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Apr 04, 2017

Employee Spotlight—Terrell Berry

Every day, homeless youth struggle to survive on the streets. Terrell Berry, Outreach Specialist for our Washington State Program knows what it feels like—he was once one of them. Growing up in Long Beach, California, he and his family faced bouts of homelessness. This experience led him to study sociology in college and later, provided him with the insights needed to work with at-risk youth. According to Bettina Boles, Program Supervisor for The Perch and Yellow Brick Road, WA, “Terrell is a caring listener and attuned to the empathetic needs of the youth that he works with. His unique style creates an ease for youth to engage with him, which is just a small part of what makes him such an awesome Outreach Specialist.” We talked to Terrell to find out more about how he is serving our youth in SW Washington.

What does an Outreach Specialist do?

I spend half of my time leading street outreach with Yellow Brick Road—making connections with homeless and unstably-housed youth— and the rest of my time, I support youth who come to our daily drop-in center, The Perch. In both of these roles, I try to meet youth where they are without pushing an agenda. Going to homeless camps, I always respect their space and announce myself when I arrive. Initially, I offer hygiene supplies and first aid products. I start out with something small. Once they are comfortable and if they are interested, I offer information, referrals and crisis intervention. Sometimes it takes a while to build rapport—from one week to two years before a youth may want to come to The Perch or get services. Some youth who are traveling through and are not familiar with the work of Yellow Brick Road may be very skeptical and cautious.

Working at The Perch is different because youth come to us. They know The Perch is a safe place where they can get a shower and meals. Fridays are very popular—we cook a full breakfast and watch movies. On the second Monday of each month, we drink mochas (coffee with hot chocolate) and watch movies. These events help make youth feel comfortable in The Perch and with the staff. After time, they develop enough trust to ask for help. It could be as simple as getting a bus pass to help them seek employment.

What are the biggest challenges facing homeless youth today?

Lack of resources. There are state and local funding cuts that have an impact on homeless youth. Another challenge youth is the stigma of being homeless. Obtaining important documentation to get required ID for employment is also difficult.

What do you like most about your job?

Seeing their personal successes. It could be someone who has been sober for two weeks, or left an abusive relationship. I try to help them see their personal progress and acknowledge their strengths. One day, when I was doing street outreach, I ran into a 42-year-old woman who received service from Janus when she was a youth. She said, “Yellow Brick Road saved my life.” Hearing that reassured me that this line of work is my life calling.

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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.

Aug 29, 2017
Dinner in the Vines

180 people enjoyed our annual “end of summer” Dinner in the Vines event at the scenic ArborBrook Vineyards in Newberg’s Chehalem Mountain wine country. Guests savored a Spanish influenced, four-course dinner from Crown Paella, selected wine pourings from ArborBrook Vineyards and live jazz by the Rob Bonenfant Quintent on a perfect summer evening.

Thank you to everyone who came and to our sponsors who helped make the evening a tremendous success: Jazz Sponsor, Greg Bauer; Wine Sponsor, ArborBrook Vineyards and Table Sponsors Magnacorp, Melissa Bauer, Harsch Investment, Home Forward, Kaiser Permanente, Shelly McFarland, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, RBC Wealth Management, Barry Schrimsher, Albina Community Bank and The Standard. Click here to see more pictures.

Aug 28, 2017
Get A Columbia Sportswear Employee Store Pass Today!

Take advantage of this limited time special offer to shop at the Columbia Sportswear Employee store! Now through September 17, 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@gmail.com.

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