March//April 2023 Buffalo HOME Magazine

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Oh Happy Day | Green Living MARCH//APRIL 2023 We Only Get One Planet After All. DIY and Giving back to our one planet with HAUS2HOME Williamsville Neighborhood spotlight
Sweet Story
Sweet Buffalo Brianna was blessed to receive a kidney transplant in 2015 but she’s back to square one
Design for Life Meet Dionne Williamson and her team as they make Buffalo houses feel like homes MERCEDES-BENZ OF BUFFALO Family-Oriented Business Committed to Sustainability and the Buffalo Community pg. 6 back cover get OUTDOOR READY WITH BUSCAGLIA DECKS & POWERED PERGOLAS
4 THEHOMEPUBLICATIONS.COM | Buffalo + Home buffalo + rochester MAGAZINE For more details Like us on Facebook or visit or JOIN US FOR AN EVENING OF Signature cocktails, craft beer, handcrafted appetizers, silent auction, music and more at the Farmer’s Creekside Tavern & Inn’s beautiful three level waterfront property! All are welcome!


on the cover

6 • Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo

Bob LaMastra and Brooke Arber share how their family-owned business is committed to sustainability and the community features

9 • From the Artists’ Desk

10 • Neighborhood Spotlight: Williamsville, NY

26 • Sweet Story from Sweet Buffalo

Local woman in need of kidney donor to save her life

oh happy day pg. 16

18 • Eat Dessert First


• Sustainable Celebration Swaps

green living pg. 30

32 • We Only Get One Planet After All.

Buffalo native, Jackie Hausler shares how her home and DIYs help the planet

for the home pg. 37

39 • UPward Design for Life

How Dionne Williamson is transforming lives

46 • RV & Camper Buyers’ Guide


bash . . .
Tuesday, June
Genesee Valley Publications, Inc. will make every effort to see that all advertising copy, which is neatly presented, is correctly printed. We will not be responsible for print quality of any advertising not created by Genesee Valley Publications, Inc. personnel. We take no responsibility for statements or claims made in any advertisement. We reserve the right to refuse any and/or all advertising.

Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo is a family-focused business under the helm of Bob LaMastra. He credits the dealership’s 90-year success to focusing on only one line of vehicles, developing strong mul�-genera�onal customer connec�ons, and adap�ng to changing �mes. MBB does not have a onesize-fits-all approach to sales, he says, but instead tailors business to each customer’s specific needs. This dealership has been Mercedes-Benz since 1965, making it one of the oldest MB dealers in the US.

Bob’s uncle started the dealership before World War II, converted it to a machine and screw factory to stay afloat during the war, and then converted it back to a car dealership. Bob’s father and brothers took over in 1973 and then passed the business down to Bob in 1996. Bob’s children and one of his partner’s sons currently work for the dealership in different management posi�ons, and Bob said customers feel the family atmosphere as they enter the showroom.

The company is a big family, celebra�ng birthdays, anniversaries, accomplishments, and awards every month. LaMastra says his favorite part of owning this business is seeing the employees grow and develop themselves, have families of their own, and enjoy life. Brooke Arber, General Manager, agrees that the �ght-knit employee base sets MBB apart from other businesses. She says, “Many of us started our careers here in introductory posi�ons, in many cases part-�me while in high school or college. As the dealership has grown and expanded, many people have

stayed with us, taking on new roles and responsibili�es, and today make up a core group of employees that focus every day on growing rela�onships built with our customers and each other.”

LaMastra says, Key to success through the years has been adap�ng to the changing needs of customers and economic demands. When WWII forced an economic change across the na�on, MBB shi�ed to make military aircra� parts and so were able to maintain the business and its employees. The business transi�oned from the unpopular but successful diesel line from LaMastra’s early days, and survived the Great Recession of the late 2000s, along with the pandemic. As �mes change, so does Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo. They are commi�ed to serving their customers and keeping the dealership a family-focused business that will survive challenges.

Let’s Go, Buffalo!

LaMastra says Buffalo is the “biggest small town ever,” with a close-knit community in which everyone knows everyone. Every Friday during football season, staff wear Buffalo gear and bring in non-perishable dona�ons to FeedMore WNY. They rejoice when the local hockey team and football team win, and they mourn losses.

