Feeling Sickened By the Election? Giving Is the Best Medicine.

We don’t blame you for wanting to erase thoughts of a presidential race in which one candidate did more than any other in living memory to make citizens who didn’t look like him feel despised and unsafe.

But now isn’t the time to forget. It’s time to act.

During these past 18 months of Donald Trump’s towering toxicity, local and important work hasn’t stopped—and neither has the need. And now that the election’s over, it’s time to get back to it.

Willamette Week’s annual Give!Guide is live and now accepting donations at giveguide.org. Giving has already surpassed $100,000 and is nearing 1,000 donors.

There are 141 nonprofits in this year’s Give!Guide that merit your consideration. Here are seven of them—groups that work locally to fight back against social ills that wracked the national news.

Be the remedy.

1. Housing crisis

Community Alliance of Tenants

Nobody could miss the blistering rise in rents across Portland—a 10 percent spike in the past year. But the Community Alliance of Tenants was fighting for tenant protections long before city officials declared a housing emergency.

CAT has spent 20 years advocating for renters and marginalized tenants in the Portland area by informing them of their rights through workshops and outreach.

Now it’s taking the fight to Salem. “We’re asking the state to make no-cause evictions illegal,” says Katrina Holland, the organization’s interim director, “and to lift the ban on rent stabilization so that local jurisdictions can decide what’s best for them.”

Portland’s rising rents have “had a really devastating effect on people of color, seniors, and people with disabilities, and they’re getting pushed out,” Holland says. “People should be welcome to come here, and people should be welcome to stay here if they’d like to stay here.”

2. Climate change

350PDX

For some, global climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to weaken the trading posture of the United States. For 350PDX, it’s something that needs to be stopped in its tracks, principally by reducing fossil fuel emissions to zero by the middle of this century.

The group runs advocacy campaigns to keep fossil fuels in the ground, promote divestment from fossil fuel resources, and speed the transition to renewable energy sources like wind and solar power without taking advantage of minority groups.

“A big challenge is to maintain hope and to maintain our determination in the face of already living in a climate-changed world,” says Mia Reback, 350PDX’s staff organizer and development coordinator. “The work gets harder every week because every week we learn that we have to do more and we have to do it sooner.”

3. Sexual assault and domestic violence

Call to Safety

When the Portland Women’s Crisis Line became Call to Safety in May, it was for one reason. “The simple answer is that no part of our name was correct,” executive director Rebecca Peatow Nickels tells WW.

Call to Safety runs, among other services, a 24/7 crisis line that can be used by anyone of any gender. It’s available to anyone who’s experiencing sexual or domestic violence now or in the past. Callers reach an advocate on the other end of the line.

“Typically, one of the first questions an advocate will ask is whether the person is safe,” Nickels says. “An advocate will invite the caller to explain what they’re calling about and follow their lead on the conversation,” which can include emotional support and referrals to other services. “The average call is about eight minutes long.”

This work isn’t easy.

“The kind of work that we do, there isn’t a lot of acknowledgement from society that it’s a problem in the first place,” Nickels says. “We have to celebrate all of the successes that come our way.”

4. Educational equity

Marathon Scholars

It isn’t everyone who starts thinking about college in fourth grade. But that’s when the students enrolled in the Marathon Scholars college program start heading that way.

The program focuses on low-income and minority children who show early academic aptitude—and mentors them all the way to college. The students, who’ll be the first in their family to go to college, stay in the program for 12 years.

And once students get into college, Marathon Scholars awards them $12,000 scholarships paid by sponsors.

“We say we’re small, but we’re mighty,” says Stephen Wasserberger, the organization’s executive director. “The need is huge. We’ve got 117 kids spread across the program right now, we’re going to recruit 20 this coming school year—and we don’t even scratch the surface.”

5. Criminal justice reform

Partnership for Safety and Justice

The Partnership for Safety and Justice, founded in 1999, works for criminal justice reform by working with everyone who’s directly affected by it: “survivors of crime, people convicted of crime, and the families of both.”

PSJ’s four main programs focus on sentencing reform, improving crime-survivor services, keeping teens in trouble out of the adult criminal justice system, and diverting public safety money away from prisons and toward “victim services, addiction treatment, mental health services and re-entry programs.”

“The criminal justice system doesn’t just impact that one person,” who gets jailed or imprisoned, says Cleo Tung, PSJ’s development director. “It’s impacting their families and their communities.”

