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Category: Syracuse Northeast Community Center

April Showers Bring May Flowers . . . But Not Without Help from Volunteers!

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • April 17, 2017

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA. We’ve asked her to write guest posts for us, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses, organizations, and residents. All of her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the NEHDA categories.

 

On Saturday, April 22 the Syracuse Northeast Community Center (SNCC) will be hosting a Community Garden Day to prep for another successful growing season. From 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, volunteers will help with spreading wood chips, clearing garden beds, transporting fresh soil, and more. Green thumbs are not required!

 

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Located at 716 Hawley Avenue, the SNCC community garden supplies fresh produce to Northside neighbors; whether it is through a home-cooked lunch in our Senior Program, or as fresh veggies distributed through our Basic Needs Pantry. The garden is also the perfect tool to bring community members together. Age, ability, and background don’t matter in the garden – there are jobs for all of our neighbors.

You can register as an individual or as a group for the Community Garden Day by sending me an email at: lkwiek@snccsyr.org.

If getting dirty isn’t your ideal weekend activity, there are still ways that you can support SNCC’s programming. On Friday, April 21, consider doing some spring cleaning of your kitchen cabinets and donating nonperishable food items to SNCC’s pantry. The Basic Needs Pantry distributes over 60,000 meals annually to nearby residents, and is in constant need of canned goods to fill the shelves. SNCC will be collecting nonperishable items on April 21 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, and will also have a collection bin on-site during the Community Garden Day on April 22.

 

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Does reading the date April 22 trigger something in your memory? There are multiple Earth Day Cleanups happening throughout the city on that day. In a true collaborative effort, each of the NEHDA organized Clean Up sites will also have a collection bin to support the Basic Needs Pantry at SNCC. Just bring your canned goods to any of the three locations, and the registration table will accept your donation.

 

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This year, NEHDA is organizing cleanups at the Hawley-Green triangle, the North Salina Street corridor, and Rose Hill. This event is a great way to enjoy some fresh air while beautifying our city. To register as a volunteer, or for more information, visit NEHDA’s website or contact Rachel at Rachel@nehda.org.

No matter which option you choose, I hope you will join our efforts to get the Northside ready for a healthy and thriving spring!

Syracuse ELL Classes Teach More Than Just English

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • September 7, 2016

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA. We’ve asked her to write guest posts for us, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses, organizations, and residents. All of her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the “NEHDA” categories.

 

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Typically, I hear at least three different languages being spoken throughout my workday. I am constantly amazed by the number of cultures that are represented in our city, so I was thrilled to be invited into an English Language Learner (ELL) class at the White Branch Library.

As I waited in the hall outside of the library’s community room, I could hear students reciting different colors. “Brown,” “green,” and “blue” were met with responses of “very good” and “excellent!”

Once the morning class began to leave, I was welcomed into the classroom by Rozlynn and Chyloe—teachers with the Syracuse City School District.

Both women teach three ELL classes a day through the City’s Refugee Assistance Program, also known as “Bob’s School.” Their classes are broken into beginner, intermediate beginner, and advanced beginner—by the time students have made their way through the three levels, they will have developed basic English conversational skills.

“We went to Hospital Land on Monday, so that is what we will build today’s conversation around,” Rozlynn said as she readied the room for the next class. Hospital Land is a program offered through Crouse Hospital that lets groups spend the day in a clinical setting learning things like personal hygiene and medical protocol.

Once Rozlynn finished getting all of her supplies together, she let the next wave of students into the room. With much energy, she and Chyloe greeted students by name and asked about their neighbors and families. You would never guess that they had just finishing teaching a two-hour long English class only five minutes prior.

“Did you like Hospital Land?” Chyloe asked the class, which was met with a chorus of “yes!” from the students.

