Each year United Way of Blair County distributes campaign proceeds by awarding impact grants to support programs operated by 501 (C) (3) organizations that are making a positive impact in the lives of Blair county residents.
United Way of Blair County 2016-2017 Impact Grant Recipients:
After School Program - Gloria Gates Memorial Foundation
This program reaches children aged 5-12 from low-income families at Evergreen Manors, Fairview Hills, and Logan Hills. It operates each school day from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. The purpose of the program is to help children reach toward their full potential in life regardless of income. Children receive a healthy snack, complete homework or a learning activity, and take part in a variety of leisure and recreational activities.
This program creates/expands outcome-based mentoring opportunities in Blair County, which include Life Skill elements. A one-on-one youth mentoring program offered to the children of Blair County between the ages of 6 and 17 years, who primarily reside in single-parent or assigned to guardian families, have an incarcerated parent, or have a family history of substance abuse or domestic violence. Youth are provided with the opportunity to enhance their confidence and competence and to become caring individuals by providing them with a screened and trained adult mentor with whom they can do a variety of activities. Additionally, the agency provides monthly events and youth development activities, along with spring/fall Safety & Prevention programs to youth and their parent/guardian.
Camperships and Programming in Blair County - Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania
This program supports the efforts of area schools by providing learning environments and responding to the social, emotional, and academic needs of girls. Girls in grades K-12 will gain confidence in their academic abilities, increase their enjoyment of learning, lead healthier lives, and feel more empowered to set academic and career goals.
Healing Patch, A Program for Loss and Hope for Grieving Children and Their Families - Home Nursing Agency & Visiting Nurse Association
Home Nursing Agency Healing Patch provides a variety of free supportive bereavement and educational services. Targeting the needs of grieving children and families facing the difficult task of rebuilding their lives following the death of a loved one, the following services are currently provided in Blair County:
Peer Family Sessions Through the Healing Patch Center: Available to children of all ages (birth-18) who can benefit from and contribute to a peer support group facilitated by specially trained staff and volunteers. One parent/caregiver must enroll in the program along with the child(ren). The use of art, music, drama, discussion groups, and play are just some of the ways children may choose to express their feelings and share with peers who can understand and empathize with those feelings. By participating in peer support groups, participants find comfort and strength in doscovering that they are not alone and what they feel is normal.
In-School Services, Peer Support Groups: HP Staff co-facilitates 6-week in-school peer support groups alongside an identified school personnel (i.e. guidance counselor) for greiving children lacking access to supportive services. "Grief Education in the Classroom": HP staff and trained volunteers provide grief education and facilitate small group discussions to 8th grade students. The following topics are addressed: grief/loss; available resources within their school and community; how to initiate contact with available resources; and how to support a grieving peer. Additionally, "How Can You Help A Friend in Need?" posters are being distributed to local school districts for display, informing students how they could support a peer that may be grieving. Educational In-Services/Seminars: HP staff provides educational in-services to local school districts on grief and loss and other related topics.
Lending Library: Over 400 grief-related resources avaiable for use to anyone in the community.
The Youth Running Club was birthed from the desire to offer a free, after-school program that offered kids the opportunity to train to run a 5K while also growing in confidence physically and mentally. Running for fitness, nutrition lessons, and goal-setting discussions are all included in the program. This program fosters social engagement by creating a culture of family for those who would otherwise be in a daycare after school or going home to care for themselves while their parents are at work.
This program consists of hour-long sessions offered to children aged 3-5 and their parents or caregivers. The program provides an environment for parents to help their children develop skills for learning, and through stories, crafts, and verbal interaction with the instructor, concepts of the week are reinforced. The program is offered Monday evenings and Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
This program provides inspiration to students by offering financial assistance for post-secondary education. The program facilitates opportunities for students to meet with a caring mentor and helps students develop social skills necessary to succeed in life.
Safe Sleep Education (Safe to Sleep/Cribs for Kids) - Blair County Respiratory Disease Society
This program supports efforts to develop life skills of children and youth in Blair County. The program uses the Back to Sleep message to educate all families and caregivers of infants in Blair County about safe sleep practices to reduce the risks of SIDS and accidental suffocation, as well as emphasizing the importance of parenting. They increase measurable parenting skills by offering best practice parenting programs and enhance the families’ ability to support their members.
Scouting Membership Growth - Laurel Highlands Council, BSA
Through its programs, the BSA positively impacts the lives and development of youth through the following core principles: strengthen family relationships; foster self-esteem through personal achievement; teach healthy living skills; and develop a sense of personal and community responsibility. Scouting provides great results in the lives of the youth who join. There are many more options for youth and their families to spend their free time and participate. Setting the Scouting program apart from other activities and encouraging families to invest their time in Scouting is vital to impacting our youth. Through our recruiting activities, we are able to share the message with families that Scouting will provide a solid foundation for the youth in a fun and wholesome environment.
S.M.A.R.T. (Students & Mentors Achieving Results Together) Mentoring - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Blair County Inc.
