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Jan 26, 2017

Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Multnomah County

Bella Gonzales was 17 years old when she was living on the street before she found her way to Athena House—a Janus residential program that provides safe, emergency housing up to 18 months for sex-trafficked youth. On January 26, she testified before the Multnomah County Board of County Commissioners about how the Athena House and the staff there helped Bella change her life. “Staff helped me with resources, got me back to school and provided me with clothing and shelter. This program really makes a difference,” says Bella. Today, as a Lead Residential Counselor at Athena House, she is a role model to the residents living there. In 2016, Athena House housed 23 youth who were victims of sex-trafficking.

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners is actively involved in addressing sex-trafficking and on January 26, proclaimed January 2017 to be Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Multnomah County. The county’s engagement is critical to combating sex trafficking: last year, 183 purchasers were arrested. Through their efforts, as well as the efforts of partner organizations like the Sexual Assault Resource Center, Oregon Department of Human Services and Lifeworks NW, sex-trafficking of youth is receiving attention and resources. Their work extends not only to sex-trafficking survivors, but also in the community to increase awareness focused on prevention and breaking the cycle. To support this effort, Harry’s Mother expanded its services and opened up a new center in Gresham and has two outreach specialists who provide street-level outreach, education and mentoring for sex-trafficked youth. These specialists speak to community groups, schools and health professionals about how to identify sex-trafficked youth and get them into service and safety.

Sex trafficking is a complex and pervasive problem but with the coordinated engagement among local and regional partners, our goal is to continue to make progress this year in eradicating it from the lives of our youth and our communities.

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May 22, 2017
Scholarships Awarded To Our Youth

On May 17th, the Janus Board of Directors, staff and community members honored 15 youth in our programs who were recipients of our scholarship awards. Now in its sixteenth year, the scholarships open the door to education for our youth by helping to pay for school expenses such as tuition, books and rent.

This year’s scholarship recipients are from an array of Janus programs including Insights Teen Parent Program, Imani House, Changes, Annex I, Harry’s Mother and Hope Partnership. Special thanks to Robert Gootee and Moda Health for their support in launching the Scholarship Fund in 2001 and to Joanne Senders—a generous donor who established the Joanne Senders Scholarship Fund.  

Photo: Left to right: Jeremy Ericksen, Thomas Spisla, Christian Ford, Griffin Thomas, Robert Gootee, Gustavo Portillo-Soto, Fariborz Pakseresht, Dennis Morrow and Dalon Murray. Not pictured: Alejandra Hernandez, Nicholas Schafer, Elishah Eduardo Asbaugh, Johnathan Baker, Cayce French, Robert Miller, Agustin Estrada-Vargas, Ezequiel Vasquez, and Bailey Allman.

May 08, 2017
Youth Voices—In Their Own Words

My experience at Cordero House was one of the most significant events to have happened to me. Let me start with a background of who I am. I came from a small village in the countryside of El Salvador. At a young age, I learned to be independent, going to school and helping with the daily chores. I moved to the city for a very brief moment before flying to the U.S. At first, I felt strange and overwhelmed with everyone and everything around me. As time went by, I found myself in a state of confusion. Alone, I had no one to turn to ask for help. Instead, I did things that to this day I regret. Such events led to me spending time in a youth corrections facility.

May 01, 2017
Employee Spotlight—Angie Corll

Angie knows what it feels like to run away. She did it for years, running away from abusive and neglectful homes, opting for freedom and danger of the streets over security. This life on the run led her down many dark paths for years until she became the kid that no one wanted to take in. Finally, in 1993, with the help of her probation officer, she entered a Janus residential program. That was a turning point. Says Angie, “I was blessed to have been given a second chance.” Now she works as a Youth Care Specialist at our Oak Grove shelter in SW Washington, helping youth who are facing similar life crisis as she did. We talked to Angie to find out how her experiences has prepared her to serve our youth.

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