Field trips like the one to Hospital Land serve many different purposes for the ELL class. For starters, they offer talking points for the next lesson, but they also teach New Americans other life-skills that they need in order to thrive in Syracuse. On just their trip to Hospital Land, students learned about boarding a Centro bus, asking for a transfer, calling to schedule doctor appointments, reading the labels on prescription medicines, and much more.

Some of their other trips include: visiting Rite Aid and learning how to use the store’s tablets to communicate with the pharmacist; going to the Farmer’s Market and asking for prices and then paying with American currency; and going to the Fire Station, where everyone learns how to make a house safety plan and can sign up to have fire detectors installed in their homes. These trips are an opportunity for New Americans to learn about their community with people they trust, but they also help the community to engage with refugees. These interactions lead to understanding, acceptance, and a level of comfort on both sides.

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When the class meets after one of their field trips, they cover everything they learned while actively practicing English. First, Rozlynn and Chyloe ask students questions and guide them through the correct answers. Then the students take turns asking each other questions and offering answers. There is also time for writing their answers down, and spelling out words with letter tiles. All of these techniques get students reading, writing, and speaking—covering all aspects of the English language in an engaging way.

Throughout the class, I watched Rozlynn and Chyloe help students one-on-one and as a group. If they were both occupied and someone needed help, their volunteer Teacher’s Assistant, Lawrence, would step in. Lawrence is 78 years old and helps with the ELL classes every day. As a graduate of the classes himself, he knows the importance of learning English in order to navigate Syracuse.

“If you don’t know the language . . .” he trailed off while raising his hands. Lawrence explained that you cannot get things accomplished if you are unable to communicate.

Sitting in the class, it hit me how hard the refugees on the Northside have to work in order to participate in our community. As someone who took French in high school and Spanish in college, but now can only recognize a few words of each, I admired how much information all of the students remembered from their field trip and how hard they worked to speak a new language.

We are lucky to be part of a city that has so many vibrant cultures and people from different backgrounds; and with support like these ELL classes, New Americans are able to gain enough skills and confidence to actively engage with our community and share their unique traditions and perspectives.

Laci’s 6th Annual Give Back Party

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • August 16, 2016

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA. We’ve asked her to write guest posts for us, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses, organizations, and residents. All of her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the “NEHDA” categories.

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On Thursday, August 18th, Laci’s Tapas Bar will be celebrating their 6th anniversary with a party that “pays it forward” to the Syracuse community.

Every year since Laci’s opened, owners Laura and Cindy have hosted a Give Back Party that benefits one nonprofit in Onondaga County. Leading up to the event, Laci’s organizes a nomination and voting process on their Facebook page, allowing all of their followers to select the year’s awardee. What does the winning organization receive? All of the proceeds earned through the event. Yes, ALL of the proceeds.

In total, the annual Laci’s Give Back event has raised over $70,000 for local organizations. Past winners include NEHDA in 2011, the Q Center at AIDS Community Resources in 2012, ‘Cuse Pit Crew in 2013, Helping Hounds in 2014, and, most recently, David’s Refuge in 2015. All of these past winners will have tables in front of Laci’s so visitors can stop by and learn more about how the Give Back Party helped support their work.

This year’s winning nominee is Purpose Farm: a free mentorship and animal rescue program that pairs youth that have faced emotional trauma and/or abuse with animals that have been rescued from similar circumstances. With David’s Refuge receiving $18,000 last year, the goal is to raise $20,000 at this year’s event.

Like past years, the Hawley-Green triangle will be closed to create space for the street festival—meaning that Hawley Avenue and Green Street will be filled with booths from local vendors. Live music will play in front of the former Laci’s Lunchbox, and a DJ will be positioned on the front porch of Laci’s Tapas Bar.

If you’re nervous about how far you will have to park and then walk to the event, don’t worry! This year, Laci’s has teamed up with CNY Cubby Cabs to pick up guests from their cars and bring them to the Give Back Party. Just like in NYC, visitors can call a Cubby Cab and be picked up and delivered to Laci’s in a bicycle-driven carriage.