6. Immigration

Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization

Perhaps no group of people has been as vilified in this election as the refugees who arrive in Portland from war-torn places around the globe.

“Our communities face biases, for sure,” says Jenny Bremner, director of development and communications for the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization. “It makes the work all the more important.”

IRCO offers language, education, microfinance, case management and other services to refugees from nearly 40 countries around the world. The biggest challenge IRCO now faces isn’t racism: It’s rising rents.

Bremner says IRCO is expanding its services to the west in Washington County and to the south in Salem, where housing for large refugee families is cheaper than it is in Portland.

“The community need is greater and our programs are expanding in response to that need,” she says. “Success is when one of our kids is learning how to read in English and still speaks their native language, when one of our kids graduates high school and gets a full ride to a four-year college or university.”

7. LGBTQ RIGHTS

PDX Q Center

Coming out is difficult—especially when parts of the nation refuse to acknowledge your right to a public restroom. Since 2003, Portland’s Q Center has been making life a little easier for Portland’s LGBTQ people.

“What we really want to do is economic empowerment,” said Justin Pabalate, the Q Center’s executive co-director for development and community relations. “We have so many people who are relocating or houseless and need that training”—or who were part of the center’s programs for LGBTQ kids, and need help finding footing in the adult world.

Pabalate says he’s hoping to make a political impact, too. “My dream would be a candidacy school for LGBT folks” to train them how to run for political office, he says. “We don’t have enough of those.”

We Honored Five People Who Do Amazing Work for Local Nonprofits

Every year, Willamette Week honors Portlanders 35 years old and younger who do fabulous work for local nonprofits with the Skidmore Prize. Winners must work at a local nonprofit, work 32 hours a week or more and earn less than $40,000 a year.

This year’’s five winners received their awards, including prizes of $4,000 each, at a gala ceremony Wednesday evening, Nov. 2, at Revolution Hall.

Our five winners this year are: Casey Block at College Possible; Cole Merkel at Street Roots; Daisha Tate at North by Northeast Community Health Center; Janice Martellucci at Peace in Schools; and Jasmine Pettet at Outside In. Thanks to Grady Britton, Morel Ink, Davis Wright Tremaine and Revolution Hall for joining Willamette Week in sponsoring these prizes.

Take a look to learn more and visit giveguide.org to read their full profiles.

Give!Guide is live and accepting donations until Dec. 31. This year’s goal is to raise $3.6 million from 10,000 local donors.

Give!Guide 2015 Final Report

WW readers—

As we’ve come to say in this space every January: You are nothing short of amazing.

By midnight Dec. 31, nearly 9,000 of you (8,885, to be exact) had contributed more than $3.5 million ($3,501,400, actually) to this company’s annual effort to drive support for local nonprofits. Thousands  of you contributed more than once.

Your donations represent an increase of more than 10 percent over last  year. We couldn’t be more excited about the ways your giving supports—and energizes—thousands of Portlanders who do so much good work  in our community.

giveguide_finalreport_graphic2

The day before Christmas, The New York Times ran an op-ed piece by two University of British Columbia researchers who study high blood pressure in adults. Through an ingenious protocol, they’ve been able to demonstrate that spending money on others has the immediate effect of lowering blood pressure. (Not surprising: Buying things for yourself does not.) As the researchers note, the change in blood pressure matches “what is typically observed when people start engaging in regular aerobic exercise.”

So here’s hoping each of you gains all the physical—as well as the many psychic—benefits of your great generosity!

Every year, G!G generates its own set of fun facts. We’re listing a few elsewhere on this page, in charticle format.

giveguide_finalreport_graphic1

There are also thanks to repeat, because WW’s G!G could not exist without the great generosity of so many local businesses—too many to name here. Two head our list: Grady Britton, which produces and manages our website (and has provided many of these statistics), and Borders Perrin Norrander, which produced our first-ever marketing campaign (“Been a Little Bad? Do a Little Good”). Other special friends include A to Z Wineworks, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, Bob’s Red Mill, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Chinook Book, Revolution Hall/Mississippi Studios, and the Schlesinger Family Foundation. (For the full list of supporters, see giveguide.org.)

We plan to do this again later this year, with applications being taken during the month of June (also at giveguide.org). We’ll be conducting a recap meeting with this year’s participants at the beginning of next month, but we’re always interested in improving our system. If you have thoughts or comments, please send them to Executive Director Nick Johnson (njohnson@wweek.com).

