December tends to be a hectic
month for everybody due to seasonal holidays and winter breaks. We support the
youth we walk alongside by providing community events that ensure they feel
supported during this time. Throughout this month, we hosted weekly holiday craft and
gift making sessions, held a vaccine clinic open to the public, threw cultural celebrations and brought back
a designated teen space event.
Our crafting extravaganzas were organized at both our Morris and Rockwood facilities and alternated hosting duties each week. Having these events held at both buildings increased accessibility to all youth who were interested in participating. Together we made cards, decorated gingerbread houses, learned to sew and more. During the open studio hours more than 50 youth come through with their Friends and engage with the activities.
On Friday, December 10th we hosted a vaccine clinic at Rockwood. This event was open to the entire community and offered free, walk-in service requiring no appointments. OHSU had both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on hand for first and second doses for all ages 5 and up in addition to booster shots. Catering was provided by 808 Grinds. In the living room, Pixar’s Luca played on the big screen. At the same time, the gymnasium had a section filled with supplies available to families coming by to take as needed. Items including masks, hand sanitizer, baby clothes and more. These resources will also be available at our second vaccine clinic which will be held on Friday, January 7th at our Rockwood location from 4-7 PM.
Many celebrations are observed during the winter months, including Diwali, Winter Solstice, Bodhi Day, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Yalda to name a few. Here at Friends of the Children—Portland, we are honored to participate in and educate about these cultural traditions with our community. We held an Indigenous heritage event and Jewish heritage celebration at our Rockwood program site during December. These community events have connected youth with deep meaning and cultural understanding. We look forward to hosting many more!
An event we were thrilled to bring back this month was Teen Space, holiday edition! This age-specific programming provides exclusive time for teens to connect with each other and Friends. We played holiday movies in and had snacks in the living room; hosted crafting and open studio time in the art room; decorated rice krispies, cookie, and cupcake in the dining room; played video games in the media room; enjoyed tabletop games in half the gym; and held gym games in the other half of the gym. To top it all off was the build-your-own-pasta bowl dinner. Having events in person again has been rejuvenating after such a long stretch of virtual-only programming.
We’re so looking forward to the new year and getting to spend more time together nurturing friendships and relationships within the FriendsPDX community in person!