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Aug 24, 2015

Volunteer Spotlight - Gilda Powell

About once a month for the past 25 years, a familiar face has walked through our doors carrying bags of socks and sundries for homeless youth.

Gilda Powell first began collecting donations as a member of the Kiwanis Club of Portland (KCOP) and advisor for the Key Club at Grant High School, the Kiwanis sponsored service program for high school youth. Powell met Helen Bakkensen when Bakkensen opened a homeless youth shelter on Oak Street just a few blocks from where the KCOP meets every week. It became a perfect match for the Key Clubbers to help the homeless youth of Portland by collecting blankets, pillows, clothes, books, magazines and games that would suit other young teens.

Over the years Bakkensen’s youth shelter became a part of Janus Youth Programs – our Street Light and Porch Light shelters now named in her honor. When the shelter’s partnership with Key Club ended, the KCOP members continued to provide socks and hygiene products collected from their travels.

“It’s been my honor to chair and continue this project over the years. Once a month I collect donations from our very generous membership and use my discounts and coupons to help increase our purchase power,” explains Powell.

“KCOP and I have long been aware of the loving care your organization provides to the homeless youth of Portland. We encourage everyone to support Janus in every way possible. A sincere thanks to all the wonderful other donors, volunteers and marvelous staff members,” she said.

Thank you Ms. Powell for changing lives and building futures!



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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