Operation Our Town has announced grant awards to 16 local programs aimed at the education and prevention of drug use in Blair County.  A total of over $52,000 will be distributed to the recipients of the 2021 Grant Cycle.

A total of over $1.2 million has been awarded in grants for prevention programs in Blair County by Operation Our Town over the past 14 years.

Operation Our Town will begin accepting grant applications again in May of 2022.  You can check back for more information on the 2022 grant cycle dates at: OperationOurTown.org.

Each grant was judged objectively by specific criteria on a scoring process by the Operation Our Town Grant Committee.  In addition, Grant Committee members recuse themselves on grant applications in which they have a personal or professional interest.  The Grant Committee includes five members:

  • Robin Beck, former Executive Director of the United Way of Blair County
  • Michele Fiore, retired Mental Health Counselor
  • Donna Gority, former Blair County Commissioner
  • Jolene Kopriva, former Blair County Judge
  • Judy Rosser, Executive Director of Blair Drug & Alcohol Partnerships


AASD Adult Education Program:  “HSE: Pathway to a Bright Future”

Funding awarded will be used to invest in the future of Blair County adults who lack a high school diploma by awarding HSE (High School Equivalency) scholarships to cover the cost of GED subtest exams necessary to earning their High School Equivalency Credential.

Altoona Area School District ELECT Program:  ELECT (Education Leading to Employment & Career Training)

Funding awarded will be used to provide nutritious meals and snacks for pregnant and parenting teens at educational events and out of school visits, and provide engagement support to paternal figures that are ineligible for the program but involved in the students children’s lives.

Altoona Area School District Foundation:  Project SOAR (Study, Overcome, Achieve, Reward)

Funding awarded will be used for supplies and program materials for students that have been identified to receive financial assistance to pursue a post-secondary education, given that they meet program guidelines and participate fully in the program.

ArtsAltoona:  ArtsAltoona Music Programming

Funding awarded will be used to support the provision of music lessons to children starting in third grade interested in things like piano, vocal lessons, percussion, and guitar, targeting Altoona’s 6th Ward and underserved population living within an 8-block radius.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Blair County:  S.M.A.R.T. (Students & Mentors Achieving Results Together) School-based Mentoring Program

Funding awarded will be used to help create and support matches between mentors and mentees in all of the SMART Mentoring Site-based Programs throughout Blair County; thus providing children with meaningful relationships to help reduce the likelihood of substance abuse, criminal mischief, and school absenteeism.

Blair Regional YMCA:  Family Y-Nite

Funding awarded will be used to help low-income families attend these family-based activities that bring families together in a fun, safe, affordable, and drug-free environment which provide food, resources, art, music, and crafts for all.

Center for Independent Living of South Central PA:  TEAM Builders

Funding awarded will be used to engage Blair County youth in healthy activities that promote self-confidence, self-esteem, respect of self and others as part of a bullying prevention program.

Central Blair Recreation & Park Commission:  Happy Hoops Program Supplies

Funding awarded will be used to assist with start-up costs for new program supplies and equipment for their new youth basketball program for children 4-6 years old.

Child Advocates of Blair County:  CHOICES Summer Program

Funding awarded will be used to purchase supplies and incentives for a youth summer program at Evergreen Manors that will include educational topics & agency speakers, crafts, games, movies, and community outings.

Community Worship Center:  Community Kids! Weekly Program

Funding awarded will be used to support the purchase of food, clothing, school supplies, and curriculum materials for their weekly program that serves youth ages preschool to 5th grade.

Evolution Expressions:  Arts for Healing Program

Funding awarded will be used to provide quality, strength-based, preventative, therapeutic programming for youth with the purchase of art supplies for trauma-focused arts related activities to help at-risk youth combat the effects of trauma through the use of art techniques.

Gloria Gates Memorial Foundation:  After School Program

Funding awarded will be used to fund educational materials, field trips, snacks, and individual assistance to youth at-risk enrolled in three after-school programs held within the low-income housing developments of Evergreen Manors, Fairview Hills, and Logan Hills.

Home Nursing Agency Foundation:  Healing Patch Children’s Grief Program

Funding awarded will be used to assist with the supplies associated with peer support groups held twice monthly during the school year for Blair County children and their families who have suffered the death of a loved one, as well as grief related books and brochures for their Lending Library.

L.O.T. (Leaders of Tomorrow):  Leaders of Tomorrow

Funding awarded will be used to mentor youth ages 11-17 in Blair County through physical fitness, educational opportunities, life skills, and community involvement.

The R.O.C.K. at 2nd Avenue:  The R.O.C.K. (Reaching Out to Community Kids)

Funding awarded will be used to purchase food and program supplies for youth in Pre-K to 12th grade and provide a home-cooked meal, gym/physical activities, the arts, and age-appropriate small groups that encourage healthy living.

United Way of Blair County’s Family Resource Center:  Parent Education Programs:  Parents as Teachers & Parent Education Classes

Funding awarded will be used for program supplies and educational materials for the parent education programs, Parents as Teachers and Parent Education Classes.