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Believe in Syracuse looks ahead after two years of community bolstering

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A central New York organization that tries to poke a cynical Syracuse mindset into something more positive is now two years old. The founder of the group Believe in Syracuse says they’ll be getting their message across in more ways as they continue to grow.


John DeSantis started the group two years ago when he found himself continuously watching friends leave central New York after graduating from college.

“So many of them felt like, 'Well, there’s nothing to do in Syracuse.' 'Well, there’s no jobs here, all there is is basketball and snow.' And that’s the perception we’re trying to change,” DeSantis said.

With that purpose in mind, the group has sponsored networking gatherings around town to showcase some of the neighborhoods people may not know about.

DeSantis says this year they’ll expand on this concept with a neighborhood program, to highlight areas of the city; a community services program that will focus on education; and a pro-Syracuse committee, to try to retain and attract more people to Syracuse.

Much of the negative attitude about the region, DeSantis says, lies in the ruins of manufacturers like Carrier and Syracuse China, which once defined the community.

"So many manufacturing jobs went overseas... and so there was that. And there's the cold and the snow. And those things aren't necessarily easy to overcome. But we are overcoming them. We are adapting and changing," he says.

DeSantis says just making people aware of things around them can go a long way towards fostering a more positive attitude about the area.

"I think what a lot of people don’t get is get outside of their bubble," DeSantis said. "They don’t go downtown. They don’t go to Tipperary Hill. They don’t go and see many of the things we have in our community.”

John DeSantis, founder of Believe in Syracuse.