At the restaurant, ticket holders will receive 5 samples of tapas and 5 samples of an alcoholic beverage, with the option to purchase a VIP scotch flight for an additional fee. While the $30 ticket gets you into this exclusive party, no tickets are required to stroll through the booths that create the Hawley-Green street festival.

Some Hawley-Green favorites, like Syracuse Soapworks, will have a vendor booth, and the Red Olive will be giving out free samples. Thanos Import Market will also be staying open late to let visitors explore their new space and sample some of their products. These vendors will be joined by nearly 30 other organizations looking to increase their visibility and support the mission of Purpose Farm.

While the cost of the event is absorbed by Laci’s Tapas Bar, they believe that bringing attention to the good being done in our community is worth it. Even simply through the nomination process, organization have the opportunity to boost their visibility and gain attention. The Laci’s Facebook page has nearly 17,000 followers—meaning that one post sharing information about a small nonprofit can get their mission in front of thousands of new eyes.

And that is the true purpose of the Give Back Party—to show support and showcase all of the amazing work being done in our community. To experience the party for yourself, visit Laci’s website to get your advance-sale ticket! Tickets will also be available at the door for $40.

Thanos Import Market: New Location, Same Flavor

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • July 7, 2016

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA. We’ve asked her to write guest posts for us, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses, organizations, and residents. All of her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the “NEHDA” categories.

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Thanos’ current location next to their new home in Hawley-Green.

If you have been through the Hawley-Green neighborhood recently, you have probably noticed the new signage on 105 Green Street. Hand-painted in bold letters, the building reads, “Thanos Import Market,” and it’s true: this Northside staple is moving from the North Salina Street corridor to a new storefront in Hawley-Green.

If this news makes you nervous about losing access to your favorite meats and cheeses, let me assure you that there is no need to worry. Since its opening in 1919, Thanos has already been housed in three different storefronts around the Salina/ Pearl Street intersection without losing the “neighborhood market” feel that makes Thanos so unique The current owner, Soula Carni, assures that she plans to maintain the products and atmosphere that made her fall in love with the shop as a child.

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Coming to the United States from Greece in 1968, Soula has fond memories of going to Thanos every week with her parents to pick up phyllo, feta, olives, and other items that reminded her of home. When she got married and had children of her own, she continued the tradition of visiting the market.

When the store went up for sale around Christmastime in 2007, Soula waited to see what would happen with the iconic neighborhood market. When there were still no offers in January, the owners were planning to close for good at the end of the month. Within weeks of hearing this news, Soula was the new owner of Thanos Import Market; her first official day was February 1, 2008.

The sense of familiarity and family that drew Soula to the shop will be preserved in the new location on Green Street. Here, she’ll be able to custom design all the details with help from family and friends. Soula’s daughter has started painting a sign that leads customers to the parking in the back of the building. Wooden ladders are being repurposed into shelves and displays. Café tables and chairs are being designed to maintain the charm that people have come to know and love. “I want to keep it as a place for people to come ask questions and learn about different products—it will still be a place for people to come and explore,” explained Soula.

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The specialty food will also remain. Soula said, “we have to be a destination—a place where people go for unique items.” In fact, she plans to expand her already noteworthy selection of cheeses and offer more prepared lunches, like salads and sandwiches. Don’t worry: the famous Thanos Antipasto will be continued, as will their signature Italian Sandwich.

Along with specialty imports, Thanos will also showcase local products. All of the sandwiches will be made with bread from some Northside businesses as well as other local stores in the city:ciabatta from Nino’s, Di Lauro’s rolls, and Pastabilities’ stretch bread. Business owners will also be welcomed into Thanos to host tastings and showcase their products. Soula hopes that focusing on collaboration will help to grow business success throughout the neighborhood, and through the Northside as a whole.

“There is a lot of energy here,” Soula said of the Hawley-Green neighborhood. She is excited to learn from new customers and continue seeing faithful shoppers.

