A Growing Program in the Gorge
This year, the Juntos program expanded the number of workshop school locations from 4 to 6! All together, 41 families participated in Juntos in Hood River County and 26 families in Wasco County! We also offered a spring break Tech Camp, a visit to Western Oregon University and a summer Mobile Science and Engineering Camp plus several successful Family Nights and fundraisers.
In large part, I attribute this success to the amazing work our full-time JVC/AmeriCorps volunteer, JP Ideker! From the day he started in August of 2015, it was clear that JP possessed a unique combination of knowledge, ability, energy and passion! Looking back over his year of service, it is hard to believe what he has been able to accomplish!
One of the many things that I admire about JP is his ability to, almost instantly, make a personal connection with people! Whether he is facilitating a Juntos workshop in Spanish, tutoring a high school student in chemistry or kicking the soccer ball with a group of middle schoolers, JP uses this incredible “super power” to make positive things happen! With JP’s help, one of our seniors, Emmanuel navigated the waters of college and financial aid applications. He was admitted to OSU and received several scholarships to make it affordable for his family. He plans to major in computer engineering. In another example, JP provided the guidance and “glue” necessary to help The Dalles high school Juntos club become an effective team that organized fundraisers and a college visit. At HRVHS, he helped a group of students get their club chartered and ready for action next year
In addition to serving as Juntos Program Assistant, JP also offers his energy and enthusiasm to the SNAP Ed. program where he assists with nutrition education at community meals, food demonstrations and school-based education programs. JP has also offered support to state and university-wide efforts including assisting with the Juntos evaluation protocols and participating in the Latinos in Oregon story archiving project.
It is clear to me that JP has accomplished important goals of providing needed service and building the capacity of our programming here in the Gorge and for that, we are all so grateful. But also, I must say that my life is better for having crossed paths with JP and I know, for a fact that many, many others would agree with me. We will all miss him tremendously and wish him the very best in his future endeavors!
We are also pleased to continue partnering with JV/Northwest for 2016-17 and extend a warm welcome to our incoming JV/AmeriCorps volunteer, Sara Tiscareño-Kennedy, who will begin her year of service in August!
By the way, the “JV” stands for Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, an organization that started in 1956…in fact, it served as a model for the Peace Corps! Volunteers in the program commit to a year of service where they live “in community” with several other volunteers. They share living space and meals and also devote time to spiritual and personal growth. They are placed in a variety of non-profit organizations where they serve their community and help build organizational capacity.