On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, the Cheektowaga Community Hub opened its doors for the first time.
Located inside Resurrection Life Church on Old Union Road, the Cheektowaga Community Hub is a center that connects town residents with the critical services they need to survive.
Two members from Villa Maria College community, Dr. Ryan Hartnett, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Mary Robinson, Director of Grants and External Affairs, served as members of the Cheektowaga Steering Committee since December 2013. Both Dr. Hartnett and Ms. Robinson facilitated the Hub’s existence by volunteering their time and effort to help develop the initiatives, best practices and collaborative efforts that will impact Cheektowaga residents in need.
“This project has been a few years in the making,” said Dr. Hartnett. “It took so many people coming together and thinking about what we needed in this community. We ended up with everyone in the community participating and creating such a wonderful opportunity for the Town of Cheektowaga. This is really a testament to the ability and will of a community wanting to impact the people who most need our help. We have hopefully made real hope, made real opportunities, made real dreams for some people here in Cheektowaga. We read in the headlines all the time about the resurgence of Buffalo and the resurgence of Western New York but what we don’t realize is that there are a lot of people not along with this resurgence. Today is a day for them. Today is the day that we can provide something back to the community, to the people who are often unnoticed, to the people who go without things that they really do deserve.”
In addition to being an impactful addition to the Town of Cheektowaga, the Community Hub has allowed Villa Maria College to live its mission of service to others, solidarity with the poor, transformation of lives, and justice and peace.
“Villa’s mission is based in the community and we are so happy to be involved and able to fulfill our mission right here our community,” continued Dr. Hartnett. “We believe that this is one of the most important things that we’ve been involved with recently and it’s a great reflection on the Town of Cheektowaga and the things that people are able to do when they come together and work hard.”
Two Villa students will provide ongoing support to the Hub as interns in fulfillment of the College’s Service Learning initiative. Ramona Harkness, Psychology, ’18 and Phillip Lee, Creative Writing & Literature, ’17, will assist the John R. Oishei Foundation’s Mobile Safety Net Team with the intake process.
The Hub is located at 2145 Old Union Road in Cheektowaga and will be open the first and third Thursday of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the first and third Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. You can also reach the Resurrection Life Fellowship at (716) 656-8995.