How I Got Involved in My Community and How Other Young People Can Too

My name is Ingabire. I was born in Congo and raised in Kenya and then moved to the United States a couple years ago. I live in Buffalo and I go to the Emerson School of Hospitality. During the summer of 2015 I was introduced to the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP), a non-profit organization. MAP has impacted me in a lot of ways and I have done a lot of activities since I joined it.

For example, some activities I have done include farming, facilitating meetings, and selling fresh produce to areas they don’t have access to it. I have gone on field trips with MAP, like the Climate March in Washington DC,  participated in the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, a conference that involves farmers based in the Northeast, and last but not least, I went to New York City for college tours and also to meet up with some of the youth leaders that I met at NESAWG that do similar work there.

MAP youth Ingabire Adam and Dillon Hill at the DC climate march ( Photo/ Map)

After a while I was thinking to myself, what if all youth got the opportunity I had? What if they were able to know more about what they ate, like where and how their food grew and got to be productive in their community? Young people want to make money and benefit themselves, so maybe if they got jobs like farming after school or helping the environment, like collecting trash in the community, or just getting involved in  community work, it would be helpful to them and their future than working at a fast food restaurant. If youth contributed in the community they would feel appreciated and proud of the work they did after they see the results. I would like to see more organizations like MAP in Buffalo.

If you are a youth and are interested in getting involved in the West Side community, here are three ways to find out how to help:

  1. Find a school counselor that and ask if they can direct you to any place that wants youth to work for them, or wants to involve youth in what they do.
  2. Go online and research for places in your local area looking for help.
  3. Find a friend or someone you know that does community work and tell them to hook you up.

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