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BOPIC receives grants

November 28, 2000|By STACEY DANZUSO, Chambersburg

BOPIC receives grants



CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Two grants from a local philanthropic group will enable Building our Pride in Chambersburg to expand its community-oriented programming, including a new computer education program.

The Wood Foundation of Chambersburg, Pa., awarded the pair of grants this month. The first is an outright gift of $6,000. The second is a matching grant of $15,000 that will be awarded when BOPIC has raised $15,000 from the community, said the Rev. Bill Harter, a member of BOPIC's Board of Directors.

"BOPIC plays a fundamental role in the life and work of the community by reaching hundreds of children from disadvantaged families who very much need the encouragement and skills BOPIC offers," Harter said.

The grants come as BOPIC initiated a new program in computer literacy this month, in cooperation with Sunrise Electronics of Chambersburg.

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Students will use computer facilities at Sunrise under the direction of mentors in an after-school enrichment effort, said Executive Director Bruce Swingler.

BOPIC also plans to expand the program as computer terminals are added at the BOPIC building at 530 S. Main St.

Between the two days at Sunrise and two days at the terminals at the BOPIC office, students have four after-school opportunities to learn to use computers.

"The computer literacy program is going to be a mainstay," Swingler said. "It is a necessary, integral learning tool every citizen is going to need.

"BOPIC is about helping young adults reach goals to be prepared for the millennium generation. It's not the same as when I was coming through high school and college," he said. "I can only imagine what the children are going to need to know in four or five years."

A 25-year teaching veteran of the Harrisburg and Waynesboro school districts, Swingler said by connecting with the youths, he is also reaching their parents.

"If you teach a child a new skill and he takes it home, if it is useful mom and dad at some time will want to buy into it," Swingler said.

He said it is already happening, and he and BOPIC staff members are making personal computer tutoring appointments with adults.

BOPIC is best known in the community for its summer nutrition and education enrichment programs.

Last summer, more than 500 children from around the county attended the program, which is geared to respond to the needs of students from multicultural and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Harter said he hopes to pursue other personal and public health issues and character and value formation issues as BOPIC continues to grow.

"There is a need for programs that reach across cultural and ethnic lines and deal with multicultural issues," he said.

But expanding the programs means BOPIC needs to raise more money.

The $6,000 grant represents about 6 percent of BOPIC's $100,000 budget.

"We are struggling financially, which is to be expected as a nonprofit," Swingler said.

But he said he has a multi-pronged approach to fundraising that he is implementing, including going after grants, hitting up national corporations, the local Ministerium and the general public.

Long-range plans include further expansion after BOPIC acquires the building at 131 E. McKinley St.

BOPIC has signed a contract with ABC Advisors, Inc., to buy its building as soon as it moves out.

The next BOPIC benefit is a ham and turkey dinner Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Family Life Center of the Presbyterian Church of Falling Spring, 221 N. Main St. The price is $8 for adults and $5 for children under 12.

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