Meet #MAPYouth Levi!

Hello. My name is Leviticus or you can just call me Levi for short. I was born on March 13, 1999, in Buffalo, NY. I grew up on the west side. I've been working for MAP since the summer of 2014 and the school year program of 2014-2015. I wanted to work for MAP because my great great uncle owned a farm in Panama, Central America, where my mom and family lived, before coming to the USA. I also wanted to work for MAP because I wanted to work in the agricultural field, which I have some interest in.

Meet #MAPYouth Kiara!

Hi, my name is Kiara. I am a MAP youth participant and I've been one for two summers and one school year. Growing up in the east side of Buffalo, I never really heard of MAP. When I moved in with my dad, who lived in the west side of Buffalo, I became aware of the organization, even more so when Mayor Summer Youth placed me with them for my summer job. I was so scared to work at MAP because I was working with people I didn't know and was kind of out of my comfort zone with the work they had us doing. In the end, I liked working with MAP and became comfortable doing the activities they had planned out for us.

Meet #MAPYouth Mariah!

Hi! My name is Mariah. I’m 16 years old. I’m in 10th grade and I attend Lafayette High School. I’ve been working at MAP for 2 summers and 2 school years. I’m from the United States and have been here all my life. What I plan on doing after I graduate from high school is go to college for cosmetology and graduate from there, then open my own nail salon.

Meet #MAPYouth Osman!

Hello, my name is Osman. I am a senior at Hutch Tech High School. How good is that? I'm just a kid who was born in a different place but grew up with American way of life and it's been great. I come from a country called Kenya in Africa. I have been living here since 2004. When I said I was raised the American way I mean because basketball just became my favorite activity. It never was back home. Back in Kenya, I was more of a soccer guy. Most of the time, MAP been there for me, but I never knew about it until my brother (former MAP Youth employee) told me about it. At first it was not my thing after the first summer I realized this place is just for the best of me.

Meet #MAPYouth Serge!

Hello everyone, my name is Serge and I am a student at Hutch Tech H.S. I am from Senegal and I have been in the U.S. for about 5 years. My plan for the future is to go to college and to study mechanical engineering. I wrote another blog on why I want to be a mechanical engineer HERE.

Meet #MAPYouth Yassin!

Hello my name is Yassin. I’m a MAP Youth Employee and I love working here. I attend McKinley High School and I’m in the 11th grade. I am an all-natural born African from Kenya and I came to the United States about 8 years ago. Wow, it’s been a long time of not looking back. I’ve tried not to. Finally out of the struggle so I am grateful. Anyway, this is my first time working for MAP and during the school year too. I was shy at first but now I’m in my comfort zone and everybody is so friendly. So much diversity, so many different people, different faces.

Meet #MAPYouth Dabreon!

Glass shattered around me as I dove to the floor and covered my head. Then came the noise of a car quickly driving away. I heard footsteps and then a booming knock on my door. Someone was screaming, saying, "Help! Help! Help!" I looked up from the floor. There were glass shards around me and a few cuts on my body. I got up and ran to see who was screaming outside. It was a young man on our steps holding his side. I opened the door and saw blood gushing from out his body. Moments later I heard police and ambulance sirens as they approached my neighborhood in the East Side of Buffalo, NY. I ran back inside of my house as the police and ambulances arrived on the scene of the crime, and what I saw as I walked inside of my house are broken shards of glass on the floor, bullet holes, and the bullets themselves. I picked up one of the bullets; it was warm and still gave off heat. I looked at it and was frozen. I could have been struck by one of these bullets in the head and killed instantly. I stopped breathing. I had been literally inches away from death.

Meet #MAPYouth Javert!

I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1998. At the time, my parents were still part of the Air Force, and that was the case until 2000, when I was 3 years old. My family moved a lot, travelling from Vegas to Guam to Abilene, Texas to Albany, New York, to Oswego to Cheektowaga to Niagara Falls and finally to Buffalo. As a result, my life was never really settled or normal. Our constant movement made house life stressful and friends (the real, dependable type) scarce. It didn’t strike me as odd until later. When you grow up in perpetual solitude, and spend your childhood being taught how to be a grown up, it’s really the most comfortable thing you know. I found out it was weird in Niagara Falls when my friends would talk about things like games or T.V. shows and I would be completely ignorant of what they were talking about. It had never mattered socially before.  A few years later, shortly before moving to Buffalo, I learned that I didn’t really have any friends. To them I was a pitiful loser they hung out with because I had cool toys. So I returned to solitude and, as you may imagine, paranoia settled in.

Next year, 7th grade, I met some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and still do. But the paranoia of last year prevented me from getting too close. I got into fights, and by 8th grade returned to solitude again. It wasn’t until 9th grade I began to get over my paranoia and socialize again.
My solitude allowed me time inside my own head, and I was able to think and learn and stretch my imagination. I built and destroyed religions; discovered new forms of spiritual energy and how to use them. This eventually led me to become interested in the way other people think, and begin pursuing psychology and theology.