Arber adds, “Just like the rest of our wonderful community, we are Buffalo! Most of us have spent our whole lives in Buffalo, our families live here, and we are raising our children here. Our community is important to us.” MBB focuses charitable giving on mostly local causes, such as school programs, children’s sports teams, and community outreach programs. Na�onally, Mercedes-Benz has a long-standing partnership with the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund, dona�ng to the fund for every new Mercedes-Benz sold in the U.S.

L to R: Brooke Arber, Joe LaMastra, Paul Schiavone, Bob LaMastra, Ma� Schiavone

Sustainability and Electric Vehicles

Mercedes-Benz as a corpora�on is commi�ed to dealing with the challenge of climate change by increasing sustainability, an “opportunity to keep our planet worthy of habi�ng and to promote social progress and prosperity,” according to Ola Kallenius, chairman of MB’s board of management.

Sustainability is not only about products, though, and Mercedes has invested $50 billion to expand green infrastructure to support the expanding electric line of vehicles. Governments, energy suppliers, and vehicle manufacturers must work together to achieve such expanded electromobility.

LaMastra says the European market is ahead of America in sustainability and green energy, but America will get there. He says, “We have to get more infrastructure in place first.”

Mercedes me Charge is one of the world’s largest charging networks and aims to con�nue to add addi�onal markets and charging sta�on operators to further expand the network. MB also increasingly uses its own systems and buildings to generate sustainable electricity from solar power.

In Ambi�on 2039, Mercedes-Benz commi�ed to be 100% electric vehicle ready by the end of the decade, with company-wide carbon neutrality with all emissionfree, so�ware-driven vehicles by 2039. However, they also realize consumers need to commit to electrifica�on for it to succeed.

Arber says, “Mercedes-Benz is a globally recognized brand and organiza�on that wants to be a leader and innovator in sustainability just as they have been in design and engineering.” Arber admits there is much to learn about electric vehicles and there are lots of unknowns, ques�ons, and much work s�ll to be done to make it viable and sustainable for the en�re country. But, she says, “We owe it to our children, future genera�ons, and the earth’s inhabitants as a whole to do our best to protect it.”

What did you want to be when you were a child?

My father was a dentist, so at first I wanted to do that, but he always brought me to the dealership because he was part-owner at the time. So I would say I always had a thing for the car business.

Brooke: Secretly I still want to be an interior designer.

Q. What inspires you?

Bob: When I see young people growing and developing and starting a family, that inspires me.

Brooke: So many things. My family, my close circle of girlfriends, reading amazing stories, and looking at how artists and designers can take a blank canvas or room and turn them into something stunning.

Q. What superpower would you choose for yourself?

Bob: Being able to manipulate people’s minds to think what I think, like in Star Wars.

Brooke: Ability to remember everything.

Q. What advice would you give to yourself at age 15?

Bob: I used to have a good time – I made it harder on myself – so I would say work a little harder in school.

Brooke: It doesn’t really matter what other people think about you. I might still be telling myself that. I am hoping by 50 I will own it.

Q. What’s your favorite family recipe?

Focus around Buffalo has been ge�ng charging sta�ons up and running. According to ChargeHub, Buffalo now has 181 level 2 and 3 public charging sta�on ports, almost half of which are free for consumer use. Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo has two level 3 fast chargers and three level 2 dual-port chargers available to consumers at their dealership. Arber says, “Mercedes-Benz chose to use a standard charger configura�on so most EV brands can use our chargers without adapta�on. We are on the ChargePoint network, where EV consumers can find us through their app.”

LaMastra says people tend to be a bit resistant to change, and his experience tells him it’s going to take a bit of �me for the general popula�on to fully accept electric vehicles. He says his customers o�en try out electric vehicles as supplementary vehicles, dipping their toes in the EV water first. However, customers he wouldn’t have predicted would purchase fully-electric vehicles have purchased them, so he is op�mis�c about the EV direc�on.

