People We Are Proud Of
With the stress of trying to stay afloat in a poor economy, the daily depressing newscast, and overwhelming family and work responsibilities, it's easy to lose track of the good people are doing in our communities.
Good works can be exhausting, too, but some people aren't put off by that. Their dedication and passion for helping others is an inspiration. We hope that learning more about them inspires you to do something for someone else, either by supporting their efforts or starting one of your own.
When she was just 2, Kiera Brinkley suffered a life threatening case of meningococcal disease. To save her life, doctors amputated her legs above the knee and arms below the elbows. Her mother, Elesha Boyd, encouraged Kiera to think of herself as only different on the outside.
The Dream Factory, a nonprofit organization that helps grant wishes for critically and chronically ill children, contacted Kiera and learned that her dream was to visit Julliard. There, she attended a dance workshop and taught a class to dance students. Recently, she performed a dance she choreographed herself at Beaverton's Westview High School, during an assembly. Students clapped along as she danced to a song written by the son of a member of The Dream Factory.
Kiera says, "I'll always want to dance, maybe teach dance. But I also want to be a prenatal nurse." We are happy to hear of Kiera's confidence and ability to go after what she wants in life despite her physical obstacles.
How you can help: Visit http://www.dreamfactoryinc.org/.
Clackamas County, Oregon, Prosecutor Shannon Kmetic felt overjoyed about the conviction that sent a father to prison for life for repeatedly raping his daughter--until she realized the girl had no family to care for her, and had to heal from the incredible emotional trauma.
This situation inspired her to found Angels in the Outfield-- a nonprofit group that benefits abused or neglected children. The group provides special services, trips, scholarships, musical instruments or other gifts or services that children need or are interested in. Supporters of the nonprofit include the American Softball Association, banks, and many others.
How you can help: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact their mailing address:
Angels in the Outfield
P.O. Box 2347
Oregon City, OR 97045
At age ten, Talia Leman responded to Hurricanes Rita and Katrina by starting a trick or treat fundraiser. Kids could trick or treat for coins donated to her project, Trick-or-treat for the Levee Catastrophe. The project raised 10 million dollars. When Talia saw how effective one ordinary kid could be with the help of others, she founded the nonprofit organization called Random Kid. This organization "Provides staff and services to youth, of all backgrounds and abilities, for the development, management and accomplishment of their goals to help others." It gives kids the help they need to help others.
How you can help: Visit www.randomkid.org.
Their mission statement: "to collect prom gowns and provide them, free, to high school women. Receiving a gown presents an opportunity for students to join their peers at a memorable high school event, and to do so with the confidence essential to setting and attaining goals in the future."
Sally and Abby Egland started Abby's Closet in 2004 when Abby, then a high school graduate, tried to figure out what to do with her high school prom dress. She spoke with her mom, Sally, who had heard of organizations in other cities that connected low income girls with dresses. They founded the organization and by the end of the first year, had over 500 dresses to give girls.
The two say that it's more about having a dress for an event. It's about giving underprivileged girls an opportunity to fit in and feel normal; it's the chance for them to feel like a princess when they may never have felt that way before.
How you can help: Abby's Closet collects prom dresses and accepts financial donations throughout the year. To learn more, call 503-722-1524 or visit www.abbyscloset.org.
A Family for Every Child
A Family for Every Child is a nonprofit organization based in Eugene, OR. The organization was founded in 2006 when Christy Obie-Barrett, already a mother of 12 (biological, foster, and adopted) children, felt her home was too quiet when her youngest went off to kindergarten. "I just count not stand what I was hearing and seeing about children that were raised in foster care."
"In 2006, AFFEC was formed and developed into an organization focused on finding permanent and loving adoptive homes for Oregon's waiting children." Their "intention is to develop programs that assist special needs/challgening-to-place foster children in finding their own Forever Families."
How you can help: visit www.afamilyforeverychild.org to learn more about the organization and get information about adopting, donating, or becoming a sponsor.
After his mother moved the family from a life of poverty and drugs in San Diego, a teen-aged Carlos Garcia joined the nonprofit Community Service Consortium and decided to make a positive difference. Despite the loss of both of his parents, he became the President of the Corvallis, Oregon, Boys and Girls Club, and won several state and national academic awards. He works as the Head Student Manager for the Oregon State University football program and has been nominated for the NCAA Courage Award.
Learn more Carlos by reading the Oregonian's article Catching up with Carlos Garcia
After an auto accident left 15 year Hayden Perkins paralyzed from the waist down, he suffered several years of depression until he made the decision to pursue life with even more energy than before the accident. Now Hayden is the father of three children, is completing his pediatric dental residency program at the University of Mississippi, and gives motivational speeches to children.
When Sara Farfan found a $100 bill when she was cleaning the Portland Trailblazer’s locker room, she might have just tucked it in her pocket and kept it. After all, she doesn’t make enough to afford a car, let alone their $600 a month health insurance premium. But Sara lives by a higher standard. She turned in the money and inspired a community.