BOPIC, Inc: 25 Years of Playing an Important Role in Chambersburg’s Community

This summer, hundreds of economically disadvantaged children, along with middle and high school students will again benefit from a unique summer program administered by BOPIC, Inc.  Celebrating its 25th year helping to strengthen the fabric of the Chambersburg Community, BOPIC – Building Our Pride in Chambersburg – continues to expand its successful programs, including its unique summer education and enrichment programs that benefit students at all levels.

“Our comprehensive enrichment, nutrition, character-building and recreational programs serve approximately 235 children per day from Franklin County and surrounding areas,” explains BOPIC Executive Director Jack V. Jones. “The programs engage students from pre-school to college level, all of whom benefit in various ways.”

A new facet of the program this year is a partnership with the Rhodes Grove Camp and Conference Center.  In all, BOPIC partners with about three dozen community organizations to provide various educational, life skills and social programs. The partnership includes La Voz Latina Central, with about 60 percent of the students enrolled from the Hispanic Community.

A major BOPIC Summer Program initiative is its Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) that provides breakfast, lunch and a snack to approximately 500 children each summer. Through a contract with the PA Dept of Education, the meals are provided free or at a reduced rate during the summer months. About 63 percent of the children enrolled in the Chambersburg Area School District qualify for the free or reduced-price meals.

The 2015 BOPIC summer program also offers healthful food alternatives through a community garden.

“Using foods raised and harvested, the community garden at St. Paul’s Church in Chambersburg allows us the opportunity to include the children’s parents and families.  All are directly involved in the planting, maintenance and harvesting of fresh vegetables and fruit, which reinforce the benefits of preparing more healthful, fresh food to their children,” Jones says.

Through its Multi-Cultural Youth Leadership Training program, BOPIC engages several dozen middle and high school students as community volunteers.  Developed around a core belief that investing in student volunteers helps build leadership skills and qualities.

“This core belief is in perfect harmony with BOPIC’s asking young people to invest time and energy in building pride in the Chambersburg community,” notes BOPIC’s Isabel C. Stennett.

“By engaging these young people early in community service, we help them better understand the multi-cultural world around them through self-awareness, increased communication and conflict resolution skills. These are all valuable life lessons that will follow and serve them well the rest of their lives.”

Since 2008, BOPIC, Inc has also served as administrator and provider for the Elm Street Neighborhood Revitalization Plan for Chambersburg. Funded through a grant from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the program is based on the need to:

  Revitalize selected neighborhood properties and infrastructure to the south and east of Chambersburg’s business district;

  Prevent further neighborhood decline by addressing aging and deteriorating housing;

  Reverse high rental to owner ratios;

  Correct deteriorated curbs and sidewalks;

  Encourage construction of affordable housing;

  Apply funding to renovated owner-occupied residences;

  Eliminate blighted and unsafe conditions in the interest of a philosophy of “Clean, Safe and Green,” which in-turn improves the link between those neighborhoods and the downtown business district.

Most recently, BOPIC, Inc. established the Interpreting, Translating & Consulting Service as a sustainability program to assist businesses and organizations that want to build a successful relationship with the ever-growing immigrant community.  Filling a need, BOPIC has established consulting and translation/interpretation services with a number of business and local entities, including, since 2012, services to Franklin/Fulton County Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities Program.

For more information about BOPIC, Inc. and it’s programs, visit BOPIC, Inc on Facebook. The BOPIC offices are located at 530 S. Main St., Chambersburg. 

Joe Benish

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