By Lonnie Barlow, Organizer, PUSH Buffalo
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today” – Malcolm X
The Grant St Neighborhood Center (GSNC), a neighborhood drop-in center supported by PUSH Buffalo, has come a long way.
It was created to be a sanctuary of study, education, and learning. Opened in the late 1960’s in a different Buffalo than we know today, it served as an Erie County branch library. After decades of serving the public while also making do in an area that was struggling economically, 2005 it finally fell victim to the budget axe in 2005.
Many of you no doubt know of the efforts of PUSH Buffalo, Mass Ave Porject (MAP), and others to make it a community asset again. You can read more about it here if you don’t know the history.
One of the programs the center has started is called Girl Talk. At Girl Talk, young women in their teens get together in open discussion, sharing their ideas, thoughts, and struggles. They are encouraged to express themselves and uplift each other in a spirit of sisterhood. This is done in the non-judgmental, free, safe, open and productive GSNC space.
Carleen Wigfall, who is the new director of the Girl Talk program at the center, overheard the girls talking about college one day. Noticing that they could use some guidance in the college selection process, she decided to take action. Who better than Mrs. Wigfall to initiate the discussion – she should know.
As a parent of a college-aged daughter, Carleen’s daughter was facing the same dilemma a few years back. After being introduced to her options, her daughter opted to attend Canisius College in Buffalo, as opposed to attending a Southern school. Consequently, the family moved to Buffalo from NYC to be closer to her.
Carleen organized the Girl Talk College Tour. The goal is to take as many as 40 youth (particularly juniors and seniors in high school) to site visits of 6 New York state colleges. The youth recently held an open mic fundraiser to help towards this effort.
Each one teach one, each one reach one, each one receive one.
One of the basic building blocks of community is support. I doubt many of us wouldn’t be where we are in life without somebody’s encouragement and support.
When I heard about this, I knew that this was something that I should share with you all. The tour takes place February 20-21. If you know any youth who could benefit from this college tour, please visit this link for details. If you’d like to get involved or make a donation, please contact Rahwa Girmatzion at firstname.lastname@example.org.