B Team: Buffalo’s A Side

By Griffin Jones

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.–Margaret Mead

Ruthlessly stolen from B Team's twitter.

Ruthlessly stolen from B Team’s twitter.

In 2008, I complained that nothing was going on in Buffalo. The same year, a group of five or six friends felt it was both their civic responsibility and within their power to improve the region. I whined. They formed B Team Buffalo,

Current chairwoman, Liz Callahan moved back at the same time I did. I said there wasn’t enough young people in Buffalo.  She decided to get immersed in the culture of young people who were creating the environment they wanted live in.

Someone responded to one of my videos saying that it will take a lot more than volunteering to restore Buffalo. I bet B Team knows that. I bet they also know volunteerism is most important when it seems like there’s nothing we can do.

“When people are excited they want to be involved. When things are stagnant it’s hard to be the first,” says Callahan.

I was stagnant. B Team contributed to as many causes as they could take on including their own signature events.

Each year, B Team hosts City of Light, a December festival where B Team volunteers decorate an entire neighborhood and host a large dinner at the local community center. The chosen neighborhood for 2013 is the 10th Street area on the lower west side.

Callahan says City of Light makes it easy for people who have never volunteered to test the waters. “If you give up one day a year, that’s ten times more than doing nothing. It doesn’t feel like work because we’re all having fun,”

That’s the lesson to learn from B Team. We’ve seen a lot of progress in Buffalo, but when we run into obstacles, we have to become the people who will take action before resources and before success.

Callahan knows. “Everyone thinks that what they’re involved in is what’s going to save Buffalo. We need everything in case we hit a snag,”

We will hit snags. Progress isn’t a straight, predictable line. This is Buffalo, after all. But I’m not the only one who’s been inspired by B Team and so many others like them. We won’t whine. We’ll get to work.

To get involved with B Team Buffalo , visit http://bteambuffalo.com/join-the-team/ and follow @BTeamBuffalo.

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