For now: Thank you, eight-thousand eight-hundred eighty-five times over.

Nicholas Johnson, Executive Director

Richard H. Meeker, Founder

PS: This week and next, WW publishes our annual Volunteer Guide. It’s your chance to donate sweat equity, which is at least as valuable as your cash, to more than 60 great local nonprofits. 

Kitchen Coordinator

“In an environment that can often be chaotic with many volunteers and demanding diners, April is a sea of calm. If a diner has a meltdown or a volunteer fails to show up as scheduled, April rolls with the punches.”—Jessica Morris, Director of Human Resources, Meals on Wheels People Inc.

“So, would you want to dress these salads?” April Woods asks before I’ve even stepped into the kitchen. “Let me grab an apron for you. I think with a ladle you can get two salads done. And don’t forget gloves.”

Woods is the backbone of the Meals on Wheels’ Cherry Blossom Center kitchen, located in the Hazelwood neighborhood. Daily, Woods preps nearly 300 hot meals for delivery to homebound seniors, then cooks another 100 lunches for dining room visitors.

“Today we have two entrees,” she says, as she dumps a large bag of frozen vegetable medley into a steamer basket. “Baked fish and a Chinese chicken salad. These vegetables will be done in about 15 minutes.”

She directs volunteers who wash dishes and plate food, working with both regulars and first-time helpers, depending on the day. Some days, only one volunteer can make it. How does the kitchen operate on those days?

“Fast,” Woods says, smiling. “We go fast.”

Woods, 34, admits to a certain disdain for previous basement line cook jobs she’s held in Portland. Moving to Meals on Wheels allowed her love for cooking to flourish, while filling her desire for more regular hours. When she leaves her kitchen, Woods just keeps cooking. She and her partner have five children between the ages of three and 18.

“Some days by the time I get home,” she says with a short laugh, “I want to say, ‘you cook the meal!’” Mornings at the community center start at 8 am, with hot meals out the door by 10:30. Then, dining room prep begins. Country music usually streams from the radio. By 11:15, the dining room—tiled floor, cream walls and big windows—sets the backdrop for low income 65-and-over clients, who seat themselves at long cafeteria-style tables.

Mandarin speakers make up a large portion of Cherry Blossom’s client base, and Woods is learning the language so she can better communicate with those she serves. Some of her regular volunteers also speak Mandarin.

“It’s hard! [The volunteers] told me I was going to give up,” she says, while sliding marinated chicken onto beds of fresh greens next to four slices of orange.

As service is about to begin, a short, round-faced man with wispy white hair walks up to the counter pointing to the back of the kitchen, then his wrist.

“Dinner’s on soon,” she responds, trying to interpret his needs. He shakes his head no, and gestures like he has a mug in his hand. “Ohhh, you need coffee?” she asks. “Brewing more, it’ll be done soon.” He nods, and the “kitchen dance,” as Woods calls it, is complete. She effortlessly slides a heavy a tub of rice into the warmer and laughs. “Now I need to learn Russian, too.”

And she probably will. Woods’ commitment to the comfort of her dining room clients is paramount, and it shows.

“Some of these people are really hungry,” she says. “They need us.”

Wednesday is food box day. Clients show up as early as 7 am to receive pantry items delivered to the center by the Oregon Food Bank. Most of the patrons stay for lunch. On box days, Woods typically serves more than 100. Wednesday afternoons she also leads a teen cooking class through the community center.

“I feel like I’ve helped—and also relieved that we got it all done.” Woods says. “It’s a good feeling that people are fed and they don’t have to go home hungry.”

BOTTOM LINE FOR PORTLAND
April Woods prepares 300 meals daily for hungry, low-income seniors 65 and over, including hot meals that are delivered across the metro area and also directs more than 15 volunteers monthly.

April Woods’ prize is generously sponsored by Borders Perrin Norrander.

Support more than 143 nonprofits involved in Give!Guide here.

Arts Education Advocate

“Rebecca has an acute sense of the power of arts education. She galvanizes the community, turning passive supporters into activists working on our behalf.”
—Marna Stalcup, Director of Arts Education, Regional Arts & Culture Council

“We’re not putting coats on the homeless, exactly,” says Rebecca Burrell, outreach specialist at the Right Brain Initiative in Portland. And she’s not. From a downtown corner office flooded with natural light, Burrell fights battles involving art in our schools.

