On Wednesday, January 24th, New Avenues for Youth celebrated the opening of the Youth Opportunity Center, the Portland non-profit’s new service hub in East Multnomah County. Co-located on the campus of the Rockwood Boys & Girls Club, the center provides outreach to and wraparound supports for youth experiencing housing instability and homelessness; programming for LGBTQ youth, youth in foster care, and youth involved in sex trafficking. The center also houses the Bank of America Youth Learning & Opportunity Lab, designed to help young people gain the skills and job training assistance they need for successful employment.
“We recognize the critical role that local nonprofits play to build pathways to economic progress in the Portland community. Through our Neighborhood Builders program, we connect nonprofits like New Avenues for Youth to the funding and leadership development resources they need to further scale their impact,” said Roger Hinshaw, Bank of America’s Oregon and Southwest Washington Market President. “New Avenues has been around for 20 years. That’s significant, since they have a proven and time-tested model of successfully supporting youth-in-need. And with our support, they’ve been able to strategically expand in East County, a part of our city that has high needs and not enough resources. So I’m very pleased that we’re able to bring forward this $200,000 investment at a particularly strategic time.”
Monique Barton, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility at Bank of America, added: “Over the years that we’ve partnered with New Avenues for Youth, our employees have donated hundreds of hours helping them carry out their important mission locally, and we’ve seen first-hand how impactful their work is,” said Barton. “Based on the extreme need we know exists, we’re excited to now be directing this six-figure support to New Avenues For Youth’s East County campus, where the Bank of America Youth Learning & Opportunity Lab will help young people get the life skills and job training assistance they need. It’s a very worthy cause that has the potential to make a real difference to local youth and families.”
In addition to the Neighborhood Builders grant, funding for the construction of this center has come from a variety of sources including the Windermere Foundation, the Johnson Charitable Trust, the Schultz Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Harbourton Foundation, James & Shirley Rippey Family Foundation, Regence, PGE Foundation, Junior League of Portland, and New Avenues’ Board of Directors.
“Having just celebrated our 20th year of serving youth experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, we are now, more than ever, focused on what’s ahead,” says Sean Suib, New Avenues’ Executive Director. “The opening of the Youth Opportunity Center represents our increasing focus on prevention, on reaching youth earlier, and on stopping homelessness before it starts. We’re eager to have a permanent presence in the community and provide programs and services that have lasting impact on the young people we serve.”