Work in the new location has already begun as the store gets ready to open this summer. To stay updated, follow their progress on Facebook.

House Tour Recap

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • June 22, 2016

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA. We’ve asked her to write guest posts for us, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses, organizations, and residents. All of her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the “NEHDA” categories.

 

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This year’s House Tour was a big success! On Saturday, June 18th, nearly 60 visitors joined us to learn the stories behind the historic neighborhood, and to see what original features still exist inside of eight unique homes.

 

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Thank you to all of our tour guides, group shepherds, and home owners for making this day possible. It was wonderful to see the Hawley-Green neighborhood come together to celebrate its history and showcase our bright future.

The House Tour was organized by NEHDA, with help from the Hawley-Green Neighborhood Association and Northside UP. To stay up-to-date on all of NEHDA’s events, like them on Facebook and join their email newsletter. Click here to view all the photos from the event.

Explore Hawley-Green: Tour the Houses and Discover the History of the Neighborhood

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • May 25, 2016

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA. We’ve asked her to write guest posts for us, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses, organizations, and residents. All of her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the “NEHDA” categories.

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On Saturday, June 18th, eight historic buildings in the Hawley-Green neighborhood will be opening their doors to curious tour-goers. Visitors will get to see preserved aspects of the houses including pressed tin ceilings, mahogany woodwork, stained glass windows, and original fireplaces.

Each stop on the tour gives you an exclusive peek inside some of the neighborhood’s most beautiful homes, as well as stories from Hawley-Green’s rich history. For example, did you know that the first wave of residents that came in the 1840’s were craftsmen? Blacksmiths, carpenters, silversmiths, and shoe makers once filled the houses along Gertrude Street.

There’s also a long line of philanthropy efforts in Hawley-Green. The Syracuse Home on the corner of North Townsend Street and Hawley Avenue was built in 1870 for the “Ladies’ Relief of the Poor and Needy Home Association.” Moses DeWitt Burnet donated the site in 1868, and intended for the building to house old or ailing women, children who could not be placed in an orphanage, and young women temporarily out of work. This spirit of charity is continued in the neighborhood today through the work of multiple nonprofits and service providers such as the United Way, NEHDA, Friends of Dorothy, Housing Visions, and Catholic Charities.

To learn more about the history of this vibrant neighborhood, and to get inside some of the historic homes, join us on the Hawley-Green House Tour. Tickets are on sale now both on the NEHDA website and in person at our office at 101 Gertrude Street.

If you have any questions, please contact me at lkwiek@snccsyr.org or 315-425-1032.

Recap of Clean Up ‘Cuse 2016: Northside

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • May 12, 2016

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA. We’ve asked her to write guest posts for us, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses, organizations, and residents. All of her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the “NEHDA” categories.

 

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Thank you to everyone that made the Northside’s Earth Day cleanup a huge success!

NEHDA organized a total of 94 volunteers who helped clean up the North Salina Street corridor and the Hawley-Green triangle on Saturday, April 23rd.

It was exciting to see Northside Business Partnership members, business owners, Girl Scouts, neighborhood agencies, City Hall employees, friends from outside the city, and local residents all come together for a day of beautifying our streets.

Efforts like Clean Up ‘Cuse show just how much we can accomplish when we work together. If we totaled the time spent by each volunteer on this day, it would equal 300 hours spent cleaning up our neighborhood. Our small staff would never have been able to make that kind of impact working alone; we’re incredibly lucky to have so many engaged people in our community.

We would like to give a special thank you to Dunkin’ Donuts for fueling everyone with coffee and donuts; and a thank you to the City of Syracuse for providing our volunteers with bags and cleanup tools.

For more photos from the event, check out NEHDA’s Facebook album.

Food $en$e Comes to the Northside

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • April 28, 2016

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA. We’ve asked her to write guest posts for us, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses, organizations, and residents. All of her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the “NEHDA” categories.

