Organization’s ‘skills’ provide vital mission

Back when Skills of Central Pennsylvania began as a small day program in Bellefonte in 1960, even its talented, determined, dedicated founders could not have envisioned how big of a role it would come to play for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, behavioral health challenges, substance use disorders, even problem gambling.

But now, nearly six decades later, Skills’ impact can be described as nothing short of magnificent, and it continues to identify and implement new ways to help those in need of its services to achieve, despite whatever unfortunate challenges their lives have been dealt.

Today, Skills, now one of the largest non-profit human service providers in central Pennsylvania, offers its expertise in 17 counties — including Blair, Bedford, Cambria, Centre and Huntingdon.

Its widespread positive impact is made possible through the committed efforts of more than 1,100 employees serving in a variety of professional, clinical and direct support roles, as well as the people, businesses and other entities that support it financially.

The sturdy foundation of Skills’ mission is the belief that “everybody has the capability of becoming the best version of themselves,” and the organization prides itself on its ability to introduce possibility and hope when the people it works with need it most.

All that is why Skills is an excellent selection for recipient of the 2019 Altoona Mirror Season of Sharing campaign.

This is the campaign’s 15th year, and each year has benefited a different charity.

The 2018 campaign recipient was the Blair County Suicide Prevention Task Force.

At this time of the year, many worthy charities rely on the generosity of people of this region. This is a season of concern and compassion, as well as a time of busy preparations for the holidays ahead.

As area people contemplate how to allocate their charitable dollars during these final weeks of the year, they should not fail to explore the many ways Skills is part of this region’s greatness.

While doing that, it will not be difficult for them to see and understand how any contribution, large or small, will be of great importance and value within Skills’ broad landscape of services.

Obviously, many small contributions can add up to something quite large. No one should be reluctant to contribute because his or her financial circumstances don’t permit giving much more.

Skills operates with an exemplary set of values centered on empowerment, quality, partnership, learning and integrity. Within that set of values, specifically regarding quality, Skills states that “we constantly work to improve our processes and services so that we can exceed the expectations of the people we serve, their families, our employees and our community partners.”

During 2019, among its other accomplishments, Skills has expanded peer support services, completed construction of a four-bedroom Respite Home in Altoona and expanded the license of its outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program in Portage, to include behavioral health services.

Mirror readers will be receiving more information in the coming days regarding Skills’ accomplishments and goals (Please see Page A1). Today’s Mirror lists ways to contribute, with the assurance that every dollar donated will fund Skills’ efforts. An envelope will be provided in next Sunday’s Mirror should you choose to donate.

Again this year, the Central Pennsylvania Community Foundation will be administering the money that is received.

You’ll be a vital part of the Skills mission, whatever your contribution.


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