Posts Tagged ‘Youth’

August 7, 2012 · by Staff · Featured, PCRI

From July 23 to August 3, the Maya Angelou Community Center buzzed with the sounds of Camp Healthy Eating and Living (HEAL). Every afternoon, campers prepared their own healthy lunches made from farm fresh veggies, tended their new on-site garden, and finished the afternoon with physical activity, from swimming to rock climbing.

Campers planted, watered, and showed off their new tomato, pepper and basil plants.

Campers will remember HEAL throughout the year as they pull out their exclusive water bottles in school, at home or anywhere!

Camp began each day at the Maya Angelou Community Center, located at one of PCRI’s multi-family properties in North Portland.

HEAL was full of future stars, from budding climbers to fledgling footballers.

 HEAL was made possible through a grant from the Portland Timbers Community Fund and support from our wonderful community partners and volunteers from New Seasons Markets, Portland Nursery, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and the Portland Farmer’s Market.

June 29, 2012 · by Staff · Featured, PCRI

The award from the Portland Timbers Community Fund will help encourage physical activity and healthful eating at PCRI’s summer camp.

PCRI will accept an award from the Portland Timbers Community Fund next Tuesday at Jeld-Wen Field. Photo: Pamela Rentz (Flickr)

Look out for a PCRI youth and Resident Coordinator Catherine Mehta on the playing field during halftime at the Timbers’ July 3 match against the San Jose Earthquakes. They will be accepting a $2,000 award to help fund this summer’s Healthy Eating and Living (HEAL) Summer Camp at the Maya Angelou Community Center.

Thanks Timber Joey for your support!

The summer camp is designed to address three significant needs among the youth we serve: educational retention during summer months, physical activity, and knowledge and experience to prepare healthy snacks and meals.

“We know in the community we serve, that there is a high amount of diet-related health issues,” says Julie Madsen, Thriving Families Coordinator to PCRI. “This camp provides an opportunity for young people in our community to understand the impact their choices today make for their health in the future. We are grateful to the PTCF for providing the funds that make this camp possible. If anybody else would like to contribute, we are looking for educators, volunteers, and supplies ranging from food donations, sports equipment, and writing journals.”

PCRI thanks the Portland Timbers Community Fund (PTCF) for its continued dedication to raising awareness for PCRI and strengthening healthy outcomes for youth in the community.

For more information about Camp HEAL or if you’d like to volunteer or donate, please contact Julie Madsen: (503) 288-2923 x122,

March 13, 2012 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

March is National Nutrition Month!  Coincidentally, our Teens Engaged in Eating Nutritious Snacks team shared some great news this week about their project.  The PCRI youth involved in the project (pictured with Governor Kitzhaber showing off the award check they received to help develop the snack) are planning to meet in the coming week with Kamelah Adams, a local chef who is developing a new business.  Ms. Adams and the TEENS team will taste test a sample batch of healthy snacks that Ms. Adams has recently created.

Ms. Adams, who is also a PCRI resident, developed the sample recipe based on the TEENS team’s conclusions about which foods and flavors that would be healthy and would most appeal to youth looking for a snack.

About National Nutrition Month

On March 8, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack kicked off National Nutrition Month with “What’s on My Plate?” day to raise public awareness of the importance of choosing nutritious foods. Dr. Robert Post, Deputy Director of USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, will be the featured speaker at a “Get Your Plate in Shape” event on March 14 hosted by the DC Metro Area Dietetic Association. For more information on National Nutrition Month news and events, visit the USDA blog.

November 8, 2011 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

This spring, PCRI youth won a grant for their “Teenagers Engaged in Eating Nutritious Snacks” (TEENS) plan to create a healthy snack for other youth.  Since receiving the grant (follow the link above for more information about the award), the TEENS team has been working to pinpoint a successful product.  Now, PCRI’s youth interns are seeking a baker or chef committed to innovating delicious and healthy fresh-baked goods to make the TEENS product a reality.

Over the past four months, the youth have achieved several milestones: surveyed more than 240 teens regarding a healthy snack and what a healthy snack would taste like; taste tested a large number of snacks to determine the best tasting snack available on the market (blind taste tests pictured at right); and completed research regarding ingredients in existing snacks and options for making those snacks healthier.

