Building on 15 years of service and increasing momentum of support in the community.
We are excited to announce that Southwest Washington is getting its
own Friends of the Children chapter. The launch of Friends of the
Children–Southwest Washington will significantly expand the impact of
professional mentoring to more youth facing multiple systemic obstacles in
the Portland/Vancouver metro area.
When a child is selected into our program, we make a commitment to walk alongside them for 12+ years, no matter what. Forty percent of our youth attend two or more schools in one year because of the high mobility of families living in poverty seeking affordable housing. Friends of the Children stay with the youth through each transition within a 30-mile radius of our NE Portland headquarters. Even though we select youth from less than ten schools each year, our youth attend over 160 schools in the area.
Service to youth in Southwest Washington began 15 years ago when their families started crossing the river in search of affordable rental housing. As the number of youth relocating to Southwest Washington continued to grow, so too did our commitment to the community. In the last six years, 33 new kindergarteners have been selected for the program from Vancouver Public Schools. This year, a total of 60 youth in 18 schools across Vancouver, Evergreen and Battle Ground school districts are paired with a professional mentor.
In the fall of 2018, a group of Southwest Washington philanthropists partnered with Friends–Portland on an expansion campaign to determine the level of community support for our program. The result was overwhelmingly positive. This Advisory Council was able to raise $2.8 million in less than a year.
The Friends of the Children–Southwest Washington chapter has named proud Vancouver resident, Allison Pauletto, as the executive director. Allison worked for Friends of the Children–Portland for over 13 years, serving most recently as the Chief Development Officer.
“Every child in Southwest Washington deserves the opportunity to dream big and reach their goals, but too many children face a lot of adversity that can seem impossible to overcome,” said Allison. “Over the last 15 years of working in this community, we have seen the difference it can make when our youth are empowered with consistent, long-term love and support from a Friend.”
In addition to assuming service for the current program youth living in Southwest Washington, the new chapter is in the process of selecting children ages 5 and 6 from Evergreen Public Schools. They will continue to partner with Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington, the Children’s Center, Clark County YMCA and Friends–Portland to connect youth and families to programs and services.
“I am thrilled to have Allison step into this role and get our new chapter off to a strong start,” said Michele Goodwin, who co-chaired the expansion campaign with her husband, Greg, and is the newly-appointed board chair of Friends–Southwest Washington. “Her history with our campaign, with the Portland chapter and as a leader in the Southwest Washington community, made her hands-down the best person for this role.”
With Allison Pauletto’s move to executive director of the Southwest Washington chapter, Portland is excited to announce that Kate Sacamano has been promoted into the role of Chief Development Officer. Kate was previously the Director of Donor Relations and Communications. With over 20 years serving Northwest nonprofits, she has developed a diverse network of connections in an effort to create a more compassionate and just community.