Later this year, join the family-oriented Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo as they celebrate and showcase the electric vehicle op�ons MB has to offer with an electric ride and drive in conjunc�on with celebra�ng their 90 year anniversary. It will be a “where we were and where we are now” sort of event, Arber says.

Bob: Being Italian, I make my own sauce, using my grandmother’s recipe that she brought over. I even have it still on the same paper she wrote it on 40 years ago.

Brooke: I make Welsh pasties for my father.That is his favorite and something he had as a child. For my family, I love making a pot of chili with all the fixings.

Q. What is your go to drink of choice?

Bob: I’m a big water drinker, but if I’m out to dinner, I’ll have wine, a pinot noir; if I’m entertaining, it’d be beer.

Brooke: My husband makes the best Old Fashioned!

Q. What is your favorite spot in Buffalo?

Bob: I like to go to the waterfront, have dinner and sit out.

Brooke: Home! Runner-up...Shango.


Spring is back and it’s perfect for plans and projects! Whether that’s spending time in the sun after a dreary winter or tackling your spring cleaning list at Home we have you covered. It’s time to get out and about again, and one of our favorite destinations is right in our own backyard! The historic village of Williamsville has everything to offer from shopping to a spa visit, perfect for a day trip, and keep an ear out for their Music on Main every Thursday throughout the summer!

Feeling thrifty or keen on going green? @Haus2Home’s Jackie Hausler is inspiring with her DIY projects putting a spin on recycle, reuse, and renew. Celebrating their 90th year, Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo is also committed to sustainability and the Buffalo Community. Invested in green infrastructure, keep your eyes peeled for more and more charging stations for electric vehicles popping up!

At Home we love to enlighten and inspire. Focused on furnishing homes and transforming lives for those in need, UPward Design for Life is doing just that. Restoring hope with gently used furniture and other household goods, Executive Director Dionne Williamson’s team is boosting morale across the region. Sweet Buffalo 716 is also back with another sweet story, and a local Buffalo woman needs your help!

Oh Happy Day indeed – If you’re looking to indulge in celebrations without spending a few too many pretty pennies, consider some sustainable swaps! Eco-friendly décor and vendors can be a great way to make your day memorable and give you some peace of mind. This is the season to refresh and revitalize with some green grass and greener living. Here at Home we wish you the best of everything spring has to offer!

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Throwing a celebration like a wedding or a birthday party is a great way to show your guests who you truly are. So why not make the little details unique and special to you? There are so many different aspects that go into these events and sometimes the details fall through the cracks. Putting a bit of thought and care into your party planning will give your guests something special to remember, especially if it’s something they’ve never seen before!

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that everyone loves a good dessert! While a traditional cake or cupcakes are always a hit, out-of-the-box ideas are becoming more and more popular. The dessert table at your gathering can be such a nice way to get creative and satisfy your guests’ sweet tooth at the end of an unforgettable celebration. If you’re having an outdoor get-together, a fun idea is to set up a build-your-own s’mores bar. Not only does everyone love a good s’more, but the act of grabbing all your favorite toppings and standing around the fire together is a great way for guests to commune and enjoy the desserts together! There’s also something incredibly nostalgic about roasting s’mores that warms the heart and the tummy.

Create a donut wall! Sometimes dessert tables can blend in with the traditional layout of a wedding reception or party, but a standing wall with donuts hanging from it? That will surely catch the eye! If you’re looking to keep your sweets more traditional but want to make it unique, display the desserts in a different way to make them a masterpiece on their own. Using different colors and textures that complement your big event ties everything together in a beautifully artistic way. Instead of having everything set out on cake trays all the same height, use objects that give your dessert table more depth, like wooden crates, cutting boards, or boxes propped open to showcase your sweets!

If you think your guests are more interested in sticking to a liquid diet, why not offer dessert cocktails? Shop


antique furniture stores to find rustic or vintagelooking bar carts. Have your bartender make a batch of espresso martinis or Irish coffees to set out on the carts for guests to grab. Another creative option would be a spin on the classic milk and cookies. Set out some shot glasses filled with Baileys and place a miniature chocolate chip cookie on top. This is the perfect quick little pick-me-up that guests may need before running back out to the dance floor.

