Happy Birthday PI!

We’re a first grader now.

Happy Birthday PI, we’re no longer a toddler! We’re a full-fledged first grader with the ability to form sentences, to have cooties, to make conversation, and to express true desire toward our future. Through RV living, multiple office spaces, and now telecommuting, we’ve lived through a lot. Maybe we can even work on a train or sailboat in the future! I want to take this time to extend my gratitude to all those who have supported us through time, money, and intelligence to keep PI alive and growing. 

Most importantly, I want to thank the students who have played a part over the past 6 years, and those who continue to lead PI, for the inspiration that you provide me, our volunteers, Board Members, your peers, and the world. You are the reason that we continue to wake up with a purpose. Thank you!

I have felt frustration over the years surrounding our ability to grow, to serve students better, to include parents more, and to integrate in classes. Yet I am constantly reminded of the small successes that we have made to progress to where we currently reside. The most gratifying feeling is when – and hopefully teachers can empathize with me – alumni of our programs return to hang out and catch up. Some still ask for advice. In these precious moments, I let the clock fade into the background and invest in the moment of our conversation. Their relationships with partners and teams. Their anxiety around the future. Their desire to be the best they can with the resources they currently have. Their dreams. I get lost in their stories and I love when they invite me to experience their lives with them. 

As we engage more students and community members, I can only hope this is the basic enjoyment that everyone receives – a community. We recently added to our community by hiring our first full time High School Program Coordinator, Adrianna Davis, and three new Board members, Bryna Cortes, Maiyee Yuan, and Helen Dillen! Without diving too much into each of them (Read Carly’s blogs!), you should know that they are each extremely special women!

I will do my best to not subscribe to success amnesia, but let’s not ignore the grim reality of what we’re currently up against. Schools are now closed through April. Many of our students and their parents aren’t able to work. There are threats to the supply and food chains??. Communication around the pandemic is mixed with potential for casting doubt in the direction of progress. Need I go on?

If I were a pessimist, I may give in. Throw my hands up and walk away. Tell the students “Good luck, but there’s nothing we can do now”. But I am not pessimistic; I will do just the opposite. As a small nonprofit, we have the privilege of flexibly reacting to most situations. My aunt told me long ago that in moments of crises, people look to those who are educated. In serving our students who have handed an incredibly unstable world from wars, to climate, to now a viral pandemic, it is more important than ever they stay engaged with their education. If we fail to stimulate their curiosity to learn now, we will be putting them and our future at a disadvantage. 

Adrianna and I have been crafting plans for tele-programming and seeking student feedback and approval. We are actively using Slack as a communication hub which students have been trained on for 3 years now as the medium for learning, discussing, and connecting multiple times a week. We are continuing to ask the question “What benefits does this new reality offer our students?” and “How can we make these benefits accessible to them?” 

There is no doubt in my mind that the next three years will be extremely hard – not just for PI, but for our global community. This time in quarantine may just help each of us reflect on the most important issues for ourselves and our next generation. I will continue to work with Adrianna and our students to answer those questions so that we can persist to be a resource for their growth – a community for their souls. In these uncertain times, connection and celebration will spark our stamina to get through adversity ahead. Happy Birthday Passion Impact – here’s to another 6 years of service! 

With warmth and a tele-hug,

Stefan


Cultivating Passionate Leaders – Maiyee Yuan

Written by: Carly Chan
Edited by: Stefan Peierls

I gladly introduce you to one of our newest Passion Impact Board Members, Vice President of Partners–Maiyee Yuan. Maiyee is the Program Integration Manager at APANO and was very involved in OSU Cultural Resource Center during her college years. She went to a Title I high school where the majority of the students were Mexican, Vietnamese, and Chinese. “We always had the reputation of ‘everybody’s in gangs’, ’everybody’s doing drugs’,” she said, “The environment we existed in was not supportive of students’ development.” With Passion Impact, Maiyee wants to create pathways for underserved students to explore and grow in what they want to do.

Maiyee’s initial touchpoint with Passion Impact was when she served as an AmeriCorps member in 2017 and we shared the office space at 82nd and Division. “There were some interactions through my work in the Jade Night Market…and looking into opportunities how volunteerism can connect with activities in APANO,” she recalled. Maiyee’s work and effort brings a lens of community organizing into the development of Passion Impact by cultivating a more equitable space for the community. “For communities that are marginalized, it is important that we intentionally work with them…to create access and support that [will] help channel their energy.” 

