I had the pleasure of spending my morning with the staff of p:ear at one of their volunteer orientation sessions. p:ear is an organization dedicated to build positive relationships with homeless and transitional youth through education, art and recreation to affirm personal worth and create more meaningful and healthier lives. You can find out more about p:ear here.
Based in the inner city of Portland, their building provides an opportunity for youth to experience a safe environment in which they can express themselves and get away from the street environment for a few hours each day. Over 600 youth are enrolled they see about 60 each day come through their doors. Walking through those doors this morning I left a cold, wet and dark Portland behind and entered a space full of possibility. Their library, the arts studio, the music room, the kitchen and a team of talented staff and volunteers – what a fabulous environment to learn and develop your creative skills!
This is so different than the street environment where a kids primary goal is survival. According to Joy, one of their Directors, only about one third of kids on the street make it back to a more regular lifecycle lifestyle like that we are used to. The last census in Portland concluded there are about 1,500 youth on the streets highlighting that places like p:ear are so important.
I am looking forward to working on a project with the kids at p:ear and I’ll share more about this in a future post. For now, please check out p:ear, I think you will be impressed by this little gem that shines brightly in the center of Portland.