Operation Breakthrough services and assistance programs.

Operation Breakthrough helps Durham County North Carolina families and individuals that are on the path to self-sufficiency. The non-profit agency offers those that qualify with support services such as referrals, advocacy and some direct aid as well, as noted below. However much of what they provide is done so through referrals and partnerships they have with other churches, charities, and government organizations in the county.

One of their key services is FEATS, or the Family Empowerment Action to Self-Sufficiency Program. This will assist participants from the region in solving problems and removing obstacles that stand in their path to long term self-sufficiency. The focus of the community action agency is placed on assisting families by increasing their income, gaining new skills, and improving their education. A component of this is also referrals to financial support, including homeless prevention or emergency rent programs. Operation Breakthrough and FEATS coordinate case management, development training, human resource readiness, employment search and referrals.

The WAP - Weatherization Assistance Program helps homeowners by making their residences become more energy efficient and safer to live in. It is free to those that qualify, and many participants can see their total utility bills reduced by up to 30 percent or so.

It is federally funded and available in the state and nationwide. Some of the methods used to insulate a home are adding caulking, weather stripping, replacing deteriorated doors, insulating floors, attics, and walls, as well as repairing broken window panes. All of the work is done by highly trained and approved contractors.

Another emergency conservation and emergency resource is the Heating and Air Replacement Program, or HARRP. However this is only offered in North Carolina and is available when funds are available to repair or replace heating or air conditioning units. The application process will be very similar to weatherization.

There is also an OBT Computer Lab on site. It is free to use and is open most weekdays. Staff at the Durham County lab can assist people with activities such as resume building and conducting online job searches, as well as offer them basic computer instruction on software such as Microsoft.




Head Start is one of the main programs run by Operation Breakthrough. This is both a national and federal government funded preschool program servicing children under the age of 6. Their families and parents may also benefit as well, mostly from referrals and social services that are also administered. The goal of Head Start is to provide a quality education for young children. Staff will also help parents establish goals designed to support the entire family. Before and after school day care is available to children whose parents are either working, in job training or in school.

Head Start will encourage children to develop school readiness skills in writing, reading, math, science, language, etc. Other support will be Nutritious Meals & Snacks (USDA approved), Health & Dental Programs, and Individual Educational Programs. There is also support for children with disabilities, and this is often done in partnership with Durham County Public Schools.

Free meals are also provided. Students can get breakfast, lunch and snacks. Everything will meet USDA food service requirements. In certain part of the county, transportation is offered from Operation Breakthrough. This service is provided only to those with no ride or means to transportation.

To learn more on the services from Operation Breakthrough, call the main office at (919) 688-8111. The address is 800 N. Mangum St., Durham, North Carolina 27702.




By Jon McNamara

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