One of Maiyee’s goals in Passion Impact is to connect service with community and identity. “At the end of the day, what people are most passionate about or people feel like is the most worthy of their time has to somehow impact…themselves or the community they see.” It is important that our paradigm of volunteerism shift from service that we do for others to service that impacts our community as it relates to our own values. “Students could ask…why I would dedicate my time to something that I don’t care about,” she added, “It is through volunteering and leadership development, we get very passionate people that can make changes locally, regionally, and even internationally.”

As Vice President of Partners, Maiyee is already applying her knowledge and experience she gained from community organizing to direct the vision of growing Passion Impact. Maiyee will build more reciprocal relationships with nonprofit partners that serve a diverse range of causes, and ultimately, will build a more inclusive space that will encourage students to grow and engage with their community.


Hardships and Challenges: Behind the Scenes of Event Planning

Written by: Mery Gurung
Edited by: Carly Chan

I believe experiences can take you to many places beyond a classroom. For the last couple months, my team and I  held our very first volunteer event–Social Justice Poster Art. Our goal for this event was to encourage young activists to express their views and concerns about specific social justice issues that are happening in the world right now in the form of poster art. This idea was a collective idea created by leaders who brainstormed during after school meetings. This event was not only for students but also for non-profits who volunteered alongside our students as they painted and conversed about career related topics. My hope is that students who attended the event left with more knowledge and awareness on current issues while also having fun with friends. 

Just four months ago, I was a stranger to Passion Impact. Joining Passion Impact was one of the best decisions I’ve made throughout high school. Fast forward three weeks in, I was already given the role to become a part of the team planning for the Social Justice Poster Art event. From knowing almost nothing about event planning to being able to put together an event in just a few weeks, I can see the transformation within myself. I first felt clueless and anxious but also excited as this is the first event I have ever planned; I have no idea as to what the outcome would be, what obstacles we would face during planning, and if the students attending would genuinely enjoy taking part in such an event.

Getting started was definitely a little rocky. Although we finished our event with five  people in the team, we only had two people in the team for the first two months: my partner, Kayla, and I. I never realized how many different concepts went into planning an event before this. By making sure we had planned every big and small piece, I learned to pay attention to details. We got the ball rolling in the beginning with the help of Stefan. He would help with the process of brainstorming by showing us videos that presented us with new concepts. He provided us with a binder filled with pages that consisted of organization layouts and checklists. It helped us to keep track of what we had accomplished. He also introduced me to the administrative side of our volunteer management database (Givepulse), where I wrote a description of what the event looks like for students and non-profits. I also approved volunteer hours and reflections that were recorded by students and non-profits.

One of the challenges for me was to hunt for the best materials, one being poster boards that can hold up paint well but at the same time be affordable. Originally, the plan was to order them online, but we feared that the material would not be what we had hoped so we changed our minds. Just as we predicted, when we saw the boards in person, they  failed all of our expectations. At that point, our options were very limited. That was when we realized that instead of searching for already perfectly made poster boards that are impossible to find, it would be much easier if we cut the poster boards ourselves by using a stencil of our ideal poster size. This experience taught me to think and react quickly on my feet which is useful in the future because I will always be running into obstacles no matter what courses I take in life.

The Social Justice Poster Art event was my first ever event that I helped plan and definitely will not be my last. By being put into situations far beyond my comfort zone, it stretched my leadership skill sets and challenged my abilities. These skills that I gained will impact the rest of my journey as a leader and as I am building my career in the future. Seeing how I grew from this experience was certainly surprising and crazy. From having little to no knowledge about event planning to knowing just that much more is a big step for me that I would not have thought to take four months ago before joining Passion Impact. Even with the moments of discomfort and stress, I consider this an unforgettable and satisfying experience in my life.


PASSION IMPACT HOSTS LOCAL NONPROFIT SERVICE LEARNING PANEL IN 11TH GRADE AVID CLASS

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
stefan@passionimpact.org


FEBRUARY 14, 2020 – Portland, OR – Passion Impact is excited to announce that on February 13, at 2:30 PM they hosted a Service Learning Panel with three local organizations in Mr. Dykman’s 11th grade AVID class. Since Spring 2019, Passion Impact and Mr. Dykman have been working closely to tie together the AVID curriculum and Passion Impact’s Service Learning curriculum. 11th graders in AVID are required to take on a service learning project, yet with all other requirements of AVID teachers from the school, the district, the state, and the federal government, it becomes difficult to implement a curriculum on which teachers have not yet been trained. Passion Impact serves as a critical partner for the service learning implementation and by hosting a Service Learning Panel, providing students with the necessary first hand research that is required by the curriculum. 

