News


 

MAY 5, 2017
BVCA PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCES 2016-2017 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” and the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarships” for the 2016-2017 school year.

These scholarships are awarded to individuals with diverse backgrounds. The selection committee, which is composed of members of the BVCA Partnership Board of Directors, takes into consideration such items as financial need, volunteerism, the applicant’s aspirations and goals for furthering their education. Scholarships can be used for tuition, books and fees associated with enrollment. All scholarships are in the amount of $500.

Recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” are Jessica Eulloqui of Crete and Kaylyn Ibsgaard of Garrison. Recipients of the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarship” are Logan Hough of Bellwood and Chelsea Fessler of Grafton. The recipients of the “BVCA Partnership SCC Scholarship” are Blake Grossnicklaus of Shelby and Sidney Ketelsen of Seward. Congratulations to all scholarship recipients!

BVCA continues to seek donors to help offer scholarships next year. Interested individuals may contact Richard Nation, Chief Executive Officer, at (402) 729-2278 Ext. 123 or by email at changinglives@bvca.net to make a contribution to the BVCA Scholarship Fund. All contributions are tax-deductible.

DECEMBER 16, 2016
SHOP FOR YOUR HEALTH!

This Season, Shop for Your Health! Blue Valley Community Action Partnership wants to help.

The holidays are fast approaching, and there’s one must have for every shopping list: Health Insurance. And the place to get it? Here is how to learn more about when and where to sign up and the discounts you could receive.

If you’re looking for a health insurance plan for yourself or your family you can enroll online through HealthCare.gov or over the phone (800-318-2596), or for help call your local Navigator at Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (402) 729-2278 or by Cell: (402) 587-2601. Open enrollment continues until January 31, 2017. You’ll have the opportunity to compare private plans side-by-side and choose the one that fits your lifestyle – and budget – best. You may also qualify for financial assistance with your health plan. A number of upgrades have been made to HealthCare.gov, and applying for affordable, comprehensive coverage on HealthCare.gov is faster than ever before.

So this season, give yourself and your family the gift of security and confidence that comes with a reliable, private health insurance plan. Don’t delay this important decision. Now is the time! Don’t miss out! Remember, Open Enrollment will continue until January 31, 2017.

**If you are still needing health insurance coverage by January 1, 2017 you now have until December 19, 2016 to sign up!

APRIL 15, 2016
BVCA PARTNERSHIP 2015-2016 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” and the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarships” for the 2015-2016 school year. These scholarships are awarded to individuals with diverse backgrounds. The selection committee, which is composed of members of the BVCA Partnership Board of Directors, takes into consideration such items as financial need, volunteerism, the applicant’s aspirations and goals for furthering their education. Scholarships can be used for tuition, books and fees associated with enrollment. All scholarships are in the amount of $500.

Recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” are Tiffany Bernaske of Milford and Alyssa Hakl of York. Recipients of the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarship” are Heath Boman of Geneva, and MaKenna Sempek of Stromsburg. The recipient of the “BVCA Partnership SCC Scholarship” is Kaitlin Arena of Beatrice. Congratulations to all scholarship recipients!

BVCA continues to seek donors to help offer scholarships next year. Interested individuals may contact Richard Nation, Chief Executive Officer, at (402) 729-2278 Ext. 123 or by email at changinglives@bvca.net to make a contribution to the BVCA Scholarship Fund. All contributions are tax-deductible.

FEBRUARY 25, 2016
BVCA PARTNERSHIP RECEIVES $300,000 GRANT OVER 2 YEARS TO HELP AT-RISK YOUTH IN SOUTHEAST NEBRASKA

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation is awarding $300,000 over two years to the Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA). The funding will be used to build a Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) to serve young people in need across Butler, Cass, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Polk, Richardson, Saline, Seward, Thayer and York Counties.

“We are so excited to have the opportunity to work with the BVCA on this important project,” said Troy Gagner, Nebraska Children’s Connected Youth Initiative lead. “The partnerships they’ve built and the plan they’ve put together have the potential to make a major impact on the youth and young adults who need the most help.”

“One may say that the southeast area of Nebraska, outside of Lincoln, is philanthropically underserved,” Richard Nation, BVCA’s CEO said in the funding proposal. “The Connected Youth Initiative by the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation is exactly the kind of jump start the area needs to pull together the limited resources that we have.”

What is the Connected Youth Initiative (CYI)?

CYI is based on the successful practices of existing initiatives in Omaha, Lincoln and the Panhandle. The initiative targets youth ages 14-24 who are considered “unconnected” – either because they’ve aged out of the foster care system, are exiting the juvenile justice system, are homeless or near homeless, or simply lack the family supports required to transition successfully to adulthood. An estimated 3,113 unconnected youth live in the 15 counties BVCA plans to serve.

In August 2015, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation received $2 million from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) to expand this model to rural communities across Nebraska. The SIF is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service programs. The SIF fosters public and private collaborations to evaluate and grow innovative community-based solutions that work. In just five years, the SIF and its private-sector partners have invested more than $876 million dollars in compelling community solutions. As a result of $295 million in federal grants and more than $581 million in non-federal match commitments, the SIF has made grants to 39 grant-making institutions and 353 nonprofits working in 40 states and the District of Columbia.

“The goal of these Connected Youth Initiatives is simple: To support unconnected young people to become self-reliant, contributing adults,” said Gagner. “Without the support of a family, the barriers to independence can seem insurmountable. BVCA and its partners will use this funding to remove those barriers, and make success attainable for this vulnerable population.”

While each community’s CYI model will look different depending on the needs of youth and resources in the area, required components include:
• Central Access Navigation – A coordinated approach that ensures CYI participants get access to all of the services they need in a streamlined, common-sense way. By coordinating services and helping youth navigate them through a central access point, the Families First Partnership can avoid duplication of efforts and effectively track the progress of young people.
• Opportunity Passport™ - A nationally recognized financial literacy and asset-building program. Participating youth open Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) at a local bank, learn financial literacy skills, and save money for things like tuition, security deposits on apartments, or a car to take them to school and work. Youth savings are matched up to 4-to-1, helping them reach their goals more quickly.
• Need-Based Funds – Emergency cash available to help youth keep small bumps in the road – like broke down cars, class fees, utility bill surges – from becoming catastrophes.
• Youth voice – A council of area youth to provide input on how the CYI system should be set up and what services are most necessary.

Blue Valley’s Program Plan:

BVCA has already been serving the unconnected youth population in the area as a part of Project Everlast Lincoln. In this role, it has provided intensive case management, as well as financial literacy training and Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) to help young people save money and become more independent.

The CYI grant will allow the partnership to dramatically expand to serve more young people with a greater array of services. With the funding, BVCA will act as a “backbone organization,” coordinating the efforts of multiple organizations through a full-time Connected Youth Initiative Officer. This role will oversee CYI operations, build partnerships and ensure improvements in youth outcomes. The grant will also pay for three existing employees to take on new responsibilities, including Central Access Navigation, management of youth IDAs, systems management and more.

According to Nation, the greatest barrier for unconnected youth in Southeast Nebraska is the lack of living wage jobs. Other closely related barriers include the lack of affordable, high-quality child care, housing, public transportation and health care.

“These young adults have to overcome many obstacles,” said Nation. “It will take the entire community working together to turn around the flight from rural areas back to local opportunities for their futures. It’s our hope that all segments of the population -- local governments, the private sector and other private non-profits -- will work together to turn around disadvantages and make them opportunities both for these young folks and for our communities. Rural areas need these young people and we need everyone to pitch in to help out.”

