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Nov 09, 2015

Board of Directors Member Spotlight – Hirdesh Lal

We welcomed Hirdesh Lal onto the Janus Board of Directors just over a year ago. He is the Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at Kaiser Permanente and currently serves on the Board Fiscal Committee. We appreciate the time he took to answer our questions for this quarter’s Board Member Spotlight.

Please give us a brief overview of your professional background.

I am a Financial Planning professional and Certified Public Accountant (Inactive). In this capacity, I am able to serve and aid individuals and corporations to become financially independent, sustainable, and viable in long run. We partner with clients in decision making process to convert business ideas from dream to reality. I started my career with a CPA firm. Currently I work for Kaiser Permanente as Director of Financial Planning and Analysis.

Are you a native Oregonian? If not, what brought you to the Northwest?

I was born and raised in the Fiji Islands and moved to Portland with my parents about 30 years ago. My mother was the primary driver of this move to US. She wanted to be closer to her family while demanding her children have ambitious careers rather than a laid back Fijian life style. She was the first individual in her very large family to have kids graduate from college – all four of them.

Why do you feel it’s important to invest in your community?

It is critical to invest in the community, especially when it comes to vulnerable kids. They will be the future community. Our ability to intervene today will help change, craft and shape the future that you want to see.

Are you involved with any other organizations other than Janus?

I actively participate in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs which also work with children. I have worked with two little brothers who are incredible and have unique abilities to make a difference in this community when they grow up. In addition, I am an active Advisory Board member of PSU Business School. As the first person in our entire family to earn a college degree, I have found that obtaining college level education is foundational to a successful, happy and independent future. Therefore, I am passionate about my participation in academia to help make college opportunities available for every potential individual.

What originally inspired you to join the Janus board?

The mission of Janus Youth Programs and my mentor, Karen Schartman, CFO, Kaiser Permanente, inspired me to join the organization to advance its mission of protecting children and helping them realize their full potential in our community.

What do you hope to accomplish by serving as a Janus board member?

I hope to harness my passion and professional experience to make Janus Youth Programs a sustainable, efficient organization that continues to make a difference in the lives of our vulnerable population. In addition, I have an interest in fostering good health and healthy living and finding paths to sustain the Village Gardens program.

Why Janus?

It is the people. Janus Youth is an organization of passionate people who have chosen a difficult path to advance the community by focusing on improving the lives of individuals of our future community. They do meaningful work and it is a pleasure to be present in the same environment.

What extra-curricular activities do you enjoy when not working or volunteering?

I enjoy spending time learning to play musical instruments (guitar and keyboard), sports (soccer and football), travel, and spend time with families and friends. 


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May 22, 2017
Scholarships Awarded To Our Youth

On May 17th, the Janus Board of Directors, staff and community members honored 15 youth in our programs who were recipients of our scholarship awards. Now in its sixteenth year, the scholarships open the door to education for our youth by helping to pay for school expenses such as tuition, books and rent.

This year’s scholarship recipients are from an array of Janus programs including Insights Teen Parent Program, Imani House, Changes, Annex I, Harry’s Mother and Hope Partnership. Special thanks to Robert Gootee and Moda Health for their support in launching the Scholarship Fund in 2001 and to Joanne Senders—a generous donor who established the Joanne Senders Scholarship Fund.  

Photo: Left to right: Jeremy Ericksen, Thomas Spisla, Christian Ford, Griffin Thomas, Robert Gootee, Gustavo Portillo-Soto, Fariborz Pakseresht, Dennis Morrow and Dalon Murray. Not pictured: Alejandra Hernandez, Nicholas Schafer, Elishah Eduardo Asbaugh, Johnathan Baker, Cayce French, Robert Miller, Agustin Estrada-Vargas, Ezequiel Vasquez, and Bailey Allman.

May 08, 2017
Youth Voices—In Their Own Words

My experience at Cordero House was one of the most significant events to have happened to me. Let me start with a background of who I am. I came from a small village in the countryside of El Salvador. At a young age, I learned to be independent, going to school and helping with the daily chores. I moved to the city for a very brief moment before flying to the U.S. At first, I felt strange and overwhelmed with everyone and everything around me. As time went by, I found myself in a state of confusion. Alone, I had no one to turn to ask for help. Instead, I did things that to this day I regret. Such events led to me spending time in a youth corrections facility.

May 01, 2017
Employee Spotlight—Angie Corll

Angie knows what it feels like to run away. She did it for years, running away from abusive and neglectful homes, opting for freedom and danger of the streets over security. This life on the run led her down many dark paths for years until she became the kid that no one wanted to take in. Finally, in 1993, with the help of her probation officer, she entered a Janus residential program. That was a turning point. Says Angie, “I was blessed to have been given a second chance.” Now she works as a Youth Care Specialist at our Oak Grove shelter in SW Washington, helping youth who are facing similar life crisis as she did. We talked to Angie to find out how her experiences has prepared her to serve our youth.

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