 

This month, the Syracuse Northeast Community Center (SNCC) had their first distribution as a Food $en$e site.

Food $en$e is a program of the Food Bank of Central New York that is designed to help stretch grocery dollars. For $15.50, you can purchase a food package with 4-5 meat items, 4-5 staple items (like pasta, soup, or rice), and 2 fresh produce items. Just some of the items in this month’s package were:  lettuce, pasta, potatoes, sausage, ground chicken, and green beans.

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The SNCC Pantry supports nearly 300 people a month, but they are only able provide enough emergency food for three days/nine meals for each individual in the household. The Food $en$e program helps to stretch monthly grocery budgets, and also gives families more meal options when combined with items they received through the pantry.

As the only distribution site on the Northside, it seemed like a perfect fit to add Food $en$e to SNCC’s programming- and the response from the community has been extremely positive. The number of orders for next month has already doubled from the first distribution, and there is still another week for people to sign up! The next order deadline is Friday, May 6th, with a distribution date set for Wednesday, May 18th.

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This program is available for anyone looking to make their grocery money go further. Both cash and EBT payments are accepted, and there are also monthly specials that can be bought and added to the order.

With the need for nutritious meals in our community so high, SNCC offers many ways for groups and individuals to get involved. Consider hosting a food drive, sponsoring a Food $en$e package, or even spending a few hours volunteering in the pantry. Stop by SNCC at 716 Hawley Ave to learn more about these opportunities, or call the Center at 315.472.6343.

Companies Compete to Stock SNCC’s Emergency Pantry

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • March 10, 2016

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA. We’ve asked her to write guest posts for us, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses, organizations, and residents. All of her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the “NEHDA” categories.

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Two accounting firms are going head-to-head in a food drive challenge to stock the shelves of the Syracuse Northeast Community Center’s (SNCC) emergency pantry.

Dannible & McKee, LLP and Grossman St. Amour, PLLC are competing throughout the month of March to see which office can collect the most non-perishable food and basic needs items to support our neighbors living on the Northside.

If the pressure of the food drive challenge wasn’t enough, March falls in the middle of tax season, which happens to be the busiest time of year for accountants. Even though their schedules were full, neither office hesitated when we asked them to participate in the competition.

This is not the first time that Dannible & McKee and Grossman St. Amour have supported SNCC. Dannible & McKee handles SNCC’s month-to-month bookkeeping, and Grossman St. Amour is the Center’s annual auditor. They have supported SNCC through these traditional business operations, but also participate in staff volunteer days at the Center.

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With their support, SNCC is able to focus on the mission of working with area residents to provide services and programs that address the changing needs and interests of the city’s north/northeast neighborhoods. Part of addressing these needs has meant adding personal care items to the shelves of the emergency pantry. Traditionally meant for food items, SNNC began realizing that if a person is in a food crisis, they are most likely missing out on other basic needs, as well.

Every month SNCC supports nearly 300 people through the pantry. That includes families with small children, seniors living alone, and neighbors of all ages. “Our funding is consistent throughout the year, but the number of families we see is not,” said Michael Collins, Executive Director of SNCC. “Additional support is necessary to ensure that families leave with nutritious meals and that no child goes hungry.”

Throughout 2016, SNCC will rely on outside food drives to support the pantry. Having nonperishable items donated by supporters like Dannible & McKee and Grossman St. Amour, allows their Pantry Coordinator to focus funds on other items such as milk, meat, and fresh foods.

Follow the Dannible & McKee versus Grossman St. Amour challenge on SNCC’s Facebook and Twitter, and show your support by liking and sharing your favorite posts. No matter which office takes home the bragging rights, our Center and our neighbors are the ones that will ultimately benefit from a fully-stocked pantry.

Are you looking for ways to support our community? Here are the top 5 easy ways to get involved:

1. Donate some of our most needed food items: canned fruit, pasta, spaghetti sauce, cereal, or fresh foods (bread, dairy, meat, produce).

