Volunteering During A Pandemic

Neighborhood cleanups, school events, meal serving. These are all acts of volunteerism that many of us have done, and to some people, volunteering has become a big part of their lives. We volunteer to give back, gain experience, and probably the most fun, to meet new people. But how do we continue our acts of service during a global pandemic, when human contact is hazardous? How do we change the world while being restricted to our own homes?

My team of VEP committee leaders and I took on this challenge when planning September’s volunteer event for Passion Impact. Not only was planning a remote volunteer experience already an obstacle, but we also had to advertise it to be fun and get students involved solely online and through social media. To tackle this, we first had to think of ways to help from our homes, or at least in a manner that does not require human contact. Luckily, there are already programs and volunteer events that do not require you to be with other people. Some examples of these include: being pen pals with prisoners, making dog toys with t-shirts to donate, or wrapping holiday gifts for children in need. We loved the idea of penpals because volunteers would be able to do everything completely in the safety of their homes, so we decided on writing letters to the elderly in nursing homes to cheer them up from social isolation and connect with the youth. 

We then went online and reached out to an elderly care home in the Portland area who said they would love to be pen pals with us. This brings me to this; the internet is a great place for connection, especially during a time where social gatherings are not safe. Through communication channels, emails, and research, our team was able to plan everything and as we move forward we will hold our volunteer event completely through a screen. 

From a glass half full perspective, social distancing is simply a test to our creativity and adaptability. If researching and contacting people yourself is not something you are comfortable with, there are many volunteer groups and organizations out there adjusting to COVID-19 to continue volunteer work! Some of these groups include HandsOn Portland, Volunteers of America Oregon, and of course, high school clubs for students such as Passion Impact! If you are interested in joining us in writing cards to the elderly, keep an eye out for registration on GivePulse!

Written by:
Jennifer Truong
Development Committee Student Leader in VEP
Read more about Jennifer: https://jtruong3252.wixsite.com/jennifertruong


DEI STATEMENT VERSION 1.0 PASSED UNANIMOUSLY BY PASSION IMPACT BOARD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Stefan Peierls, Co-Founder, Executive Director
Passion Impact
5106 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland OR 97206
Local Phone: (503) 912-4241
www.passionimpact.org
[email protected]


August 21, 2020 – Portland, OR – Passion Impact is proud to announce that on Wednesday August 19, 2020, the Board passed the organizations’ first DEI Statement and Group Definitions. This is a monumental step in acknowledging the systemic racism that is pervasive in the school system, government, and most importantly, the ideas around volunteerism that birthed Passion Impact. 

At the beginning of June 2020, Passion Impact was poised and ready to take on the development of their next Strategic Plan. Adrianna, the High School Program Coordinator and DEI Committee Chair, spoke up about the need to focus on DEI prior to building this plan in order to address systemic barriers and racism. With a full 180 degree turn, the Board united to participate in deep conversations during their first DEI Training that occurred the last weekend of June. 

From that meeting, Adrianna, teased out thoughts from the Board to build the rough draft DEI Statement. She brought this to the next DEI Committee meeting on July 6 to which students, Board members, and PI Alumni attended. This round of discussion brought about a draft that was presented to the Board on July 16, 2020. More deliberation ensued and at the next DEI Committee meeting on August 3, 2020, the DEI Statement was finalized. 

The Board voted unanimously on August 16, 2020 to adopt Passion Impact’s first DEI Statement and Group Definitions. 

Passion Impact will be moving from the notion of volunteerism toward the concept of civic engagement & innovation. By moving toward these pillars of action, we are placing more emphasis on the aspect of community work, social cohesion, civic action & civic commitment. We acknowledge the roots and history of white supremacy culture and the white savior complex deeply ingrained in the concept of volunteerism. We pledge our responsibility and commitment to continue our learning about and to disrupting systems of oppression, injustice, privilege and racism. ”

Read the full DEI Statement here

Read the Group Definitions here

Want to learn more about joining Passion Impact’s DEI Committee and serve to support students in becoming social justice change agents? Email Adrianna Davis at [email protected]

ABOUT PASSION IMPACT

Passion Impact engages youth in a lifelong exploration of career development through volunteerism and education! Passion Impact believes in a world where students claim community engagement as a tool of connectivity, curiosity, growth, and joy. Passion Impact is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Portland, OR, working closely with Franklin High School, Portland Community College, and the students that attend both.

