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Oswaldo Mestre Jr

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Oswaldo Mestre Jr. is the Director of the Division of Citizen Services for the City of Buffalo and serves as the Cityâ??s ombudsman. Appointed by Mayor Byron W. Brown on January 2006, Director Mestre has been tasked with the administration of the Mayorâ??s Call and Resolution Center, (formerly known as the Complaint Hotline) and various special programs designed to address the needs of Buffaloâ??s neighborhoods, such as the implementation of the new 311 call center. Additionally, he has been charged with the ongoing development, implementation and assessment of neighborhood revitalization programs: The Office of Citizen Participation and Information, the Mayorâ??s Citizensâ?? Participation Academy, the Save Our Streets Program, Clean Sweeps Initiative, The Mayorâ??s Quick Response Teams, Buffalo Weed and Seed, Office of Fair Housing, and the Office of Support Services. Director Mestre played a critical role in directing the Cityâ??s recovery efforts during the 2006 â??October Surprise Stormâ?, converting the Mayorâ??s Call & Resolution Center into a 24-hour call center operation, aiding in the efforts to restore normalcy for the city that lost over 80% of its power.

As former director of the Buffalo Weed and Seed program, Mr. Mestre was instrumental in establishing the Buffalo program to be one of only eight Weed and Seed programs in the nation to establish an effective gun abatement program. The program was recognized in a U.S. Department of Justice publication, "Promising Strategies to Reduce Gun Violence" and highlighted in Department of Justiceâ??s, Executive Office of Weed and Seed (EOWS), In-Sights magazine, February 2002. The program was also chosen as one of five sites to receive Department of Justice, EOWS â??Law Enforcement Coordination Awardâ? for its Project Exile Program, aimed at eliminating gun violence in the community.

Mr. Mestre is Chairperson of Buffaloâ??s Workforce Investment Board (WIB)/Youth Council and a member on the Board of Directors of C.R.U.C.I.A.L Community Center, Inc., a human services agency. As a C.R.U.C.I.A.L board member he has helped develop, implement, and evaluate outreach and recruitment activities for challenged youth and adult residents in the City of Buffalo. His efforts have resulted in the implementation of effective youth empowerment programs. In April 2007, Mr. Mestre was awarded the Community Service Award by the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), Buffalo Chapter for his volunteer efforts in the Buffalo community. His dedication to ensuring that all members of the community, young and old, have their basic needs met is a result of his experiences while growing up in the â??heart of Spanish Harlemâ?, New York City and witnessing the shortcomings of poorly funded, and poorly managed human service agencies. Mr. Mestre is a product of public school education, after-school programs, and the love that came from a single motherâ??s belief in Godâ??s ability to sustain her and her three children. He brings humility, determination and a â??go-getterâ? attitude to ensure improved services and compassionate care giving in all of his personal and professional endeavors. He believes the path to excellence is paved by the specific examples that Christ has shown us all.

Mr. Mestre also believes that along with influence, comes the responsibility to open doors for those less fortunate. Mr. Mestre received his undergraduate education from the University of Buffalo, through the Equal Opportunity Program (EOP). His major area of study was Architecture and Public Policy & Administration. Today, he sits on a committee of the John R. O'Shei Foundation, an organization that awards full, four-year scholarships to economically disadvantaged youth who wish to attend one of the areaâ??s private high schools. Mr. Mestre also helped facilitate an AmeriCorps/VISTA program in Buffalo which offers post-secondary scholarships of $4,725 to those that are interested in serving their community.
Mr. Mestreâ??s sincere dedication to improving the City and his ability to effectively implement change has been honed by his participation in the Leadership Buffalo Program, Class of 1997, and its advanced graduate Leadership Buffalo class, November 2001. He currently serves on the Valuesâ?? Committee for the organization, charged with ensuring that the four core values are reflected within the strategic vision and mission. Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) has selected Mr. Mestre to participate in itsâ?? annual Buffalo Citizens Academy. Mr. Mestre also coordinated and implemented a regional Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration funded by the Corporation for National Service, aimed at bringing different parts of the Community together to celebrate Dr. Kingâ??s legacy of promoting resolution through non-violence, as it relates to service learning, community service and, volunteerism on Buffaloâ??s East Side.

The spiritual strength needed to be an agent of such change comes from his relationship with God. Oswaldo Mestre believes that to whom much is given, much is required. He is a committed member of the Mt. Olive Baptist Church, pastored by Rev. William Gillison.

Mr. Mestre was named a Buffalo Ambassador in 1999, when he played a pivotal role in bringing the MADDADS (Men Against Destruction-Defending Against Drugs and Social Disorder) National Convention to Buffalo, New York. As a member of the MADDADS local chapter it was extremely important for him to bring this kind of audience to the city of Buffalo and he will continue to work to bring resources to the City of Buffalo. For three years, Mr. Mestre has partnered with a national foundation, Group Workcamps Foundation, Inc., to bring over 1,200 Christian youth to perform minor home repairs for senior citizens, disabled individuals, and low-to-moderate income homeowners.

In October 2005, Mr. Mestre was invited to attend the first-ever White House Conference on Helping Americaâ??s Youth as a guest and participant of First Lady, Laura Bush. The conference promoted public awareness of the various problems facing at-risk youth in our nation, and brought together policymakers, to share examples of what is already working to make a difference in the lives of young Americans, and to generate new ideas that can be used across the country. Helping Americaâ??s Youth is a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the challenges facing our youth, particularly at-risk boys, and to motivate caring adults to connect with youth in three key areas: family, school, and community. Mr. Mestre was granted funds by Infinity Broadcasting Corporation - 93.7 WBLK to create a youth developmental mentoring program called â??Donald M. Dade Learning through Service Initiativeâ? on behalf of his late friend and mentor. Over the next ten years until his timely death in 2001, Mr. Dade was instrumental in establishing numerous programs to improve the quality of life in the Genesee-Moselle neighborhood of Buffalo, while spearheading a major campaign to convert former Public School 62 into a new community center for local residents. Dadeâ??s last duty of service called him to steer the helm of CRUCIAL Human Services in 1991. Community leader and visionary, Dade was a World War II veteran who committed his life to creating safe, drug free streets in for Buffalo. Privileged to be in Dadeâ??s tutelage, Mr. Mestre believed that it was important to keep Dadeâ??s legacy of service alive within the community.

With all that time accounted for, Mr. Mestre still finds time to be a Big Brother/mentor for two young boys that were legally free for adoption. In the future with Godâ??s help and the many Saints that continue to carry him in this community, Mr. Mestre will continue to work toward improving the quality of life of City of Buffalo residents and those who are in need via his involvement in various personal and professional endeavors within the community.