The locational focus on the Service Project is the Lents Neighborhood because many of the students in Mr. Dykman’s classes live in or around that neighborhood. Passion Impact invited three organizations that serve the Lents Neighborhood and overall SE Portland. Ana from Rose CDC Lents Youth Initiative, Todd from Jade District and APANO, and Leah from SE Uplift answered questions from over 30 students about their work, the need that is unmet, and how students can help alleviate that need. 

Over the subsequent three weeks, Adrianna Davis, Passion Impact’s High School Program Coordinator will facilitate reflections with Mr. Dykman’s classes to pinpoint the specific Service Learning Project that his 11th graders will host.

View photos from the event

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: stefan@passionimpact.org
Phone: (503) 912-4241


Passion Explorer

“I see firsthand how volunteerism can change someone’s life.”

Adrianna Davis

High School Program Coordinator, Activist, Lifelong Learner

Walking into the PI office on 51st and Powell, no longer will you only see a red-headed guy sitting next to the window. You will be greeted by a bubbly and warm smile from a new addition to the PI staff family, our High School Program Coordinator–Adrianna Davis. 

Growing up in Portland, Adrianna is upfront about the systemic oppression that she experiences as a queer person of color. “I understand the culture of Portland in the sense that it is progressive in its own ways and strives to be that. But it strives to be that in a way that is racially colorblind.” Instead of erasing and ignoring the negative impacts that marginalized communities face in the community, Adrianna is determined to acknowledge and advocate for those whose voices aren’t heard while serving the youth.

Despite double majoring in Microbiology and Sociology, Adrianna finds herself circling back to jobs that connect her back to people and the community. “I have these two random degrees that didn’t really mean anything,” she jokingly said, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do at first because I didn’t know what jobs existed in the world.” Working in the Cultural Resource Center (CRC) at OSU for three years opened the door for Adrianna to discover her desire to work closely with her community. Serving students through the CRC allowed Adrianna to learn a lot about herself and practice the skills that are needed in a job setting. After returning to Portland, Adrianna hopped around multiple jobs and couldn’t find one that clicked with her. “I used to work at a job that I hated,” she said, “I understand how important it is to have passion for your job.”

Adrianna has a personal connection with volunteerism that shows to her how significant of an impact it can bring. “My mom has a physical disability that bound her to her wheelchair. The two days of a week that my mom gets to go volunteer would be the happiest days of her life,” Adrianna said. Her mom “used to be depressed, but that is the only thing that can get her out of bed.” Being a witness to how connection with the community can change a person, she confessed, “I see firsthand how volunteerism can change someone’s life.” Indeed, a connection, a relationship, an experience coming out of a volunteering experience, even if it is only for one time, can change one’s life. Adrianna looks forward to build and solidify relationships between school, students, and nonprofits to further explore her passion.


STUDENT LEADERS HOST THEIR SOCIAL JUSTICE POSTER ART VOLUNTEER EVENT AT FRANKLIN HIGH SCHOOL

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
stefan@passionimpact.org


JANUARY 30, 2020- Portland, OR – Passion Impact is excited to announce that on January 30, 2020, students in the Volunteer Event Program hosted the Social Justice Poster Art event. 30 students and three nonprofits invested their time into artfully displaying on posters social justice issues about which they care deeply. Representatives from YWCA, Renew Oregon, and SMYRC engaged in discussion surrounding their educational pathways and how to volunteer with their organizations. 

The ability for students to understand and question the nonprofit representative’s educational and career pathways provided them with the basis to write a Career Related Learning Experience (CRLE). Students need two CRLEs to graduate high school in Portland Public Schools and Passion Impact believes that engaging more intentionally with professionals helps build better relationships and connections to future careers for the students. 

After the event finished, the Franklin High School SUN team posted all of the artwork at the front of the cafeteria to promote unity throughout the student body. 

“It was so wonderful to see the youth at Franklin Passion Impact put this event together. I really appreciated being involved and having the opportunity to not only inform students about my organization, but also learn about them and have fun doing it. I appreciated the balance of direct service orgs and advocacy orgs. Thank you for having me!”

Madison Daily Hathaway, Renew Oregon Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator

 It was an amazing opportunity to get in touch with social activism groups and get different points of views on global warming, gender rights, and other such. Painting my poster was a different and unique experience that I enjoyed on a creative level.”

Maelyn Nguyen, Franklin High School Junior

This was my very first event that I helped organize. I had a lot of fun planning it and I was glad to see that so many non-profits showed up. I was also surprised to see that most of the people who signed up, actually showed up. We did run into some problems during the event, running out of paper plates for people to put their paint on, and not having the elevator pass after the event was over to take the baskets down the stairs. But all in all, the event was a success and we can learn off of those little problems we ran into.”

