My Experience with Passion Impact… so far

My experience with Passion Impact has brought me nothing but contentment. Ever since I joined in December of 2019, I’ve had so much fun making new friends and gaining new skills that are just necessary for everyday life. I had the pleasure of getting to know Stefan a little better. He is the founder of PI and a great person in general, almost everything I learned while being a part of PI is thanks to him. When I heard about the internship, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to continue being a part of the Volunteer Event Program through summer. Signing up for it, I was expecting it to be similar to what VEP looks like, but when the time came for it to start, I realized that it’s way better than that. 

During the internship, we are being trained to be VEP leaders. Every intern who is a part of the internship is going to be a committee leader when the school year starts. We are being taught skills that public schools don’t teach us, such as resume and cover letter writing, ways to answer job interview questions, and much more. Throughout the internship, there were projects that we had to do. These projects required us to use skills that we would need as leaders and slowly, but inevitably, we became prepared to be leaders of the VEP members we recruited. I’m really glad I was able to be a part of this internship because it taught me some fundamental skills that I don’t think I would’ve learned anywhere else.

Written by:
Helen Nikitin
Development Committee Leader of the VEP
Read more about Helen here: hnikitin.wixsite.com/mysite

Internship Reflection

In this internship, I had space to grow, discuss, learn, and listen. Although it may not sound like much, this opportunity is not always provided. Especially in a society where people are so conditioned to “ stay in their lane.”  Bryant H. McGill once said, “ Whatever makes you uncomfortable is your biggest opportunity for growth.” Through the conversations we had in our workshops and article discussions about Justice, Bias, Stereotypes, identity, diversity, history of policing, and etc.… I can vouch for that. I would not trade the perspective and knowledge I now have even though there are times where reality is not as great as one would hope it to be, because awareness is an essential part of creating change.

In addition to that, I also learned to cherish the qualities and soft skills I have because it is not always something that can be learned, and it is uniquely mine.  I have grown to love aspects that I use to hate about myself, and that in itself is empowering. I have the internship to thank for that because it taught me how to take feedback and vice versa, the benefits of reflecting, and the power of communication in relationships.  I have learned that one of my weaknesses is setting boundaries, and through reading Emergent Strategy, which is one of our tasks, I learned many ways on how to do that and the perspective that can support me in taking those actions.

Speaking of support, I was able to explore more of my interest in social work through the encouragement of finding a mentor in that field to learn from. My mentors taught me that there is more than one way for me to get where I want to be in life, to ask a lot of questions, aim to be a lifelong learner, the importance of self-care, and to be flexible with myself. Talking with them was great and an experience I probably would not have had if it were not for the internship. My new mentors have given me a lot of support and offered to continue to answer my questions in the future.

Overall  I have learned so much more about myself in this internship than I ever have in such a short period. In six weeks, I became more aware of the world, myself, and what my passions are. The projects, workshops, and tasks we did all lead to personal growth, and I am genuinely grateful for that. 

Written by:
Christina Ou
Advertising Committee Student Leader of the VEP
Read more about Christina here: christinajou125.wixsite.com/portfolio

What does passion mean to you?

Passion. What does the word ‘passion’ really mean? The textbook description of passion is as follows: “A strong, extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything. Any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as in love or hate”. However if you ask around, you’ll find that everyone has their own description of passion that relates to their own personal life, but that description will still center around the main concept of passion. For example if you were to ask me what passion means, I would respond: “Passion is directly related with happiness. If you’re happy with your current state of life, then you’re passionate in whatever you’re doing to keep that happiness.”

Digital art, specifically photography and video production, have always held a significant role in my life. My mom had bought a camera a couple years after I was born and I was always fascinated by it, taking pictures and recording videos whenever she’d let me use it. Then around age 13, I built my first computer. It wasn’t anything special, built with the cheapest parts I could find, but it helped me find my way into video and photo editing software. Over the next couple years I taught myself how to edit by recording videos of my friends as well as making short montages of the video games I played. When I entered high school, that’s when I realized this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. As I explored deeper into photography and video production, I discovered a lot about myself. Shooting and editing photos and videos was fun and all, but I found myself doing it because I enjoyed making people happy, and seeing the reactions from people when I showed them what I had created. Expressing myself through helping others express themselves is what brings me happiness, so based off of my earlier description, I know that it’s my passion. 

