Campers heading into neighborhoods and discussing development

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Kids from around Buffalo are at a University at Buffalo summer camp where they’re learning about the problems different neighborhoods continue facing.

“We’re learning about neighborhood development,” said Ayana Thomson, a 12-year-old camper. “Like how to improve a neighbor and make it more appealing to everyone else.”

The neighborhoods they’ve selected to look at are on the East Side near Genessee Street, an area not too far from where Thompson lives.

“When I look at my neighborhood, I realize it could be much worse like the other neighborhoods,” said Thompson. “They don’t have a lot of resources or many things to do.”

The campers like the different hands-on activities they do. They’re creating mock-murals and mosaics as well as learning to use photoshop, creating before and after photos showing how they’d like to spruce up streets.

“When I see the other neighborhoods, I see the potential that their neighborhood has,” said Nadia Loggans, another camper.

UB’s Urban Planning Department hosts the camp where teachers and leaders say it is about more than the kids seeing the problems happening around them but also understand why they’re happening.

“They see the issues, they walk by them every day,” says Camden Miller, one of the camp’s teachers. “Getting them to be aware of them is easy. It’s getting them to understand why they’re happening is tougher. Having them go out into the neighborhood and explain what they see and why they feel it is occurring and apply it really gives them some perspective.”

The kids say they’re learning they can change their city and make a difference.

“It takes everybody to improve the neighborhood.”

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