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Nov 20, 2014

City Commissioner Nick Fish Honored with David G. Fitzpatrick Spirit Award at Janus Annual Dinner

Left to right: Michael Buonocore, Home Forward Executive Director and Janus Board Vice President; Nick Fish, Portland City Commissioner; Steve Rudman, Retired Home Forward Executive Director

Every year at the Janus Annual Dinner we take an evening off to recognize our dedicated staff and those in the community who are making a difference in the lives of the children, youth and families we work with every day. 

Dennis Morrow, Janus Youth Programs’ Executive Director, recognized more than 20 staff members reaching a length of service milestone including Debbie Mead, Payroll Manager, who has worked for Janus for 30 years.

“For three decades Debbie has filled our lives with joy and always made sure that everyone got paid. Not because it’s her job, but because of the level of caring and commitment she has for each staff and her deep understanding of the profound impact they are having on the youth we serve,” said Morrow. 

In addition to Mead’s 30 years of service, nine staff were recognized for five years of service, six for 10 years, four for 15 years and one for 20 years adding up to 215 years of service working on behalf of children, youth and families in Oregon and Washington.

Janus’ Board of Directors also honored Linda Murphy, Human Resources Director, with the Helen Reser Bakkensen Award presented by Helen’s son John Bakkensen. Named after Helen Reser Bakkensen who lead the charge in the mid-1980s to ensure Portland’s homeless youth would have a safe place to sleep and help to get off the streets, the award is inscribed with “Take Care of My Children.” With Linda set to retire next year, this award could not have come at a better time to recognize her contributions over the past 23 years taking care of the staff that take care of the children, youth and families Janus serves.

Left: Dennis Morrow recognizes Debbie Mead for 30 years of service. Right: Linda Murphy receives the Helen Reser Bakkensen Award.

Stars for Kids Awards for 2014 were presented to Eileen Priebe, a substitute teacher for the Evergreen School District who has become an invaluable asset to our Oak Bridge Youth Shelter while working on-site to tailor educational experiences for youth in the program, and Catalyst Partnerships NW for bringing together 100 volunteers who donated 530 hours of labor for several construction projects at our Cordero program.

The Suburban Southwest RE/MAX Equity Group branch office received The John P. Zuercher Champions for Children Award. For more than 15 years, they have shared the holidays with youth in our Imani program, making sure they each have a gift to open for Christmas.

The David G. Fitzpatrick Spirit Award, which honors the memory of long-time Janus board member Dave Fitzpatrick, was presented to Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish by Janus Board Vice President, Michael Buonocore, Executive Director of Home Forward, and Dave Fitzpatrick’s wife, Maryalice Russell, Superintendent of the McMinnville School District. Nick was recognized for his enthusiastic support of Village Gardens and for his years of service as a member of the Portland City Council where his passion for civic engagement can be seen in everything he does on behalf of Portland and its citizens.

Left to right: Michael Buonocore, Home Forward Executive Director and Janus Board Vice President; Nick Fish, Portland City Commissioner; Maryalice Russell, Superintendent of the McMinnville School District

Before the evening concluded, Janus board member Karen Schartman deviated from the program to recognize a special attendee, just-retired Executive Director of Home Forward, Steve Rudman. In addition to shaping Home Forward as one of the best housing authorities in the country, Steve has been committed to creating more affordable housing in Portland for over 30 years.

“Steve has been a partner, innovator, leader and generous supporter of Janus’ Village Gardens program. In 2011, Janus’ Board had the privilege of recognizing Steve with its Champions for Children Award, but with Steve here tonight, we just couldn’t let this evening happen without saying thank you for all he has done,” said Schartman. 


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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