On June 4, Pearl Rotary will celebrate–-and congratulate–-two of its partnerships and also standout volunteers in the Pearl District with three community service awards.
The inaugural event, held in conjunction with the regular Tuesday morning meeting, will also feature Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.
For this newsletter, Rotarians Don Barney and Yelena Girich reported on this effort of PPRC’s vocational service committee. On the two partnerships which will be celebrated, Don wrote:
“Pearl Rotary’s five-year partnership with the alternative Open Meadow School of North Portland, through its StepUp and Career Connections programs, has been a source of great satisfaction to the club and its members.
“Forty percent of the students dropping out of high school leave during their freshman year. StepUp targets students falling farthest behind in middle school and provides comprehensive, culturally specific services into their sophomore year at Roosevelt, Madison, Franklin and Gresham high schools. StepUp offers after-school tutoring, continued leadership development and close social/emotional support to these students.
“Career Connections is a career development program for Portland residents (ages 18-24), who are interested in exploring professional careers and/or college. This short-term, challenging training program for young people entering the job market offers opportunities to:
- Increase confidence, motivation, and hope
- Network with local professionals and explore career options
- Learn résumé writing and interview skills
- Identify strengths, skills, and passions
“Pearl Rotarians provide after-school volunteer tutors for StepUp students at Madison H.S. Also we participate professional guidance to help staff evaluate the progress of Career Connections enrollees.”
Representing Open Meadow June 4 will be Andrew Mason, OM’s principal.
Our second partnership citation will go to Transitions Project; Pearl Rotarian Doreen Binder will represent the organization.
The Transition Projects story began in 1969 when a young priest, the Reverend Gilbert N. Lulay, leased a hotel on the corner of NW 2nd and Couch in Portland’s Old Town. There was room for 20 homeless men. Men with nowhere to go would knock on the door and find somewhere where they could sleep and be safe. At some point early on, Lulay began calling his work Burnside Projects.
Burnside Projects grew and changed, renaming itself Transition Projects in 1991 to reflect its emphasis on finding answers to homelessness. The agency quickly realized that homeless women were also in great need and began serving them. In 1997, the agency opened Jean’s Place, a 55-bed program for women. The following year, the agency opened the Clark Center, a 90-bed shelter for men in Portland’s industrial east side.
In 2007, the agency opened the Clark Center Annex, 22 units of permanent supportive housing for men. Over the past two years, the Transition Projects has settled into the Bud Clark Commons, home of Doreen’s Place, short-term residence for up to 90 more homeless men.
Wrote Don Barney: “Through our partnership, Pearl Rotarians have volunteered to help purchase, prepare and feed residents of Bud Clark Commons and Clark Center on a monthly basis and to guide and instruct residents on presenting resumes, improving interviewing skills and sharpening job search skills.”
In 2009, Transition Projects commemorated 40 years of service to the community. With the City of Portland and Home Forward (formerly the Housing Authority of Portland), two years ago the Bud Clark Commons opened in Northwest Portland as a major new effort to combat homelessness. Today, Transition Projects serves more than 9,000 people each year. It shelters or houses nearly 300 people every day and provides a menu of services to homeless and low-income persons.
(Editor’s note: For the announcement of Pearl Rotary’s community service awards, see the following submission by Yelena.)
The scheduled agenda for June 4 follows:
7:15 a.m. Breakfast
7:25 a.m. Club business
7:50 a.m. Presentation of Club’s Community PARTNERSHIP Awards
8 a.m. Commence PPRC Community SERVICE Awards Ceremony; Introduction of Mayor Hales
8:05 a.m. Mayor Hales: Remarks (theme: importance of community service and giving back to the community by business, organizations and individuals in the community; if time, take a question or two from membership)
8:25 a.m. Presentation of service awards by Mayor Hales
8:45 a.m. Meeting adjourned by club President Dave Haack
–Yelena Girich, director
In this inaugural event for Pearl Rotary, Mayor Charlie Hales will be with us and present our awards for community service to:
1) Al Solheim, AWS Real Estate, nominated by Patricia Gardner, President of the PDNA for his long-standing service throughout the Pearl’s development as a most livable community and home to the arts.
2) Jan Valentine, from the Pearl District Neighborhood Association, nominated by Mark Alejo, Central City Concern, for her exemplary service with Polish the Pearl, Graffiti Busters and other efforts to sustain the livability of the Pearl.
3) Curtis Holloway and Gabrielle Starr, residents of the Pearl, nominated by Don Barney for their exemplary volunteer work through Transition Projects to help meet social service needs in the Pearl area community.