The idea started like many do, with a bunch of friends sitting around talking. 

They were young, full of energy and committed to making Niagara Falls a better place to live. They tossed around thoughts about how to make their city better and came up with Pints for Progress. 

That idea in 2012, grew into an ongoing monthly meeting where people meet to share a few “pints” and toss around project ideas. Everybody puts $10 into a kitty and whoever pitches the best idea wins the kitty to spend on their project. 

Typically there are 100 or so at the meetings, so that’s not small change. It’s how #LiveNF was born. 

The idea was pitched at a Pints for Progress meeting by Phil Mohr and Dan Lusk  in April of 2014. They won the kitty and used the money to purchase bumper stickers which said #LiveNF, to promote the project, recalled Tom Lowe, one of the organizers of Pints.  

Lowe, director of ReNU Niagara, of Niagara University’s Institute for Civic Engagement, recalled how #LiveNF was pitched. “Their description back then was for ‘the unification of positive Niagara Falls NY activities on social media platforms.’

“That’s true to the mission of the organization now,” Lowe said of #LiveNF, “We’re creating a sense of pride through events and interactions.”

#LiveNF was loosely organized by the same group of friends that created Pints for Progress, a mixed group of young professionals with an average age between 28 and 34, who now make up the nine-member board of directors that incorporated the non-profit in December. 

Niagara Falls teacher Phil Mohr, is the president of the board. The 31-year-old said the group’s big push right now will be winter events. 

“Our overall hope is just to continue to push the positive that is going on in the Niagara Falls area. We also want to be a resource to tourists and visitors as well as help some of the local residents rediscover what’s here.”

Lowe said that the group is currently focusing on a Maker’s Market Dec. 9, which will allow local artisans to sell their wares in a yet-to-be-determined location downtown. 

Other events have included member Lana Perlman’s book, “Love Letters to Niagara Falls,” and a #LiveNF games held last summer. But members are always out and about when something good is happening in the city.  

“We like to do things at Hyde Park,” Lowe noted. “Members helped with the design of the skate park there and some members were involved with the Hyde Park playground.”

Over the past year, each member of the board took over the #LiveNF Instagram account for a week, posting pictures to boost the city’s image. Lowe took over the Instagram account for a week in April and his first post was from Hyde Park. 

“I counted the number of actives to do in Hyde Park. I think I got up to about 15 things to do. Most people don’t realize that,” Lowe said.

Peter Heuer, a social studies teacher for the city school district, said he and Mohr are both interested in addressing the residency policy that requires municipal employees to live in the city. “Instead of sitting on our hands talking about problems with the city and wishing it was a more livable place to be, we trying to change things,” Heuer said. “Complaining in general is a loser’s game.”  

“We’re here to remind people that the city has a lot of character,and  it has nothing but potential at this point,” he added.

Seth Piccirillo, the city’s director of community development, is also a board member.

He’s believes the group’s biggest potential is its grass roots.  

“It’s really important for member’s of the community to take ownership of change,” he said. “It doesn’t work when it’s just the government trying to create change. It takes individuals to create change and that’s what we’re seeing.”

Another community leader who brings energy to the group as both a resident and a local official, is Tomorrow Allen-Collins, general manager of the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building for the city’s Municipal Housing Authority. 

“I actually do it because this is my home,” she said of Niagara Falls. “This is place that shaped me, and I kind of like who I am.”

“It’s very simple, she added.”If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”

“I actually do it because this is my home,” she said of Niagara Falls. “This is place that shaped me, and I kind of like who I am.”

“It’s very simple, she added.”If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”

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