Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County is honored to celebrate Cheryl Bird as this week’s featured Women Who Move the City Wednesday (WWMTC) Honoree! Cheryl joined the Daemen College Center for Sustainable Communities and Civic Engagement in 2002 as Seneca Babcock Community Coordinator, was promoted to Director of Community Relations for the CSCCE, and in 2004 was asked to serve as the Executive Director. The CSCCE partners with three disadvantaged Buffalo neighborhoods, Seneca Babcock, the West Side and Broadway Fillmore, to address educational, economic and environmental needs. They sustain long term collaborations with community agencies in the three neighborhoods to benefit the communities, and Daemen faculty and students. The Center’s partner agencies provide service-learning sites for over 200 Daemen students every semester.
Cheryl founded, and serves as, Board Chair of the Seneca Street Community Development Corporation, a not-for-profit that provides much needed financial and human support to the disadvantaged Seneca Babcock community of Buffalo. This small not-for-profit provides a free after school program, enrichment activities and dinner for 65 children and teens daily during the school year, and weekly summer programming and field trips for children who would otherwise never leave their small neighborhood. The Seneca Street CDC also established the Babcock Community Garden and partners with the community on many activities.
Cheryl has been a very active member of the Seneca Street Church for the past 23 years, where her husband is the pastor. She chairs the Friends of Seneca Street (FOSS) group, and collaborates with many churches, companies and individuals outside Seneca Babcock to develop partnerships to strengthen the church and the people it serves.
Cheryl also serves as co-chair of the Somali Bantu Community Organization which works to benefit Somali Bantu refugees on the west side of Buffalo. Cheryl has become very close to this community through her work with refugees at Lafayette High School and with Jewish Family Service. She is a mentor and passionate advocate for those who are served by the organization.
As shared in her nomination for this award, “Cheryl’s passion for working with the refugee community and with disadvantaged children is contagious! She is a strong advocate for refugees and the realities they face when they arrive in Buffalo with only a knapsack full of possessions. Cheryl is always inspiring people to work with the disadvantaged youth in Seneca Babcock, and encouraging them to work with a child or teen who has no adult role models in their lives.”
Cheryl’s background includes over 20 years of experience in the business world, including management, consulting and legal positions, in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Buffalo. She has a Master of Science Degree in Executive Leadership and Change from Daemen College, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from State University of New York at Oswego.
Cheryl was recognized by the South Buffalo Chamber of Commerce with a Community Service Award for her work in the Seneca Babcock neighborhood, and received the School/Community Partnership Award from United Neighborhoods Community Action Organization. In 2012 she was honored to receive the Daemen College Associates Outstanding Community Service Award and in 2013 received an award from the Daemen College Social Work Department for her contributions to Daemen College and the community at large. Cheryl was humbled and honored to be able to accept the Community Partnership Award in 2015 from Jewish Family Service of Buffalo and Erie County. Cheryl resides in West Amherst with her husband, Brian and enjoys caring for 3 indoor and 5 outdoor cats.
Congrats Cheryl! We hope you will join us to celebrate Cheryl and our six other outstanding Women Who Move the City Honorees on Wednesday, May 10th at the Hotel Lafayette. Tickets are going fast so click now to purchase before the May 8th at midnight deadline!