The TEENS team is now ready to develop a snack that is similar to the Clif Kid Z Bar but is healthier and perishable. We are looking for a baker who has the ability to take similar ingredients as those found in the Clif Z Bar and take the ideas that resulted from the research, taste testing and surveys and invent a bar the youth can sell to other youth via a pilot project.

PCRI is a community non-profit organization and has a small budget to help pay for supplies for this project. We need someone with the expertise to help develop a recipe for a bar, produce the bar for testing purposes, and, if the bar is received well by community teens, sell the bar to the teens at a wholesale price.  The TEENS team in turn will package the bar and sell it to other teens as part of their healthy snack project. There will be several opportunities for public relations on this project.

Are you ready to get cooking on this project – or know someone who is?  Please contact Julie, Youth Internship Coordinator, at 503-288-2923.

September 26, 2011 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

Nearly three years ago, George, a resident at PCRI’s Park Terrace apartments, delivered fresh greens to Resident Service Coordinator Amber Starks.  They may not have known it at the time, but the greens from George’s garden would grow into an opportunity to engage residents throughout PCRI’s community.

Rewind to the winter of 2009-2010 when George delivered his green gift.  Inspired by his beautiful, bountiful garden, Amber set out to create a space where all of the Park Terrace residents could grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs.

“I thought it would bring out residents who were interested in gardening, who may have had a garden in the past, or were looking to do something different,” Amber said.

The 2010 garden was a bit of a challenge, she admits.  While a few residents expressed interest, poor soil in the new garden area and limited time to keep up with it meant weeds were about the only plants that prospered.  Amber resolved that 2011 would have a significantly better outcome.

“Since we didn’t have a great harvest or too much resident participation, I decided to get started on 2011 early.”

To attract help and involvement from the Park Terrace youth, Amber enlisted artist Dylan “Kauz” Freeman to create a mural.  During the fall of 2010, Dylan and the youth brainstormed ideas, made sketches and painted a mural about what a garden meant to them.  Their mural now overlooks the Park Terrace garden.

Park Terrace’s property management also joined in to make future gardens a success.  Using concrete that had been removed elsewhere on the property, they created raised beds—one for general resident use and one especially for George, upgrading the space in which he had been gardening for years.  The Park Terrace landscape maintenance crew added compost to improve the soil as well.

In the spring of 2011, volunteer Alison Coffinbarger applied her garden know-how in conjunction with starts and seeds generously donated by Portland Nursery.  Alison provided hands-on instruction for the residents, sharing information about soil preparation, composting, companion planting and more.  Every week, she would introduce the residents to two plants and offer tips on how to plant and care for them.

The instruction and extra effort paid off, especially with the cucumbers.  Park Terrace’s garden was so flush with cukes, a few of the residents took the bounty door-to-door, offering up their harvest to the resident seniors.  Other crops took a while longer (as with most Portland gardens this year, the tomatoes were late to ripen but are now offering their delicious fruit to residents’ kitchens).  Still, every planting offered at least a taste for the resident gardeners.

Participation increased as residents saw the harvest in Park Terrace’s community center and got involved in planting and maintaining the garden.  In addition, Amber is already planning the fall and winter garden with hardy crops like kale, collards and other greens.  She’s also looking even further down the garden rows toward a “planting to plate” experience where residents will learn how to garden and then learn from a chef how to cook what they grow in a variety of ways.

“My goal is also to empower residents to learn about the food they eat, how it grows and where it comes from and lastly how eating healthy can really improve quality of life,” she says. “It is also good to know that residents will have the skills to be able to garden wherever they go.”

Residents interested in participating in a community garden and community members interested in volunteering or donating can contact Amber Starks, Resident Services Coordinator, or Adriana Voss-Andrae, Healthy Foods Access Program Manager.

July 22, 2011 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

Around PCRI, we’re always eager to share great stories about our staff and residents, but we’re especially enthusiastic when they’re about PCRI youth.  As one might expect, when we heard through the grapevine that Marius, a PCRI youth, joined forces with the City of Portland as their Green Building events Intern, we were excited.  And as we learned more, the connections back to PCRI just kept popping out.

