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What's Next? | Producers Picks: Todd Vaarwerk, Ben Hilligas, and Christine Carr-Barmasse

On this week’s Producers Picks, we revisit some stand out conversations from the last few episodes from our show’s prior iteration - Buffalo, What’s Next? We hear conversations from Todd Vaarwerk, the Chief Policy Officer for Western New York Independent Living, Ben Hilligas, the Executive Director for Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center, and Christine Carr-Barmasse, Executive director of Mission: Ignite.

Latest Episodes
  • On today's episode, a wide-ranging conversation with Jennifer Rizzo-Choi, Executive Director of the International Institute of Buffalo. A trained immigration attorney, she now leads the Institute in assisting new people to the region and communicating the realities of life as a refugee. Jennifer Rizzo-Choi dispels the myths and perceptions regarding refugees and asylum seekers and discusses the extensive work conducted by the International Institute of Buffalo.
  • Today on What’s Next? Thomas O’Neil-White is joined by returning guest Advocate/Consultant/Educator Wil Green. The two catch up since his last appearance as he is now the Director of Outreach and Community Engagement at the University of Buffalo Graduate School of Education. They also discuss Tremani Solutions, LLC an Educational Consulting Company that focuses on building Cultural and Racial Literacy and addressing Cultural and Racial conflicts that happen in schools.
  • Today on What’s Next?, Jay Moran sits with the Executive Director of the “Near East and West Side Task Force” Francesca Mesiah and Task Force member Dior Lindsey. Formed in 2006, the Task Force's mission is to be a collaborative group of community partners, who through advocacy, promote the well-being and self-sufficiency of racial and ethnic communities in Buffalo. The three will discuss the history of the task force, the impact it’s had, and what the future looks like for these communities.
  • On What’s Next? we are joined by Native American Support Title VI Coordinator Stacey Purpera, Jordan Cooke, and Dr. Berner-Wallen from Lakeshore High School to discuss with Jay Moran, Native American Heritage Month, the importance of the Indigenous community, honoring the diverse cultures, traditions and histories.
  • Today, on What’s Next? we examine Buffalo Toronto Public Media's documentary The Niagara Movement: the Early Battle for Civil Rights.
  • On this week’s Producers' Picks, we revisit three stand-out conversations from the last few episodes of What’s Next? First off, we hear from Executive Director at Literacy NY Tara Schafer and Interim Executive Director at Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center Brittany Tranello. Then we continue with a tour around Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve with Environmental Educator Marcus Rosten and another tour in the new Buffalo AKG Art Museum with the Director Janne Siren.
  • On today’s “What’s Next?” Thomas O’Neil-White discusses black nerds with returning guest LaGarrett King who brings with him Black History Educator, Researcher and author of the newly released Beyond February Dawnavyn James to discuss everything Black History.
  • On today’s “What’s Next” we are joined by Wayne Brown. A clinical social worker and advocate who is focused on patients facing complex challenges, including addiction, positive parenting and curbing corporal punishment in parents, and the issues of self-harm and suicide.
  • Thomas O’Neil-White is joined by Dorian Withrow Jr. The two discuss his books “Conversations You Need” and “Wisdom 45 Advice” and navigating hardship with philosophy.
  • On today’s What’s Next? We are joined by one of the 2023 Buffalo Black Achievers Buffalo Urban League Chief Operating Officer Melissa Archer.