Check back often for news and events from Westmoreland Community Action. WCA holds fundraisers, summits, classes, workshops and more throughout the year.
Mt. Pleasant Borough begins to gather ideas for mural that juvenile offenders will help paint
Tribune Review, March 5, 2017
A nondescript Mt. Pleasant Borough building with white siding will be the canvas for a mural designed and painted by community members and juvenile offenders.
Ideas about how the mural should look gleaned from public meetings — the first is Wednesday — will be combined into a design created by lead artist Bernie Wilke.
“It’s a challenging job,” said Wilke, an art history professor at Westmoreland County Community College. “We’re looking for general themes from people and even sort of general images to use. We believe that there’s going to be a fair amount of unity among the comments.”
The project is the first local “restorative justice” initiative based on a similar program in Philadelphia in which former inmates are given temporary jobs producing murals. The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program helps eliminate blight and reintegrates former prisoners into the community.
Area officials attended a presentation about Philadelphia’s program at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in February 2016. Tim Holler, assistant professor of criminal justice at the college, is moving ahead with replicating the idea here as project director of the Community Arts & Reintegration Project for Westmoreland County.
The first community meeting will include a discussion of concepts to include in the mural’s design. The session will be held at American Architectural Salvage in Mt. Pleasant, which will be the site of the mural.
Westmoreland Community Action CEO Tay Waltenbaugh said the organization — it operates American Architectural Salvage — had been contemplating a mural on the side of the building that faces the Coal & Coke Trail.
“I’m excited to get that up and running,” he said.
Addie Beighley, director of the county’s juvenile probation department, is excited about the possibilities, too. Juvenile offenders can connect with community members and earn their support while using time spent on the mural project as what Beighley called “meaningful” credits toward their community service requirements.
“I think it’s a really great opportunity,” she said. “We want them to, when they leave our system, be a law-abiding citizen.”
Wilke has completed 72 similar community murals, mainly in Indiana and Philadelphia, working with various local groups.
“The process is kind of similar with whichever group I’m working with,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for people to make a mark on the community.”
Once a design is finalized, community members will be joined by juvenile offenders to paint small squares of the mural that will be pieced together and hung on the side of American Architectural Salvage.
“It’s all paint-by-numbers style,” Holler said.
He hopes that adults on probation and inmates being released from the Westmoreland County Prison can join community members to create murals in other communities as well.
“This was kind of to be a reintegration project,” Holler said. “We’re starting this with juveniles with hopes that the community starts to loosen up.”
Initial funding came from the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County. Holler said organizers will have to raise funds to cover other costs.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374 or email@example.com.
Update: A community design meeting was held on March 8 at 6:00 pm at WCA’s social enterprise American Architectural Salvage. The meeting was lead by Dr. Timothy Holler, with assistance from Bernie Wilke and Kris Demnovich, Probation Supervisor. A collaborative drawing/brainstorming session was conducted to help generate ideas for the mural.
April 27 – HPV Documentary Event
This award-winning documentary takes a look into the lives of five brave women affected by HPV.
Their stories portray the misconceptions, stigma, shame, heartbreak, pain and triumph that they
experience while battling cervical cancer. This film is not rated, but recommended for older teens
and adults. Local experts will be available for questions and answers.
Sponsored by the Southwest Immunization Coalition with funding from Gateway Health
and the PA Department of Health, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.
Thursday, April 27
Latrobe Cinemas, 315 Latrobe 30 Plaza, Latrobe
Showtime: 6:30 pm
Question and Answer Program: 8:00 pm
Free Admission and Popcorn
To view a trailer of this film, go to: http://hpvepidemic.vhx.tv/
Credits for Health Professionals
This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1.50 Credit(s)™ by Indiana University School of Medicine.
This free KNOWLEDGE BASED activity is accredited for 1.5 CE credit hour(s) (0.15 CEU) for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians by IU Health.
This continuing nursing education activity is approved by the Ohio Nurses Association (OBN-001-91), an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation for 1.91 Contact Hours. Approval valid through 2/16/18. ONA# 18755
To obtain CME, CNE, or Pharmacy CE Credits after viewing “Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic” use the following links:
CME or Pharmacy CE Credit: http://cme.medicine.iu.edu/hpvdocumentary
http://cmetracker.net/IUPUICME/Login?FormName=RegLoginLive&Eventid=157207 and complete the pre-test.
Complete evaluation and receive CNE certificate of completion: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5D6KCZN
This event is also approved for 2 hours of Act 48 and Act 58 continuing education by Division of School Health, Bureau of Community Health Systems, Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Chamber BASH at American Architectural Salvage
We hosted a wonderful Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce BASH at our social enterprise American Architectural Salvage in Mt. Pleasant. There were demonstrations, a scavenger hunt, and delicious food and drink. If you haven’t checked out this amazing store yet, what are you waiting for? Its mission is to reduce landfill waste and promote the resale and reuse of goods, while financially supporting Westmoreland Community Action initiatives that help those in need.
Emergency Cold Weather Shelters Open November 1
Westmoreland County’s cold weather shelters in Greensburg and Latrobe will re-open their doors Tuesday, November 1 for the 2016-2017 season. The shelters will operate out of the Welcome Home Shelter in Greensburg and the Union Mission in Latrobe. They will open from 8 pm – 8 am on nights when the temperature is 25 degrees or colder.
The shelters will provide free food and lodging to anyone, including individuals and families, who are homeless or without adequate heat in their homes. Those staying at the shelter will also receive referrals to additional services, depending on their circumstances. To check if the shelters will open on a given evening, individuals can call 2-1-1, the Welcome Home Shelter at 724-838-9133, or the Union Mission at 724-539-3550. To support the shelters, community members can donate or volunteer as a driver, connecting those in need to the nearest shelter site. To learn more, call or email Melinda Bercik at 724-834-7170, ext. 16 or Melinda.Bercik@unitedwayswpa.org.