“There are many community action groups, but we’re different,” Anastasia Barr, Communications Manager at Blueprints said. Barr has been working at Blueprints since March of 2019, doing advertising campaigns and promoting services, running social media and working alongside program services to recruit, holding an office in both Greene and Washington counties.
Barr started her position with the goal to spearhead the rebrand from Community Action Southwest to Blueprints hoping to make services more well-known, Barr says it’s paying off.
“We were just named top three best of the best nonprofits by the Observer Reporter and one of the top 25 nonprofits in Washington County,” Barr said.
Barr explained that another aspect of Blueprints that makes them distinct is the structure of their leadership.
“What’s really neat is our Board of Directors is broken into a public, private and target sector. Some are political leaders, business leaders and we have a group of community leaders who may have gone through our programs and gained self-sufficiency who want to help other people, so they serve as a board member,” Barr said.
Although the nonprofit pioneers their programs where their headquarters are in Washington County, they have been transitioning successful programs to Greene County.
“A lot of our programs are shifting into Greene County, one program that has always been in Greene County is Aging Well, that’s for our seniors.”
Barr said almost every Senior Center available in the county is run by Blueprints, including an additional service called the Retired and Seniors Volunteer Program.
“Seniors helping seniors,” Barr explained. “They go and deliver meals and groceries to homebound seniors and make telephone calls to homebound seniors to make sure they’re okay.”
According to Blueprint’s website, their main goal is to help infants and older adults become self-sufficient, having a strong impact and taking charge of their own lives.
“Part of our goal is to make sure we’re educating people with top resources to be able to start their own business or go back to school to get their GED or making sure your child is hitting milestones and is ready for kindergarten,” Barr said.
Blueprints serves 20,000 people annually, with a budget of approximately $23 million from a mix of grants, state and federal funding for their 50 programs. Blueprints is also a large employer with over 350 employees, according to Barr.
Lately, they’ve shifted more resources to childcare, “We also have all of our Headstarts and pre-K programs down there [Greene County], those programs are for low-income families from infants to around 4 to 5-years-old, where kids can go and learn milestone developments and have meals.”
Barr explained that it’s a full experience for the kids who can’t have a private preschool experience and that even homebound children will get caseworkers who come to their homes and teach them and help teach the families how to be better family units if transportation isn’t available.
Building Futures is another key service in Greene County provided by Blueprints, “We teach about home ownership, financial literacy, career development, etc. our goal is to shape and equip people to improve their lives and gain independence to break barriers,” Barr said.
Barr says even Waynesburg University, which is her alma mater, is involved in a partnership for their Volunteer Tax Assistance Program.
“Students from the business department come to our Greene Street office and help low-income participants and seniors do their income taxes. We train them and help them to be certified to do the tax returns,” she said.
Blueprints is looking for more grants and funding as they look to the future of their involvement in Greene County, according to Barr. They are hoping the new funding will bolster the addition of new programs, such as the Opioid Recovery program.
“We just launched an Opioid Recovery program within the last couple of weeks due to the opioid crisis, and a new re-entry program for those trying to come back to society and sustain a life outside of prison,” Barr said. “It’s so encouraging to have services to help them get better and get back into the workforce, and specifically focus on their development and restarting their life.”
For more information on Blueprints and how to have a hand in helping out in the community visit, https://myblueprints.org/services/home/.