_____________________________

For information: https://www.passionimpact.org/press or
Contact: [email protected]
Phone: (503) 912-4241


You(th) have the Power

If you’re frustrated with the political system, you should be. If you’re frustrated with the criminal justice system, you should be. If you’re frustrated with the education system, you should be.

The U.S. education system is not crafted to encourage and support marginalized students to achieve their best selves. At its core, it is designed to train social behaviors that reinforce the competency of an age-old crumbling system. This is ground zero for inequity.

Some students navigate the maze of education with a guiding light or even a helping hand while others constantly bump into dead ends and unlit corridors. The latter students may never find the exit, but to their dismay they are still in the maze.

Martin Luther King Jr. said simply that “intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.” It is my belief that all of the inequities around us can be traced back to the lack of education. The lack of understanding how the criminal justice system wrongfully and painfully separates African-American families at an astoundingly disproportionate rate. The lack of understanding how government on a federal, state, and most importantly, on a local level affects the ways in which we each govern our daily lives. The lack of knowledge of the atrocities and cultural hemorrhaging that Indigenous Communities have faced ever since Europeans set foot on this continent.

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We mourn your loss and the loss of thousands of other African-Americans at the hands of police in the U.S. We stand up for you in solidarity and love.

It is up to you(th) to take the reins and to change through their education.

What can you(th) do?

Very simply put, be civically engaged.

1. Make the time to attend the following meetings with your friends:

2. Register to vote!

If you’re 16 in Oregon, you are legally allowed to register. Not only that, but once you get your ballot – do you research and VOTE THAT DAY! Only 46.1% of active voters returned their ballots for the May 19, 2020 election ONLY 46%!

Learn more about your voting rights as a student at NextUpOregon.org.

3. Ask questions and research.

Understand the systems in which you live. Ask your teachers. Ask professionals. Ask your government. Ask your friends and your parents. Read articles and books. Watch videos, documentaries, and interviews.

4. Donate, sign petitions, & understand.

Students, you have the power. Be passionate. Do your research. Join communities. Advocate for your beliefs.

With unity,

Your Passion Impact Team


PASSION IMPACT RELEASES THE JUNE 2020 INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW SCHEDULE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Stefan Peierls, Co-Founder, Executive Director
Passion Impact
5106 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland OR 97206
Local Phone: (503) 912-4241
www.passionimpact.org
[email protected]


May 29, 2020 – Portland, OR – Passion Impact’s recently released their schedule for the June 2020 Informational Interviews. Students have successfully hosted interviews with over 30 professionals spanning eight states and four 4 countries to deliver insightful content for their high school peers.

Passion Impact administered a Survey Career Survey and they received voices from students at over 16 schools in the Portland Metro area and Salem. The top four professions voted on by students were: Photography, Fashion Design, Zoology and Wildlife Biology, & Child, Family, and School Social Worker. In listening to these students, their lineup for June 2020 is as follows is as follows: 

June 3 | School Social WorkerSahana Prasad: a social worker & trauma therapist who is passionate about supporting survivors of interpersonal and structural violence in their journeys to healing…

June 10 | Fashion Designers Kristen Gonzalez and Sam Romero: Influenced by their Latina heritage, they support their collection with intentionality and strength to combine a collective of honest and mindful products made in Los Angeles, California…www.selvanegra.us IG: selvanegra_

June 17 | Wildlife Biology – (Coming Soon!)

June 24 | PhotographerJosué Rivas: a creative director, visual storyteller and educator working at the intersection of art, journalism, and social justice…www.josuerivasfoto.com IG: josue_foto

Passion Impact invites high school students to explore informational interviews with them throughout June.

Read more.

Register here.

ABOUT PASSION IMPACT

Passion Impact engages youth in a lifelong exploration of career development through volunteerism and education! Passion Impact believes in a world where students claim community engagement as a tool of connectivity, curiosity, growth, and joy. Passion Impact is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Portland, OR, working closely with Franklin High School, Portland Community College, and the students that attend both.