Marius and his family came to the United States a year and half ago from the Congo and lived in Tanzania for eight years before that.  Since he’s been in Portland, Marius has been chalking up some pretty impressive accomplishments: he graduated at the top of his class this June from David Douglas High School and he’s on the Multnomah Youth Commission.  He’s received a Future Connect PCC scholarship where he will begin in the fall taking pre-pharmacy and other general classes.

At the City of Portland, Marius will be working closely with Valerie Garrett, the Regional Green Building Hotline Coordinator.  (Valerie also has ties to PCRI: she is a former staff member). Marius will be learning about green building and climate change during his internship and will assist Valerie with outreach, public relations and recruiting of volunteers for the 2011 Build It Green! Home Tour on Saturday, Sept. 24 (PCRI has participated twice on the home tour, but we’re sitting it out this year).

Of course, we extend our congratulations to Marius on his internship and we know he’ll be in good hands working with Valerie!

May 11, 2011 · by pcriadmin · Awards, PCRI

This spring, the American Leadership Forum of Oregon created a new contest for middle and high school youth called the Oregon Youth in Action Contest. This contest challenges youth to develop innovative projects that promote healthy bodies and healthy communities.

PCRI is exceptionally proud that of the 27 applicant teams, PCRI’s team of youth was one of nine winning entries.  Marina, Grant and Tosha’s winning project, “Teenagers Engaged in Eating Nutritious Snacks” (TEENS), received a $2,000 implementation grant which will help the team successfully create a healthy snack.

The TEENS project, sponsored by PCRI, will create an affordable and healthy snack which will be for sale at the Village Market store located in New Columbia.  This store was designed to provide healthy food options in the community. Marina, Grant and Tosha will test market and survey community teens, work with a chef to develop the product, design appealing packaging, locate production facilities, produce and distribute the snack and gather opinions of shoppers who buy the product at Village Market.

At the Award Celebration in Salem last week, the trio of PCRI youth and other state-wide team winners met with Oregon State Senator Chip Shields and Governor John Kitzhaber; each team presented their project to the Human Services Committee. PCRI youth presented their project with this ultimate goal:  get youth in their community to appreciate and eat wholesome foods, and help create a snack that is both affordable and accessible.

The event, created by Class 24 of the American Leadership Forum of Oregon, was designed around First Lady Michelle Obama’s national campaign called Let’s Move. The Let’s Move campaign’s objective is to engage Americans in raising a healthier generation of kids.

PCRI is thrilled to support the youth in this worthy endeavor. Their talents and creativity are sure to make an impact in the community. For more information about this program, call Julie at 503-281-1778 or email

January 19, 2010 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation,” said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., starting his now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963.

In Dr. King’s honor, volunteers from Americorps and Hands On Greater Portland joined children at PCRI’s Maya Angelou Community Center to build planter boxes for families at the Maya Angelou complex.

Cassie Russell, PCRI’s Resident Services Coordinator at Maya Angelou Community Center (and also an Americorps Oregon State Service Corps member), organized the day of service; Home Depot, Sherwin Williams and Hands on Greater Portland donated supplies for the event.

The box-building teams started indoors, making rhythm from the scratch-scratch-scratch of their sandpaper and the thump-thump-thump of their hammers.  The percussion of the tools could only be drowned out by the repeated interruptions of laughter.

Once the boxes were built was when the real fun happened:  the kids and adults grabbed their boxes and hustled outside (hey, the sun was actually shining!) where they let loose their creative genius.  Some kids (and adults) went all-or-nothing with the bright colors, while others took a more subtle approach, decorating the boxes with painted flowers and trees.

Once the boxes were painted, the builders stepped back to reflect on Dr. King’s inspiration, their work–and to let the paint dry–over a few slices of pizza.  Check out our photo gallery (and become our fan for more updates!).

What’s next?  As the weather warms up in the coming weeks, it will be time for the families to start their planter gardens with seeds donated by Seeds of Change.  Who knows–maybe a contest will be in order:  I have a dream that one day, we’ll be judged not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our … planter boxes?

Hats off to Dr. King for providing such great inspiration.

Newer Entries »