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An immigrant determined to make a difference

   Delores Powell got much more than she bargained for when she purchased her Massachusetts Avenue home … and not all of was good.

   When the family moved in September 2004, there was a big hole in one of the floors of the two-story home. There was no heat because the boiler was busted and the pipes were lined with asbestos. The sewer system backed up -- the last time was in January.

   The gas company informed her there were no gas lines to the house. So she had some installed.

   And all that work was just part of the repairs that had to be done on her home to make it habitable for herself, a single mother with four of her children living with her and attending Buffalo Public Schools.

   In addition, many of the properties around her were vacant and struggling, too. Some had to be demolished. Others are on the list to be demolished. Many are neglected and contribute to neighborhood blight.

   Still, Powell, a Jamaican immigrant who came to the United States 20 years ago, is determined to make a home here for her family. And while progress has made, much more remains to be done. Through it all, she keeps her determination and optimism.

   "Leaving Jamaica and coming to America was really wonderful. It is a privilege," she said. "Everyone wants to come here for a whole lot more opportunities. It's a land of opportunity."

   Are there any Delores Powells in your neighborhood?

  -- Deidre Williams


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