So what does the word ‘passion’ mean to you? How does your description of the word passion directly correlate with your life? I asked myself this every day until I could finally answer it. And once you’re able to answer it, it will significantly improve your quality of life. You will have a reason to do what you do and a motivation to keep doing it. 

Written by:
Christian Waite
Advertising Committee Student Leader of the VEP
Read more about Christian here: chrwaite.wixsite.com/website


My internship experience

This internship has been a place of growth and nourishment for me—a safe haven. A place I looked forward to every morning at 9:30 am for six continuous weeks. A place where I could express my opinions and feelings without beady eyes or harsh judgment. A place of excitement and eagerness. A place of curiosity and the riveting unknown. Throughout the six weeks of this internship, I not only created new connections but also deepened current ones!

I joined Passion Impact in October of 2019, and every day since then has been a new lesson or a new experience. At the beginning of this year, I heard our High School Program Coordinator, Adrianna, was planning a summer internship. This sparked my interest immediately! My hopes for the internship was to come out as a strong leader, supportive peer, and a role model. To give 110% in all of my projects! 

Coming into this internship I was hesitant about my skills as a leader and the work I would be putting out. As the internship went on, I proved myself wrong. Our team collaboratively created and executed a recruitment plan for this following school year’s new VEP members. Through our workshops, I have become more knowledgeable about social justice, diversity, identity, and inclusion, and was able to connect with my peers on a more personal level through having conversations with one another on these topics. I have also become more familiar with how to’s in specific situations that can be applied to real-life events in my future timeline. I learned to be observant of the world that stands in front of me from reading and reflecting on the book Emergent Strategy. I leave this internship with no regrets but instead with memorable moments and personal growth.

Written by:
Mery Gurung
Eventers Committee Student Leader in VEP
Read more about Mery: merygurung5.wixsite.com/website

The Do And Don’ts Of High School

Dear Freshman Kayla,

There have been plenty of times when our 8th-grade homeroom teacher, Ms.W, took time out of the day for us to write a freshman letter to ourselves. Those times were the last moments before the summer of 2017. Before we knew it, we were at the bottom of the social rank once again, as the class of 2021 freshmen. Little did we know, 8th grade Kayla was in for quite a ride.

If I do remember correctly, the 8th letter that I had written for my freshman self was mainly to “ continue playing basketball and never change”. Yea I spoke too soon. Going into my senior year, there are many things that I wish I was able to tell you (freshman self), the do and don’ts. So here is an awfully wholesome freshman letter to myself. 

I’m here to tell you that high school isn’t like High School Musical at all! Now that I caught your attention. Stop watching those awful “ advice for incoming freshmen!” videos. High school isn’t the same for everyone, those videos are just ridiculous. Over the past few years, I’ve been in an education system rank called High School. I wish I’d known this earlier but, high school should be the time to have fun! The time when we start finding ourselves. The time when we start thinking of what we want our adult life to be like but, at the same time, make sure to live in the moment while doing so. High school is sure darn fast.  And with your luck Kayla, a huge pandemic decides to break out in the middle of your junior year. To make it better, there’s a huge percentage you won’t get to have your senior year at all due to the pandemic. 

What I’m trying to say is, stop hiding behind the bushes! Go to every football game. Join every club you see at school. Enjoy the morning health class walks. Dance in the middle of the dance floor during homecoming. Just live in the moment. During our freshmen orientation when Mr. Frazier said that high school flies by fast, he wasn’t kidding. High school does change you and it changes who you hang out with. Would you believe me if I said I was the senior class vice president? Crazy how times could change a shy introverted Kayla into a senior class VP. With all that said, I have one last insight for you to remember. Being out of your comfort zone isn’t such a bad thing after all. 

Best of luck, 
Senior Kayla

Written by:
Kayla Phu
Events Committee Student Leader of VEP
Read more about Kayla here: phukayla373.wixsite.com/mysite-2

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