The dessert table isn’t the only display people will turn to at your celebration. Having a guest book is such a sweet way to have loved ones leave their mark on your gathering, but having a traditional book to sign their name in becomes more like a chore to accomplish rather than a fun way to share memories with you. Instead, perhaps make it a bit more interesting with a table set up with polaroid cameras and a scrapbook. That way, guests can take photos throughout the night and jot down memories you’ve made together or moments from the party that they’ll never forget.

If you’re searching to get a bit more creative, how about having guests sign a record of yours? If you and your loved ones bond over music, this is a very sweet and simple nod to that. There are so many cool ways to set up a record player display table that will surely encourage your guests to partake. Having a vinyl autographed by all your favorite people is something you’ll want to display for years instead of leaving it sitting in a storage bin after the big day is over.

If music isn’t your thing, but you love a good game night, then how about incorporating some sort of game into the festivity? Have partygoers sign individual Jenga blocks to create your own custom Jenga set with notes that you’ll be able to see every time you play the game! If you’re a corn hole lover, you could have guests sign the corn hole boxes so you discover a fun new memory every time you pull the game out to play.

There are numerous ways to make your celebration special and unforgettable. The most important thing is that you focus on things that you love and that make you happy. Guests will appreciate that so much thought went into the little details of your big day because those are the things that make it uniquely yours (even if that unique thing is eating dessert first!).

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Sustainable Celebration Swaps

Planning a big celebration or event can be such a crazy hectic time that sometimes we may forget how important it is to keep sustainability in mind. Being eco-friendly doesn’t have to make your big day more tedious. Here are some simple steps you can take to celebrate with friends and family while also having peace of mind that you did it in a way that won’t harm the environment! Whether you’re able to achieve everything on this list or just one thing, making an e�fort to be sustainable makes all the di�ference. Enjoy your big day knowing you did what you could to keep both your guests and the planet happy!


Your party’s décor can be a huge factor to keep in mind when making your event eco-friendly. Save money and reuse your bridesmaids’ bouquets as table centerpieces. Thri�ting plates and glassware is a fun way to make your event unique. Avoid anything that will just be thrown out at the end of the day. Ditch the balloon arch and opt for décor that can be recycled or reused.


Party favors can also be a big source of paper waste. If you want to give something to your guests at the end of your event, why not make it something that will positively impact the environment as well? Seed packets are a thoughtful gi�t that will provide guests with a growing memory of your special day!



One simple way to make an impact is in what you wear. Instead of buying suits or tuxedos, have the groom and groomsmen rent them. With this option you will still have high quality, but will most likely pay less and know that the suits will be reused by many more to come. It is also totally attainable to get a bridal gown secondhand these days. Not only are there local stores to search, but online options such as Poshmark and thredUP o�fer people selling beautiful pieces they have only worn once. You’ll feel good that you’re helping the environment and not breaking the bank at the same time!


If your big event is a wedding, one place to start is with the venue. Choose a venue that cares about its carbon footprint. Asking questions like whether they o�fer recycling bins on-site and with rentals is a great way to gauge where they stand from the start. Being thoughtful on which vendors you hire is also important. Another major factor when it comes to big celebrations is catering. Try to find a catering company that provides you and your guests local, ethically-sourced ingredients. Getting alcohol from local wineries and breweries also helps reduce the day’s carbon footprint. Ask your �lorist to shop locally and for seasonal �lowers. And try to suggest ride-sharing or provide transportation for guests to ride together and take fewer vehicles.



“Thank you to our friends at Basil Toyota & Basil Volkswagen for helping us in our mission to share stories that make a di�ference!”


Twenty-six-year-old Brianna Digiacomo of Hamburg has been battling polycystic kidney disease since she was born. She was blessed to receive her �irst kidney transplant from a loved one in 2015. She thought she could �inally move on with her life, but sadly, Digiacomo’s kidney began to reject just two shor� years later and she was back to square one. Now Digiacomo receives dialysis at least three to four times a week. Dialysis is a very rough treatment and makes her feel weak, but it’s the only thing keeping her alive. That’s why she’s in desperate need of a kidney donor before it’s too late. With tears in her eyes, she shared what she wishes she could do with her life if it weren’t for her poor health.

