• Meghan Harvey

Johnstown Vision Together 2025: Interview with Will Polacek

Vision Together 2025 is bringing the greater Johnstown community together with the vision of bettering the Johnstown region. It’s mission to revitalize the area is based upon an open, collaborative, and community-driven approach.

“It’s a meshing of the leaders of Johnstown trying to get initiatives pushed forward to help the town in many different ways, such as economically and environmentally,” says Will Polacek, who is deeply involved with the vision.

A volunteer-based organization, Vision 2025 is comprised of three main groups: the Strong Sense of Community group, the Life Sustaining Landscapes group, and the Vibrant and Open Local Economy group.

In addition to the vision overall, the organization also focuses on individual projects and ideas through what they call “capture teams.” These sets of people work together in order to accomplish a specific goal. Some examples of these teams are the Youth Engagement capture team and the Welcome to Johnstown capture team. By accomplishing specific goals, the capture teams contribute to the growth and prosperity of the Johnstown region.

Will is personally involved with a capture team that is committed to ensuring the health and well-being of our community members. When the COVID-19 pandemic first reached our area, he saw a Facebook group where people were looking for help to obtain basic necessities. After seeing this group, Will decided to buy groceries and personally deliver them to people in need.

He was then put in contact with Reverend Sylvia King of Christ Centered Community Church, who was doing something similar. “We got together, collaborated, and decided to do a food distribution,” says Will. With the help of many volunteers, they were able to provide 200 families with items such as cleaning supplies and fresh produce.

“We got a great response,” Will says. “After that first initial food distribution, we got a lot of support from the community. We got together and decided that as great as it is to do these distributions, we want to do something that will last longer than this.”

They came up with the idea to start a food bank, but a not-so-typical one. The food bank will not only distribute food items, but also teach people how to cook with those items. “We’ll teach people how to utilize these items in the best way so that they don’t go to waste,” says Will. The team also plans to teach people how to grow their own food.

“It’s been an ongoing process,” Will says. “A lot of like-minded people are getting together, focusing on these goals, and really just helping the area. It’s a great pace to live, work, and raise a family. We want to do all we can to make it even better.”

If you’re interested in being a part of Johnstown Vision Together 2025, visit their website.

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