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Jul 11, 2017

Employee Spotlight— Eca-Etabo Wasongolo

Eca-Etabo Wasongolo bends down and picks an amaranth plant that is growing in a Village Gardens’ plot on Sauvie Island. Three families grow the vegetable, along with many other African vegetables, as part of the Village Gardens’ Market Gardener Program.

Designed to support families in launching a small farm business, the Market Gardener Program provides donated land, free water, vegetable starts, tilling support and business training. Wasongolo has been the community organizer at Village Gardens for seven years and, more recently, working with the Market Gardener families to help them launch their small businesses. “Village Gardens helps each family business define their goals and work with them on each step, beginning with planning their garden, preparing the garden beds, harvesting and taking the produce to market,” says Wasongolo.

Market Gardeners sell at the New Columbia and St. Johns Farmers Markets and Village Market. As the vegetables get ready for harvest, Wasongolo shows gardeners how to trim, weigh, bundle and price the vegetables for sale at the Farmers Market. The families in the Market Gardener program are from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. They grow hard-to-find vegetables from their native countries in Africa, such as fresh amaranth, mbonga bujungu or “MB veggie”— as well as African eggplants, kale, peas, cabbage, beans, squash and tomatoes.

Wasongolo, along with other Village Gardens staff, is a critical link in helping each gardener and their families learn the skills necessary to run a successful small farm business. His role as a Community Organizer for Village Gardens is to work alongside Community Leaders who live in Cathedral Gardens, New Columbia and Tamaracks Apartment affordable housing communities to support leadership in community-led food projects. In addition to the Market Gardener Program on Sauvie Island, Wasongolo also collaborates with residents on the Seeds of Harmony Community Garden and Fruits of Diversity orchard in New Columbia and the New Beginnings Garden in Cathedral Gardens.

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Oct 12, 2017
Get A Columbia Sports Employee Store Pass Today!

Take advantage of this limited time special offer to shop at the Columbia Sportswear Employee Store! October 13 through November 5, 2017 you and up to four guests can purchase any items at the Columbia Sportswear Employee store and 10% of your purchase will be donated back to Janus. Call 503-542-4636 to receive a store pass or email pvalenti@janusyouth.org.

Oct 04, 2017
Employee Spotlight—Sina Youssefzadeh

Sina is a passionate advocate for marginalized youth and social justice. Five years ago when he moved to Portland and was involved in grassroots social justice work, he learned about Janus’ work in the community and applied for a Crisis Intake Specialist position at Harry’s Mother, our Runaway Youth Services program. Since then, Sina has continued to help develop a trauma informed approach to the work done within his cohort, build relationships with youth and families and offer referrals to other partnering agencies. We talked to Sina to find out more about what he does in his current position.

Sep 11, 2017
​Partner Spotlight: Home Builders Foundation

Brenda Ketah of Home Builders Foundation (HBF) likes giving people the opportunity to serve others. As Project Manager of HBF for six years, she does that every day—connecting people to service providers who need help restoring or maintaining their shelters or transitional housing for youth, women and children. HBF has been a Janus partner for many years, leading the Cordero House renovation, the energy retrofit of Buckman House and painting seven of our facilities. We talked to Brenda to find out more about HBF’s work in the community.

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