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