2. Have your business, office, or small group host a food or personal care drive.

3. Reach out to me to find out how you can volunteer in our Basic Needs Pantry (lkwiek@snccsyr.org).

4. Follow SNCC on Facebook and Twitter for updates about our future events.

5. Visit our website to learn about all of SNCC’s diverse programs!

Hopeprint: Empowering Neighbors to Thrive

Written by Lexie Kwiek  • February 17, 2016

Lexie2_for webEditor’s Note: Lexie is a proud AmeriCorps VISTA alum with a master’s degree in Communications & New Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently works as the Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator for the Syracuse Northeast Community Center and NEHDA. We’ve asked her to write guest posts for us, taking a deeper look into the Northside, its businesses, organizations, and residents. Her posts can be found under the “Syracuse Northeast Community Center” and the “NEHDA” categories.

 

 

Hopeprint

I wasn’t sure if I was approaching the right building as I went up the steps to the house on Lilac Street. No sign, no parking lot—could this be the organization that I had heard so much about?

I rang the doorbell ready to apologize and ask for directions, but instead I was greeted by Nicole Watts, founder and Executive Director of Hopeprint. One step into the warm living room and I knew I was in the right place.

As we were talking, Nicole shared the reason for not having a sign: Hopeprint is a home. It is a place where people live, where families eat dinner, and where all neighbors are welcome. This is not a Community Center; “We are brokers of resources, not providers,” she explained. Hopeprint is a home where people are empowered to move from surviving to thriving.

The concept behind Hopeprint began as Nicole tried to find her way to a city bigger than Syracuse. Always having felt a passion for Urban America, she pictured herself in a place like Chicago or NYC, but all paths to larger cities seemed to be continuously blocked.

Trying to find answers, Nicole turned to prayer and she received two distinct images: one where she was on a street surrounded by people of all different cultures in what seemed to be a parade, and another where she was surrounded by children of every nationality. The one thing that remained exactly the same in both images was Nicole’s face: she was beaming in both visions. “It looked like I had found exactly where I wanted to be,” she said.

After recognizing that she would find happiness through working with New Americans, Nicole had to ask herself, “Where are those people?” If there were refugee populations in cities like Chicago and NYC, there must be refugees in Syracuse. Without much formal research available, Nicole began meeting with families and finding her own answers.

From there, Hopeprint came together organically. It started with another person wanting to move into the city of Syracuse, and grew as the perfect house came on the market and generous donors sponsored its purchase. Three months after moving to the city, Nicole knew her mission was working.

“We just started inviting people in,” she said. Today Hopeprint sees an average of 150 refugees every week. All programming is focused on bringing people together and empowering them through hospitality. “Her Village” is one example of how Hopeprint’s curriculum fosters relationships. Every week, women from all cultures come together to grow in friendship and community by sharing conversations. For example, one night the topic of discussion was tea—what kind of tea does everyone drink, how do they brew it, how is each tea different and yet the same? During these gatherings everyone leads each other; everyone is both a teacher and a student.

This dual role is enhanced further through “Steps to Thrive,” Hopeprint’s mutual mentorship program where a New American and an American-born help each other to meet individual goals. Both partners identify their dreams, whether it’s owning a home or learning Swahili. They then meet and focus on helping each other reach these goals. “Teaching is empowerment,” Nicole said, and people are able to move beyond a survival mentality through that empowerment.

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Over the years, Nicole has seen many people find success in their lives. From students graduating college, to watching a family move through the steps of learning English, securing full time jobs, and owning their own house; Hopeprint continues to help people reach a place of thriving. It has even helped Nicole’s dreams come true. Today, her life matches the visions that started Hopeprint. You will often find her surrounded by neighborhood children, and, as she says, “The entire world is in my house.”

To learn how you can get involved, visit the volunteer tab on Hopeprint’s website and begin the process of being matched with the right volunteer opportunity. The Hopeprint Facebook page is another great way to stay up to date on their activities.

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