For information: https://www.passionimpact.org or
Contact: [email protected]
Phone: (503) 912-4241


PASSION IMPACT HOLDS 50TH BOARD MEETING & SEEKS COMMUNITY INPUT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Stefan Peierls, Co-Founder, Executive Director
Passion Impact
5106 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland OR 97206
Local Phone: (503) 912-4241
www.passionimpact.org
[email protected]


May 28, 2020 – Portland, OR – Passion Impact’s Board held it’s 50th Board Meeting on May 20th! The majority of the meeting focused on their preparation for the 2020-21 Strategic Plan and how they plan to include students, parents, teachers, staff, and partners in the process. 

A rough draft is ready to be reviewed by community members with all feedback submitted to the leaders of each Imperative. Passion Impact seeks the voices of students and parents of color and of marginalized communities, AVID teachers, Career Counselors, SUN Coordinators, and nonprofits across the Portland Metro area. 

To review and submit your feedback, visit www.passionimpact.org/2020-21-strategic-plan-community-survey/

ABOUT PASSION IMPACT

Passion Impact engages youth in a lifelong exploration of career development through volunteerism and education! Passion Impact believes in a world where students claim community engagement as a tool of connectivity, curiosity, growth, and joy. Passion Impact is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Portland, OR, working closely with Franklin High School, Portland Community College, and the students that attend both.


For information: https://www.passionimpact.org or
Contact: [email protected]
Phone: (503) 912-4241


PASSION IMPACT RELEASES MAY INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS SCHEDULE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Stefan Peierls, Co-Founder, Executive Director
Passion Impact
5106 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland OR 97206
Local Phone: (503) 912-4241
www.passionimpact.org
[email protected]


APRIL 30 – Portland, OR – Passion Impact is excited to announce that on May 4th, 2020 student facilitators Kayla Phu and Dania Factor will begin hosting May Informational Interviews Mondays and Wednesday from 4-5 PM PST. Interviewees were determined based on Passion Impact students’ interests.

• May 4th – Process and Transportation Engineers – Chrissy Wood & Dr. Emilio Jimenez
• May 6th – Working Abroad – Shannon Chang
• May 11th – Fundraising – Nina Nguyen
• May 13th – Passion Impact Alumni – College student Panel – Carly Chan & Judy Lam
• May 18th – Veterinarian – Carly Reilly
• May 20th – HealthCare Admin – Helen Dillen & Cindy Mai
• May 27th – Musicians – Don Haynes & Casey Sagolla-Slamp

“I thought that the April informational interviews went great! So I’m really excited to meet even more professionals for the upcoming ones in May.” – Kayla Phu

Read about each of the Interviewees for May in English and Spanish
Students can sign up for Informational Interviews here.

ABOUT PASSION IMPACT

Passion Impact engages youth in a lifelong exploration of career development through volunteerism and education! Passion Impact believes in a world where students claim community engagement as a tool of connectivity, curiosity, growth, and joy. Passion Impact is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Portland, OR, working closely with Franklin High School, Portland Community College, and the students that attend both.


For information: https://www.passionimpact.org or
Contact: [email protected]
Phone: (503) 912-4241


TWO SOFTWARE ENGINEERS JOINED PASSION IMPACT STUDENTS FOR GROUP INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Stefan Peierls, Co-Founder, Executive Director
Passion Impact
5106 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland OR 97206
Local Phone: (503) 912-4241
www.passionimpact.org
[email protected]


APRIL 14, 2020 – Portland, OR – Passion Impact is excited to announce that on April 13, 2020 two Software Engineers, Ben Scheiner and Ben Whitehead, were interviewed by local Franklin High School student leader, Kayla Phu over Zoom.

Kayla prepared diligently for her debut and through her interview questions, was able to guide both guests’ stories to reveal their educational and career pathways. She became intrigued with Ben Scheiner’s story about a repurposed auto-mechanic robot that he had previously helped program to respond to movie directors through the use of an Xbox controller. Kayla and other students on the call have previously taken robotics classes at their school and their eyes beamed knowing that the possibility to apply that knowledge is real. 

