Back to School

Hard to believe, we know, but it's nearly time for back-to-school supply shopping! Which can be a very exciting time for kids, unless their families aren't able to provide the tools their kids need. To that end, Human Solutions has put together a list on Amazon of the key items we know the kids who live in our affordable apartment communities need most. That way, you can just click and send - we'll do the rest!

Take a look at our list and send some supplies our way, please! The volumes are high because there are LOTS of kids in our housing, but you can just buy the amounts that work for you. If you're the type to make it a clean sweep and fulfill the whole order, we won't turn you down.

THANK YOU FOR MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR KIDS IN LOW-INCOME FAMILIES TO START SCHOOL WITH ALL THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO SUCCEED!

eUpdate: See you on the 20th (and other news)!

We hope you are staying cool in this heat! Despite it being the dog days of summer, we have a lot going on at Human Solutions - and we’re writing today to share it with you. We would be delighted to share more with you in person - and answer your questions - at our upcoming Happy Hour at the Oregon Public House. It’s this Monday, August 20th - details are just below.

You’re Invited! Join us for a Casual Happy Hour & Conversation 

We’re hosting a casual happy hour at the Oregon Public House in North Portland - and we’d love for you to be there! With homelessness and the local housing crisis on everyone’s minds,  this is an opportunity to connect with experts from Human Solutions who are in the community every day providing emergency shelter, working with community members to find and stay in stable housing, and supporting people’s goals to get a job through skills training and career coaching. Here are the details:

  • WHAT: A casual happy hour gathering to learn about the local housing crisis, how Human Solutions is working to solve it, and how you can help. We’ll have knowledgeable staff on hand to answer your questions.
  • WHEN: Monday, August 20th from 5 - 8 PM, program starts at 6:30 PM
  • WHERE: Oregon Public House @ 700 NE Dekum in N. Portland (here’s a map)
  • WHY? You care about the future of your community, you believe people deserve a stable place to live, and you want to be part of the solution!
  • KIDS? Bring them, too!
  • FOOD? The restaurant and bar will be open for business! In fact, Human Solutions will receive a portion of the day’s sales to fuel our work. So eat and drink up!
  • RSVP? Just show up! We’ll be glad to see you 🙂

Cooking Classes with Kids: The Pizza Challenge

We’re grateful for our partnership with Oregon State University Extension’s Food Hero program, which sends experts to our affordable housing communities to teach kids how to cook healthy food that can easily be cooked at home. Recently, they made pizza - actually, they took a pizza challenge. Read all about it here. Warning: it may make you hungry! And it will definitely make you smile 🙂

 

Walk With Us for Immigrants & Refugees: Sunday, August 19th 

We are proudly participating in this important solidarity walk, hosted by Parks for New Portlanders in partnership with Sunday Parkways, which is the same day in outer NE Portland. Human Solutions is joining with community members and elected leaders for a one-mile walk from the brand new Discovery Park (we had tons of fun at the grand opening earlier this month - see below) to Knott Park, alongside our refugee and immigrant neighbors in a show of support. This event recognizes the unique experiences of new Portlanders, of all ages and backgrounds.

Everyone is invited to join this walk to inspire a more compassionate, generous, and welcoming Portland! If you’d like to walk with Human Solutions, just meet us by the giant chess board in Discovery Park (near the corner of 106th & Halsey) at 10:45 AM. We’ll be findable in Human Solutions t-shirts! Details here and an event Facebook page to invite friends here.

Welcome to Gateway Discovery Park!

What a day! On Sunday, August 4th we participated in the grand opening festivities for Portland’s newest park in East Portland’s Gateway neighborhood. We’re excited about this new public gathering space for many reasons, but a few standout:

  • Outdoor public gathering spaces like parks are essential for healthy communities where all neighbors can share space that is free and welcoming to all.
  • The Gateway neighborhood has been asking for and waiting for this kind of public investment and community asset for nearly a decade. East Portland has long been underinvested in, but that is beginning to change.
  • Human Solutions’ next affordable housing community and service center will be built adjacent to this park, a wonderful combination of
    housing and outdoor access and space. We can’t wait to be there!