“I wish I was in school. I wish I was in my career already. All I’ve ever wanted was to give myself what I never had as a kid.” Digiacomo also wishes she could help other people and rescue dogs like her dogs Lilly and Bubba. “I’ve always wanted to star� my own rescue to help dogs,” she said.

Luckily Digiacomo has an amazing suppor� system. Her boyfriend, Brandon, has been by her side for the past few years. “I don’t think I would have made it this far without him. He drives me to my appointments, helps me �inancially when I need it, calls the doctor when I’m not feeling well...he has really stepped up to the plate. It’s supposed to be the best time of our lives right now. We are just trying to make it through.”

Brianna’s friends reached out to Sweet Bu�falo for help in spreading the word. “Although we are so happy that Brianna has been accepted onto the transplant waitlist, this can be an extensive process and wait for donors. If you or anyone you know is willing to be a donor for my lovely friend Brianna, please let us know,” said Nick Spino, Brianna’s friend.

Blood type O+ or O- is needed. You can call ECMC at 716-898-5001.

You can submit more acts of kindness to SweetBu� and watch us on Monday nights on WIVB Channel 4 News at 7pm.

26 THEHOMEPUBLICATIONS.COM | Buffalo For more “Just Great Feels!” stories visit: SWEETBUFFALO716.COM FB + IG @SweetBuffalo716 TikTok @SweetBuffaloToTheRescue

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We only get one planet after all.

Can you imagine a community or world where green living, eco-friendly practices, and sustainability were a priority for our families, our communities, and the whole planet?

Meet Buffalo native Jackie Hausler, who shares these values and ideals, not only with her family, but with our community. Jackie’s blog,, and social media (@haus2home), shows her DIY projects all focused on caring for the Earth and those who inhabit it. Some of these projects show how to take what might be considered trash and make it a treasure, and she aims to educate and empower others to do the same.

Jackie also aims to share her love for the environment by sharing ideas to recycle, reuse, and renew as much as possible. Her own family’s example is to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, not buying everything new, fixing anything that can be repaired, bringing older items back to life, and using glass instead of plastic whenever possible.


It’s all about taking what you already have and using it to your advantage. I try putting together spaces by using original items as inspiration as much as possible.


places to explore as our playground and should respect nature so its beauty is available for all future generations to enjoy.”

Jackie wants to empower others to do DIY projects. Focusing on the fact that everyone can do it, she says that with time and patience, we can all have beautiful, affordable spaces to live in. She enjoys transforming homes in need of renovation or restoration and bringing

them back to life. In 2021, Jackie designed the Family Justice Center’s new Grand Island location, during a complete renovation of an older home owned by a church to serve those seeking safety in that area. She is currently working on an 1980s home intentionally room by room, creating new spaces while incorporating some original items. She says, “It’s all about taking what you already have and using it to your advantage. I try putting together spaces by using original items as inspiration as much as possible. In one bathroom, [for example,] we kept the original vanity, counter, and original sink fixture and worked around it instead of buying new.” Her next project will be the office, removing old wallpaper and painting while keeping all the original wood bookcases and flooring.

Jackie has a welcoming, genuine approach to what she does. She incorporates family life into her projects and believes that beautiful things can be done on a budget. Her Instagram will show exactly that along with a glimpse of family life, simple pleasures, celebrations, home décor ideas, boat rides, family fun, little ones’ delights (ice cream, of course!), volunteering with a passion, and reflections and memories, all with a sense of gratitude that encompasses the whole picture. She truly wants to make a difference, not only for her


own family and community, but for you and the wider world.

In the current world, where change, isolation, impatience, overuse of our resources, disconnections, and general stress exist, Jackie offers a chance to pause. She encourages us to look at how we work together as individuals, families, groups, and communities, and consider how we live and maintain our daily routines.

Do we really need to toss that old chest, holding so many memories, and buy a new one? Maybe instead make it a fun project, creating a new look.

