Attitude of Opportunity

June 12, 2019
Alice Kreher

At the beginning of this week, Lou-Jean said, “you can be a problem solver without being weighed down by the problems". Initially, this statement did not make much sense to me. But after my first week of the High Road Fellowship, I understand what she means—you can work through problems or work to remedy problems, without being focused on the negative aspects. With a positive attitude, you can make changes that better lives and make the best of a situation.

In my first couple of days working with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo (Community Foundation), I learned how the organization adopts this principle. We discuss local issues/problems as areas with opportunity for improvement. For example, working towards racial equity in Buffalo is seen not as a problem, but rather as an opportunity for economic growth and healthier, more diverse communities, among other things. Even in the realm of office management, the team does not retreat, but instead embarks on advances. This attitude centers the mission and work ethic on moving forward, rather than retreating from one's work. 

This attitude of opportunity surprised me and made me truly excited to spend my summer with this wonderful group of people. The Community Foundation surpassed my expectations for embodiment of High Road values!

Moreover, I am really excited for the project I will be focused on while at the Community Foundation. I am conducting an evaluation of whether or not New York State should adopt and enforce Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations regarding lead safe work practices in home renovations and repairs. Buffalo's high prevalence of lead in old buildings and the EPA's current lack of enforcement mean that there may be tremendous opportunity in increased oversight to make Buffalo a safer place for children to learn and grow. 

Photo caption: One of my activities this week was attending renovation, repair, and painting (RRP) certification training at the Erie County Department of Health. This photo shows the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), minus the mask, that one would wear during lead safe work on home RRP projects under EPA guidelines.