is how I value my beloved city – polishing Portland through volunteer work, financial support, and uplifting awesome organizations through word of mouth.
On that note, allow me to adjust the spotlight to p:ear
– a local organization we have supported for years. p:ear tirelessly works to support houseless youth of Portland through education, art, recreation, and job training, all the while affirming personal worth and development.
The youth of Portland deserve to live healthy, fruitful lives, despite any difficult circumstances they may face. We are ecstatic to showcase p:ear, their approach to skill building, and hope that each of you will be called to their mission!
The p:ear Purpose
Every person that walks through p:ear’s front door is a dynamic individual — treated with dignity and respect. Portland is ranked #25 of all U.S. cities, based on 2021 federal data of homelessness. Of the staggering 12,000 people experiencing homelessness in Portland, 60% are unsheltered and many are under the age of 25. p:ear offers a safe space, free of the judgment these individuals regularly experience.
As of January 2022, p:ear is celebrating their 20-year anniversary! Their namesake stands for project: education, art, recreation
, reflecting just a few ways the organization supports homeless youth. Pippa Arend, one of the (now retired) co-founders explain that since its inception, p:ear has refrained entirely from government funding, so they may serve youth based on individual needs, not documented outcomes. Now, an average of 50 youths and young adults occupy the p:ear communal space, off NW 6th Avenue and Flanders, at any given time.
Annually, they serve 800 people between 15-25 years old, through:
- Mental health counseling
- Sobriety support and addiction recovery
- Pregnancy and parenting support
- Temporary shelter and housing
- Supplying filling, delicious meals
- Artistic and creative opportunities
- Recreational activities
- And overarching resources to help young people plan for prosperous futures.
These services alone are outstanding, but keep reading to find out how the p:ear team’s approach to their services command a lasting impact on Portland youth!
“Our impact is measured in strong relationships, expanded opportunities, and young healthy adults growing as they make their ways in the world.” – p:ear
The p:ear model recognizes the hardships of houselessness while treating every individual who walks through their door with dignity and generosity. It’s not in the p:ear zeitgeist to be saviors – instead, it’s up to each young person to choose
how they want to engage with the team and their services. Support is individualized to guide and nurture children towards a healthy adulthood. Above all, organization leaders and volunteers offer a “safe space and an invitation to an open, nonjudgmental, and affirming community.”
The p:ear team encourages creative expression and art-centric healing. For these young adults who spend a majority of their time on city streets, the p:ear program emphasizes recreational activities in nature to refuel and play with kids their age in a healthy environment.
One of p:ear’s services that I am most excited about is their internship programs and career training to develop skills and make meaningful connections with potential employers. These programs include a 10-week onsite barista training, art showings to sell artwork, and training for bicycle repair.
After all this, I bet you’re thinking, “how can I support this epic organization?”
Hey You! Get Involved!
…Well, we’re glad you asked!
p:ear is always accepting financial donations, which directly fund supplies, groceries, activities, and more! If financial support is not an option for you at this time, or you are eager to support p:ear hand-on, check out these opportunities:
- Volunteering – including in-person training and opportunities to assist at youth outings, fundraising events, donation deliveries, preparing meals, and “as needed” opportunities.
- Food and supply donations – including fresh and nonperishable foods, clothing, recreational gear, hygiene products, electronic accessories, pregnancy and parenting supplies, and gift cards.
- Create a public fundraiser! – Do you host public events? Own your own business? Consider leading a fundraiser in place of admission tickets or host a month-long promotional event on social media!
- Art gallery – Visit the p:ear art gallery to browse and purchase art created by p:ear youth.
- Become a p:ear sponsor!
- Corporate engagement – Get the whole team involved in a supply drive, cooking and donating meals, or sponsorships.
- Keep yourself updated on p:ear’s event calendar, updated weekly! Events include art shows, volunteer orientations, and the organization's 20-year anniversary event!