As we come to the close of 2018, reflections naturally linger over us.
How did we impact this wild and beautifully broken city of ours? What were the hallmarks of this year, and did we enrich, and were we generous? I hope you enjoy this little end of year update, and that you can see your place in the
story. Truly, this little work of love is a BIG expression for us all!
We have served hard, and will continue to do so.
We have loved deeply, and will continue to do so.
And we have been brave, and will continue to courageously say yes, and agree to show love in the darkest spaces. I am profoundly proud of the thousands of volunteers who said yes with us, and prouder still of our staff and lead volunteers who do so week after week.
Let’s see what we have been up to together:
As we have done so for 15 years, we continue to offer services, community and care to hundreds of guests every Thursday at Night Strike. Our platform under the bridge also serves as a place where literally thousands of people have gathered to express love to their neighbors, choosing to look through the surface to a see a deeper truth within…we all matter and are worthy of being seen, and loved. There’s something beautifully redemptive in that simple truth, and we are so grateful to continue to carry that message under the Burnside Bridge into 2019. A movement indeed!
We are especially excited about an opportunity to partner with University of Portland students to actualize a dream for shower services to come to Night Strike. Will you join us in believing for the pieces to come together for the students, school and partners needed to make this happen in 2019?
Students and young adults have always been a part of our mission and work, both through Internships and as a part of our Transformation Trips. We are grateful to have had a dedicated year long intern this year, and encouraged to see hundreds of young people participate in our Transformation Trips. After 15 years, you can imagine how encouraging it is to hear stories of how some have served as an intern or on a TTrip in years past, and are now fashioning the culture of their own homes, families and communities – all based on a compassionate paradigm they learned from us!
A highlight from this summer was the addition of our 4th BTown Kids site! In partnership with local schools and local churches, Parklane was successfully launched and was well attended. It was amazing to see how groups can work collaboratively to envision their own approaches to support kids and families! We were able to bring 60 kids to BTK Summer Camp, including 12 Jr. leaders who have grown up attending BTown Kids. These teenagers were giving back in significant ways to their younger peers and community members.
First Door was a strong and robust presence through 2018, addressing literacy gaps and supporting school efforts in education, as they brought community and place for 30 elementary kiddos on a daily basis. These programs will continue to be lights in their North and Northeast Portland communities into 2019.
Your support is crucial, because intentional compassion and generosity whisper of hope, and isn’t this our greatest need? Please play a role in this work with us!
To volunteer at Night Strike, BTown Kids or First Door, link here, and be part of the story in 2019!
If you are planning a year end gift to help us launch into 2019, thank you!
If you plan to serve with us, you re very welcome!
If you pray, thank you!
We are grateful, and in this season, especially, we remember, we are here for a scandalous and outrageous purpose – to
LOVE PEOPLE, BECAUSE PEOPLE MATTER!!!
When I was a child, and I brought my complaints to my mother, she would often use the phrase, “Walk a mile in their shoes”. This exercise in empathy became fundamental in building the spirit that is at the core of Because People Matter, and all of the work we currently do in Portland.
Imagine if you were in the margins today… maybe you lost your job and debt has finally caught up with you and there has not been decent food on your table in a while now, or for some reason or another, your friends have stopped talking to you and you feel isolated and alone. Could you sense the feeling in your gut when you see an eviction notice stuck to your door? These are the real life stories of many of the people we serve at Night Strike and in our BTown Kids & First Door communities. Circumstances do not always line up and turmoil and unrest seem to be constant companions. For some, catching a break is often an elusive pipe dream.
Let’s walk a mile in their shoes together…As you close your eyes and imagine how you might feel, it’s easy to see why Night Strike, BTown Kids & First Door are so important in the communities they serve. They are each a little “Work of Love” that brings a BIG dose of hope to souls who are worn thin.
Community, services, care, listening ears, youthful hope & energy are our offerings, and what makes us different from many other services available. Not only are we meeting very real needs – we are connecting at an emotional, heartfelt level. Encouraging spirits, instilling a little faith in the world, and allowing love to be tangible and real.
As a BPM supporter, you’ve helped create these programs that are a catalyst for change in the lives of many in the margins. Whether the child with little or no support overcoming deficits, or the lonely person on the streets, or even the volunteers who bring the humanity to our programs, you encourage lives to be lived with more generosity, compassion and gratitude.
Your contributions keep BPM going strong – now and into the future, and we have some Great News! Thanks to a generous donor, every gift made to this Spring Appeal – up to $5,000, will be matched dollar for dollar! Will you respond, and help make this match a reality?
You can give a one-time ‘Spring Appeal’ contribution, or choose to setup an ongoing monthly gift. If you are not already a part of our sustaining donor base, we invite you to become part of this special community by setting up this recurring donation from your bank account or credit card.
We are grateful for all of you! You are the ones who allow us to Love People Because People Matter – come and serve with us soon!
She’s a passionate soul – a get-it-done, give-it-to-me, let-me-do-it sort of gal, with a gracious, natural, engaging way about her.
Of course, she fits right in at BPM.
Alexis has chosen to join us for one whole year, as a full time intern. She’s excited to bring her gifts to the table while she learns and grows from our culture – so naturally, we thought you would like to meet…
You will see Alexis working her sweet magic at Night Strike, she’ll be leading Transformation Trips, facilitating changed paradigms in students’ minds, and she will be serving our BTown Kids team. Lexi is especially excited to get her hands on our annual summer camp (and she’s only been here a few weeks!!)
