Through its Levesque Institute for Civic Engagement, Niagara University is committed to the revitalization of the city of Niagara Falls and the Western New York region.
The organizational structure of the Levesque Institute has established four pillars to meet the critical needs of Niagara Falls and the greater community. Within each pillar, programs and projects are designed with measurable outcomes that seek to bring systemic change in each of the four pillars. The Levesque Institute seeks to serve as a convener for models of collective impact addressing community needs with community partners. This model of collective impact will be encouraged through a systems thinking for social change approach.
The social emotional, cognitive and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development. The Levesque Institute understands the need to invest in young children in order to maximize their future and overall well-being.
Within this pillar lies an assortment of community needs that the Levesque Institute seeks to assist residents and community organizations in the areas of: career and college readiness, civic engagement, family literacy, and workforce preparation.
Health & Wellness
With a high rate of poverty and unemployment, Niagara Falls families and children face many public health issues that create a variety of concerns in the city. Some of the issues plaguing residents are access to food and nutrition, health and wellness programs, environmental issues, and lack of transportation.
Niagara Falls is a food desert, meaning residents in the poorest areas of the city do not have easy access to healthy, affordable meals. Without healthy food options within walking distance, residents often turn to less healthy food options.
In Niagara Falls, about 20 percent of homes stand vacant, and only 56 percent of Niagara Falls residents are homeowners. The Levesque Institute, in partnership with the city of Niagara Falls, a number of city and community organizations, is committed to the rehabilitation of neighborhoods and encouraging new housing as a vital component to the revitalization of Niagara Falls.