In this Update:
Aging and Disability Resources
The Department of Aging has launched its first-ever statewide media campaign to build greater awareness and utilization of the PA Link to Aging and Disability Resources, also known as the PA Link. PA Link to Aging and Disability Resource Center toll-free helpline is 1-800-753-8827. PA Link can assist with connecting you to local services, assist with applications to determine funding eligibility, and help individuals remain or return to their community.
Working with Schools to Provide a Safe Learning Experience
As the new school year gets underway, students and teachers in many districts across the state are returning to classes made safer by actions taken by the General Assembly.
We have worked together on bipartisan legislation that gives our schools the tools they need to identify potential threats early, provide mental health services and safeguard our classrooms.
Landmark legislation in 2018 specifically established a School Safety Committee at the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. It also created the School Safety and Security Grant Program which allowed schools to hire school police officers, resource officers and counselors; implement safety plans and violence prevention initiatives; and purchase equipment and physical upgrades to boost student safety.
We allocated $60 million to that program initially and then another $60 million in 2019 and $95 million more in 2022.
Additionally, we passed legislation creating an anonymous school threat reporting system to help schools and law enforcement be prepared for any potential violent incidents. The Safe2Say program has generated more than 80,000 tips since its inception in 2019, not only for school safety concerns, but also for student safety issues like bullying and self-harm.
This is an ongoing process and I’m committed to providing schools with the tools they need to keep students and staff safe.
Agriculture and Youth Grant Program Applications Being Accepted
For every four farmers in Pennsylvania over the age of 65 in 2019, only one was under 35. The Agriculture and Youth Grant Program aims to address the looming workforce deficit the industry is expected to face in coming years.
The program provides direct grants of up to $7,500 and matching grants of up to $25,000 to support projects, programs and equipment purchases by youth-run organizations, and those with programs that benefit youth or promote development in agriculture, community leadership, vocational training and peer fellowship. Past funded projects include workforce development programs, seminars and field trips, agricultural safety training, capital projects and equipment purchases aimed at leading students to opportunities in agriculture and building the future workforce that Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry needs to succeed.
Applications for these grants will be accepted through Sept. 30. You can find guidelines and application details here.
Please Help Me Collect Items for Area Food Banks
According to Feeding Pennsylvania, nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians – or one in nine – are struggling with hunger and 500,000 of them are children. The pandemic has caused an even greater need.
At the state Capitol, for 12 seasons now from the spring through the fall, the 1,000-square-foot Capitol Hunger Garden has been producing hundreds of pounds of fresh produce that is donated to Harrisburg’s Downtown Daily Bread, which takes those donations into their kitchen to provide healthy meals to many in the Harrisburg area. Last year, 849 pounds of produce was harvested from the garden and we’re hoping for a similar bounty by the time the growing season ends this year.
Closer to home, I’m asking for everyone who can to donate non-perishable items to their local food banks. My legislative district offices (see addresses below) are collecting donations from anyone who wishes to give, with those collections to be given to food banks in our communities. My office will be collecting now through September 30th.
Blair County Office
Fulton County Office
How My Office Can Help You
My staff and I are here to make state government more accessible and helpful to you. Listed below are several constituent services available to you:
Don’t hesitate to contact my offices listed below with any requests, questions or concerns.
Happy Labor Day
I hope you have a great Labor Day weekend with family and friends. Enjoy the day off and the waning days of summer.
Out and About in the 30th
On behalf of constituents throughout the 30th District of the Senate of Pennsylvania, I express heartfelt congratulations to all high school students who participated in the Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference in Chicago earlier this summer.
Five high school students from my legislative district placed in competition.
Aidan Barr, Rebekah Claar, and Bailey Garver of Claysburg-Kimmel High School placed sixth in the Community Service Project competition. They were among twenty-three members of the Claysburg-Kimmel FBLA who qualified for competition at the National Leadership Conference.
Two Mount Union Area High School students placed in competition. Kelly Bliss placed third in Impromptu Speaking and Lydia Immel placed ninth in Spreadsheet Applications. Kelly’s sister, Shelly Bliss, also qualified for the national competition in the Public Speaking category.
Once again, congratulations to all students who advanced to the national competition. Your achievement merits our collective praise and recognition!
This week I attended the Blair county 4-H & FFA Livestock Banquet. These kids work so hard throughout the year. I am always happy to spend time with them and their families.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend Contact Altoona’s Volunteer Recognition Dinner. Board President Heidi Rexford and Executive Director Erin Kay gave recognition to some of their exceptional volunteers for their commitment for the organization. Contact Altoona is a call in service that provides listening services, crisis intervention, reassurance calls, and referral services in the area. Thank you for all the great work you do for our community.