For its Connected Youth Initiative, BVCA has pulled together a powerful partnership, including primary partner Southeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership (SENCA), who serves Cass, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee and Richardson Counties. Other partners, many of whom have been working with BVCA for decades, will focus on helping unconnected youth access transportation, financial literacy and assistance, health care, behavioral health and housing. With CYI funding, BVCA will coordinate the activities of these partners to improve outcomes for unconnected youth:

• BVCA will provide youth assessments, Central Access Navigation, case management, mentoring, financial literacy training, help saving for a vehicle to alleviate transportation needs, RentWise classes, referrals into Head Start for child care, housing assistance and educational/job training referrals. BVCA will also oversee the creation of youth councils to provide input into the services and processes.
• Southeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership (SENCA) will provide the same services as BVCA, but cover different counties. Together the two organizations will be able to serve all 15 counties.
• Four Corners Health Department will provide various health services
• Christian Heritage will offer family finding services to help youth connect to caring adults that create a sense of permanence
• Jefferson Community Coalition will provide longer-term case management
• Public Health Solutions will provide health care support
• FYI Center will offer homework assistance and positive mentoring

BVCA intends to formalize other partnerships with county coalitions and service providers to round out the services available to the underserved, unconnected youth in the 15 county area.

JANUARY 24, 2016
DART CHAIRMAN & DEWITT FIRE CHIEF TO BRAVE WINTER WEATHER IN BOAT TO RAISE FUNDS FOR DEWITT

Take one jon boat, put a lifelong DeWitt resident and firefighter/EMT in it, and place the combination atop the Turkey Creek bridge south of DeWitt for 24 hours…in late January and hope the weather is nice.

Actually, Tim Garrison, chairman of the DeWitt (Nebraska) Area Recovery Team (DART), and DeWitt Fire Chief Shawn Weise will sit in the jon boat — snow or shine, warm or cold from 8:00am January 30 through 8:00am January 31 to help raise funds for yet-unmet needs from the early May flooding that inundated the DeWitt area.

Floodwaters from Turkey Creek, Swan Creek and the Big Blue River combined to damage most of the homes in town. Garrison’s reasoning behind “Operation Bridge Sit” was simple.

“There are still plenty of children who are not sleeping in their own beds due to the effects of the flood,” he explained. “So, in a show of solidarity with those currently displaced, we will give up our own beds for a night in the cold.”

The process of healing the community and repairing homes continues in the town of DeWitt, Nebraska, which was devastated by unprecedented flooding on May 7, 2015. Many families are still working to get their homes and their lives back to normal.

As the waters receded, representatives from state and local governments, voluntary agencies and community leaders came together as DART to help facilitate the long-term recovery in and around DeWitt. To date, DART case workers have interviewed local residents and identified initial unmet needs of approximately $600,000. Those needs are results of uninsured or underinsured flood damages.

DART consists of members of the DeWitt community, with the help of additional agencies, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Great Plains United Methodist and Society of St. Vincent de Paul, state and local emergency management, Blue Valley Community Action Partnership and several faith-based groups.

This group’s goal is to assess the damage to homes in the DeWitt community and formulate a plan to discover resources and raise funds to help assist with the unmet needs. DART has applied for grants from several organizations and is looking to raise funds to help the people of DeWitt.

The jon boat, which was one of many helping ferry residents to safety, will be on top of the Turkey Creek bridge south of DeWitt. If you are in the area, please stop out at the bridge to visit Garrison and Weise and make a donation. More details regarding the event will be available soon. Details will also be posted to our Facebook page, search “DeWitt Area Recovery Team.”

Blue Valley Community Action has set up a PayPal account that will be used to collect funds from people across the country or send checks to BVCA, 620 5th Street, Fairbury NE 68352, reference DART. Additional questions can be addressed to Garrison at tpgarrison@diodecom.net or (402) 683-4630 or (402) 230-0749. Online donations via PayPal can be made by clicking here: D.A.R.T. DONATONS


DECEMBER 9, 2015
NEW YEARS EVE BOWLING NIGHT




OCTOBER 1, 2015
BVCA CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY


Today marks the beginning of BVCA Partnership's 50th Fiscal Year (October 1, 2015–September 30, 2016)! We invite you to celebrate with us our 50th Anniversary of helping people and changing lives!! Watch for special events throughout the year. We will remain committed to our mission of "Overcoming Poverty by Helping People, Improving Lives and Strengthening Communities." Follow our anniversary activities: like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BVCAPartnership; follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/BVCAPartnership; watch our videos: www.YouTube.com/BVCAPartnership!

 

50th



JUNE 29, 2015
BVCA ACCEPTING BIDS FOR DEMOLITION & NEW CONSTRUCTION OF YORK CENTER

BVCA is currently accepting bids for the Demolition/New Construction Project in York due to the extensive fire damage to the York Family & Community Services Center. Bids are due by July 17 at 1:00pm. For a bid packet or more information, contact Jamie Swartz at jswartz@bvca.net or (402)729-2278 ext. 121.


April 29, 2015
BVCA ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” and the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarships” for the 2014-2015 school year.

These scholarships are awarded to individuals with diverse backgrounds. The selection committee, which is composed of members of the BVCA Partnership Board of Directors, takes into consideration such items as financial need, volunteerism, the applicant’s aspirations and goals for furthering their education. Scholarships can be used for tuition, books and fees associated with enrollment. All scholarships are in the amount of $500.

Recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” are Danielle Schaf of Shelby NE and Phillip Schildt of Pleasant Dale NE. The Recipient of the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarship” are Martin Nunez Jr of Ohiowa NE, Naomi Kerwood of York NE, Lori Eichstedt of York NE, and Kirstan Longsine of Seward NE. Congratulations to all scholarship recipients!

BVCA continues to seek donors to help offer scholarships next year. Interested individuals may contact Richard Nation, Chief Executive Officer, at (402) 729-2278 Ext. 123 or by email at changinglives@bvca.net to make a contribution to the BVCA Scholarship Fund. All contributions are tax-deductible.
 


April 21, 2015
BVCA Accepting Proposals for Audit Services

BVCA Partnership is requesting proposals for audit services for fiscal year ending September 30, 2015. Proposals should also include the 403b Pension Audit for year ending December 31, 2015. This will be a five year contract for audit services with annual review. A copy of the RFP is available by contacting Jamie Swartz at jswartz@bvca.net. Interested bidders should send notification of interest by May 1, 2015. Proposals are due May 15, 2015.
 



April 21, 2015
BVCA Accepting Proposals for Kids Connection Remodeling Project | Fairbury Ne

BVCA Partnership is requesting bids for the Kids Connection Remodeling project. The Kids Connection facility is requiring renovations to accommodate approximately 20 additional children with center-based services. Renovations will adapt the facility to create divided space allowing two classrooms within one larger room in two of the existing classrooms. Extensive renovations will also be made to the kitchen. A copy of the bid specifications is available by contacting Jamie Swartz at jswartz@bvca.net. Project must be completed by July 24, 2015.



December 23, 2014
Do you know a Head Start Alumni? We want to hear from them!

There are hundreds of success stories out there, of former students, parents, staff, and volunteers who have taken their experience with Head Start and gone on to do amazing things in their life.

We are reaching out to you because we need your help in locating these success stories. We want to spotlight these inspirational people at the 2015 Leadership Conference and the next issues of the Region 7 Head Start Sandbox Magazine.

On June 2, 2015, at the Leadership Conference, we will have an Alumni Luncheon, featuring some of our Head Start Alumni and their inspiring journeys.