In the summer of 2013, I joined MAP, at first for the money, but later as a way to meet new people and expand ideas. After a while, I began gravitating towards specific people and jobs. MAP’s schedule clashed wildly with my own, preventing me from working more than 6 hours a week, but it was worth it. The fun and experience I’ve gained was worth it.

In the summer of 2014, I met Claire. We attended a Jazz Camp in Rochester, and meeting her caused a reaction stronger than love. She wasn’t my “true love” or “soul sister” or any of that nonsense. It was like meeting my other half. My mind became clearer, any and all depression lifted. Around her, my brain seemed faster. We could talk together for hours about nothing more than philosophical drivel, but I could be myself. No one is 100% honest with their friends or family, everyone has secrets, but Claire seemed to instantly know all of mine. She was like a beacon in the dark cave of solitude, paranoia, and subconscious rage at the world around me, and I latched onto her mentally with the desperation of a drowning man clutching a life saver.

Everyone needs that one friend they can depend upon to help them no matter what. Every one needs their own Healing Light. Claire was mine.

Thank you for checking out The Revolution Will Be Cultivated! To support #MAPYouth for The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County's Spring It On campaign, visit out our fundraiser page here: www.springiton.org/MAP

Meet #MAPYouth Fardosa!

Hello, my name is Fardosa. I am 16 years old.  I go to McKinley High School. I have been working at MAP for 2 months and it feels like a year. I love MAP. I get to learn more about growing food and helping out the community. I am from Kenya, East Africa. My dad was farming there, too. I came to the United States in 2004. I have been here for 11 years. I only work at MAP for 12 hrs a week but I would love to work here 24/7. I am glad I saw a sign about MAP Growing Green around my neighborhood. When I read more about MAP, it inspired me and I found a way to work here and my plan worked out.

I saw a small market on Massachusetts Ave. I bought onion and pepper from there the price had me saying, "OMG. This is awesome!" The market didn't cost much and I ask the person working there for more details. Then I came to the office and introduced myself and, guess what, I got the job! It was a joyful day for me.

I like canvassing at MAP, and going to door to door to get people's support because I love MAP and I want others to love MAP. Even though it is cold and snowing I will always try and bring lots of support from others. I like the garden we setup and thinking about what to grow in the garden.  For the coming season, we have good fruits and vegetables. It's all nice and fresh baby, you will love it!! I like working on the farm too. We fix things for the plants and figure out where to grow them. When it's cold out, I don't like to farm but I still do, I just dress warm and go out there hustle and work my butt off. I like to be active and athletic. I play soccer, basketball, and track. I used to say farming is boring and stuff but I never knew MAP was going to inspire or entertain me. I know so much about gardening and farming now.

My career goal is to go to college and  take 2 years of courses in agriculture learn more and more about gardening or farming. Eventually,  I would like to have my own farm and be a good farmer because MAP taught me about farming. Then I want to become a professional soccer player. I wear #3 and soccer is life. I want my name to appear everywhere as the best African woman soccer player. I believe I will be one someday. I have to chase after my dream no matter how long it takes.

MAP has a community garden around the neighborhood. We help out people with the things we grow. We donate, that's how we give back to our community. There are some challenges working and going  to school because at school we have too much homework and studying to do every day. At work, you work and  then get tired when you go back home and fall asleep or go on facebook and  you  forget about you school work. I love my job because I don't have to complain about working everyday because, at MAP, I pick my own schedule so I don't have to miss out any activities at school or at home.  

Thank you for checking out The Revolution Will Be Cultivated! To support #MAPYouth for The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County's Spring It On campaign, visit out our fundraiser page here: www.springiton.org/MAP

Meet #MAPYouth Dillon!

When I was about 11 or 12 I lived in the west side, on the corner of Bird and Baynes. My name is Dillon and I’ve lived my whole life on the west side of Buffalo. I would go to my neighbor's house a couple of days a week. When I was 12 or 13, myself, my neighbor, Adam, and my brother, Kyle were all talking of ways to make money to get snacks and videogames for the summer. We came up with the idea of selling slushies in front of Adam’s house. It didn’t work as well as we had hoped. So, I became determined to get a job to get money that I would save most of, but spend some on videogames and snacks. I was then told that I had to be fourteen to be employed during the summer. I tried asking people I knew if they had any place I could work for. Adam's mom, Diane, told me where she worked and that they employ youth in the summer and during the school year.

I started working at MAP in the summer of 2011. Fast-forward to now and I’m 18, about to graduate from Fredrick Law Olmsted High School, I’m going to go to college to get an environmental Bachelors Degree, and I’m still working at MAP! I think that out of all the youth who currently work at MAP. I’ve been there the longest. I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent and the work I’ve done at MAP. At MAP, every two weeks, we have a meeting and sign up for work hours. I like working on the farm the most and I sign up there every time I can.

Through working at MAP, I have become involved with the Youth Advisors Council and the Buffalo and Erie Food Policy Council. The Youth Advisors Council strives to improve Buffalo Public Schools with student involvement and the Food Policy Council is an advisory body that advises public agencies and policy makers in Buffalo and Erie County on matters pertaining to Food Policy. 

