Leadership Blair County Class Projects 1995-2014
The class projects were created to expand each participants awareness of the impact servant leadership can have on the community as well as themselves. It is a significant part of the commitment to the program and is done outside the classroom. The project allows each class to use the tools and knowledge of our county that they have acquired during their leadership journey. To us the process is as important as the outcome of the project.
This was the inaugural class, which felt that they wanted to assist in promoting this new exciting and important program of The Chamber. The class developed and produced a video that promoted the concept of Leadership Blair County and their personal experiences. This video was then shown on the public access channel and at service club organizations such as Rotary and Kiwanis.
This class developed the LBC Alumni Scholarship picnic to help raise scholarship funds to help insure diversity. After two years the picnic became a function of the LBC Alumni Association. It continued for several years and raised $19,000 for scholarships.
This class was concerned about youth leaving the area and wanted to create the type of Career Fair that targeted students earlier in their academic life and exposed them to many career choices. They developed a program that was presented to eighth grade students in the Altoona Area School District (approximately 450 students). Twelve career clusters were developed with three volunteers solicited for each cluster. This Career Fair was unique in that the presenters moved through the school and met with classrooms of students. Every eighth grade student saw each of the presentations. The first year there were over 80 volunteer presenters. The following year the class expanded the Career Fair to include all 8th grade students in Blair County. This project is still in operation today through The Chamber’s BASICS program.
This class wanted to assist non-profits by creating a clearinghouse as a way to advertise their needs and to obtain interested volunteers. The class developed a survey, which was sent to non-profit organizations asking for information on the organization, what they needed help with, what type of skills was needed, time commitment etc. A web site was then created along with a listing of LBC Alumni that were interested in helping the community. Unfortunately this project was only operational through 1999. None of the non-profits would step forward and take ownership.
This class developed an interactive program for high school seniors on the importance of registering to vote and then actually voting. The presentation included an interactive activity that visibly demonstrated the changes in the outcome of an election based on the percentage of voters. When possible they had an elected official attend the assembly. They then had the elected official video tape their comments.
This class refurbished a playground for Child Advocates in Altoona. They sanded, painted existing equipment; assembled two new pieces of equipment, distributed tons of wood chips and landscaped the area. Through their efforts Child Advocates could receive matching funds.
This class created a flower garden and butterfly garden at Valley View Home, which is the county’s nursing home. This project enabled the residents to have a beautiful garden to sit in and an opportunity to watch the butterflies.
This class assisted Child Advocates at a new location in Tyrone. They installed sidewalks from the building to a playground area. They also landscaped the entire area at the new facility. Once again Child Advocates could receive matching funds.
This class assisted Rails to Trails with a building that Rails to Trails had recently purchased and was refurbishing with the assistance of volunteers. This class took on the task of obtaining donations and then installing drywall in the three-story building.
This class wanted to assist our Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum that had been experiencing financial difficulty. The Museum was preparing for the 150th Anniversary of the completion of the Horseshoe Curve. They determined that they wanted to construct a picnic pavilion at this national historic landmark. An architect in the class designed the pavilion to resemble a pavilion in that era. The class then solicited monetary donations as well as materials to complete the project. They partnered with the Blair County Builders Association for the actual construction. They also raised the money to purchase picnic tables. Through this project many people now have a picnic area to enjoy.
This class became aware that Amtrak was going to discontinue the stop in Tyrone unless a passenger shelter was installed on the site. This class came together to install a new passenger shelter and also landscape the area.
This class very much wanted to touch the lives of underprivileged children. They undertook the re-furbishing of a playground that is owned by the City of Altoona in an intercity neighborhood. For this playground they needed to purchase equipment as well as install it. The class meet with the PTO’s in neighboring schools to solicit the buy-in of parents. They went door to door in the neighborhood explaining what they wanted to do and asking the neighbors to be guardians of the playground when it was completed. They held news conferences with the District Attorney’s office, representatives of the Attorney Generals Drug Task Force, the Mayor and Council of the City of Altoona. They supplied information to the neighborhood about the Neighborhood Watch program. They held six fundraisers and wrote grants applications to raised nearly $37,000. The playground equipment was installed in May, with some landscaping. In September they replaced several sidewalks and refurbished the basketball court.