If you know a Head Start Alumni student, parent, staff or volunteer, please put us in touch with them so we can gather our community of Head Start alumni together to celebrate them, and Head Start’s 50th Year of Opportunity. Please contact BVCA Partnership’s Children Services Director, Shari Wurtz-Miller, at (402) 729-2278 ext. 117 or email changinglives@bvca.net.



December 12, 2014
BVCA PARTNERSHIP IS AN EMPLOYER OF NATIONAL SERVICE

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership is proud to have been one of the first employers to join the Employers of National Service initiative. Employers of National Service highlights the talents of AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni and connects them with employers that recognize their unique skills. As a not-for-profit private corporation, Blue Valley Community Action (BVCA) Partnership has a mission to help people, improve lives and strengthen communities within the nine county service area. This aligns perfectly with the development and community improvement goals of both AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps.

BVCA Partnership is a charter member of Employers of National Service, an initiative announced by President Barack Obama during AmeriCorps’ 20th anniversary celebration at the White House. As an Employer of National Service, we have joined more than 70 leading employers from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to create recruitment, hiring, and advancement opportunities for job seekers who have served in AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps.

National service alumni have experience that provides them with skills that are important for us at BVCA Partnership. They have development and organization skills, as well as community relationship building skills. They are skilled at making things happen with very little resources. As a charitable organization always in need of financial support, BVCA appreciates their skill of stretching limited resources to get the job done.

BVCA Partnership has hired several former AmeriCorps members following their service, including Veterans, teachers and other professionals. Currently, BVCA has a group of 17 AmeriCorps/AmeriCorps VISTA Members. In addition, BVCA Partnership has 46 Foster Grandparents, another National Service Program which we hope to draw on to fill openings. Richard Nation, BVCA’s C.E.O. and a former National Service Member himself, encourages other employers to become Employers of National Service for the health of their own businesses and to support Americans who serve.

Mr. Nation is one of more than 1.1 million national service alumni who have served through AmeriCorps or Peace Corps. These AmeriCorps members have served in communities across the country through organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Community Action, Teach for America, and the American Red Cross, and Peace Corps volunteers have made a lasting impact on the communities in 65 countries around the world. BVCA Partnership honors the commitment of AmeriCorps and Peace Corps alumni and is proud to have their skills as a part of our team.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps Alums, and the Franklin Project are actively seeking new employers from all sectors to join Employers of National Service. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov/employers.

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership is involved in local economic development; public participation in decision making and operations; involvement of those served, helping each other; and partnering with public, private and community groups to focus the attention of all on the needs of those least fortunate among us. For additional information visit us at www.bvca.net, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BVCAPartnership or email us changinglives@bvca.net.


AUGUST 28, 2014
VOLUNTEER HONORED WITH NATIONAL AWARD


Ellen Simon has been recognized by the Community Action Partnership national office as the 2014 Jayne Thomas Grassroots Volunteer Recognition Award recipient for her work with BVCA Partnership. Ellen was honored on August 22 during the Partnership’s 50th Anniversary Annual Convention in Washington, DC, where many Community Action organizations gathered for training sessions, presentations, award ceremonies and celebrations.

The Jayne Thomas Grassroots Volunteer Recognition Award is given to individuals who have shown outstanding dedication and made extraordinary contributions to a Community Action Agency. It is named after Jayne Thomas, who was an outstanding community action leader with Total Action Against Poverty in Roanoke, Virginia, and the Community Services Block Grant director for that state.

 • View Video


July 15, 2014
BAILEY AND WORKMAN EARN NATIONAL CERTIFICATION FOR WORK HELPING VULNERABLE PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership’s Ryan Bailey, Family & Community Services Manager, and Sonja Workman, Foster Grandparent Program Director were two of 76 individuals who recently became Certified Community Action Professionals (CCAP). CCAP is a national credentialing program for Community Action managers and leaders who work helping low-income people achieve economic stability. Bailey and Workman, as well as the other new CCAPs will be honored August 22 by the Community Action Partnership—administrator of the CCAP program—during the organization’s 50th anniversary Annual Convention in Washington, DC.

CCAP candidates must prove their Community Action proficiency through completion of a detailed assessment of their knowledge of poverty theories, causes, and remedies; ability to help low-income people achieve financial stability; and comprehension of the mission, vision and values of Community Action. In order to successfully complete the process, they are required to provide an extensive record of their management and leadership skills and involvement in anti-poverty initiatives on the local, state, and national levels; develop a portfolio highlighting their education, training, and accomplishments, and pass a written exam. To date, there are 550 CCAPs across the country representing rural, urban, and suburban Community Action Agencies.

"Becoming a CCAP improved my comprehension of why Community Action Agencies were created and how they help millions of Americans escape poverty each year," said Workman. "The process underscored that understanding the causes and conditions of poverty and individual circumstances are critical to helping people achieve economic security," added Bailey.

This year, the Community Action network is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Economic Opportunity Act on August 20, 1964—which created Community Action Agencies as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. "In 2014, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Community Action and this is especially significant to our CCAPs who must grasp our unique history," said Thomas Tenorio, CCAP, Chair of the Board of Directors and CCAP Commission at the Community Action Partnership. "CCAPs' mastery of our network's initial beginnings coupled with a keen comprehension of current economic challenges boosts their ability to help low-income people."

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership was established in January of 1966 and has served Gage, Jefferson, Thayer, Fillmore, Saline, Seward, York, Polk and Butler Counties with multiple services from childcare to senior transportation and many programs to help with health, housing, community advocacy, volunteerism and emergency services. More information is available at www.bvca.net or by contacting your local Blue Valley Community Action Partnership office.

Based in Washington, DC, the Community Action Partnership povides training and other services to more than 1,000 Community Action Agencies across America that are helping low-income people and families improve their lives, strengthen their communities and embody the spirit of hope. For more information, visit www.communityactionpartnership.com or follow the organization on Twitter, http://twitter.com/CAPartnership.


May 2, 2014
BVCA PARTNERSHIP REFLECTS ON SERVICE TO RESIDENTS OF SOUTHEAST NEBRASKA

CAMBalloonsBlue Valley Community Action Partnership joins Community Action Agencies across the nation in celebrating May as National Community Action Month. This annual celebration is extra special this year as the 50th Anniversary of Community Action is also being commemorated.

On August 20, 1964 in Washington, DC, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA). The EOA created a variety of programs—including funding for private and public groups to establish local solutions. The groups came to be known as Community Action and were part of his War on Poverty. Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA) was one of those agencies established to address local poverty problems in rural, urban, and suburban communities across the country.

BVCA Partnership got its start serving the residents of four counties in 1966. Established by local ministers, county welfare officials, school staff and concerned citizens, BVCA Partnership soon became an innovator in providing services and addressing issues that impacted those less fortunate in the area. Poverty among the elderly was around 25% then so much of the programming was directed at them. As poverty among the elderly dropped to less than 10%, BVCA Partnership began focusing more on the high poverty rate among children (20%). It has been recognized for its transit programs, housing programs, food programs, childcare programs and it’s fiscal management. BVCA Partnership now serves the counties of Butler, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Polk, Saline, Seward, Thayer and York. Limited services are offered to surrounding counties.

“BVCA Partnership’s track record in southeast Nebraska highlights the positive impact we’ve had helping our neighbors through a variety of financial and personal challenges,” said Richard Nation, BVCA Partnership CEO. “We help between 11,000-15,000 individuals each year change their lives with a variety of programs such as housing rehabilitation, Head Start and public school collaborations, Weatherization, family development programs and emergency services. Our success stories underscore our ability to achieve measurable results.