Thank you for checking out The Revolution Will Be Cultivated! To support #MAPYouth for The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County's Spring It On campaign, visit out our fundraiser page here: www.springiton.org/MAP

Meet #MAPYouth Aye Pi!

My name is Aye Pi. I am a senior at Riverside Institute of Technology High School. I was born in Myanmar. Back there, my family used to be farmers and they grew their own food for my family, but there wasn't enough food. My family moved to Thailand. I lived there for eight years and then we moved again, to America. Now we are far away from our own village. I have been in America for eight years.

I have been working at MAP Growing Green for one summer and one school year. Sometime I have a hard time because while I am going to school I have to work the same time and sometimes I’m tired and don’t have enough time to do my homework. I still stay working at MAP because I want to support my family.

The reason I like to work at MAP is because it gives me a chance to meet with different people from different countries and speak different languages. Also, MAP helps me to learn and try new things in my life. The most important thing I like about working at MAP is growing vegetables and different kinds of food like my family grew in Myanmar. I also want to help our community to eat healthy food and stay healthy. Sometimes in my personal life, I like to hang out with my friends talk about our life and what our future goals are.  Also I going to temple sometimes to help clean and give food to the monks. My future goal is to graduate from college get my degree in nursing and become a school nurse so I can helped sick students. I also like to support everyone who needs my help.

Thank you for checking out The Revolution Will Be Cultivated! To support #MAPYouth for The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County's Spring It On campaign, visit out our fundraiser page here: www.springiton.org/MAP

Meet #MAPYouth Donacian!

Hello my name is Donacian, age 17, and I am a junior at McKinley High School. I am not originally from Buffalo, or America, for that matter. I am from East Africa, in a village called Rukole, in Tanzania. I have been in America for about 7 or 8 years. I love it here except in the winter. 

I work at MAP because I needed money and also my friend Hamdou told me about working here. The next thing I know, I’m being recruited by the Buffalo Employment Training Center. My regular hours that I work per week are about 5. I love working inside during the winter time because it’s warm and I don’t like working outside during the winter time, it’s too cold for me. 

Working here at MAP is hard for me sometimes because of school work and I don’t get to go to my basketball and soccer practices or my regular league games. My goal is to go to college and reach the highest degree that I can reach. I want a good job after high school because I don’t ever want to struggle with my financial needs. I want to be able to buy all the things that I need and have enough money for all that I want. I want to live financial problems free. 

I play soccer and basketball. That is something I love and enjoy doing. When I play sports I forget about my problems and just feel better. I love that about the sports that I play. Giving back to the community is something I do often. Sometimes I do it without noticing it. I volunteer at my church a lot. I recycle a lot, also I offer my help whenever I can and it’s needed. I volunteered at MAP for a whole summer before I got hired and I didn't mind, I loved doing what I was doing. Helping is in my blood.

Thank you for checking out The Revolution Will Be Cultivated! To support #MAPYouth for The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County's Spring It On campaign, visit out our fundraiser page HERE

Meet #MAPYouth Khadijah!

Hi! My name is Khadijah and I am a sophomore at International Prep High School. I was born in Nairobi, Kenya and I have been in the United States for 10 years. I have worked at MAP for 2 years. I got a job here because one of my middle school teachers is a friend of my boss. She knew I loved gardening and flowers she told me go check out MAP and helped me get in contact with my boss, Rebekah. In the school year, I work about 7-10 hours a week and 20 hours in the summer. One of my favorite parts of working here is how learning here is fun and seems easier than learning at school. They make sure we understand what is being taught instead of just moving on. My least favorite part is the small amount of hours we get to work. I love playing soccer running track and studying science, so my future goals are nursing or sports management.

Thank you for checking out The Revolution Will Be Cultivated! To support #MAPYouth for The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County's Spring It On campaign, visit out our fundraiser page HERE

Buffalo Farm to School Efforts Involve YAC Youth Leaders

By Chantal Kwade & Rebekah Williams

On February 23rd, MAP partnered with the Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) to host a press conference to announce that they were awarded a $45,000 Farm to School planning grant from the USDA.  This USDA planning grant will impact 34,000 students in over 50 Buffalo schools and seeks to increase local foods in school cafeterias.

MAP has been working with the BPS Food Service Department since January of 2013 to support implementation of the district’s Wellness Policy and to connect the Food Service Department with Buffalo high school students committed to improving school meals.  In 2014, MAP staff chaired the BPS Nutrition Committee and connected the BPS Food Service Department with a group called the Youth Advisors Council, or YAC. YAC is made up of Buffalo students committed to improving school meals, these youth leaders steer the way to sustainable and healthy food in schools.

Introducing Buffalo State College Intern: Chantal Kwade

By Chantal Kwade

Hey, my name is Chantal Kwade and I am a new intern at MAP.  I currently attend Buffalo State College. I am a junior and my major is Business with a concentration in Marketing.

I really didn’t want to come to school at Buffalo, but I got accepted, so I came here.  After undergrad, I will go to law school for Business Law.  I don’t know what law school I want to go to as of yet, but hopefully it’s a place I can afford.  I should and must get an internship this summer either working with a company on their marketing team or anything to do with law.