Foundation Programs Provided FREE
All Foundation programs and services are provided to those who live or work in the Alle-Kiski Valley free of charge! The Foundation believes that health and wellness improvement begins with individuals taking personal responsibility for their own well-being. Therefore, the Foundation provides all of its health and wellness programs free of charge so that individuals have the tools necessary to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Community Grant Opportunities
Community Health & Wellness Programs
Highlands Emergency Services Alliance
The Foundation joined together with eight volunteer fire departments and Highlands School District in supporting the first of its kind, school-based, fire fighter training program in the country. Known by the acronym “HESA”, the highly popular and successful program provides Entry Level Firefighting Training (ELFT) as an elective, with full credit towards high school graduation, from Highlands Senior High School.
HESA students are transported from the high school to the Allegheny County Fire Training Academy a total of fourteen full days during the academic year. At the academy, students receive textbook as well as hands-on firefighting training. At the completion of the participating student’s three years of ELFT, they will have the required 180-hours of training needed to become a certified fire fighter.
Dozens of young women and men have graduated from the program over the years, with many serving as volunteer fire fighters in the communities where they now reside.
The program has since been replicated in various school districts around the country.
AK PULSER Emergency Vehicles
The Foundation regularly supports the rescue vehicle needs of AK PULSER. AK PULSER dispatches its experienced and highly trained paramedics to the scenes of medical emergencies throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley to assist local ambulance and rescue squads.
Community Health & Wellness Education
One of the most popular Foundation programs is the Community Health & Wellness Education program. The goal of the program is to provide the community with up-to-date information on diverse and timely topics that cover a wide array of issues. Attendance is robust, with the Foundation’s William & Grace Walker Conference Room often filled to capacity. Recent topics like Teen Suicide Prevention, Medicare 101, Elder Care Law and CPR, are illustrative of the variety of offerings.
However, out of an abundance of caution due to COVID-19, the programs will soon be offered as online webinars. Programs include the following lecture series:
- H.W. Fraley Memorial Lecture
- Heatherlyn A. Marshall Memorial Lecture
- Frances & Anna Belle Beck Memorial Lecture
- Bernice & Joe Stimel Memorial Lecture
- And Others
Thanks to the generosity of Foundation friends like Helen Rakowski Bole, Bonnie Orkow, Robert & Jean Walsh, Adolph Rzotkewicz, The Czekalski Family, the John Bologna family, and others, the Foundation has provided more than $600,000 in college scholarships to local students. Each year, approximately $25,000 is awarded to students majoring in nursing, English, math & sciences, humanities, business, vocational technology and other courses of study. Over the years, students have come from every high school in the Alle-Kiski Valley. View our available Scholarships.
AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators)
Among the first to provide police vehicles with AEDs (Automatic External Defibrillators), the Foundation has expanded the program to include ambulances, fire trucks, rescue vehicles and other first responders. Over the years, AEDs valued at nearly $200,000 have been provided to Alle-Kiski Valley first responder organizations.
One of the more recent Foundation programs, the Hunger-in-the-Valley Initiative, is designed to address issues relating to food challenged families in the Alle-Kiski Valley, as well as to educate the community in ways to nourish themselves with healthier diets, regardless of their food budgets. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation has ramped up its food support efforts to include quarterly ham & potato giveaways, improved access to food distribution, grants to local food banks and other efforts, etc.
Each year, the Foundation provides thousands of dollars of grant money to local entities through its Community Support program. Such grants are made to help other organizations who also help improve the lives of Alle-Kiski Valley residents. Recent grants have been made to the Allegheny Valley Association of Churches, Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley, Building Block of Natrona, Feeding Freeport, Lost Dreams Awakening, Neighborhood Resilience Project, Sheldon Park Resident’s Council and many other worthwhile missions.
Community Nurse Program
The Foundation employs a registered nurse as part of its highly successful Community Nurse Program. In addition to being the lead COVID-19 staff member, The Foundation’s Community Nurse provides free health & wellness advice to a number of Alle-Kiski Valley residents each month. Topics include issues involving Medicare, Diabetes, Elder Care, Eye Care, Healthy Diets, Medication, Transportation, etc. Learn more about our Community Nurse Program.
First Responder Grants
Each year, the Foundation provides thousands of dollars of equipment and supplies to police, fire, ambulance, paramedic and rescue organizations. Recent First Responder Grants include sonar and radar for a local river and water rescue squad, emergency lighting for nighttime rescue operations for a volunteer fire company, funding to train new water rescue dive team recruits, police equipment, iPads for a volunteer ambulance company that enable hospital emergency physicians to monitor emergency patients enroute to the hospital, AEDs to police departments, Narcan to other first responders and many more.
Healthy Teen Initiative
The Foundation recently completed its second video on heroin abuse prevention, Opioid Abuse: True Confessions of Pain, Misery and Destruction. The film is just one of many programs provided to schools and other groups that are designed to help young people make healthier lifestyle choices. Other recent programs include Embracing Differences and Cyber Dangers.
Assistance for the Needy
The Foundation provides funding to help needy individuals in the community with prescription drug co-payments, home health equipment, food insecurities, assistance for families with loved ones suffering extended stays in hospitals and other needs.
Currently COVID-19 has forced the suspension of community groups using the Foundation’s self-contained conference room, which includes with integral audio/visual equipment, kitchenette and restrooms. However, as the pandemic increasingly becomes preventable and treatable, the Foundation will reopen the facility to groups who demonstrate their ability to employ the latest safety methods required of meeting goers.
Social services, first responders, drug abuse recovery & prevention groups, local business and industry and other community organizations will soon be able to regularly use the room free of charge.