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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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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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