BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Those traveling along to Larkin Square may notice some familiar faces.

On Monday, Lafayette International High School seniors got a chance to highlight a variety of local small businesses. As part of their senior English capstone, students researched the local business of their choice, to learn what it takes to turn their dreams into reality, and how these businesses impact the community.

“We are showing the hard work to people and learning from them,” said senior Wael Abdulma. “From how to open a business and to see what they are doing, and to do the same as they’re doing to help the community and make Buffalo a better place to live.”

More than 45 small, local businesses were involved in the project, ranging from student’s family’s businesses to local franchises.

The mural displays the faces behind the Agents of Change project — from the students involved, to the business owners themselves.

“You can have voice through art, that it’s not just the classroom that our work can be seen in the community.” said English teacher Melissa Meola Shanahan. “To be really a change agent to know that what you do matters to our community and that’s the point of this project.”

Sadia Usmia, a senior who plans to attend the University of Buffalo for pharmacy, said the skills she learned through this project will help her in the future.

“It’s been really helpful,” Usmia said. “I am hoping to have my own pharmacy in the future.”

The mural is just part of the student’s showcase project. Agents of Change allows students to collaborate with Just Buffalo Literary Center and Torn Space, presenting the interviews with each business this Saturday at the Torn Space Theater. To reserve a spot at this performance, go to Torn Space Theater’s website.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.