In 2014, Community Action Agencies across the country will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Community Action. Nationally, the Community Action Partnership will honor the occasion during its 2014 Annual Convention August 19-22 in Washington, DC. Locally, BVCA Partnership will host several activities culminating on May 31 with their second annual “Duck ‘N’ Run” family fun day at Crystal Springs park in Fairbury NE (visit http://tinyurl.com/duckNrunBVCA for event details).

“In the last fifty years, Community Action has been extremely successful helping people achieve and maintain economic security despite experiencing budget cuts, shrinking resources, and increased demands for services during challenging economic times,” said Don Mathis, President and CEO of the Community Action Partnership national office. “We understand our residents’ unique needs, and have developed programs that will best serve them and their families.”

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership is involved in local economic development; public participation in decision making and operations (47,461 hours of volunteer time in the 12 months ending September 30, 2013 underscores that participation); involvement of those served, helping each other; and partnering with public, private and community groups to focus the attention of all on the needs of those least fortunate among us. For additional information visit us at www.bvca.net, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BVCAPartnership or email us changinglives@bvca.net.

Based in Washington, DC, the Community Action Partnership provides training and other services to more than 1,000 Community Action Agencies across America that help 20 million low-income people and families achieve economic stability and improve their lives. For more information, visit www.communityactionpartnership.com or follow the organization on Twitter, http://twitter.com/CAPartnership.


April 1, 2014
BVCA PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” and the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarships” for the 2013-2014 school year.

These scholarships are awarded to individuals with diverse backgrounds. The selection committee, which is composed of members of the BVCA Partnership Board of Directors, takes into consideration such items as financial need, volunteerism, the applicant’s aspirations and goals for furthering their education. Scholarships can be used for tuition, books and fees associated with enrollment. All scholarships are in the amount of $500.

Recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” are Alyssa Hackl of York NE, Tracy Phillips of Seward NE and Kalli Schroeder of Davenport NE. The Recipient of the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarship” is Shelby Bell of Exeter NE. Congratulations to all scholarship recipients!

BVCA continues to seek donors to help offer scholarships next year. Interested individuals may contact Heather Lytle, Administrative Director, at (402) 729-2278 Ext. 122 or by email at changinglives@bvca.net to make a contribution to the BVCA Scholarship Fund. All contributions are tax-deductible.

 


 

October 15, 2013

SAVE FOR YOUR FUTURE

ARE YOU DREAMING OF…

~Earning your degree
~Learning the skills you need to get a better job
~Starting or expanding a business
~Owning your own home

If you answered yes to any of the above, BVCA may be able to help you achieve your dream! Our IDA Program assists low to moderate income families and foster children aging out of foster care working toward economic independence by creating an IDA account for asset purchase to achieve their dream. Financial literacy training and support is also provided.

What is an IDA?
Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are matched savings accounts that encourage low income working individuals to save money and acquire assets. Through IDAs, individuals can purchase their first home, attend college or job training, or start or expand a small business. Most applicants will be enrolled in the program for six months to two years. Participants commit to saving at least $50 a month, up to $1,500 per IDA account. When they reach their saving goal, their savings will be matched at the rate of 2:1 in order for the participant to purchase the asset. YES! For every dollar saved, BVCA will match it with $2.00 to the applicant’s $1—up to a total from both sources of $4,500.

For more information or to download an IDA brochure visit http://bvca.net/How_We_Help/ProgramsServices/IDA.aspx or contact your local BVCA Partnership Office.

 



July 16, 2013

BVCA Directors Earn National Certification for Outstanding Work with People and Families

Kim Vicars of Ellis, Housing Director (right) and Janie Fralin of Beatrice, Health Services Director (left) were two of 40 individuals from across America working to alleviate poverty to receive the Certified Community Action Professional (CCAP) credential this year. Both women are employed by Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA). The Community Action Partnership, the national organization which administers the program, will honor Ms. Vicars and Ms. Fralin and the other new CCAPs August 29 during its Annual Convention in Chicago.

In order to earn the CCAP designation, Community Action managers and leaders who work with low-income individuals and communities must demonstrate their Community Action expertise through completion of a detailed assessment of their knowledge of poverty theories, causes, and remedies; ability to help low-income people achieve economic stability; and comprehension of the mission, vision and values of Community Action. To date, there are 482 CCAPs across the country representing rural, urban, and suburban Community Action Agencies.

“Completing the CCAP process helped me connect the history and vision of Community Action and apply it to the current situations faced by our program participants in this challenging economic landscape,” said Ms. Vicars. Ms. Fralin added, “This process will enhance our ability to identify the best course of action to help them achieve and maintain economic stability.” BVCA CEO, Richard Nation stated, “I’m very proud of both of these ladies.” They join Ardi Hoins of Davenport, Nebraska, who is BVCA’s Family and Community Services Director and has been a CCAP for several years. “It amazes me that BVCA has three CCAPs, when among the more than 1000 community action agencies nationwide there are fewer than 500 CCAPs,” Nation added.

“Janie and Kim deserve special appreciation from all of us in the national Community Action Network—which serves 99 percent of the counties in our nation,” said Don Mathis, President and CEO of the Community Action Partnership. “The CCAP credential is not easy to earn. It requires real-world-of-work competencies, in-depth study of American history and public policy, and a rigorous final exam. More importantly, it shows the high-level of commitment and professionalism that they both bring to Blue Valley Community Action Partnership.”

Established in 1993, the CCAP program provides a structured and focused procedure for Community Action leaders and managers to prove their mastery of a wide-ranging body of knowledge covering theories on the causes and remedies of poverty and to assess how they are helping vulnerable people achieve economic security. Their understanding and comprehension of Community Action’s history, vision, and values are also measured. In order to successfully complete the process, individuals are required to provide an extensive record of their management and leadership skills and involvement in anti-poverty initiatives on the local, state, and national levels; develop a portfolio highlighting their education, training, and accomplishments, and pass a written exam.

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership was established in January of 1966 and has served Gage, Jefferson, Thayer, Fillmore, Saline, Seward, York, Polk and Butler Counties with multiple services from childcare to senior transportation and many programs to help with health, housing, community advocacy, volunteerism and emergency services. More information is available at www.bvca.net or by contacting your local Blue Valley Community Action Partnership office.

Based in Washington, DC, the Community Action Partnership provides training and other services to more than 1,000 Community Action Agencies across America that are helping low-income people and families improve their lives, strengthen their communities and embody the spirit of hope. For more information, visit www.communityactionpartnership.com or follow the organization on Twitter, http://twitter.com/CAPartnership.



March 28, 2013

BVCA PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” and the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarships” for the 2012-2013 school year.

These scholarships are awarded to individuals with diverse backgrounds. The selection committee, which is composed of members of the BVCA Partnership Board of Directors, takes into consideration such items as financial need, volunteerism, the applicant’s aspirations and goals for furthering their education. Scholarships can be used for tuition, books and fees associated with enrollment. All scholarships are in the amount of $500.

Recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” are Almedina Bajric of Crete NE, Kelly Robinson of York NE and Christine Fiala of Bee NE. Recipients of the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarships” are Erick Ackland of Grafton NE and Jose Valdovinos of Crete NE. Congratulations to all scholarship recipients!

BVCA continues to seek donors to help offer scholarships next year. Interested individuals may contact Heather Lytle, Administrative Director, at (402) 729-2278 Ext. 122 or by email at changinglives@bvca.net to make a contribution to the BVCA Scholarship Fund. All contributions are tax-deductible.