Both Ben Scheiner and Ben Whitehead did not intentionally start programming to become software engineers, yet found themselves growing more curious about the subject. Both attended college and also attested to the notion that there are multiple avenues to become a software engineer for all groups of students. 

Christina Ou asked if coding is for everyone or for a specific group of people. Ben Scheiner brought up impostor syndrome and noted that he recognizes it is harder for women and people of color to join the programming community. Yet, Ben mentioned that “you do belong and the industry does want you. The code does not care anything about what color you are or what chromosomes you have. It’s just code.”

“I learned that even software engineers get impostor syndrome and that its very common.”

Mery Gurung, Passion Impact Student Leader, Franklin High School Junior

“I learned that for startups, it’s good to strive being a small startup for a couple years while still being very applicable for the community.”

Kamerin Vesajd, PCC Student

“When I start job applications I can make sure that I put information that will actually be more important to getting the interview.”

Sasha Rosenthal, Passion Impact Student Leader, Franklin High School Senior

Missed the interview? Watch it here.

View April 2020 Informational Interview Lineup

Register to join Informational Interviews.

Safety is paramount with Passion Impact. Each of their Zoom calls has a “Bouncer” to manage admittance, muting, and removal of any participant who does not abide by Passion Impact’s expectations. For students who have missed previous interviews, head over to Passion Impact’s Youtube channel to view their recordings.

ABOUT PASSION IMPACT

Passion Impact engages youth in a lifelong exploration of career development through volunteerism and education! Passion Impact believes in a world where students claim community engagement as a tool of connectivity, curiosity, growth, and joy. Passion Impact is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Portland, OR, working closely with Franklin High School, Portland Community College, and the students that attend both.


For information: https://www.passionimpact.org or
Contact: [email protected]
Phone: (503) 912-4241


PASSION IMPACT INVITES HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS TO JOIN APRIL INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS ONLINE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Stefan Peierls, Co-Founder, Executive Director
Passion Impact
5106 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland OR 97206
Local Phone: (503) 912-4241
www.passionimpact.org
[email protected]


APRIL 13, 2020 – Portland, OR – Passion Impact is excited to invite high school and college students to join their online Informational Interviews every Monday and Wednesday afternoon from 4-5 PM. Passion Impact serves marginalized students in Portland Public Schools and is opening their tele-programming up to students across Portland. To join, students will need a computer or phone to sign up and to use Zoom. 

To date, Passion Impact’s Executive Director, Stefan Peierls has hosted each interview with Adrianna Davis, theHigh School Program Coordinator. Moving forward Kayla Phu, a Franklin High School Junior will be the leading interviewer.

Safety is paramount with Passion Impact, so each of their Zoom calls has a “Bouncer” to manage admittance, muting, and removal of any participant who does not abide by Passion Impact’s expectations. For students who have missed previous interviews, head over to Passion Impact’s Youtube channel to view their recordings.

“It’s my first time ever doing something like this. Getting to interview someone. I’ve always been the one being interviewed. So I’m excited for this!”

Kayla Phu, Informational Interviewer, Franklin High School Junior

April Informational Interview Lineup:

• April 1 – Equity and Inclusion Intern – Tamara Lash
• April 6 – English Technical Classroom Assistant call from Madrid, Spain – Nadia Rodela
• April 8 – Agriculture, Farming, Psychology, Nutrition – Catherine Nguyen
• April 13 – Software Engineer (Web Development) – Ben Scheiner & Ben Whitehead
• April 15 – Cultural Youth Services – Bryna Cortes & Ana Mendoza-Cruz
• April 20 – Engineering – Elaine Hung & Lindsay Higa
• April 22 – Law – Yahaira De Lara & Brian Falgiano
• April 27 – Tech, Mechanics, and Business – Dr. Kanika Agrawal
• April 29 – Healthcare/Hospital – Kim Izod & Dr. Marcos Villarreal

Meet the April Informational Interviewees

Register for the Informational Interviews

View previous Informational Interviews

ABOUT PASSION IMPACT

Passion Impact engages youth in a lifelong exploration of career development through volunteerism and education! Passion Impact believes in a world where students claim community engagement as a tool of connectivity, curiosity, growth, and joy. Passion Impact is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Portland, OR, working closely with Franklin High School, Portland Community College, and the students that attend both.


