and celebration.

Email Daryl Files at darylteam1(at) att.net or bwiggins(at)twcny.rr.com to get involved or visit http://www.wtb.org/ for more information.

Drafting New Blueprints

Written by Denise Nepveux  • August 21, 2012

Two weeks ago, as a new Americorps VISTA at Northside UP, I had the pleasure of visiting the GreenTrain class at the West Side Learning Center. Teachers Andy Erickson and Matt Centore were wrapping up the course and preparing students for their final exam. Bonds that had developed amongst the students over the twelve weeks were apparent in the way they compared notes and cracked jokes. “You guys are gonna do well,” Matt assured them. “Take your time and recall what you know.”

After lunch, I strolled with some of the class members over to the Habitat for Humanity Restore location where they have been honing their newfound skills.

Francesca, originally from Puerto Rico, recalled that she knew a little about construction before she started GreenTrain, having worked with her uncle. “The construction techniques are different in Puerto Rico,” she said. “We build a lot from concrete. There’s only one kind of weather so we don’t need insulation. I’ve learned that here.” Francesca has been the only woman in this class of eleven. “People thought I was crazy to try this,” she said, “but I like it… We’re like a family. I’m going to miss them.”

Peter, from Syracuse, identified himself as a single father with four daughters living at home. He recalled that the moment in GreenTrain that impressed him the most “was when I got to the shop, and we learned how to frame up a wall. I felt so proud of myself. I felt that I was in the right place.” He praised his peers, many of whom are new arrivals to the US. “I didn’t make positive choices earlier in my life. But they are younger. They have a chance to create stable foundations for themselves, for their futures.” He spoke of having gained confidence not only in building techniques, but in addressing life issues. “My goals are more obtainable today because of what I’ve learned about ways to overcome obstacles.” Peter hopes to gain experience in construction over the next few years and ultimately to work as a unionized employee for a large construction firm.

Fumiyaki moved from Tokyo last September to join his wife in Syracuse, her hometown. He recalled his first days in the class: “Everything was brand new. At first I couldn’t use a hammer. I’d never even touched power tools. At first I had fear. Now, my skill is improved. It took practice, and the other students helped me a lot.” Fumiyaki is also refining his English skills through the course. As for his goals, he said: “To get a job, to continue working and learning, to be promoted, and a house for my wife and me…That’s my blueprint!”

Francesca, Fumiyaki, and four other students have already been placed in full time jobs. Peter has a temporary position and is seeking permanent work. Three of our graduates will continue intensive English study before applying for construction or weatherization jobs. Northside UP staff will provide ongoing support as our graduates pursue full employment and financial stability.

We are always accepting applications for the GreenTrain and HealthTrain programs. Stop by our offices, call our Workforce Coordinator, Danielle Sheppard, at 315-299-8228, ext. 10, or email dsheppard@northsideup.org.



For photos of the Green Train class, please see our facebook album.


Photo Friday: Hawley Green Vegetable Garden

Written by Stasya Erickson  • August 17, 2012

Some color on this gloomy day! More information on the garden can be found at Syracuse Grows.


Northside Showcase

Written by Sarah Pallo  • August 15, 2012


Supporting, promoting, and engaging Northside businesses is one of the many things we strive to do here at Northside UP. Yesterday, hundreds of nurses, physicians, administrative staff, security officers, and other employees from St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center joined us in this effort by coming to the Northside Showcase. The event gave businesses and organizations on the Northside a chance to market their goods and services inside the hospital while encouraging hospital employees to learn more about the rich and diverse local business community that is just a walk away. Fifteen of our Northside Business Partnership (NBP) members, representing restaurants, retail stores, non-profit organizations, and the service industry, filled the room with eye catching table displays. Everyone seemed to be having a great time as they sampled food, stocked up on items such as reusable grocery bags, pens and coupons, and entered their name in a raffle to win prizes kindly donated by Northside businesses. We’re happy to say, the Northside Showcase was a huge success! And we’re looking forward to doing it again.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen, and a special thanks to our NBP members who tabled at the event:

Attilio’s Restaurant & Bar

Bluepoint Environmental

Cathedral Academy at Pompei

Cooperative Federal Credit Union

Davco Performance Automotive

Frankie’s Piccolo Bistro

Joseph R. Bonacci DDS PC

Northeast Hawley Development Association (NEHDA)

OC’s Fat Boy BBQ

Onondaga Small Business Development Center


Thanos Import Market

Sparky Town Restaurant




To see more photos from the event, visit our facebook page!

Northside Showcase at St. Joseph’s Hospital

Written by admin  • August 14, 2012

Today we’re hosting the Northside Showcase at St. Joseph’s Hospital. We’ve got a raffle, tastings from local restaurants and tables with wares from neighboring organizations. The event is focused on connecting hospital employees to our neighborhood. We’ll post photos and a recap tomorrow!

A True Believer in the Northside

Written by Sarah Pallo2 Comments • August 13, 2012

Each week, one of my favorite activities is walking around the neighborhood to visit and learn more about the diverse business community on the Northside. CMB Sportswear is one of the stores that I keep coming back to. Most of my return visits have to do with Harrison and CiCi, two people who are both passionate about the store and the neighborhood it’s in.

Harrison, the founder and owner of the store, is a true believer in the Northside. Although he wasn’t born or raised here, he considers Syracuse home and wants to see the city prosper. He feels that supporting local businesses is one of the first step’s toward Syracuse’s growth, and is confident that his store and future goals will help in this effort. Originally from Liberia, Harrison moved to the U.S in 1994. In July of 2003 he opened CMB sportswear, a men’s clothing store carrying top brands such as Sean John, Rocawear, Timberland, and more. In 2010, he decided to expand the store right next door, adding a women’s clothing section he calls “The Lennex Boutique”.

Together, the two storefronts make up a colorful and hip clothing store that showcase the latest in men’s and women’s urban fashion. There is always music playing with its corresponding video on in the background, and Harrison and CiCi waiting to help the next customer that comes through the door. This is where CiCi truly shines. Even though the store is filled with loads of merchandise, CiCi knows exactly where everything is, and can find what you’re looking for in lightning fast speed. She is great at her job and attentive to each and every customer, even when taking care of several at once. Having an employee like CiCi is clearly a recipe for success, but doesn’t necessarily guarantee staying open for business during hard times.

Since he first opened in 2003, Harrison has seen firsthand the challenges of owning a small business, with several neighboring storefronts struggling to keep their doors open. His store was one of them, and although there were plenty of opportunities for him to move to another location, he decided to stay on the Northside because he loved the diversity and sense of community here. Harrison believes that the best time for a new solution is during a difficult time. For him, there were two choices: closing the store and leaving or staying open and trying again. He chose the latter, and although he continues to face difficulties, he thinks there is a lot to look forward to.

His vision for Syracuse is much larger than the footprint of the city. He hopes that someday, North Salina Street will become the “Broadway” of Syracuse. By harnessing the skills we have right here, and providing opportunities for people to put those skills into action, Harrison imagines a bustling business district that is no longer comprised of vacant storefronts and run down buildings. When asked what he sees himself doing in 20 years, Harrison says he hopes to own his own clothing factory in one of the old warehouses nearby, so that the clothes he sells no longer come from oversees, allowing him to provide fair and decent jobs to the people who live here.

Businesses like CMB Sportswear and business owners like Harrison continue to make a strong impression on me and the Northside neighborhood. Every time I stop in for a visit, I not only get to check out a variety of clothing items and accessories, but end up learning something new about the community and the people who live and work here. CMB is the epitome of what a small local business should be: a store owned by a community minded person who wants to make the world a better place, one city block at a time.