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May 16, 2016

Harry’s Mother—A Safe Place for Youth Having Trouble at Home

There are many reasons teenagers find their way to Harry’s Mother, our Runaway Youth Service. They may be having trouble at home and school, or their family may be experiencing homelessness. They may have been brought in by the police for theft, drug possession or breaking curfew. In all cases, there is one thing they have in common: they all get support and linkages to services that best fit their situations. The goal of Harry’s Mother is to keep families together whenever possible. According to the Runaway Services Program Director, Mel Jett, “Parents are struggling too.”

Harry’s Mother has been serving runaway youth since 1972. Youth may be referred there by a school counselor, SUN Community School, word of mouth, or from calling the crisis line. Once youth have gone through the in-take process, staff make recommendations on the next steps. In some cases, youth are referred to the Garfield House—a short term emergency residential shelter facility. 

All Portland police officers have Harry’s Mother’s phone number on their business cards and on their police monitors because Harry’s Mother is an alternative to detention. When youth have been picked up on misdemeanor offenses, an officer will bring them into the Juvenile Reception Center—part of the Juvenile Detention Reform—where staff meet with youth and families to discuss ways to prevent incarceration. Staff provide resources for drug/alcohol use, school enrollment, pregnancy prevention and mental health. If you, or someone you know needs a safe place to stay, helpful information or referral resources, call the 24-Hour Youth and Family Help Line: 503-233-8111. 

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Apr 19, 2018
Employee Spotlight—Chelsea Willis

Working with LGBTQ youth on a farm had been a dream of Chelsea Willis and was the basis of her college thesis at Naropa Institute. “All the things I wrote about, I am doing now at the Rivera House,” says Chelsea. “While the Rivera House doesn’t have a farm, there are raised beds where residents have the opportunity to grow vegetables and herbs.” Chelsea, too, has been able to grow—professionally— by combining her talent and expertise in challenging, new ways. According to Deven Edgerton, Rivera House Director, “Chelsea has been a crucial employee in getting the Rivera House up and running.”

Apr 12, 2018
Board of Director Spotlight—Melissa Bauer

Melissa Bauer serves as the Janus Advancement Chair and has been a Board member since 2015. She is a general partner in a family-owned real estate business.

Apr 05, 2018
​Youth Spotlight—Rose Edwards

“Never give up,” is the motto Rose carried with her during her years as a homeless youth in Vancouver, WA. After over five years of homelessness, struggling with addiction and ending up in jail repeatedly, Rose turned a new leaf on life. At 24, she is a supervisor at Papa Murphy’s, has a one-bedroom apartment, spends time with her six-year old son and is completely clean.

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