Right Brain’s mission is to give every K-8 student in the region access to art regardless of neighborhood, language or income. Burrell and her team serve more than 60 schools in seven metro-area districts with limited arts education resources by training teachers to weave arts into core curricula. Right Brain suggests to teachers there are other—likely better—ways to harvest high math and science scores than having students complete worksheets.

“Teachers have the hardest job in the world,” Burrell says. “And they are underappreciated, amazing people. We help [teachers] meet the objectives that stress them out.”

Burrell, a 34-year-old Portland native, carries herself with a grace indicative of years of modern dance training. She’s poised, gentle and frequently flashes a winning smile. Her conviction that Right Brain’s work is imperative to classroom success is palpable.

According to Marna Stalcup, director of arts education for the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Burrell’s personal experiences with art allow her to excel in her role as the public face of Right Brain.

While most of the staff has “back of house” jobs like curriculum development, workshop scheduling or grant research, Burrell works the front of the house, spreading the word about Right Brain.

“Rebecca is truly the connector to the broader community,” says Stalcup. “She ensures that what’s out there publicly matches with the ethos of our organization.”

Burrell organizes more than 250 volunteers, who in 2014 completed 10,000 hours of advocacy and fundraising. She meets policy makers to show the measurable success Right Brain programs have on students, teachers and test scores. She develops Right Brain’s annual report by working with designers, interviewing principals and collecting data.

“Some kids need to hear the info through different mediums,” Burrell says of how integrated arts help in all other subjects. “Or maybe they don’t need to hear it at all. They need to see, or feel, or move the information physically, in order to understand concepts.”

So tools like Right Brain’s Brain Food Deck were born. Under leadership from Burrell, educators and Portland’s design community collaborated to create the deck. It’s a colorful collection of activities that require creative thinking, which typically occurs in the right side of the human brain.

When she’s not at work, Burrell stays busy filling her own life with creativity. In mid-September, she got married and threw a DIY wedding block party in her street to celebrate.

“It was quintessential Rebecca,” says Stalcup, who attended. “A true community gathering.”

While Burrell may not be putting coats on backs, she’s putting creativity back into classrooms. Right Brain’s work helps students believe they are good learners, and encourages them to stay in school in a city with an abysmal 70 percent high-school graduation rate.

“This could change everything,” says Burrell. “Everything.”

BOTTOM LINE FOR PORTLAND
Burrell’s advocacy work has helped Right Brain serve 20,000 students from 63 Portland metro-area schools in seven districts and three counties.

“Rebecca has an acute sense of the power of arts education. She galvanizes the community, turning passive supporters into activists working on our behalf.”—Marna Stalcup, Director of Arts Education, Regional Arts & Culture Council

“We’re not putting coats on the homeless, exactly,” says Rebecca Burrell, outreach specialist at the Right Brain Initiative in Portland. And she’s not. From a downtown corner office flooded with natural light, Burrell fights battles involving art in our schools.

Right Brain’s mission is to give every K-8 student in the region access to art regardless of neighborhood, language or income. Burrell and her team serve more than 60 schools in seven metro-area districts with limited arts education resources by training teachers to weave arts into core curricula. Right Brain suggests to teachers there are other—likely better—ways to harvest high math and science scores than having students complete worksheets.

“Teachers have the hardest job in the world,” Burrell says. “And they are underappreciated, amazing people. We help [teachers] meet the objectives that stress them out.”

Burrell, a 34-year-old Portland native, carries herself with a grace indicative of years of modern dance training. She’s poised, gentle and frequently flashes a winning smile. Her conviction that Right Brain’s work is imperative to classroom success is palpable.

According to Marna Stalcup, director of arts education for the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Burrell’s personal experiences with art allow her to excel in her role as the public face of Right Brain.

While most of the staff has “back of house” jobs like curriculum development, workshop scheduling or grant research, Burrell works the front of the house, spreading the word about Right Brain.

“Rebecca is truly the connector to the broader community,” says Stalcup. “She ensures that what’s out there publicly matches with the ethos of our organization.”

Burrell organizes more than 250 volunteers, who in 2014 completed 10,000 hours of advocacy and fundraising. She meets policy makers to show the measurable success Right Brain programs have on students, teachers and test scores. She develops Right Brain’s annual report by working with designers, interviewing principals and collecting data.