February 7, 2013

COMMUNITY ACTION RELEASES STUDY ON EMPLOYMENT AMONG ADULTS IN NEBRASKA

Community Action of Nebraska and the nine Community Action Agencies in Nebraska released the results of their 2012 Statewide and Regional Community Assessment on Employment, Barriers to Employment and Training Needs on February 5, 2013. The results and videos can be accessed by clicking the following links:

2012 Community Action of Nebraska Report
Summary of 2012 Report for BVCA's Service Area
Video of Presentation to Unicameral

(Note: 2010 and 2011 reports can be accessed by clicking the "How We Help" tab and clicking on the Community Assessments link.)

The report is based on a random survey of residents across the entire state of Nebraska conducted in June of 2012.

The assessment survey asked questions covering several topics including:

• The extent to which respondents possessed skills and training to make them competitive in the job market
• Whether or not they had access to education/ training opportunities
• The types of education/training they felt would improve their employment situations
• What they viewed as barriers to advancement in their job
• How they viewed their employment situation in terms of skills possessed, skills needed, compensation, and job satisfaction.

The purpose of this survey was to better understand employment, as well as the extent of underemployment in Nebraska. Community Action Agencies in Nebraska will use the results to increase employment services and enhance career development programs to serve the needs of their communities.

Survey participants were asked to choose the top three characteristics that were important to them in their work environment. Of the 11 characteristics listed, Trustworthiness and Honesty were selected by 49% of respondents overall. Other top choices included Work Ethic (48%), a Positive Attitude (45%), and Respect (43%).

The top five education/training opportunities that respondents reported would help them to improve or obtain employment included: Computer Skills (54%), College Courses (33%), Leadership Skills (28%), Certifications (27%) and Advancement Skills (19%).

The results from this survey also indicated that families who were struggling were in fact working, yet unable to meet their basic needs. Approximately one in five respondents (18%) reported that their employment incomes were insufficient to meet their needs. Of all employed respondents, 48% worked 40-49 hours per week and 24% worked at least 50 hours per week.

This survey report is intended to complement the more comprehensive State and Regional Community Assessment completed in 2010, the 2011 survey on financial behaviors and future documents developed by Community Action of Nebraska. This report, along with the 2010 and
2011 reports are available at www.canhelp.org.

Community Action Agencies (CAAs) are private, non-profit organizations dedicated to helping low-income people attain self-sufficiency in all 93 Nebraska counties. The agencies are established under federal law to combat the presence and impacts of poverty in communities across the US. Programs commonly administered by CAA’s include employment assistance, home weatherization, Head Start and Early Head Start, food assistance, housing assistance and utility assistance.

For further information or a copy of the report, contact Roger Furrer at: (402) 471-3714 ext. 223 or rfurrer@canhelp.org. You are also welcome to contact Richard Nation, Blue Valley Community Action's CEO at (402) 729-2278 ext. 123.



August 2012

BVCA PARTNERSHIP DONATES TO ISAAC’S DREAM VACATION

In 2010 Isaac Corter, then 13 years old, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, which was located on his humerus (upper arm bone). Isaac started treatment and ended up with surgery on March 15, 2011 to remove a 6-inch tumor, muscle and his humerus. He had the bone replaced by a donated humerus. Through all of this, his mother, Heather says he has never complained, is very upbeat and understands almost everything that is going on with his illness. Since then he has had to have two open heart surgeries due to complications of his blood thickening. But through it all he has grown 3 inches and is 190 pounds with the biggest smile and heart you can imagine. So when the “Make a Wish Foundation” approached the family to ask him what he would most like to do, he said, “deep sea fishing”. Well, he didn’t know where but he said it had to be somewhere warm, not cold. His family sat down with him and asked "where could he go that was warm and had good fishing?" He liked the thought of Hawaii. So it was arranged-7 days and 7 nights in Waikiki, Hawaii. What a wonderful adventure the family had! Isaac got to go fishing. He caught a 50 pound Ono! Which was the only one caught that day out of all the fishermen out there. (pictured left)

When Steve Swarthout contacted Janie Fralin, BVCA Partnerships Health Services Director, in June to ask for help with a fundraiser she had no problem saying yes. Isaac has a wonderful talent, among other things, he makes bracelets to sell and raise money. So BVCA purchased one of Isaac’s bracelets for $200 which helped him raise a few dollars more to have a little extra spending money whilst on his dream vacation to Hawaii.

Isaac is feeling great and has lots of energy right now, but the fight isn’t over. The cancer is back and Isaac has to go through chemo again. Heather said that they are looking into more options and that Seattle has a hospital which specializes in osteosarcoma patients. They are hopeful that maybe they can help Isaac because he has all the fight in him and won’t ever give up.

BVCA is and always will be committed to helping people in our communities. As Nebraskans if we help each other we can climb what would otherwise be insurmountable mountains. Our best wishes and thoughts are with Isaac and his family.

Pictured above: Isaac with his 50 pound Ono that he caught and proudly displayed in Hawaii Wishlist on his dream vacation provided by the Make A Wish Foundation. Pictured right: Richard Nation, BVCA Partnership’s CEO, presents Isaac with a check for $200.



May 2, 2012

NewsCoverBVCA PARTNERSHIP RELEASES 2011 Annual Report & CELEBRATES COMMUNITY ACTION MONTH

As Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA) wraps up its 45th Anniversary, it is pleased to release its 2011 Annual Report. In addition to programmatic statistics, the report also includes a summary of information from the 2011 state-wide survey conducted by Community Action of Nebraska. The survey examined financial literacy among Nebraska families and how they deal with money.

BVCA’s Annual Report indicates that the organization is serving many more individuals with no health insurance of any kind and that overall client numbers are up almost 9% in a single year. “Our pantries have been assisting more families and we have weatherized more homes this past year than most recent years. While demand for services has increased, resources are ever tighter and will be getting even tighter in the future,” BVCA’s CEO, Richard Nation, commented. Other information in the annual report highlights views of participants and employees. The full annual report  can be accessed by clicking here and the 2011 Survey on Financial Behaviors Among Adults can be accessed by clicking here.

As elected officials in Washington discuss balancing the budget, deficit reduction, and spending cuts to key human services programs, tens of millions of Americans across the country are struggling financially. Many are unemployed and have been for months. Others have lost their homes and are staying with friends or in shelters. Some have depleted their savings and are going into debt. Many children and families—once solidly middle class—now rely on food stamps and free school lunches for their meals. Others have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership will call attention to these and similar problems facing low-income residents of the Blue River region throughout May during National Community Action Month. National Community Action Month highlights Community Action Agencies’ work helping millions of families and individuals escape poverty each year.

The agency will join Community Action Agencies across the country in hosting events and activities throughout May aimed at highlighting poverty problems and solutions. This year’s National Community Action Month commemoration comes at a time when millions of Americans are hurting financially and having difficulties finding new jobs after being laid off due to the economy. Nation commented, “People across the country are feeling discouraged due to the troubled economy. Long before the Great Recession, Blue Valley Community Action Partnership has been assisting people during their most difficult personal and financial situations and helping them see that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We give people hope and a specific plan that successfully guides them down the path to economic stability.”

The national office of the Community Action Partnership designates May as National Community Action Month to recognize Community Action Agencies’ work fighting poverty on the local level. Each year, Community Action Agencies help 20 million Americans achieve and maintain financial stability through programs such as Head Start, Weatherization, financial education, housing, child and family development, energy and rent assistance, homeless assistance and transportation.

