2020 Volunteers

Terry Johnson Named As New CEO at Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro

2020 Student Leader Internship Q&A with Bethany

Earlier this year, YouthForce member and high school junior Bethany Brundage was named a Bank of America Student Leader for their summer 2020 cohort. In this Q&A update, Bethany shares how her internship went working remotely, and what she learned.

How did your internship go?

At the beginning of the program, we had many online webinars like Mentoring, Racial Equity in America, Insecure Food in America, a Guide to Managing Money, Implicit Bias, Alvin Ailey, and College Behind Bars: The Transformative Power of Education. We also had panels like Career Paths in the Financial Sector, Public Policy & Media Relations, and a non-profit called Financial Beginnings Oregon. We were given an exercise called Neighborhood Builders; where we have to give $200,000 to a non-profit that best deserves the grant.

Throughout the internship, the Portland market had to work with a non-profit organization which was Habitat for Humanity. They want to expand their platform so that the young generations know about their organization. They thought that TikTok was a good platform to use and wanted us, student leaders, to come up with starter videos for them. At the end of the program, we had a session that lasted two days called Young Democracy at Home which allowed us to voice our opinions on the current issues. From the conversation we had we took into consideration actions to take for Young Democracy at Home Follow up sessions. We met other Student Leaders from across the country, and with the guidance of a Close Up Program Instructor, created action plans to address issues in our home communities.

What was it like working remotely?

This year was a new experience for everyone, including the director/workers of the program. They did an awesome job adjusting new things along the way because I didn’t have any problem getting into online webinars or meetings. I was very sad that I didn’t have the chance to work with Habitat for Humanity at their construction sites, or being able to go to D.C., but I was glad to have had an awesome experience being part of Bank of America Student Leaders 2020. Even if I didn’t have a chance to meet them in person, it’s good to see them online.

Biggest takeaway or lesson?

A big takeaway or lesson I would bring to my communities is knowledge. Before the program, I knew little about the current situation around the world. Throughout the program, I learned many viewpoints from guest speakers and also from other Student Leaders throughout the country. What they have to say will always impact how I view the world. I’m able to bring this knowledge to my clubs, volunteering, and jobs.

I love learning new things because I know that I will pass my knowledge and experience to another person, who will use the information to help other people. To make an impact on our world, we need to educate our peers and the future generation so that they can get educated as well, and pass on their knowledge, until everyone is educated. Instead of a small group changing the world, we as a whole will change the world for future generations to take on. Everyone has a voice that can impact other people, we have to speak up so that other people can hear our voice.

Did any of your expectations change from the start to the end of the internship?

In the beginning, I was expecting to work with Habitat for Humanity on something but not sure what it was. I didn’t expect to have webinars, panels, and worked with peers to make TikTok for Habitat for Humanity.

Throughout, the program was an overall amazing experience to have. It still shocks me today that I was chosen to be part of Bank of America Student Leaders 2020. Out of everyone in the Portland Metro area, they decided to pick me! I am very grateful to be chosen as a Student Leader 2020. I will always treasure all the experience I had during the program and the amazing Student Leaders I met, because I know for sure that they will change our world.

Anything else you’d like people to know?

I’m co-leading these pressing topics as part of a group of other former Student Leaders from across the country at an Instagram account called @youth_initiative2020. We talk about current issues that are happening around the world to educate for a better tomorrow. Come follow us and join in the conversation!

YouthForce Teen of the Year Named a 2020 Bank of America Student Leader

BGCP Statement on George Floyd’s Death

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro (BGCP) is saddened and outraged by the recent events in Minnesota and other unjustified deaths perpetrated on people of color. BGCP stands for equal justice under the law. We are compelled to register our concern over the events that have occurred most recently to George Floyd, which calls into question our nation’s commitment to equal justice under the law.  

Today, millions of Americans live in fear knowing there is a high likelihood they will be treated differently and actively harmed simply because of the color of their skin. The racism they face is both culturalsystemic and institutional. It’s in the inner workings of our criminal justice system, schools, health care, and even in the interactions between neighbors, coworkers, and friends. 

Racism has deep and lasting impacts. It terrorizes and traumatizes youth, families, and communities. And in the case of George Floyd, as with so many others before him, it kills. 

Everyone, in Portland, in Minnesota, and across this country, has a responsibility to work together to create a society that is actively anti-racist, where people regardless of race or class can get justice. We must do better. We must be better. We must call it out and hold ourselves accountable for racism where it exists. 

When BGCP implemented our Trauma Informed service model several years agosaid CEO, Erin Hubert, “it was in an active effort to address and alleviate the impacts of the traumas our families face, including the racist systems our families of color fear. We’ve worked in partnership with our communities to use restorative justice rather than punitive measures with our youth; to connect families with resources they need to thriveto foster opportunities for meaningful connections between young people and law enforcement; and to empower our Club youth with 21st century skills and opportunities to help them achieve their wildest dreams. But this is still not enough. This addresses the effects, and not always the causes, of the trauma our communities face every day. 

BGCP utterly rejects the abuse of power by police authorities that led to George Floyd’s unjustified death, and so many other, heartbreaking and unnecessary deaths.  We continually seek to learn and grow in inclusionand we’re committed to being a safe, diverse and equitable place for our youth, families, and staff who face any sort of oppression. 

We must take action to actively fix the systematic form of injustice that leadto rigged and unequal patterns of injustice. If we want our children to grow up in a society that truly values their lives, we must dismantle systems that promote oppression and inequities. 

Get involved in uprooting these systematic patterns of injustice structures that create and justify unnecessary violence and  silence toward black, brown, and indigenous individuals. Call your representatives and fight for reforms to our criminal justice system and all forms of institutional racism that undermine diversity, equity and inclusion   

Don’t Tune Out and Don’t Stay Silent!