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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!



Dec 12, 2018
Visit The Sharing Tree at Washington Square Mall & Look for Janus Youth With the Red Dot on Gift Tag

The Sharing Tree at Washington Square Mall is a great way to make sure each of our youth has a gift to open on Christmas morning. Just pick an ornament from the tree located in the Nordstrom wing, near Williams-Sonoma and purchase the item listed on the tag. These gifts are distributed to Janus and eight other charities throughout the Portland metro area. Each year, more than 4,500 gifts are given to those in need through the Washington Square Sharing Tree. 

Nov 28, 2018
Ending Youth Homelessness

Every night, our downtown Portland shelters are home to youth ages 16-24 who have no other place to go. Youth often line up outside the door at 8:30 pm, hoping to get a bed and a meal for the night. Not everyone gets in. With a limit of 60 beds, the shelter can only accommodate 60 youth each night. During the winter months, there are an additional 10 beds. This year alone, the shelters housed and fed over 500 youth. While our shelters are running at full capacity and our street outreach workers are out every night providing warm clothing and crisis-intervention services, there are some positive shifts affecting the numbers and demographics of homeless youth in Multnomah County.

Nov 26, 2018
​Employee Spotlight—Gina McConnell

Gina knows what it feels like to run away. She did it at age 12 to avoid abuse at home, but like so many youth on the street, she quickly became a target for sex trafficking. After many years “in the life,” she spent time in prison where she befriended a person who said to her when she was released, “I need you to go out there and be our voice.” This was a pivotal moment for Gina and from that point on, she was committed to helping youth who have experienced similar trauma as she did. Today she works in the Cowlitz County Youth Services Program as a case manager for sexually-exploited youth. We talked to Gina to find out how her experiences has prepared her for this role.

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