“Services offered by Blue Valley Community Action Partnership and Community Action Agencies across the country are so critical, especially when you’ve got millions of people facing an uncertain economic future,” said Don Mathis, President and CEO of the Community Action Partnership. “These are people who worked hard and played by the rules, but now the pressures of long-term unemployment, foreclosures, and dwindling savings are putting a tremendous strain on them. Programs like Community Action are vital to ensuring that the American Dream remains a reality.”

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership operates in much of southeast Nebraska and in part of northern Kansas. It serves over 13,000 low and moderate income families of the region annually.

BVCA’s administrative offices are located in Fairbury, but it operates twenty-two sites around the Blue Valley region and has since 1966 lead a campaign to increase prosperity in the area. For more information visit us at www.bvca.net, on Facebook or email us changinglives@bvca.net.

Based in Washington, DC, the Community Action Partnership provides training and other services to more than 1,000 Community Action Agencies across America that help 20 million low-income people and families achieve economic stability and improve their lives. For more information, visit www.communityactionpartnership.com or follow the organization on Twitter, @CAPartnership.



April 25, 2012

BVCA PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” and the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarships” for the 2011-2012 school year.

These scholarships are awarded to individuals with diverse backgrounds. The selection committee, which is composed of members of the BVCA Partnership Board of Directors, takes into consideration such items as financial need, volunteerism, the applicant’s aspirations and goals for furthering their education. Scholarships can be used for tuition, books and fees associated with enrollment. All scholarships are in the amount of $500.

Recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” are Chelsea Turek of York, NE and Angelique Anderson of Dwight, NE. Recipients of the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarships” are Matthew Reinke of Deshler, NE and Jenna Reckling of Crete, NE. Congratulations to all scholarship recipients!

BVCA continues to seek donors to help offer scholarships next year. Interested individuals may contact Heather Lytle, Administrative Director, at (402) 729-2278 Ext. 122 or by email at changinglives@bvca.net to make a contribution to the BVCA Scholarship Fund. All contributions are tax-deductible.



March 16, 2012

CANSurvey2011Community Action Agencies to Release Study of Financial Behaviors Among Adults in Nebraska

Community Action of Nebraska and the nine Community Action Agencies in Nebraska released the results of its 2011 Community Assessment Focus Survey on March 13, 2012 at the Unicameral. The results and videos can be accessed by clicking the following links:

   Community Action of NE - Focus on Financial Behaviors
   Summary of the Focus on Financial Behaviors
   Presentation to Unicameral
   Presentation

The Community Assessment Focus Survey Report is based on a random survey of residents across the entire state of Nebraska conducted in May of 2011. The assessment survey asked questions covering several topics including: financial behaviors, financial services, resources and planning for the future.

The intent of the survey was to discover the financial challenges faced by Nebraskans, to deepen our understanding of financial decisions Nebraskans are making and assess their knowledge and general attitudes about money. Community Action Agencies in Nebraska will use the results to evaluate and revise their financial literacy and education in programs and services to better fit the needs of the community.

Key findings in the survey reveal the hard financial choices faced by many living in the state. Of those surveyed 85% feel emotionally stressed about money, 60% stated that they run out of money to pay for living expenses, and 61% worry about job security.

This focus survey report is intended to complement the more comprehensive State and Regional Community Assessment completed in 2010 (available by clicking here) and future documents being developed by Community Action of Nebraska at www.canhelp.org.

Community Action Agencies (CAAs) are private, non-profit organizations dedicated to helping low-income people attain self-sufficiency in all 93 Nebraska counties. The agencies are established under federal law to combat the presence and impacts of poverty in communities across the US. Programs commonly administered by CAA’s include employment assistance, home weatherization, Head Start and Early Head Start, food assistance, housing assistance and utility assistance.

For further information, contact Ardi Hoins at 402-729-2278.



March 5, 2012

BVCA is now accepting bids for IT Services. A detailed bid package may be requested by contacting Jamie Swartz at jswartz@bvca.net or calling (402) 729-2278. All sealed bids must be received by March 23, 2012 at 4:00pm.

February 28, 2012

BVCA OFFERS LEASE-PURCHASE PROGRAM

houseBlue Valley Community Action’s (BVCA) Lease-Purchase Program offers low- and moderate-income individuals and families the opportunity to overcome barriers to home ownership over a gradual period of time. Through this program individuals and families select and live in a home they will purchase after a rental term during which they can prepare both mentally and financially for the responsibilities of home ownership.

How it works…
BVCA will purchase the home that you identified and enter into a lease agreement with you. During the time that you rent the home, you will be required to work with a counselor and participate in classes that will assist you to overcome your barriers and prepare you for home ownership. At the start of the program you will learn the purchase price of your home and sign a commitment to participate in courses and become ready to purchase the homes after a maximum of two years of renting.

Eligibility...
To be eligible for the program you must be a US Citizen and at least 19 years of age. You must meet BVCA income requirements for the county in which you live, and you must have a steady source of income and reasonable landlord references. Most importantly, you must be able to qualify for a standard home loan within two years. That means that any credit problems will need to be addressed and able to be corrected during the three year rental period before you are able to purchase the home. BVCA will help you meet the requirements in order to become purchase ready and successfully sustain home ownership.

For more information regarding the Lease-Purchase Program, please contact Kim Vicars, BVCA Housing Director at (402) 729-2278 Ext 126.


 February 2012

BVCA PARTNERSHIP OFFERS FREE TAX PREPARATION ASSISTANCE

BVCA Partnership offers free tax help to individuals with low- to moderate-income (generally, $49,000 and below) who cannot prepare their own tax returns. BVCA offers Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites in Jefferson, Saline and Butler Counties in Nebraska. Individuals from other counties are welcome to travel to the nearest site. BVCA’s trained coordinators can help with special credits, such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, BVCA also offers free electronic filing (e-filing). Individuals taking advantage of the e-file program will receive their refunds in half the time compared to returns filed on paper – even faster when tax refunds are deposited directly into one's bank account. Items you need to bring to have your tax returns prepared:



  • Proof of identification
  • Social Security Cards for you, your spouse and dependents and/or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
  • Current year’s tax package if you received one
  • Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns if available
  • Bank routing numbers and account numbers for Direct Deposit
  • Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identifying number (the provider's Social Security Number or the provider's business Employer Identification Number)
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.


It is extremely important that each person use the correct Social Security Number. The most accurate information is usually located on your original Social Security card. Each year hundreds of thousands of returns are delayed in processing, or credit/deductions are disallowed because names and Social Security Numbers do not match Social Security Administration records. To prevent processing delays in paper returns and rejected electronically filed returns, volunteers check the accuracy of each Social Security Number, as well as the spelling of the name associated with the number. If you do not have an SSN for you or a dependent, you should complete Form SS-5, Social Security Number Application. This form should be submitted to the nearest Social Security Administration Office. If you or your dependent is not eligible to get a Social Security Number, you may need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).



For more information or to set up an appointment please contact: Jefferson County: Ryan Bailey, BVCA Partnership at (402) 729-5568 Butler County: Stephanie Cradick, BVCA Partnership at (402) 367-4347 *Note: All tax preparation is by appointment only. Staff may be available to travel to other counties if there is a demand. To locate the nearest VITA site you can also call 1 (800) 906-9887.



BVCA PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Blue Valley Community Action (BVCA) Partnership is now accepting applications for the 2011-2012 “BVCA Partnership Scholarship” and “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarship.”