Thank you to all the people and partners who made this incredible space a reality - especially our great partners at the City of Portland, Portland Parks & Recreation and Prosper Portland.

Congratulations! Another Human Solutions Employee Wins an Award!

We are so proud of Nancy Jason, Human  Solutions’ Eviction Prevention Manager, for earning this year’s HILLTOP Award for Agency Staff/Volunteer Achievement. After years of working directly with families experiencing homelessness, Nancy now supervises a team and advises our senior leadership on best practices, helping to instill a culture of trauma-informed care at the agency and to grow the agency’s equity committee to better reflect the role that institutional racism and bias plays in poverty. In her own words:

“My own family lived close to poverty as an immigrant family in New York, but we also had a lot privileges because we were Asian,” Jason said. “You can give someone a house, food and clothing. But it's not just about those resources. It's also about shifting a whole society and making a shift in people. It’s asking not, ‘what’s wrong with you?’ but ‘what’s happened to you?’ It helps get things in perspective.”

You can read the full announcement from Multnomah County here.

Thanks, as always, for reading. I sincerely appreciate your interest in and support of our work in the community. In coming together we are more powerful in our efforts to solve one of the biggest moral crises of our day.

The Pizza Challenge

The Pizza Challenge

“I want to give you a challenge, a pizza challenge to try one new topping on your pizza. Will you accept this challenge?” asked Rebecca Marson, Program Assistant with Oregon State University’s (OSU) SNAP-Ed program. For the last three summers, OSU Extension’s Food Hero program has come to Arbor Glen, one of Human Solutions properties, to teach elementary school children how to cook nutritious meals.

Gathered in the classroom at Arbor Glen's community space

 

One summer Tuesday, nine kids raced up the stairs to accept her challenge. The ingredients they chose from included foods from all the MyPlate food groups: green peppers, red onions, mushrooms, olives, pineapple, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. In place of dough, they placed their toppings on half of an English Muffin, which the My personal pizza recipe from Food Hero suggests (it’s do-able at home!).

Like true chefs, the kids sampled the ingredients before designing their pizza. Of course not every child was eager to experiment with new flavors! When asked about her favorite toppings, Harmony answered “olives and bacon.”  She piled olives on top of her pizza until they were falling off.

There is an incredible sense of community among these kids; they are eager to help each other. Julian, one of the youngest, asked for help crafting his pizza, until he saw his friend JuJu making one all by himself. Wanting to be like his friend, Julian tried to make his own but when he struggled a bit, MaKaylah, one of the oldest, stepped in to help him.

Tristan with his pizza art

While impatiently waiting for their food to cook, the kids colored pictures of pizzas. “This pizza has a lot of colors,” Tristan said, as he was eager to show off his artwork. Food Hero recipes incorporate colorful ingredients, so they’re not just nutritious but appealing to kids, too.

All Food Hero recipes meet rigorous recipe criteria, including:

  • Appropriate for a busy household.
  • Utilize limited number of ingredients.
  • Lots of fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
  • Are low cost.
  • Nutritious (of course!)

Time to eat! Yum 🙂

Pizza is certified kid-friendly, but some of the program’s recipes have really expanded beyond stereotypical kid food. Dished like Asian Beef and noodles, Mushroom Bulgur pilaf and Banana pancakes. The kids LOVED the pancakes. “We cut up the bananas,” Shaelynn recalled her favorite part of making the pancakes. When asked about what other tools she used, she shouted with joy “THE SMASHER!!”

OSU’s Rebecca asked the kids to raise their hands if they thought they could make the pizzas at home, and all arms shot up with smiling faces. Kids are encouraged to take recipes with them as they leave. Harmony grabbed an extra pizza coloring page for her brother, who is too young for the class, and decided her mom also needed one.

We are grateful that OSU’s Extension Program partners with Human Solutions’ Resident Services team to provide such fun, hands-on programming for the community. They work hard to bring opportunities like this for residents to master new skills.