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August 26, 2021

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As students head back to school and our community begins to enter a new chapter in the pandemic, Friends of the Children-Portland is aware of the challenge ahead. To emerge stronger from the struggles of the pandemic, we need to do more than move the needle forward; collectively we need to rebuild. We cannot aim for returning to normal - we have to return to better. Our model works to extend the capacity for success within our youth, their families, and schools through community-focused, holistic educational support. With critical help from our community, Friends of the Children-Portland's program works with youth early to remove barriers and help them develop skills so they can achieve self-sufficiency by age 25.

Amen has felt empowered to use her voice and push back against a narrative that she didn’t belong. “Now that I’m older and I’m realizing what social justice means, and what it encompasses, I’ve realized that’s what I want to do with my future. That’s why I want to be a lawyer after I graduate.” Amen moved to Washington, D.C. and plans to attend Howard University this fall.

Zhada dreams of being a pediatrician and is headed to the Pre-Med program at Clark Atlanta University. In 2021, she was one of 31 students across North America to receive a scholarship from the Jordan Brand Wings Scholars Program. FriendsPDX is honored to have one of our graduating youth selected for this award every year for the past three years.

Skyler was paired with his Friend Brian in kindergarden. Over the years they developed a lasting bond. Skyler has mapped out his future: he plans to enroll in community college and then transfer to film school. With his creative talents and skills in editing and technology, Skyler is on his way to a career in film editing.