Do we always have go out for the new to be entertained? Maybe we could instead walk in the woods or be by the water to appreciate the beauty of nature now and then.

Education is a big part of Jackie’s message. Instead of throwing something in the garbage, she urges others to consider donating, fixing broken items, or reusing items again for a different purpose. “Someone’s ‘trash’ can truly become another’s treasure.”

“My hope is that I can continue to inspire others to think more about how we can be helpers to the Earth. I’ll continue to educate others about sustainability and eco-friendly lifestyles while showing people how to make their haus (house) a home as long as I’m able. I hope readers will follow along me in my journey at” She would like to continue to educate people about how they can be kind to the planet in big and small ways. “I think it’s important that we all do our part. We only get one planet, after all.”

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- Since 2018 -

furnishing homes & transforming lives for those in need with executive director, D

“Home. It is where we start and end our day. It should be a safe haven. It should contain the essential items that help us live comfortably. Doesn’t everyone deserve a bed on which to rest? What about a sofa to relax on after a long day or a dining table to gather as a family, to share a meal and talk about their day? It should offer an environment in which special memories are created. It should feel like HOME.”

ne W
n of U
ward Design for Life

UPward Design for Life furnishes homes and transforms lives, helping restore hope, dignity, and independence to those in need in Erie and Niagara Counties.

Executive Director, Dionne Williamson founded the organization in 2017 because she wanted to use her design and organizational talents to serve a purpose greater than herself. She originally started an interior design business, but it ended before it really got off the ground, because she knew the people who would most benefit from her service could not afford it.

When a friend told her about an organization in Detroit furnishing homes for those in need, Williamson knew immediately that was her calling. She reached out to see if the organization would bring the concept to Buffalo, but since no one responded, she sat on the idea for three years before starting the non-profit herself. UPward Design is the only organization in Western NY that specializes in furnishing homes for these families and individuals.

Williamson says UPward Design restores hope by transforming empty spaces into homes. They serve domestic violence survivors, refugees, people transitioning from shelters, young adults aging out of foster care, and other individuals and families in need. They work with clients referred by nearly thirty local human services organizations.

Many partner agencies help clients find housing, but when the client moves in, Williamson says they’re usually on their own to furnish the space, which causes additional stress on families with little or no income. That’s where UPward Design comes in. Since its inception, UPward Design has furnished over 76 homes, with 86% of the families served having female heads of household.

UPward Design encourages the community to donate their gently used furnishings, which then help create safe and comfortable spaces for those looking to make a fresh start. Williamson says, “When we see the relief on a parent’s face and joy on the faces of their children when they see their newly furnished bedrooms, that’s when we know the project is successful. Families are no longer sleeping on the floor.”

Repurposing and reusing are at the heart of UPward Design’s furniture installation projects. 95% of items used to furnish homes for families come from generous community donors. The incredible gently used furniture, décor, small kitchen appliances, etc. are in fantastic shape; donors simply no longer need or want them. Donations stay out of the trash, which makes the venture also good for the environment.

Williamson says they take great pride in respecting donations, ensuring they get used for their intended purpose. Because of limited storage spaces, they primarily take items requiring little or no refurbishing so they can go into the homes of families as quickly as possible. However, when they occasionally take items that need a little refurbishing love, their skilled volunteers sand, repaint, or reupholster them to bring new life and beauty. Donors sometimes purchase new items, and mattresses and bed pillows are always brand new and in original packaging. They maintain an online list of items they can and cannot accept.

UPward Design is guided by a dedicated Board of Directors who give so much of their time and energy to advance the organization. Volunteers help pick up, accept, organize, and move furniture into the homes of those who need help and love. Their referring partner agencies provide clients working to rebuild their lives. Donors make it possible to provide clients with the beautiful furnishings that help transform empty spaces into homes.

“We are woven together like a beautiful quilt, and together we’re able to restore hope, dignity and independence to so many families.”

- dione williamson

| Buffalo

“Thank you for your generous gifts to a family of three enrolled in our DV Rapid Rehousing Program from Hispanos Unidos De Buffalo. You went above and beyond of what a donation looks like. It was an amazing experience watching the look on the face of our client. You fully furnished the place and made it look like something out of a magazine. The attention to detail gives these families hope and assurance that their existence has meaning.”