“Some kids need to hear the info through different mediums,” Burrell says of how integrated arts help in all other subjects. “Or maybe they don’t need to hear it at all. They need to see, or feel, or move the information physically, in order to understand concepts.”

So tools like Right Brain’s Brain Food Deck were born. Under leadership from Burrell, educators and Portland’s design community collaborated to create the deck. It’s a colorful collection of activities that require creative thinking, which typically occurs in the right side of the human brain.

When she’s not at work, Burrell stays busy filling her own life with creativity. In mid-September, she got married and threw a DIY wedding block party in her street to celebrate.

“It was quintessential Rebecca,” says Stalcup, who attended. “A true community gathering.”

While Burrell may not be putting coats on backs, she’s putting creativity back into classrooms. Right Brain’s work helps students believe they are good learners, and encourages them to stay in school in a city with an abysmal 70 percent high-school graduation rate.

“This could change everything,” says Burrell. “Everything.”

BOTTOM LINE FOR PORTLAND
Burrell’s advocacy work has helped Right Brain serve 20,000 students from 63 Portland metro-area schools in seven districts and three counties.

Rebecca Burrell’s prize is generously sponsored by Davis Wright Tremaine.

Support more than 143 nonprofits involved in Give!Guide here.

Chica Empowerer

“Leticia has an uncommon knack for blending visionary thinking with feet-on-the-ground realism. Her remarkable emotional intelligence allows her to intervene in crises with the right degree of warmth and firmness to get girls back on track.”
—Bridget Cooke, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Adelante Mujeres

When Leticia Aguilar joined Adelante Mujeres part-time as the Chicas administrative assistant in 2009, she wasn’t certain she was cut out for the job.

“I didn’t want to be the person that says, ‘Do as I say, not as I do,” she now says.

At the time, Aguilar was a young, married, pregnant high school graduate who hadn’t gone to college and was working the desk at an insurance agency. Her parents—migrants from Mexico to Forest Grove—feared deportation after realizing Aguilar’s financial aid applications required a social security number they didn’t have.

But she was hired, and after being trained to mentor elementary school girls, Aguilar realized she was indeed meant to serve as a role model for young Latinas. Now, one community college degree, three promotions and six years later, Aguilar serves as the Chicas Youth Development program coordinator.

Adelante Mujeres translates to “empowering women,” or “moving women forward.” The Forest Grove-based organization does exactly that. Adelante Mujeres served 411 Latina students during the 2014-2015 school year. All 19 of the seniors from last year are currently enrolled in college. Of the elementary and middle school girls, exit surveys show improved self-image, deeper confidence and better grades than Latina counterparts not in the program.

Aguilar, 28, has had her hands in nearly all of this. In six years with the program, she has led nearly a dozen after-school groups. She stuck with one of these groups from third through ninth grade. Her sessions cover topics from alcohol-abuse prevention to STEM to LGBTQ support. Aguilar repeats one particular session with nearly every group she has mentored: “Why you should appreciate your Spanish culture.”

“I want them to love who they are, not be ashamed,” she says, explaining that her girls often feel they are ugly, unsupported or hated by their peers. The low-income girls Adelante Mujeres serves have working parents, several of them with field labor jobs, according to Aguilar. When they leave school, these girls return home to assist with cooking and cleaning; only then can they attempt their homework.

“Girls come in [to the program] with anger, blaming their parents for things,” she says. “But they leave here with a completely different mentality. They begin to appreciate the hard work.”

Aguilar is no stranger to the topic of hard work. In addition to mentoring, she takes high schoolers and their parents on college visits, for which she coordinates the transportation and on-campus experience.

“I like taking the girls,” she says. “But I like taking the families more. Often times they are afraid to let their daughters go to college. They don’t want them to go out of town.”

Visits to University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Western Oregon University, Linfield College and PSU usually mean all-day Saturday trips. At Aguilar’s urging, colleges facilitate student panels with other minority students, lunch with Latinas attending the school, admissions workshops and dorm tours. Aguilar aims to show parents and girls what helpful services the school can provide.

“We can enroll our girls,” she explains. “But then what? Who’s going to be there to make them feel connected to the college? That is what I want them to know.”

From across a conference table in Adelante Mujeres’ second floor office, she explains that many of her Chicas girls view her as “a second mom.” She is a mom to two of her own, (ages 7 and 2), a youth soccer coach, wife, daughter and member of Forest Grove’s Lions Club.