For information: https://www.passionimpact.org or
Contact: [email protected]
Phone: (503) 912-4241

Kayla Phu, Franklin High School Junior, Informational Interview Facilitator

PASSION IMPACT INTERVIEW NADIA RODELA ABOUT HER LIFE AS AN ENGLISH CLASSROOM TEACHING ASSISTANT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Stefan Peierls, Co-Founder, Executive Director
Passion Impact
5106 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland OR 97206
Local Phone: (503) 912-4241
www.passionimpact.org
[email protected]


APRIL 7, 2020 – Portland, OR – Passion Impact is excited to announce that on April 6, 2020 from 4-5 PM PST, they interviewed Nadia Rodela. 

Currently Nadia resides in a suburb of Madrid, Spain experiencing the quarantine in her apartment and answering the needs of the teachers. As an English Classroom Teacher Assistant, her job is to support teachers in English instruction. While in training, the Spanish Government, for whom she works, told her to accept that she won’t be able to change the education system. 

Having gained her high school diploma from Westview High School in Beaverton, OR and the equivalent of her associates degree from Portland Community College by the time she was 18, she eagerly stepping into Portland State University with her eyes on education and travel. Nadia remembers going to office hours for her first time to converse with the Spanish Department Head about whether or not to make Spanish a minor or a major. To this day she looks back at that experience as an inspiration to immersing herself in teaching English in Spain today. 

“Super awesome to hear about how Nadia now lives in Spain teaching little kids! This inspires me to go back to Nepal one day to volunteer with kids.”

Mery Gurung, Passion Impact Leader, Franklin High School

Watch Nadia’s interview on YouTube and share it with a student who may be interested in learning about studying or living abroad.

ABOUT PASSION IMPACT

Passion Impact engages youth in a lifelong exploration of career development through volunteerism and education! Passion Impact believes in a world where students claim community engagement as a tool of connectivity, curiosity, growth, and joy. Passion Impact is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Portland, OR, working closely with Franklin High School, Portland Community College, and the students that attend both.


For information: https://www.passionimpact.org or
Contact: [email protected]
Phone: (503) 912-4241


PASSION IMPACT PAID SUMMER INTERNSHIP APPLICATIONS OPEN TO FRANKLIN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Stefan Peierls, Co-Founder, Executive Director
Passion Impact
5106 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland OR 97206
Local Phone: (503) 912-4241
www.passionimpact.org
[email protected]


APRIL 6, 2020 – Portland, OR – Passion Impact is thrilled to announce that as of Monday April 6, 2020, students of Franklin High School are encouraged to apply to the paid Summer Internship.

Passion Impact’s Summer Internship is the training that will prepare student leaders as part of the Volunteer Event Program (VEP) for the 2020-21 School Year. In the VEP, students build monthly volunteer events at their school to make volunteering more equitable and accessible for the entire student body – specifically students who may not have the ability to volunteer off-campus. In addition, they invite nonprofits and community members to volunteer alongside and engage in conversation around educational and career pathways. Students can use these interactions toward graduation as they write about them in Career Related Learning Experiences (CRLEs) of which Portland Public Schools requires two to graduate. 

To prepare students to lead the VEP, the Summer Internship gives students communication, social justice, and organizational tools that allow them to become more inclusive leaders. Students will be required to create job descriptions for themselves and their committees, to plan their first volunteer event of the year, and to recruit and train their entire team. Both Passion Impact and the students applying know that this experience is designed to be challenging, but the goal is not just to provide them with a resume builder. Passion Impact’s goal is to give students the opportunity to fail and to thrive in a collaborative atmosphere that will prompt them to actively engage in their future.

Read the job description

Apply here

ABOUT PASSION IMPACT

Passion Impact engages youth in a lifelong exploration of career development through volunteerism and education! Passion Impact believes in a world where students claim community engagement as a tool of connectivity, curiosity, growth, and joy. Passion Impact is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Portland, OR, working closely with Franklin High School, Portland Community College, and the students that attend both.

_____________________________

For information: https://www.passionimpact.org or
Contact: [email protected]
Phone: (503) 912-4241