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Press Room
Monday, 12 January 2015 14:37

Making A Difference - Willie "Hutch" Jones

Listen to Willie "Hutch" Jones's radio story from WBFO

Former NBA player Willie “Hutch” Jones, “Hutch” as he is better known, is one of those special Buffalonians who left to see the world, and returned more determined than ever to use his talents to help young people. After enjoying a basketball career both here and overseas, Buffalo was calling him home. Filled with gratitude for his talents and abilities, he sees them as an instrument to give back to his community.

It started small, running a summer basketball clinic – available for free to all. That was 30 years ago. Today, the Willie “Hutch” Jones Educational and Sports Camp holds a wide variety of clinics in the summer, and an after school program throughout the year.

In our interview, Hutch reminisced about the early days of his program. “We always said we want to do this for free. That was our niche above everything, you know, because we felt that, if you charge people, maybe Juan’s mom can pay a, a hundred dollars for a month or whatever, a week, whatever your, your, your budget is, but, but Peter’s couldn’t, so now we’re discriminating economically and we didn’t want to do that. We wanted to set a stage where any kid, if you had the desire and ambition to learn something more about basketball at that point, that you can come and participate in our programs.”

As a school teacher at Burgard High School, Hutch understands the need to offer both educational and athletic options for students. The mission is to give city youth instruction, skill development, after school academic opportunities in subjects like science, engineering and math, delinquency prevention, finance management, foreign language instruction, character development, and social skills. Donations and volunteers keep the program running. To find out more about the program and how you can help, visit www.whjsc.org.

 

To nominate someone you think is making a difference in our community, click here.

 

Funding for  provided by
Published in Outreach & Education
Monday, 12 January 2015 14:25

Making A Difference - Dr. Myron Glick

Listen to Dr. Myron Glick's radio story from WBFO

Dr. Myron Glick has always believed in the power of family medicine, and what he can do as a family physician to help transform lives, especially the lives of the most vulnerable. Having grown up in Central America, he imagined traveling back after attending medical school at the University at Buffalo. Instead, there was undeniable need right here in Western New York. So, in 1997, he and his wife boldly opened their own family clinic on Buffalo’s West side with a single mom and her two children as their first patients. The demographic of the area has changed over the years, becoming incredibly diverse in terms of nationalities, cultures, and languages spoken. Dr. Glick remembers how his practice needed to change to address the needs of his patients.

“Being a doctor in that environment, not just understanding the language but the culture and what people were really needing, well…that was a big challenge. And also realizing that a lot of what we dealt with wasn’t medical. It was related to social situations that people were coming from. And a big challenge for us was trying to figure out what we could do about that.”

Eventually, they opened Jericho Road Ministries to address these non-medical issues – and it is working. The drop in center is consistently filled with families in need. Today, Jericho Road Family Practice and Jericho Road Ministries have merged to create the Jericho Road Community Health Center with satellite offices on Buffalo’s east and west sides. His work provides thousands of uninsured, Medicaid, and low income residents of Buffalo access to quality health care and community based services.

Dr. Glick says, “There is a huge need for the medical community as a whole to step up around the issues of people who have little access to the system, around providing excellent care for the poor, around taking care of the refugee. And sometimes I worry that whatever honor I get just allows other folks to say, well, it’s taken care of, we don’t have to do that. Um, and it’s not true. We all need to step up.”

Please visit www.jrchc.org to find out how you can help Dr. Glick and this important work.

To nominate someone you think is making a difference in our community, click here.

 

Funding for  provided by
Published in Outreach & Education
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 18:23

Making A Difference - Greg Kowal

Listen to Greg Kowal's radio story from WBFO

Greg is one tough kid with a really big heart. Very early in his life, he was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis - a condition presents itself as tumors throughout the inside and outside of his body. Greg is now 13 years old and the largest encompasses his entire right leg. Greg has endured countless surgeries and physical therapy in an effort to improve his function.


When Greg was nine, his parents nominated him for a wish from the Make-A-Wish foundation. He received his wish – a spa hot tub to aid him in his physical therapy. He was overwhelmed with gratitude and since then, is devoted to giving back. Greg raises money throughout the year selling candy bars at his mom’s softball games and other events, and he sells paper stars to his classmates at school. Every year, he presents a check to 97 Rock during their Make-A-Wish Radiothon. Lisa Kowal, Greg’s mothers says, “He tries to keep up with all the kids. He just wants to be a normal kid. He’s a special kid. He has a heart of gold for everybody.”

