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Pictured, from left: Pat Proctor, Jason Cafarella and Shawn Weber of the newly formed Reclaim Niagara.
Pictured, from left: Pat Proctor, Jason Cafarella and Shawn Weber of the newly formed Reclaim Niagara.

Pints for Progress has focus on community improvement

Sat, Apr 23rd 2016 07:00 am

By Terry Duffy


Pints for Progress, a grassroots community happening spotlighting up-and-coming groups and attractions in the City of Niagara Falls, staged yet another successful event earlier this month at the Niagara Falls Arts and Cultural Center.

Presented on a frequent basis throughout the year by the Downtown Niagara Falls Business Association, the spring 2016 Pints event was seen as one of the best attended yet, organizers said. The community outdoor happening typically plays out at various city locations - Old Falls Street adjacent to the Niagara Falls Culinary Center being a popular venue in summer.

Visitors are invited to join in, with a $5 (first visit) or $10 (repeat visitor) contribution. For their donation they receive tickets for a complimentary beverage and food entree, typically featuring the unique food and beverage offerings of Falls businesses and/or community organizations. They are then invited to stay and hear the latest on community improvement projects covering all areas in the city. These are presented by enterprising community groups, all with an intent on bettering life in the Cataract City.

The April 7 Pints, a shared event that evening with the second annual #LiveNF Volunteer Fair featuring Congressman Brian Higgins, drew a crowd of more than 100 to the first floor gallery at the NACC.

There, visitors heard from one the largest number of community presenters assembled yet for a Pints for Progress event. Included were:

•Reclaim Niagara, a not-for-profit group aimed at showcasing the natural resources of Niagara.

Reclaim Niagara represented by businessman Pat Proctor of Niagara Helicopter; city firefighter and attorney Jason Cafarella; and businessman Shawn Weber of Wine on Third and the Jefferson Apartments. The three discussed a need for better communication with state officials to return management and betterment of the city's natural resources to its citizens. A May 7 walking tour intended to further enlighten the public to its goals is planned. For more information, visit

•The Town of Niagara Lions Club, which recently merged with the Niagara Falls Lions Club and promotes the Lions International goals of vision awareness throughout the region.

Visit the Town of Niagara Lions Club on Facebook for more information.

•The Magdalene Project, located at 712 East Market St., which has its focus on assisting single women and children in the Cataract City toward a better quality of life.

For more information, email [email protected] or [email protected].

•Aspire Boxing, a grassroots group located in a storefront at 17th Street and Pine Avenue, operated by volunteer minister Stacy Robinson. Aspire is aimed at making life better for street kids - boys and girls - through the sport of boxing blended with religion.

"We take kids off the street; we work with them on improving their lives," Robinson said.

For more information, he can be reached at 716-345-8504.

•Footprints for the Future, located the Bacon Memorial Presbyterian Church, 166 59th St. Footprints, which services young parents, has as its mission to "help empower and educate today's young parents toward a brighter, more productive, self-sufficient future," spokesperson Sandy Quinn said.

For more information, she can be contacted at 716-283-4475.

•The College Simulation Experience, which seeks to better prepare young men and women for higher education. Serving low-income, single adults, the organization helps pre-college students to acclimate to the demands of time and financial management in order to better understand and manage collegiate success, said spokesperson April Baskin.

The group actively seeks sponsorships for its student base and aims to expand its reach 50 to 100 young adults in the Niagara Falls area.

For more information, visit www.collegsimulation.com.

At the conclusion of the presentations that evening, visitors conveyed their impressions by means of a vote with the kitty - a record $700 in donations collected that evening - going to the group deemed the most worthy.

Aspire Boxing was the top vote-getter and took the monetary prize. In his remarks and prayers, Robinson expressed his thanks to the crowd, telling them its donations will fund such supplies as boxing gloves and equipment, while also going toward Aspire's endeavor of bettering the lives of Falls' kids.

He invited interested community members to visit Aspire's storefront facility and experience it for themselves.

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