KeyBank logo, black text with red key

$278,000 Grant from KeyBank Offers New Infusion for YouthForce Career Development Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PORTLAND, OR. (Dec. 4, 2018) – A three-year $278,000 grant from KeyBank to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro (BGCP) will provide new funding for its YouthForce career development program, thus expanding localized opportunities for teen training and employment.

“Helping underserved youth realize their full potential is critical to their success and instrumental in building and maintaining a vibrant economy,” said Michelle Weisenbach, president of KeyBank in Oregon and Southwest Washington, in announcing the grant. “Philanthropy is part of KeyBank’s DNA. Our funding priorities at KeyBank make up four pillars: neighbors, workforce, education and service, and this program squarely addresses these issues with proven success in helping build stronger communities through improved workforce opportunities.”

“Our ongoing partnership with KeyBank has been vital in expanding opportunities for local youth to learn as they grow their employment skills,” says Erin Hubert, CEO of BGCP. “KeyBank has long been a stalwart and supportive partner in helping us build and expand the YouthForce program, and this collaboration speaks volumes to the commitment KeyBank holds to creating economic advancement for all people.”

YouthForce helps thousands of underserved, low-income and first-generation college-bound youth (ages 15-19 years) build job skills and create a path toward career success while maintaining educational achievement. At its core, YouthForce PDX empowers teens to develop a vision for their future and then provides them the experiences, resources and networks to achieve it.

Participants gain increased professional skills, comfort in the business environment, identification of career options/paths, knowledge of managing personal finances, increased confidence and a positive outlook on the future.

BGCP launched YouthForce in 2015 in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of King County and the Portland Timbers & Thorns, with a $500,000 grant from KeyBank. Since then, Portland Metro staff successfully scaled up the pilot program, YF PDX, by developing creative strategies and partnerships that uniquely meet the needs for career development for underserved youth in the Portland area.

Programs integrate adult coaching and mentoring, skill building workshops, and hands-on work experience through paid internships to empower teens to develop the competencies they need to achieve their educational and career potential.

This grant will help fund three distinct programs including:

  • YouthForce University (YFU), which offers workshops and trainings; individual mentoring and advocacy; and academic and career planning.
  • TeamWork Apprenticeship Program, a unique internship experience with professional sports teams, such as Portland Timbers and Thorns, that offers meaningful, entry-level work experiences with the Guest Services Department during Providence Park events.
  • Career Internship Program (CIP), which includes hands-on work experience with local employers, professional networking, career exploration and skill building.

About KeyCorp

KeyCorp’s roots trace back 190 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $138.8 billion at September 30, 2018. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of over 1,100 branches and more than 1,500 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro

Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro (BGCP) empowers more than 4,000 youth each year to discover their full potential by providing safe, enriching after-school and summer programs. Learn more about how Clubs support youth in achieving academic success, becoming responsible leaders, and living healthy lives at bgcportland.org.

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. 

Exploring Higher Education: BGCP Teens Kick-Off Their College Tours at Oregon State University