UPward Design will host its 2nd Annual UPlift Design Challenge and Fundraiser in September! In this initiative, three local companies each furnish a home for a family in need using furnishings from UPward Design’s donation inventory. This furnishing takes place during the summer months, captured by a videographer. UPward Design shares the finished video with the public in September, and the community votes for their favorite design team project. The UPlift Design Challenge Awards Event is a private event in September to celebrate the lives changed through the design challenge projects, to celebrate the corporate sponsors, and to announce the winners of the challenge! Check out the video of last year’s design challenge on the event page of UPward Design’s website.

UPward Design has created a new Corporate Team Building program! This is another wonderful opportunity for companies and colleagues to build trust and boost morale by making an immediate impact on the lives of individuals and families making a fresh start in life. Corporate teams conduct home visits with clients, work together to pick out furnishings and other items to meet the needs of each family, and move those furnishings into the empty spaces to create a comfortable and safe home. This is team-building and community service at its best, and this program helps further UPward Design’s work in the community.

It’s easy to support the mission of UPward Design! Anyone can donate gently used furniture and other household items; volunteer your time and special skills to help advance the mission; provide a financial gift to ensure the organization can continue to offset costs; and share with others about the work done in the community.



Q&A with Dionne

What did you want to be when you were a child? An architect.

What inspires you? Good deeds.

What superpower would you choose for yourself? To fly.

What advice would you give to yourself at age 15? Love yourself exactly as you are.

What’s your favorite family recipe? My mother’s Buttermilk Pie.

How many pairs of shoes do you own? 24.

What is your favorite spot in Buffalo? Anywhere along our beautiful lake.

What is your go to drink of choice? Healthy – kale/blueberry/banana smoothie; Tea - green tea; Alcohol – margarita.



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Arecreational vehicle, also known as an RV or a camper, can be a worthwhile investment for people who want to travel at their leisure. RVs offer the benefit of traversing the open road without having to sacrifice the comforts of home.

The RV market has been hot over the last couple of years as people have looked to RVing as a safe way to travel. According to the RV Industry Association, shipments of travel trailers and motorhomes were expected to hit their highest level on record in 2021, with more than 533,000 units sold by year-end.

Sizable purchases are seldom easy, and purchasing an RV is no exception. In addition to choosing the right vehicle,

RV owners must learn maintenance, how to drive a large vehicle, towing, and campsite etiquette. Buying an RV is a long-term investment. These pointers can help the purchase go smoothly.

New or used?

Purchasing a used RV can help people save money. However, upgrades and repairs may be costly. New RVs have the latest technology and no risk of prior wear and tear. Insurance premiums will be higher for a new vehicle, and a new purchase can be expensive depending on the features chosen.

features and size

Take a hard look at what you are seeking in a camper. Do you want something that is just an alternative to tent


buyers’ Guide RV camper

camping? Are you interested in an RV that can sleep a crowd? Do you have a tow hitch and a vehicle capable of towing an RV? These questions and more will determine the style and size of the RV that’s right for you. Class A RVs are large, bus-shaped rigs between 20 and 45 feet in length. Class B are sleeper vans and are smaller than Class A. Class C rigs offer size but driveability and are built into a regular truck chassis. For trailer-style RVs, the options are foldable trailers, travel trailers, toy haulers, and fifth wheel trailers. They vary in size and features; but you’ll need a truck to tow them.

Usage frequency

When considering an RV, think about how often it will be used and where it will be stored when not in use. Garage storage may be challenging on a larger rig, and

some housing communities frown upon parking RVs in driveways. This may affect the size you choose as well as the features you need, according to KOA, the RV camp site leader.

Secure financing

As with other vehicles, shop around for the best rates on financing; you don’t necessarily need to go with the dealer. Also, when buying a trade-in or used rig, hire a third-party inspector to go over systems to ensure they’re in working order.

These are just a few things to consider when looking to purchase an RV. Buyers should do their homework to get a vacation vehicle that fits their needs and budgets.

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