Helen Nikitin, Passion Impact Leader, Franklin High School Junior

View more pictures from the volunteer event.

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: stefan@passionimpact.org
Phone: (503) 912-4241


PASSION IMPACT ON-BOARDED THREE NEW BOARD MEMBERS

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
stefan@passionimpact.org


JANUARY 25, 2020 – Portland, OR – Passion Impact is excited to announce that on January 25, 2020, the Passion Impact Board inducted and trained three new Board Members: Bryna Cortes; Maiyee Yuan; and Helen Dillen. All women have had previous experience with Passion Impact either through sitting on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee or through partnering to support student volunteers. 

Bryna Cortes is jumping into the Vice President of Programs position while Maiyee Yuan is leading as the Vice President of Partners. Helen Dillen is joining the Development Committee and collaborating with the High School Program Coordinator to recruit students for the Purple Stride event she leads in August. Passion Impact welcomes these leaders to the forefront of the organization as they take on projects of their own.

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: stefan@passionimpact.org
Phone: (503) 912-4241


PASSION IMPACT HIRES HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAM COORDINATOR ADRIANNA DAVIS

Contact:

Stefan Peierls, Co-Founder, Executive Director
Passion Impact
5106 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland, OR 97206
Local Phone: (503) 912-4241
https://www.passionimpact.org
stefan@passionimpact.org

JANUARY 6, 2020 – PORTLAND, OR – Passion Impact is excited to announce that on January 6th, 2020, Adrianna Davis began work as the first High School Program Coordinator. Her work with the Cultural Resource Centers at Oregon State University gave her the leadership and insight into managing multiple teams running culturally specific events. After graduating, Adrianna also led program curriculum development and implementation at The International School in Portland, OR. Her position will require the revision of all current programs with a social justice lense while also working with Passion Impact’s current in-school partners to design more curriculum connected workshops in AVID classes.

Passion Impact has been all volunteer-run and with Adrianna joining the team, partners, parents, and students will be provided with more intentional services. Relationships are core to Passion Impact with students at the center and Adrianna will elevate this through culturally responsive curriculum, empowerment, and support.

“I’m beyond excited to be joining the Passion Impact team. I can’t wait to get to know the students better and to serve as their High School Program Coordinator. I have a feeling we are going to do really great things this year!” – Adrianna Davis. Read more about Adrianna.

As Passion Impact continues to serve students in the Portland Metro area, the need for staff support is increasingly more vital. Consider making a gift today at www.passionimpact.org/support-students/

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: stefan@passionimpact.org
Phone: (503) 912-4241


ALL FRESHMAN MADISON HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS VOLUNTEER WITH PASSION IMPACT AT MT. TABOR

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
stefan@passionimpact.org


OCTOBER 18, 2019 – Portland, OR – Passion Impact partnered with Friends of Mt. Tabor Weed Warriors and all freshman teachers at Madison High School to host a three hour cleanup event at Mt. Tabor on October 16, 2019. 

While the sophomores and juniors took their PSAT’s, 140 Madison High School freshmen were boarded onto buses and transported to Mt. Tabor where they received gloves and ponchos. After spending nearly three hours clearing ivy, picking up trash, and weeding hillsides, the students returned to the pavilion for hot chocolate. In true Passion Impact form, they all engaged in a reflection of the day to connect their service to skills they gained or sharpened and for which careers those skills could prepare them. A discussion around working outdoors versus indoors emerged which led students to vocalizing their polarizing views. This represented the purpose of this service learning opportunity in that students engaged in tactile activities to which their memories around career discussion were actively tied.

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: stefan@passionimpact.org
Phone: (503) 912-4241


PASSION IMPACT BOARD RECRUITMENT EVENING AT PORTLAND MERCADO

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
stefan@passionimpact.org


OCTOBER 11, 2019 – Portland, OR – Passion Impact hosted a Board Recruitment Evening on October 9, 2020 from 6-8:30 at Portland Mercado. Over 30 students, volunteers, and prospective community members attended to learn more about applying to the Passion Impact Board.

Passion Impact is searching for Board Members who are, and represent, the students that they serve though shared cultural, background, and life experiences. Students are highly encouraged to apply to become Board Members in order to lead the Passion Impact strategically as well as within the programs. 

Portland Mercado’s space was donated for the event and three local food carts were hired to provide food for the event: Tierra Del Sol; Qué Bacano; & El Coquí. 

To see if you’re a good fit to serve on Passion Impact’s Board please visit www.passionimpact.org/join-our-board/  or email Stefan Peierls at stefan@passionimpact.org for additional information.

Meet our Board Member’s

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: stefan@passionimpact.org
Phone: (503) 912-4241