Does she sleep?

“You get used to it,” she says with a shrug and a laugh. “I can’t remember what it’s like to come home and not do anything.”

But doing nothing isn’t really Aguilar’s style. Her next goal includes finishing a second degree in human development.

“I want to provide more support to the girls and really understand the development stages they are going through,” she says.

BOTTOM LINE FOR PORTLAND
Aguilar assists more than 400 Latina girls in Forest Grove annually by providing leadership education, mentorship and college prep.

Leticia’s prize is generously sponsored by Grady Britton.

Support more than 143 nonprofits involved in Give!Guide here.

Youth Problem Solver

“Drew is passionate and driven when it comes to creating freedom from addiction in the youth of our community. He is particularly skilled at reaching a difficult-to-reach population.”
—Erin DeVet, Director of Youth & Family Services, De Paul Treatment Center

A bulletin board hangs above Drew Gadbois’ desk in his office at De Paul Treatment Center in Portland. Pinned to the top left corner is a collage of clippings from Seventeen magazine. The words “Rising” and “Step Up” in bold typeface are focal points, next to a cutout of a pink mascara tube and a cheese pizza.

The collage was a gift from a client. Gadbois, counseling services supervisor, had assigned the collage exercise after realizing the girl’s biggest barrier to success was to spiral into negative thought patterns.

“I was like, ‘You need to put together a collage of positive thoughts that make you think about change and growth.’ So that’s what she made,” he says, glancing up at the board. “And before she left, she gave it to me.”

De Paul serves youth struggling from addiction to drugs and alcohol by working with them in treatment programs ranging from outpatient care to residential or detoxification services.

Most clients graduate from De Paul’s two-month residential program, which involves a highly structured schedule of group sessions, individual counseling and recreation. Graduation from the program requires positive social behavior, effective and honest communication, and progress based on the level of care.

But when a client fails to meet these benchmarks and must leave De Paul, Gadbois is often involved in that conversation. Fermenting orange juice in the dorm, lying about possessing a weapon, or failure to pass urine analyses is likely to result in discharge from the program.

“It’s that balance between that individual and the safety of everybody,” he says. “I have to hold that. I try to be empathetic and validate that it sucks and it’s hard.”

Gadbois, 30, has worked in the nonprofit community for 11 years. He acutely understands the path to recovery. His past includes a list of foster care nightmares, sporadic stints in treatment programs and lack of belief in his own strengths.

“Sometimes self-disclosure actually ends up being therapeutic,” he says, recalling a story about a former client who was adopted overseas. He fell into addiction at age 14 and was forced by his adoptive family in and out of group homes, leaving him unable to imagine a life of interpersonal connection.

“I was like, ‘Listen, man, I’ve been in almost your same exact shoes,’” Gadbois says. “The reality is, you have to create your own family.”

Prior to his current duties, Gadbois spent more time in sessions with clients. Now, his supervisory role largely involves problem-solving with staff—his work family.

Friday mornings at 10:30, Gadbois runs a check-in meeting with two members of his staff. They discuss the previous night’s “poop scandal” in Cedar, the boys’ dorm, and a more immediate issue of a prohibited 4-inch yellow razor on a key chain turned in by a boy who found it in the dorm. The staff assigns clients as mentors to incoming clients, debates visitation-day approval strategies, and suggests ideas to get kids to respect the recreation-time rules.

And this is just 10 minutes out of one day. On inspection, Gadbois’ calendar looks like the inside of a pack of Skittles. Orange means off-site, yellow is a client meeting. Staff meetings are pink, and supervisions are aqua.

“This is our program,” he says, “and we’re responsible for what happens in it and maintaining a therapeutic milieu. I take that very seriously.”

Gadbois wants to expand his work at De Paul to include sober transitional housing for kids who graduate but have nowhere constructive or safe to live, and he’s working to incorporate more LGBTQ-specific programming.

“These youth are resilient,” he says. “We need to listen to who they truly are instead of judging what brought them into our services.” Steph Barnhart

BOTTOM LINE FOR PORTLAND
Gadbois’ team of seven counselors and case managers serves daily up to 40 kids who are seeking freedom from addiction. Of nearly 600 kids Gadbois has individually counseled at De Paul, at least 70 percent have successfully graduated from the program.

Drew Gadbois’ prize is generously sponsored by Morel Ink.

Support more than 143 nonprofits involved in Give!Guide here.