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Nov 17, 2015

Janus 43rd Annual Dinner Honors Staff and Community Partners


(Top left, left to right: Noah Schultz, OYA Director Fariborz Pakseresht, Dennis Morrow, Maryalice Russell; Top right, left to right: Dennis Morrow and Clean And Safe members Bill Sinnott, Dave Hamilton, Lynnae Berg, Jay McIntyre, Clay Cooper; Bottom left, left to right: Dennis Morrow, Lieutenant Mike Frome, Sergeant Jim Quackenbush, Officer Justin Damerville, Officer Jason Carper, Officer Jonathan Richardson, Janus Board Member Michael Buonocore; Bottom right, left to right: John Bakkensen, Gilda Powell, Janus Board Member Tom Fink) 

Janus Youth Programs hosted its 43rd Annual Dinner last week to celebrate the exceptional contributions and dedication of Janus staff and our community partners.

Dennis Morrow, Janus Youth Programs’ Executive Director, presented the David G. Fitzpatrick Spirit Award to Fariborz Pakseresht, Director of the Oregon Youth Authority. The award honors the memory of Dave Fitzpatrick, a long-time Janus board member, and his unwavering commitment to help the children, youth and families Janus serves. Dennis recognized Fariborz as a leader in the field of juvenile justice and evidence-based programming to reduce recidivism rates and improve positive outcomes for youth in correctional systems.

“Fariborz has a personal vision for our communities, he has a personal commitment to the families of the youth in his system and he truly cares about the young men and women in his custody. He has been willing to take the risks necessary to change the system from the ground up: closing institutions and moving youth into community programs, hiring clinical chiefs instead of jail chiefs, and piloting the Hope Partnership to bring adult role models inside the institution to interact and work with the youth,” Dennis said.

Dave Fitzpatrick’s wife, Maryalice Russell, Superintendent of the McMinnville School District, helped present the award along with current Hope Partnership youth Noah Schultz, who attended to help honor Fariborz with his own remarks, thanking Fariborz for believing in him. Read more about the  Hope Partnership and Noah’s recent TEDxSalem talk here.

The John Zuercher Champions for Children Award, presented by Home Forward Executive Director and Janus Board Member Michael Buonocore, recognized two organizations whose contributions had a significant impact on the homeless and runaway youth Janus serves: the City of Portland Police Bureau and Downtown Clean And Safe. Their contributions totaling $45,000 kept the doors open for our  Yellow Brick Road Street Outreach Program last year when our federal funding was interrupted. Their partnership and support truly created a safer and healthier community. Read more about the Clean And Safe District and their donation here.

Gilda Powell and the Kiwanis Club of Portland received this year’s Helen Reser Bakkensen Award, presented by Janus Board Member Tom Fink and Helen’s son, John Bakkensen. In the mid-1980s at age 70, Helen led the charge to ensure that Portland’s homeless youth would have a safe place to sleep at night and the help they needed to get off the streets. Gilda and the Kiwanis Club of Portland have been donating socks and supplies for homeless youth for the past 25 years. Beyond the significance of the number of years Gilda has gathered donations, is the fact that she traces her service directly to Helen Reser Bakkensen.  Read our recent Volunteer Spotlight for the full story on how Gilda and Helen met and partnered to care for youth experiencing homelessness.

Fourteen Janus staff members were recognized for reaching a length of service milestone. Helen Sprengel, Sonja McGrew, Andrea Siede, Jason Sutherland, Devin Vaughn, Eca Etabo Wasongolo and Heather Wilkins each reached five years of service. Jamal McKenzie, Peter Thorpe and Ian Yee reached 10 years of service, and Jack Davidson, Kevin Donegan and Martha Watson reached 15 years.

Dennis Morrow, Janus Youth Programs’ Executive Director also received a length of service award for 35 years. Kevin Huish, president of the Janus Board of Directors, shared a special tribute to Dennis from board members, each speaking of their respect and admiration of his dedication to our community’s youth. 

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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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