Kids in courtyard before the start of the Peace Pole Planting Ceremony out at Rockwood Boys & Girls Club

Peace Pole Planting at Rockwood Club

On July 18, 2018, Rockwood Club planted its very own symbol of peace in the courtyard garden. This Peace Pole contains the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written in eight of the native languages spoken in the Club, including Arabic, Burmese, Chinese (Mandarin), English, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. 

Watch part of the ceremony here

Club youth gathered around as Al Jubitz, philanthropist and donor of the Peace Pole, Erin Hubert, Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro’s CEO, and Imani Muhammad, East County Senior Director for Boys & Girls Club of Portland, explained the history of Peace Poles and their hope that it will inspire a world without war and create lasting peace in our communities and at the Rockwood Club. Rubi Gastelum-Plata translated the ceremony into Spanish as they spoke. John Herman, recent recipient of the Roy Ciappini “Be Great” award for his 50 years of service to our Clubs, was also in attendance. 

Three of our teen members helped to mix the concrete and raise the pole with help from our Facilities Operations Manager, Mike Fisher, meticulously measuring and positioning the pole so that it will stand tall for the years to come. Other youth asked questions, commenting on the different languages, pointing out ones they recognized. One little girl asked Miss Rubi, our ceremony translator and staff member at Rockwood, if she would teach her to speak Spanish, to which she agreed with an “Of course!” 

Al encouraged the kids to work out their problems by using the peace pole as a symbolic place to peacefully resolve conflict, saying, “If you’re ever in conflict, which you will be, but when you’re in conflict with another, you might want to say, let’s go sit by the peace pole and talk this out.” 

If you are interested in having your own symbolic message of peace, we encourage you to contact and work with the generous and dedicated Rotarian Action Group for Peace, who have been doing their best to plant hundreds of Peace Poles throughout the Portland Metro community. 

About Rockwood Boys & Girls Club 

The Rockwood Boys & Girls Club opened in October 2017 and features learning, innovation, and activity spaces for youth 6-12 years of age and a stand-alone center for teens ages 13-18. 

What is a Peace Pole? 

A Peace Pole is a crafted tribute that represents a symbolic message: May Peace Prevail on Earth. They contain 4-6 sides with notes of peace in different languages and have been planted all around the globe. When a Peace Pole is planted in your community, you are connected with people from all over who believe in the same goal: World Peace. These poles are present in 180 countries all over the world to encourage and remind to their communities to visualize and advocate for peace on earth. 

About Al Jubitz 

Al Jubitz is the Rotarian Action Group for Peace Treasurer and Honorary Chair in Portland, Oregon. After 34 years, Jubitz retired from the family business and is currently the President and founder of the Jubitz Family Foundation, a foundation that supports organizations that support peacebuilding, environmental sustainability, and early childhood education. Jubitz joined the Rotary in 1977 and believes the group has the ability to transform our world to a world beyond war.

Serving All Youth through Trauma Informed Care 

In our mission to empower all youth, especially those who need us most, we recognize that a high proportion of the children and families in the communities we serve have experienced trauma or adversity. Trauma is any experience that can overwhelm. It can overpower your ability to cope with life’s difficulties, especially in the absence of supportive environments and lacking supportive relationships. We must understand and address the consequences of the incredible challenges our communities face in the form of poverty, violence, racism, substance use, victimization, and more. These traumatic experiences can have long-term, lasting impact that spreads across generations. That’s why the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro, as an organization, is seeking to create a measurable difference in the lives of youth through our dedication to trauma informed care, equity, and revitalization of our Youth and Family Services program. We want to ensure we are putting supports in place for every youth, family, and community to thrive. 

The Trauma Informed Approach 

The adverse experiences faced by many of our families calls for a special set of services and attentions geared towards reinforcing aspects of their lives that may have been stripped away: safety, trustworthiness, transparency, peer support, collaboration, empowerment, informed choice, as well as cultural, historical, and gender equity. These form the basic principles of Trauma Informed Care, an approach that acknowledges and understands the struggles our communities face and allows us to create policies and services that better serve trauma-impacted children and families. Whether a child has an incarcerated parent, lives with food scarcity, has experienced discrimination because of the color of their skin, gender, or sexual orientation, or grappled with some other trauma, we believe that it is our responsibility to do our best to provide them with what they need to be successful and empowered to reach their full potential.  

Empowering Youth to Reach their Full Potential 

How can we help empower our kids and our communities to advocate for themselves, to overcome life’s adversities, and to be caring, productive community members? The answer is deceptively simple: building resilience. Resilience means youth can deal with the difficulties they face. It is the key skill in overcoming adversity.  We can foster resilience by providing positive, healthy, consistent relationships with adults and programs. Research shows that a strong relationship with a safe, consistent mentor is the number one most important factor in helping heal trauma, build resilience, and move toward healing.  

Club programming builds resilience in youth through dedicated staff, mentoring, safety, problem solving, choices, and opportunities. Our Youth & Family Service Program expands on that, screening youth for risk factors, enrolling them in targeted programming, creating individualized plans, and connecting youth and families with counseling and resources. This program seeks to intentionally provide upstream prevention for our at-risk youth and families, allowing them to thrive.  

The Boys & Girls Clubs has been building resilience in youth for a long time. With our new focus on trauma informed care, we can it do better. By standardizing practices, voicing and sharing the things we’ve already been doing, and setting the intention of building resilience and healing trauma at our forefront, we believe we can build stronger, safer, more empathetic communities in Portland and beyond. 

How We Approach Trauma Informed Care

  • There is a pervasive need for community services that acknowledge trauma, equitably and intentionally seeking to build resilience. 
  • Trauma inhibits the ability to cope with life’s difficulties. 
  • By building resilience, we can help heal trauma.
  • The number one factor in building resilience is consistent, safe, supportive relationships. 
  • Our Youth & Family Services program creates individualized plans for at-risk youth and their families that can help them access vitally needed services, overcome their traumatic experiences, and thrive.
  • The intentional, structured approach provided by trauma informed care can help dismantle barriers faced by families and set our youth up for success. 

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