The “BVCA Partnership Scholarship” will be awarded to individuals planning to attend or currently attending a 4-year college. Two $500 scholarships will be awarded.

The “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarship” will be awarded to individuals planning to attend or currently attending a 2-year college. Two $500 scholarships will be awarded.


Scholarships can be used for tuition, books and fees associated with enrollment.

The BVCA Partnership Scholarship Application, Guidelines and a listing of Eligibility Requirements may be obtained from area high school administrative or guidance counselor offices. They may also be obtained by contacting the following: individuals from Butler, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Polk, Saline, Seward, Thayer and York Counties in Nebraska can contact the BVCA Partnership Center in their area; individuals from Smith County, Kansas can contact the BVCA Partnership Head Start Center in their area. Applications can also be downloaded from our website: http://bvca.net/How_We_Help/ProgramsServices/Scholarship.aspx. For more information, contact Heather Lytle, Administrative Director at (402) 729-2278 ext. 122. All applications must be received or postmarked on or before February 1, 2012.



July 1, 2011

BVCA HELPS HOUSEHOLDS BEAT THE HEAT

Children running through sprinklers, ice cubes melting in a glass of lemonade, the hum of air conditioners fills the air...there’s no doubt about it - summer is here! With it comes a heavy burden for many of our neighbors as they struggle to keep up with the cost of cooling their homes. Homes that are inadequately protected against the weather are not only costly, but can be dangerous for those residing within.

CREW2Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA) can help eligible households save money and stay cool this summer! BVCA Partnership’s Weatherization Crews work year-round to weatherize homes in Butler, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Polk, Saline, Seward, Thayer and York Counties in Nebraska. The goal of our weatherization program is to reduce the burden of energy prices on the disadvantaged by making homes more “air-tight” and more energy efficient. Most houses have cracks and holes that can’t even be seen, especially around windows, doors and pipes. When you turn your air conditioner on in the summer, the cool air you’re producing (and paying for) heads straight for those cracks and escapes outside. The same thing happens with your heater in the winter. Weatherizing your house stops air from escaping.
CREW1
BVCA Partnership provides no cost weatherization of homes to income eligible families. Once an evaluation of the home is preformed, BVCA’s Weatherization Crew determines what could be done to make the home more efficient. The weatherization process may include improvements such as weather-stripping, installing new insulation, repairing or replacing ineffective windows and doors, patching damaged areas of the home, and addressing faulty or dangerous heating and cooling systems.

Again, the benefits of weatherization include: warmer homes in the winter and cooler homes in the summer; it provides for a safer living environment; and utility bills will be lower because you’re not losing heated or cooled air.

BVCA is seeking applications for weatherization assistance. Interested individuals should contact their local Blue Valley Community Action Partnership office for additional information and for an application. Individuals may also contact BVCA’s Weatherization Office at (402) 729-2278. Visit our website at www.bvca.net for a list of our offices and for information about all of our programs.



June 2011

BVCA Partnership releases it's 2010 Community Assessment.



May 16, 2011

MAY IS NATIONAL COMMUNITY ACTION MONTH

2011 ProclomationThroughout May, the spirit of Community Action will come alive in our communities as Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA) joins over 1,000 Community Action Agencies across the country to celebrate National Community Action Month. This annual event highlights Community Action Agencies’ work in fighting poverty on the local level.

“Our goal during National Community Action Month is to highlight the real problems low-income Nebraskans are facing, especially during these challenging economic times,” said Richard Nation, BVCA’s CEO. “People come to BVCA Partnership desperate for help because they have experienced so many hardships and have lost all hope. We show them that they can change their lives. Our programs are designed with a variety of situations and individuals in mind, and we have a proven track record helping the most vulnerable people achieve economic security.”

Along with Nebraska’s Governor, the national office of the Community Action Partnership designates May as National Community Action Month to recognize Community Action Agencies’ work fighting poverty on the local level. Each year, Community Action Agencies serve 20 million people in rural, suburban and urban communities across the country through a variety of targeted programs, such as Head Start, Weatherization, job training and placement, financial education, housing, energy assistance and transportation.

“The economy is on everyone’s mind—people want to work, they want to be able to purchase a home and provide for their families. With the economy continuing to veer off course, these basic goals seem illusive and out of reach,” said Don Mathis, President and CEO of Community Action Partnership (CAP). “That is why Community Action programs such as Blue Valley Community Action Partnership are needed now more than ever. National Community Action Month is our time to showcase our 47-year history helping people achieve economic security amid some of the most dismal circumstances.”


HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?

VOLUNTEER! Together we can make a difference!! In these tough economic times, BVCA is facing increasing demands for services and volunteers can help us fill this growing need. Volunteers allow BVCA to maintain essential services. If you’re ready to get involved now as a volunteer, please contact Kathryn Molczyk, Volunteer Coordinator, at 402.729.2278 or email volunteer@bvca.net.

DONATE! As a private nonprofit organization, BVCA Partnership relies on the generosity of individuals, corporations, foundations, churches, community and government partners to achieve our mission. Monetary donations can be mailed to BVCA Partnership, PO Box 273, Fairbury NE 68352-0273. Indicate on the check which program/county you’d like to earmark (for example Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Food Pantry, Youth Services, Housing Assistance). Donations can also be made online at www.bvca.net. Food, clothing, household and other miscellaneous items can be donated at your local BVCA Center.

PARTNER! Let us know what needs you feel your community has and how we might be able to work together to make a difference. Email your ideas to changinglives@bvca.net.

We look forward to you joining us in our mission of “Helping People and Changing Lives!” For additional information about BVCA Partnership and how to get involved, visit our website at www.bvca.net or contact your local BVCA Center.

Based in Washington, DC, the Community Action Partnership (CAP) provides training and other services to more than 1,000 Community Action Agencies across America that are helping low-income people and families improve their lives and embody the spirit of hope. For more information, visit www.communityactionpartnership.com.



April 1, 2011

BVCA Partnership releases it's 2010 Annual Report. CLICK HERE



April 2011

BVCA is now accepting bids for Two (2) New Mini-Vans for the Weatherization Department. Please contact Kelly Davis or Jamie Swartz at 402-729-2278 for bid specifications. The deadline to submit bids is April 6, 2011 at 4:00pm. 

BVCA is now accepting bids for one (1) New 4 Door Sedan and one (1) New or Used Mini Van-2010 or newer, approximately 20,000 miles or less for the Early Head Start program.  Please contact Shari Miller or Jamie Swartz at 402-729-2278 for bid specifications. The deadline to submit bids is April 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm. 



March 16, 2011

BVCA PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” and the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarships” for the 2010-2011 school year.

Recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” are Gladis Zapata of York, NE and Emily Huebert of Henderson, NE. Recipients of the BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarships” are Lydia Magnuson of Crete, NE and Rhonda Meritt of Liberty, NE. Congratulations to all scholarship recipients!

These scholarships are awarded to individuals with diverse backgrounds. The selection committee, which is composed of members of the BVCA Partnership Board of Directors, takes into consideration such items as financial need, volunteerism, the applicant’s aspirations and goals for furthering their education. Scholarships can be used for tuition, books and fees associated with enrollment. All scholarships are in the amount of $500.

BVCA continues to seek donors to help offer scholarships next year. Interested individuals may contact Heather Lytle, Administrative Director, at (402) 729-2278 Ext. 122 or by email at changinglives@bvca.net to make a contribution to the BVCA Scholarship Fund. All contributions are tax-deductible.



February 24, 2011

AGE 55 OR OLDER? WE NEED YOU!!

