To enhance the quality of life for persons 60 years and older residing in the Greater Latrobe, Ligonier and Derry areas by providing companionship and assistance.
Laurel Area Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, Inc. Faith in Action is a community benefit organization and is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation building a community where we all wish to live, work, raise children, go to school, volunteer and retire with grace and dignity since 2002.
It is an everyday struggle for elderly people to remain independent in their own homes. It is not only an effort but, in many cases, a physical impossibility to maintain a house, purchase groceries, household supplies, and clothing and get to essential doctor's appointments. Many elderly do not have a family member or friend who can help them with these everyday tasks. For many of these people it is not just a matter of quality of life issues involving isolation and loneliness, but also meeting basic survival needs.
Working with a coalition of over 40 Community Partners including congregations, organizations, agencies, and businesses, the LAIVC Faith in Action program recruits, screens, trains, and mobilizes volunteers to assist the frail elderly with many tasks of daily living, enabling them to remain in their own homes, living with dignity and quality of life. The objective is to work with others in the community to complement existing programs, not to compete with them.
Our current service area includes the City of Latrobe, Unity Township, Residents with Latrobe mailing address, Loyalhanna and Bradenville, Ligonier Township, Town of Ligonier, New Alexandria, Derry and New Derry.
In the late 1990's a group of community leaders including clergy, medical professionals, and several working in social services identified a growing need for the elderly population residing in the Greater Latrobe area: many of our elderly residents were struggling to remain independent in their homes, but needed a variety of supportive services to succeed. Budget cuts in home health services, cultural changes, sending more children out of the area for jobs, and economic changes creating the "mega" grocery stores and closing the neighborhood markets, all contributed to the isolation and unmet needs of the growing elderly population.
In the fall of 2000, the Greater Latrobe community leaders discovered the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's national model of Faith in Action programs. The model brings members of the faith community together with other organizations, agencies, businesses, and individuals to address the needs of a vulnerable population.
In early 2001, the founding group organized a town meeting, inviting public and private industry leaders. They presented the problem and asked the "community" for support to start a new outreach program to focus on the growing needs of the elderly population. An impressive thirty congregations and organizations formed a Coalition to support the new initiative.
Armed with this overwhelming support, the program was formed as part of the Greater Latrobe Ministerial Association and named the Latrobe Area Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers. A Board of Directors was formed, officers were elected, and bylaws were written and approved. With grant writing services from the Latrobe Area Hospital Charitable Foundation, the group applied for a start up grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for its Faith in Action model. In the fall of 2001, the new program was awarded a $35,000 start up grant from the RWJ Foundation.
In 2005 the program became an independent non-profit, Laurel Area Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, Inc., to accurately reflect our expansion in the Laurel area. The program expanded to Ligonier in 2005, Derry in 2010 and to New Alexandria in 2015.
This brief documentary looks at the first ten years of the Laurel Area Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, Inc., a community outreach supported by faith congregations in the Greater Latrobe, Ligonier and Derry, Pennsylvania areas. The Laurel Area Faith in Action program provides quality of life services for area residents aged 60 and above.