This program creates/expands outcome-based S.M.A.R.T. mentoring opportunities in Blair County, which include life skills, educational support, and after-school activities elements at a specific school/church/site location. A one-on-one youth mentoring program offered to the children of Blair County between the ages of 6 and 17 years who primarily reside in single-parent or assigned to guardian families, have an incarcerated parent, or have a family history of substance abuse or domestic violence. Youth are provided with the opportunity to enhance their confidence and competence and to become a caring individual by providing them with a screened and trained high school student, college student, or adult mentor with whom they can do a variety of activities.
YMCA Preschool - Garver Memorial YMCA
This program serves children aged three to five who reside in the southern Blair County area with three half-day pre-school classes. Parents are very involved providing transportation, paying a tuition fee and suggesting destinations for field trips and topics for presentations.
Legal Services for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, & Intimidation - MidPenn Legal Services
This program provides legal representation to survivors of domestic violence seeking to access the justice system in order to obtain Orders of Protection from their abusers. MidPenn also provides critical legal information to help survivors understand their options and allow them to make choices for themselves about their situation and safety.
Meals on Wheels - Blair Senior Services, Inc.
This program provides home-delivered meals to homebound residents of Blair County that are 60 years of age or older. Hot noontime meals are provided Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with a frozen meal for Tuesday and Thursday. Evening meals and additional frozen weekend meals are provided to individuals who are identified by their nutritional risk assessment screening as needing the additional food.
Mountain Lion BackPack Program - Blair County Community Action Program
This program will address the weekend hunger needs of elementary school children in the Altoona Area School District by providing meals for the weekend delivered in a backpack every Friday during the 32 weeks of the school year from October to May. Food items include two breakfasts, lunches and dinners, two drinks and two snacks of kid-friendly, single serve items that children can prepare for themselves. Development of Mountain Lion BackPacks began with the cooperation of the Altoona Area School District in 2011. From feeding 100 students weekly at Wright Elementary School as a pilot program, the program now serves nearly 850 students weekly between Penn Lincoln, Baker, Juniata, and Juniata Gap Schools as it completes its fourth year of operation. There are nearly 2,000 elementary students in the Altoona area with this need, and it is the hope of Mountain Lion BackPacks to eventually expand to all eight elementary schools in the district in order to reach this need.
Risk Reduction Program - UPMC Altoona Partnering for a Healthy Community
This is the only primary health clinic available to serve uninsured adults, ages 18-65 years of age, in Blair County. The clinic serves patients from the entire county many of whom are working poor, earning too much to receive medical assistance but not enough to afford private health insurance. The Risk Reduction Program is a comprehensive holistic approach to maintaining overall wellness and disease management through diet, lifestyle, and medication management. Medical providers work with nutrition services to help patients achieve optimal health outcomes.
Sensory Integration Program – WeCARE Foundation and Therapy Services/Tyrone Hospital
The SI (Sensory Integration) Program is targeted to children and youth with special needs, particularly those with diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Sensory Processing Disorder. The desired objective is to support efforts to develop life skills of our children and youth of Blair County by providing education and training in the areas of communication, social interactions, self-regulation and self-control, problem-solving skills, self-care, and confidence building.
Preschool Vision Screening - Blair/ Clearfield Association for the Blind
The only agency in Blair county that provides free vision screenings to children aged 2-6 at various daycares and preschools in Blair County. This program seeks to increase programs that offer developmental screenings for all socio-economic levels.
Housing Counseling Program - Blair County Community Action Program
A program that assists the general public, including the homeless, renters, potential homeowners and home owners at risk of foreclosure, with one-on-one comprehensive budget counseling and group budgeting workshops.
MEETING EMERGENCY NEEDS
24/7 Disaster Services - American Red Cross serving Blair County
The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors, to provide relief to victims of disaster and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Red Cross assistance is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year.
Domestic Abuse Shelter - Family Services Incorporated
This project provides essential services, including a 24-hour confidential victim services hotline, supportive services and most importantly, a safe haven to victims of domestic violence and their family members in Blair County. To raise awareness and prevent domestic violence, the Domestic Abuse Project offers trainings and presentations to various community professionals, schools, and individuals.
Emergency Financial Assistance Program - Catholic Charities, Inc. of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
This program assures that all people have access to food, shelter, and clothing in times of disaster. EFA case managers devote their time and knowledge to help individuals and families overcome personal and financial crises. Aid is given for utility terminations, emergency shelters, food, clothing, heating assistance through the Blair County Fuel Bank, and other emergency aid.
Family Shelter - Family Services Incorporated
The Emergency Shelter assists families and individuals who are homeless or near homeless to achieve a more independent lifestyle by providing emergency housing along with access to case management services.
PA 2-1-1 Call Center - Contact Altoona
This program helps any agency or individual in need of referral assistance for health and human services in Blair County, as well as Bedford, Cambria, and Somerset Counties. By dialing 2-1-1, callers are assisted by a specialist who has access to an online comprehensive database. The call specialist is able to determine the caller’s needs and provide them with the agencies and organizations that provide the needed service.
Teen Center & Shelter - Family Services Incorporated
The shelter has been in operation since 1991 and is one of only eight Runaway and Homeless and Youth Basic Centers in PA. The program offers 21 days of free shelter and case management for youth 12 to 17 years of age. It also operates two 24/7 hotlines, the Runaway Hotline and Violence Prevention Hotline.