For some, birthdays are extravagant week-long celebrations with parties and expensive gifts. For 25-year-old Buffalo, NY native Mike Grimaldi, his biggest birthday wish is for the organization he deeply cares for to achieve nonprofit status.
Mike and his college friend, Natalie Sleap, are passionate about their Buffalo community and decided they wanted a hands-on approach to its growth. The duo founded Queen City Revival just over a year ago, with the organization living up to its name.
These young professionals had just embarked on their new career paths and realized that the mix of meeting other like-minded young professionals at the beginning stages of their post-college lives, and taking their vested interest in helping others results in positive changes for themselves and their community.
The group began with eight people, and now has 60-70 people who volunteer at their monthly events with the hopes of continuing the revival of the Buffalo region, both professionally, personally, and for the community.
The group has already volunteered for organizations like Friends of Night People, Roswell Park, and Salvation Army. The group also built homes for Habitat for Humanity, participated in park cleanups, with the list growing. In addition, each month the group of volunteers joyfully donates their own money and time to cook meals and eat with local youth at Compass House, a local shelter that houses runaway, homeless, and street youth.
One of Mike’s favorite memories of volunteering with Queen City Revival was at Compass House. It was only the group’s second time volunteering there, and he didn’t know what to expect. The group had dinner with the kids, and after dinner, they found a football and played two-hand touch football in the parking lot next door.
“These kids come from pretty hard backgrounds, a lot harder than anything any of our volunteers have had to go through. It’s cool to see them open up, talk a little smack, and interact with us.”
Reaching nonprofit status would give the group the ability to volunteer even more, cover more of the costs for some of the volunteer opportunities, and the ability to apply for grants that will continue helping the Buffalo community.
For more information about Queen City Revival, click here.