January 31, 2022

Cooking Up a Fun Time

Friends of the Children—Portland’s one-to-one long-term mentoring structure was and continues to be tested by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our timely and sudden halt of in-person activities and transition to virtual was not done without many conversations and considerations and similarly, the return to in-person has also been a big turning point. One of the first group activities that our Rockwood program site hosted was a youth engagement evening that focused on Hispanic-Latino heritage.

Rose S., our Associate Director of Family and Alumni Engagement, planned and led the evening of cooking and learning. The youth, Friends, and staff were thrilled to be in community together again. Everyone worked to make salsa, tortillas, horchata, and gallo pinto, a traditional bean and rice-based dish native to Central America. The youth were impressed with how good the food they made tasted and were proud of themselves for preparing the dishes.

Friends had lots to share about the engagement dinner:

  • “This was the most fun evening that I have had at work in quite some time, and it was almost like the ‘before COVID’ era also known as 2019 BC.”
  • “There was a ton of thought and intentionality put into the night. Rose S. and Alicia B. (Program Resource Coordinator) went above and beyond.”
  • “If you brought a youth tonight, you are the true M.V.P. Your youth are all so special, different, and important! Spending time with them while eating tacos is the best kind of outing.”
  • “Real talk, I’m trying to be more intentional about naming and recognizing the special, unique moments in this job, and tonight was one of them. Thank you for such a wonderful night everyone!”

The opportunity for our program to put on this youth engagement event was in thanks to Vital Life Foundation. We are thankful for our sponsors who allow us to continue walking alongside youth in this mentoring and supportive capacity that more deeply connects them with their Friend, peers, and FriendsPDX staff. To learn more about corporate engagement and sponsorship opportunities, please check out our Get Involved > Ways to Give section located here.