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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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Jan 18, 2018
Employee Spotlight—Washington Outreach Specialists

Every day our Outreach Specialists in Washington are busy serving homeless youth who have no one else to turn to. The team of three staff—Keeva Haverkost, Jessica Villasenor, and Jean Withers—work like a well-oiled machine, supporting each other so they can provide high quality service to youth. All of them are passionate about their work. Bettina Boles, Program Supervisor of The Perch and Yellow Brick Road Washington, says of her team, “Each person brings their unique contribution and special reason to work as an Outreach Specialist.” According to Bettina, the team has multifaceted roles— hosting The Perch—our drop-in center for youth—conducting street outreach for Yellow Brick Road, Washington and leading educational presentations that help the community better understand human trafficking and its impact in Clark County.

Jan 09, 2018
Youth Spotlight—Noah Schultz and his” Inspiring Action Tour”

Noah Schultz is a 25-year old graduate of the Hope Partnership program who served 7.5 years in the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA). While at the MacLaren Correctional Facility, Noah received two Bachelor of Arts degrees. Since his release in October 2016, he has become an outspoken youth advocate, with a passion to drive reform in our justice system, inspiring hope, action and humanizing the stories of the incarcerated. In November 2017, Noah completed a two-month “Inspiring Action Tour” at ten correctional facilities throughout the U.S. where he showed the award-winning documentary film about him, “Perception from Prison to Purpose.” He is co-owner of Forgotten Culture Clothing and co-founder of Verbal Escape. Noah spoke to us about his tour.

Dec 18, 2017
Sixth Grader Organizes Sock Drive For Janus Youth

Eleven-year old Quentin Brown organized a winter sock drive at his school, Cascade Heights Public Charter School, collecting 582 pairs of socks for our youth. This is his second year organizing the sock drive.

 Last year, Janus awarded Quentin the “Stars for Kids Award” for his contributions to our youth. Each year on his birthday, Quentin asks family members to give him gifts that he can donate to Portland’s homeless youth. Rather than getting toys and games, Quentin gets socks, water bottles, hats and scarfs that he packs up in a bin and brings down to the Janus administrative office. Last year, he even brought a little piggy bank with all of his savings and gave it to Janus. He has been doing this for seven years now. By thinking of the needs of others, he sets an example for his peers, family and community, showing the impact kids have on helping other kids. Quentin demonstrates that acts of kindness can be cultivated at a young age. 

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