Youth Must be Served

Posted on: Sunday, 24 October 2021

"Youth must be served," the old proverb declares.

At Portland Pearl, service to youth is a hallmark of Rotarians. That was evident again at the Oct. 19 breakfast meeting (held both in-person at Ecotrust and before a virtual audience of members): First, '22-23 outbound youth exchange candidate Jett Barker was introduced.

A sophomore at the International School in Beaverton, Jett shared his expectations: "A dream of mine is to travel the world," he said after his introduction by Dawn Schneider, club officer for youth exchange. "I'm really looking forward to being part of this program." Jett's parents are Kelly Portnoff and Rotarian Rich Barker. Jett has his eye on Japan for a country choice.

Jett was followed at the mic by Nitsa Kehoe, October student of the month from Lincoln High. Introduced to PPRC a week earlier (and profiled in the Oct. 18th Bulletin), Nitsa championed the "long-lasting benefits" of music education in schools. Her high school experience has included pep band, marching band and serving as drum major. The LHS senior moaned the cutbacks in funding for music ("often the first to go" when dollars shrink). Among the benefits of music cited were higher test scores and fewer dropouts.

A key opportunity for youth through Rotary International is the youth exchange program (which Jett is entering). Merits of Youth Exchange were outlined by speakers Polly McKay and Marty Brown, McMinnville (but soon Pearl residents), who have hosted numerous foreign students and also sent their son (to Japan) and daughter (to Germany) overseas through Rotary.

Their experiences taught that Rotary's "excellent preparation" leads to maturation while abroad, and the broadening of horizons when returning home. They also encouraged Rotarians to volunteer as host families--a request later echoed by several Rotarians. (Photos: Jett Barker, Youth Exchange candidate; Nitsa Kehoe, LHS student of the month; Marty Brown & Polly McKay, youth exchange parents)

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Ecotrust Building
721 NW 9th Ave #200
Portland, OR 97209
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