This class decided that they wanted to assist the Miracle League that was building a baseball field for handicapped children. This field will permit children in Central Pennsylvania to play baseball without traveling long distances and perhaps for the first time even have the opportunity to play baseball. Many businesses in Blair County have donated time and money to make the field a reality. The class discovered that the Miracle League would like to have a picnic pavilion where families could meet and players that can’t tolerate large amounts of sun would have shelter. The class chose to raise monies to purchase a pre-fabricated picnic pavilion, tables and landscaping. Funds were raised through solicitation of businesses for donations, grants as well as a very successful dinner, dance, auction fundraiser that was baseball themed. They also partnered with the Blair Bedford County Builders Association to help construct the pavilion and are worked with groups for the landscaping so that it will be taken care of for the next several years.
This class assisted by raising funds for Dreams Go On, a non-profit organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding sessions for adults and children, who are physically challenged, receive mental health, behavioral health or family therapy services. They raised funds through a labor-intensive raffle, solicitation of donations and a successful dinner, dance, auction fundraiser with a western theme. The funds raised provided a sand foundation and shredded rubber flooring system for fall protection, installation of benches and picnic tables for an arts and crafts reaction area, rubber flooring for outside stalls for fall protection, purchase of a trained riding horse or pony to expand the program, training program fees for 2 therapeutic riding instructors and seed monies for an Executive Director.
After narrowing the list to two possibilities and then touring both locations, this class chose to assist The Joshua House in Tyrone. Joshua House is a non-profit organization building community with kids, teens and young adults through education, athletics and faith. The project was to renovate the second floor of Joshua House creating office space and meeting rooms for private as well as social group activities. The project also included a central restroom for the second floor as well as an exterior staircase. Funds were raised through two hoagie sales, a Monte Carlo Night, sponsorships and in-kind donations. This project will have a lasting effect for years to come.
After comprising lists of potential projects, the class determined that they would take on the construction of a “Performance Park” along 19th Street and 13th Avenue as part of the larger Booker T. Washington Community Park. This portion will feature an amphitheater area and outdoor exercise equipment along with tables and benches. The overall goal is to transform a blighted portion of the city into a source of pride where families can gather. Founds were raised through assisting with a spaghetti dinner, selling Sheetz coupons, a Night at the Races fundraiser, sponsorships and grant applications.
This class also comprised a list of potential projects and then determined to restore the ball field at the Ski Gap Community Center in Claysburg, PA. Their goal is to restore the field to ASA regulation size install fencing, dugouts, backstop and other land improvements. They also made cosmetic improvements to the existing community center building. Their plans are to hold a soft ball tournament in the Spring of 2012 with the proceeds to assist with the upkeep of the field etc. They have raised monies for this project through a hoagie sale, sponsorship sales and the sale of Sheetz coupons. The Ski Gap Community has been assisting the class with fundraisers and work on the project.
The class comprised a list of potential projects asking people to gather information to present on the scope of each project. They decided to help spruce up Family Services Domestic Abuse Shelter. Class member each made a monetary donation to start the fundraising. They sent sponsorship letters and held a car wash. They solicited many in kind donations. They were able to paint the facility, put in new carpet, new furniture in the living room, game room for kids, light fixtures and most importantly updated two bathrooms. They also made a monetary donation as well.
The class developed a list of potential projects and gathered additional information relative to the work that would need to be done and what type of project they would like to do. They selected to raise monies for scholarships for underprivileged children to attend activities provided by the Central Blair Recreation Commission. This was strictly a fundraising project. They held three fundraisers and sent letters soliciting donations. Their fundraisers where: a hoagie sale; partnering with Prime Sirloin with a fund raiser with them; and then their largest fundraiser a reverse raffle.
This class like many of the classes before them developed a list of potential projects. They chose to help Habitat for Humanity and spent some time developing a work plan. When deadlines, permits and the time frame changed they decided that they needed to change the class project. The class voted to drop the Habitat for Humanity’s project and then voted to select one of the two other projects that they had discussed. The project then became Family Service’s Domestic Abuse Shelter. The class painted the kitchen, bedrooms and hallways. Obtained two new sofas and installed new carpet in all of the bedrooms. They also redid the playground area in the backyard. The class held a large fundraiser and several smaller fundraisers which allowed them to purchase items that weren’t donated and a monetary donation was mad as well.