As he shuffles a deck of cards in his living room, he impressed the WNED film crew with his maturity, sweet smile, and slight of hand. His goal in life is to become a famous magician, and he’s pretty good. But when he talks about getting his “wish” of a hot tub and why he gives back, the smile lessens, and a serious and determined look comes over his face. His goal is simple and straightforward. He wants others to feel the same happiness and joy he felt the day he got his hot tub. Greg knows he can’t do it alone – you can help.

Visit www.wny.wish.org to find out how you follow Greg’s lead and make a wish come true.

 

 

 To nominate someone you think is making a difference in our community, click here.

 

Funding for  provided by
Published in Outreach & Education
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 18:07

Making A Difference - MarCe Zerrate

Listen to MarCe Zerrate's radio story from WBFO

MarCe Zerrate, a native of Columbia, fled her country in 1999 in search of a safer and happy life in the United States. Now, the Queen City is home – and MarCe dedicates much of her time celebrating cultural diversity by educating others about her own Columbian heritage.

When MarCe first came to Buffalo, she struggled to find others from her culture – and when she did, they lacked pride in their community. This was something she felt compelled to change. MarCe began thinking about ways to involve herself in the community and spread the message of celebrating ethnic pride while also educating the general public on the Hispanic, Latino, and Columbian people in order to break down cultural barriers that keep us from celebrating our diversity.

MarCe studied dance from a very early age, and specializes in teaching Columbian Folkloric Dance. Using her love of dance, she created a small dance company and began teaching and performing to groups of all ages, but especially children across Western New York.

She also realized that social media is a good way to spread positive information from Hispanics throughout our region. She created Columbia WNY, a local group of people who come together to celebrate Columbian heritage. They have a facebook page entirely in Spanish, and people have joined the group from all over the world. She says her message is one of inclusion,

“I would say it is very valuable to be involved in your community, and by being involved in your community and helping others to be proud of who they are and celebrating yourself, your own culture or your own beliefs and being proud of it, and just sharing that promise and that love you feel in your heart with others and being kind with others and respectful to others, that makes such a big difference.”

MarCe found a way to make a difference in the lives of so many youth here in Western New York by sharing her love for Columbian dance with them. It is a simple thing, taught with love and passion that is making a difference in Western New York.

Her enthusiasm is contagious, and you can be a part of it. Visit www.amorandheritage.com or www.colombiawny.com and see how you can get involved.

 

To nominate someone you think is making a difference in our community, click here.

 

 

Funding for  provided by
Published in Outreach & Education
Tuesday, 06 January 2015 17:10

Making A Difference - Ken Hansen

Listen to Ken Hansen's radio story from WBFO

Ken and Kim Hansen of West Seneca, New York were devastated by the loss of their daughter Amanda due to carbon monoxide poisoning in 2009. While she was staying overnight at a friend’s home, a faulty boiler released deadly gas into the air. This tragedy has changed their lives forever, but ken has found a way to help others through his grief.

“About a week after Amanda passed away, I got a phone call from her principal and he wanted to tell me a story about one of its teachers there, whose daughter wanted to have a sleepover. She said absolutely not. Not unless your father goes out and buys a co detector. He went out and bought a co detector, and three hours later they had two fire departments there with high ratings of co poisoning,” Ken says about the moment that changed his grief into determination.

Ken knew lives could be saved and his daughter’s memory could live on. He set up the Amanda Hansen Foundation and began distributing free co detectors and educating the public on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Since the creation of the Amanda Hansen Foundation, ken’s distributed more than 16,000 carbon monoxide detectors. With the help of local heating and cooling companies, he’s also kept families in need safe by installing several new furnaces.

As a former hardware store manager, running a foundation was completely foreign to Ken and his wife – and his proudest accomplishment so far has been creating “Amanda’s Law” in New York State, requiring all dwellings to have a carbon monoxide detector. Now his goal, and one of the goals of the foundation, is to create a law nationally to do the same. In the meantime, he works to grow the foundation, and spread the word about the dangers of carbon monoxide.

How can you help Ken and the Amanda Hansen Foundation? Visit www.amandahansenfoundation.org.

 

To nominate someone you think is making a difference in our community, click here.

 

 

Funding for  provided by
Published in Outreach & Education
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