When you share your love, time and experience, you have the power to help a child who needs you. If you’re 55 or older and want to share your experience and compassion, you have what it takes to be a Foster Grandparent.

BVCA's Pioneer Foster Grandparent Program is currently seeking volunteers to join our program and provide on-on-one mentoring to children with special or exceptional needs. BVCA's Foster Grandparents are stationed at volunteer sites such as schools, preschool programs, Head Start centers and daycare centers.

Grandma  Benefits of being a Foster Grandparent:
   • Earn a Tax-free Stipend
   • Paid Personal Leave
   • Mileage Reimbursement
   • Annual Physical
   • Meal Provided While Volunteering
   • Monthly In-Service/Training
   • Meet New Friends
   • MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIFE OF A CHILD!

The Pioneer Foster Grandparent Program serves the counties of York, Seward, Fillmore, Thayer, Saline, Jefferson, Gage, Otoe, Johnson, Pawnee, Nemaha and Richardson in Nebraska.

If you, or someone you know, might be interested in becoming a Foster Grandparent, please contact our office at 1-800-540-8981. Our volunteers make a difference!



November 17, 2010

BVCA PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Blue Valley Community Action (BVCA) Partnership is now accepting applications for the 2010-2011 “BVCA Partnership Scholarship” and “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarship.”

The “BVCA Partnership Scholarship” will be awarded to individuals planning to attend a 4-year college. Two $500 scholarships will be awarded.

The “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarship” will be awarded to individuals planning to attend or currently attending a 2-year college. Two $500 scholarships will be awarded.


Scholarships can be used for tuition, books and fees associated with enrollment.

The BVCA Partnership Scholarship Application, Guidelines and a listing of Eligibility Requirements may be obtained from area high school administrative or guidance counselor offices. They may also be obtained by contacting the following: individuals from Butler, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Polk, Saline, Seward, Thayer and York Counties in Nebraska can contact the BVCA Partnership Center in their area; individuals from Smith County, Kansas can contact the BVCA Partnership Head Start Center in their area. Applications can also be downloaded from our website: http://bvca.net/How_We_Help/ProgramsServices/Scholarship.aspx. For more information, contact Heather Lytle, Administrative Director at (402) 729-2278 ext. 122. All applications must be received or postmarked on or before Tuesday, February 1, 2011.



November 1, 2010

"Dollars for Difference"

On November 1, BVCA Partnership kicked off its annual “Dollars for Difference” campaign. The campaign will run through the month of November. Watch for us in your community!! Local organizations will be going door-to-door collecting donations on behalf of BVCA. Several local businesses will display collection containers and fliers. In addition, some communities will host special events.

Donations can also be made online (click on the "donate" button on our home page) or mailed to:
  BVCA Partnership Dollars for Difference
  PO Box 273
  Fairbury NE 68352-0273



July 2010

BVCA is currently accepting bids for Audit Services. If interested in submitting a proposal, please contact Jamie Swartz at jswartz@bvca.net or (402) 729-2278 ext. 121.



June 25, 2010

BVCA CEO AWARDS NU STAR CORNHUSKER UNITED WAY AWARD
Nu Star Energy, with a propane, gasoline and diesel terminal in Geneva was presented the “Award for Top Donor” to the Cornhusker United Way’s 2009 Campaign. With only 13 local employees, the company raised a total of $17,000, among its employees and company match. This made Nu Star not only the top donor but also the top per capita donor.

While Nu Star was the number one contributor, other businesses in the top category included Nestlé’s, Walmart, Nationwide Insurance, Lincoln National Insurance and UPS.

The Cornhusker United Way (CUW) covers several rural counties within southeast Nebraska, including Fillmore, Saline, Thayer, Jefferson, Seward, Butler, and rural areas of York County outside the City of York and Saunders County outside the City of Wahoo. Currently ten area service organizations participate in the CUW.

Representatives of Blue Valley Community Action Partnership, one of those organizations, presented the award to the Nu Star employees and management. The photo above (from left to right) Larry Loseke, Nu Star Geneva Manager; Ryan Bailey, BVCA; Judy Hufman, Nu Star; Jerry Wachtel, Nu Star; Tracy Wallick, Nu Star Regional Operations Manager, Ryan Stassines, Nu Star; Rick Nation, BVCA CEO; Craig Bowman, Nu Star; Lisa Epp, BVCA Fillmore Coordinator; Don Reiman, Nu Star. Other Nu Star employees not shown include Bob Kroll, Alan Bulin, Brent Bauer, Keith Bonifas, Rick Retzlaff, Tim Swanton and Andy Dunker.

The Cornhusker United Way 2010 Campaign will begin September 1 and will run through October. Those wishing to volunteer or donate can contact United Way President Scott Bartels, c/o Saline County Area Transit at 402-433-4511 or toll free at 1-888-433-7228. For further information on organizations supported by the Cornhusker United Way go to www.cornhuskerunitedway.org.



June 9, 2010





May 1, 2010

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership (BVCA) recently launched their new website, located at http://www.bvca.net. Design for the website was managed by Heather Lytle, BVCA Administrative Assistant, with the assistance of Robbie Chace of NCS, Inc. The new website provides customers, volunteers, community members and employees more flexibility to browse and learn about the programs and services offered by BVCA Partnership. In addition, BVCA provides a Career Center for potential applicants. Please share the link to our with anyone interested in learning more about BVCA Partnership, our programs and services, volunteering or donating.

In March of 2010, BVCA also introduced it's Facebook Fan Page and we need your help promoting it within our communities! Facebook can be a very useful tool for generating awareness of our organization's mission; programs and services, promoting events, connecting with our customers, creating collaborations, and even fundraising. However, we need to grow our 'fan base'. How can you help promote our 'Fan Page'? If you already have a Facebook account, simply become a fan of "Blue Valley Community Action Partnership-BVCA" and then suggest to your friends that they also become fans. You can also share the following link: www.facebook.com/BVCAPartnership. As the 'Fan Page' is also accessible to those without Facebook accounts, we again encourage you to share the link with everyone!

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership is a private, non-profit organization, who’s mission is “Overcoming poverty by helping people, improving lives and strengthening communities.” BVCA was officially incorporated on January 19, 1966 and has been a leader in providing assistance to low-income individuals and families in southeastern Nebraska. BVCA’s nine county service area includes Butler, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Polk, Saline, Seward, Thayer and York Counties in Nebraska. In addition, BVCA provides limited services in Pawnee, Nemaha, Johnson and Richard Counties in Nebraska and Smith County in Kansas. WIC, Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Head Start 0-5, Housing, Immunizations and Weatherization are just a few of the many services offered by BVCA.

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May 1, 2010

Blue Valley Community Action Partnership is pleased to announce the recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” and the “BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarships” for the 2009-2010 school-year.

Recipients of the “Blue Valley Community Action Partnership Scholarships” are: Sonia Orozco, of Crete $1,000; Courtney Slightom of Beatrice, $1,000; and April Scdoris of Ulysses, $500. Recipients of the "BVCA Partnership Vocational Scholarships” are: Jorie Gumaer of Hebron, $1,000; Shelby Pariset of Utica, $1,000; and Courtney Doremus of Polk, $500.

Scholarships are awarded to individuals with diverse backgrounds. The selection committee, which is composed of members of the BVCA Partnership Board of Directors, takes into consideration such items as financial need, volunteerism, the applicant’s aspirations and goals for furthering their education. Scholarships can be used for tuition, books and fees associated with enrollment. Congratulations to all scholarship recipients!

 

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