Have you shared an opinion with others or on social media about the bad things we have to deal with living here? Or perhaps you’ve come to the defense of our CNY lifestyle? Believe in Syracuse (BIS) founder, John DeSantis created this organization to address this debate.
BIS was founded January, 2013 with one goal in mind: to promote a more positive perception and improve the greater Syracuse area. Through community programs and revitalization work, BIS has been shouting from the mountaintop all the great aspects of this area, but have they actually changed perspectives?
According to three-fourths of the respondents to a new survey on their work and perceptions of the city, DeSantis found the group’s events and messages have made people feel more positive. And he draws some direction from the respondents.
“To promote Syracuse as a great place to live. That was the number one response out of fifteen different options”, said DeSantis. “The second highest response was to retain and attract people to live in Syracuse…and promoting Syracuse neighborhoods…raising awareness about job opportunities. That validated a lot of our work, especially the social media and event work that we’ve done”.
He founded Believe in Syracuse after returning to the area and getting involved in the community.
“Having civic leaders tell me ‘how big of a challenge it is’…The cynicism and the negativity”, said DeSantis, “I realized my friends – a lot of them were negative about Syracuse. I realized they never got connected to the great things, great opportunities, fun things that there are to do here. And so that’s what made me start believing in Syracuse”.
The group is holding its 5th birthday party Friday night at the Landmark Theatre. There will be 70-80 businesses – many with job openings- and samples of local food, desert, and beverages as well as a live musical performance by Joe Driscoll. Through this celebration and other events, DeSantis really just wants to shed some light.
“It’s not just changing perceptions. It’s also – if folks are aware of the opportunities that are here… if they’re able to be aware of job openings and have employment, if they’re aware of parks, and events, and fun things to do here, it enriches the quality of life”, said DeSantis.
And if people focus on that quality of life, more might stay or move to the area DeSantis says is on its way back from the downturns of the 80s and 90s.
Tickets and information for the Believe in Syracuse Birthday are at believeinsyracuse.org .