Buffalo’s development boom is creating more opportunities for young people to prosper than at any point in decades. Making a mark in Buffalo may be the way to go for many young people. Living through this year’s harsh winter, many of them are flocking down to warmer weather. But others who are recent college grads do not agree.
“It seems depressing when I come home which is why I don’t care to come back often anymore,” says Darryl Lewis, a Buffalo native, but who now is a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina.
However, after learning of recent urban development plans, many are all for making a living here in Buffalo. Even with talk of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the new HarborCenter, and even investments for the Eastside, some young people simply want to move away. Jobs and the prospect of a career are crucial to one’s consideration of staying here. But if one decides to stay, is it necessarily a bad thing?
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In a city where urban development has been slow to come (or in some cases not at all), after listening to Mayor Byron W. Brown discuss the plans at the State of the City Address, one may immediately be overcome with excitement. But in the same moment, it is still tough to find work now. How would young people know if the changes the Mayor promised will come to fruition and affect them positively? This question runs through the minds of many college graduates. So what is the solution for so many young people who live here and get their education but are eager to move? The key is to “find your destiny within yourself,” says Henry L. Taylor, doctor and professor for the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Buffalo. He said, “Each and every one of us has a destiny and it is our responsibility to discover it.”
Sometimes people are led to believe that where they live can determine their future. This is not necessarily true, especially within the African American Community. With historic establishments such as The Buffalo Colored Musicians Club, Nash House and Michigan Street Baptist Church in the Michigan Avenue Heritage Corridor, cultural heritage tourism is real and promising. There are also countless black businesses and young entrepreneurships growing and blossoming. To put it differently, there are many more opportunities for growth and leaving a mark in the city of Buffalo, more than people may think. Companies like Buffalo’s only black-owned and operated radio station WUFO1080, have a deep connection to the city. Its location in downtown Buffalo is steps away from the African American Heritage Corridor and already has plans for the future. “We want to do some youth programming…a talk show…a youth being the host of their own show, moderating their own show and them bringing in their own guests,” says Sheila Brown, CEO of Vision Multi Media company. With opportunities expanding for Buffalo’s youth population, it all comes down to a matter of being patient as they chart their destinies.
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On the other side, at what point is it a better choice to move away and pursue goals in another city? With big plans underway for the city, it is important that young people focus on achieving their goals and to not only look at what is going on in Buffalo, but to look beyond if necessary. According to Claire Miller of New York Times, “The effects of the migration of the young and the restless are most vividly seen in urban cores.” These would include New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago and Boston. Sometimes choosing to leave is not always a negative thing.
Young people’s decisions to leave or stay in Buffalo are reflected solely on their personal goals in life. Taking time out every once in a while to reevaluate goals and plans for the future are crucial to staying in tune with what they truly want out of life. Regardless of the plans for developments or other positive changes occurring in the city, the decision young people will make to leave or stay in the area will also affect the future of the city itself. Being young and having options about where to live and what to do with their lives is a powerful tool. So stick around and give Buffalo a second look. People never know what dreams they can fulfill until they start reaching and believing.