If you see Alexis, SAY HI! You’ll be glad you did.
The Board of Directors is excited to introduce to you the second President/CEO of Because People Matter, Lesley Snider! We have the word welcome in quotes because Lesley isn’t new to BPM, as she and her husband Marshall, our first President/CEO, founded BPM (formerly Bridgetown Inc.) fifteen years ago. Lesley has been our organizational mainstay, ensuring operational excellence for all Bridgetown and BPM functions. She is uniquely prepared for and unquestionably passionate about her new role.
As most of you are aware, this past year has already been one of significant change and transition for BPM. Just over a year ago, the decision was made to merge the vision and operations of BPM with Hope Northwest. However, while the heartbeats of these two organizations is the same, it was determined that the function of BPM would continue to find its best expression as an independent non-profit. Because of the graciousness and extra efforts of Hope Northwest, BPM returned to independent status on December 15, 2017. On behalf of us all, we want to express our appreciation and continued support for the tremendous work of Hope Northwest.
Most of you also know that Marshall Snider has begun a new role with The CompleMentor and C4 Group as NW Regional Director. Developing leaders has been a driving value for Marshall and is a big part of his legacy while at Bridgetown/BPM. Staff, interns and visiting groups have all been influenced by his life and leadership. This new role is what Marshall was created for. To find out more about this new adventure click here. We’re profoundly grateful for the vision, passion and untiring efforts of Marshall in his service to Bridgetown/BPM. Our lives, and the lives of those impacted under the bridge and across our city will never be the same! Marshall will continue in an advisory capacity to both Lesley and the board, and you’ll more than likely still see him at a BPM event or two. Additionally, in Marshall’s role with the C4 Group, he has reached out to the new President/CEO with some innovative partnership opportunities to further BPM’s efforts.
As with all major transitions, there is both excitement and sobriety regarding the challenges that lie ahead. However, we’re confident that the exceptional qualities Lesley brings to the table will continue to uniquely position BPM as a compassionate care provider for the precious people of Portland, because each of them matter. Please be in prayer and be ready to roll up your sleeves and open your hearts as BPM embraces the future with renewed energy, focus and passion!
Dear First Door friends,
Hello and happy holidays! We can’t believe 2017 is already coming to a close. It has been a great school year so far at Homework Club; we have seen lots of improvement in students’ literacy and have made more memories than we can count. We are so proud of students that have shown up consistently to steadily working towards their academic goals.
As we count down the days to 2018, it’s natural to find ourselves in a time of reflection. In the world of education and schools, teachers are finally able to step back and thoughtfully analyze the work that has been done in order to inform future lessons. What reading levels were achieved? What concepts were understood? We measure growth, identify strengths and weaknesses, and set new goals. It can be both encouraging and disheartening, energizing and burdensome. It is a time of celebrations and resolutions.
Looking out the window I see the bare branches of the trees swaying in the wind and I am reminded of a science experiment we did last month—an exploration of leaves. In the experiment, we asked the question: why do leaves change color? If you know anything about botany, you know that chlorophyll is what gives leaves their green color during the growing season. In the Fall, the chlorophyll breaks down revealing the hidden colors. Underneath the green, a wide spectrum of colors is waiting to burst forth and let its vibrancy be seen. All that is needed for the colors to be seen is the right conditions. Not unlike humans. How often do we invest the time and energy to see what is hidden? How often do we miss what someone has to offer just because it’s not visible at first glance? How often are we graded on our achievements rather than for our character? One of the joys of Homework Club is getting to see some of these colors emerge strong, true, and untainted. It is a place full of the colors just waiting to be called out to make their mark on the world.
We look forward to January when we will dive back into reading, writing, and math, but even more so, we look forward to catching glimpses into the magnificent people these young students will become. What an honor it is to invest in students whose hearts are full of love, kindness, leadership, creativity, and so many other qualities that are just waiting to make themselves known.
As always, we are grateful for your support and continue to invite you to be a part of our community.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Because People Matter would like to formally congratulate two very special people on their graduation from Warner Pacific.
Ben came to us back when we were called BridgeTown, as an intern, then served on staff for several years. He dreamed of teaching and just a few short years ago, Ben left BPM to pursue that dream. He graduated with his Masters in Teaching with a 4.0! Pictured here with his sweet wife and soon to come, baby. This has been quite a year for Ben, and we congratulate him! Ben now teaches many of the children he served in our BTown Kids programs when he was part of our team! Well done, Ben!
And Linnette! Overcoming otherwise insurmountable odds, Linnette is graduating with her Batchelor of Social Work! Linnette came through BTown Kids when she was 11, and we have had the privilege of journeying this far with her. Celebrating her victories, and sharing her sorrows.
We are especially proud of Linnette, and wish her the absolute best future!! First generation college graduate, and recipient of a full ride scholarship to Warner, you have made us all proud! And your baby is beautiful too! Way to go, Linnette!
In my opinion, the best journies are those traveled with others. The company of friends help make the journey achievable and memorable, and for us, our staff and volunteers are the friends we sojourn with. This year, over 10,000 volunteers linked arms with over 20,000 vulnerable and marginalized, to make 2017 the amazing adventure we call “Because People Matter”! Thank you for playing a part in the story!
Here are few stats for you to enjoy:
BTown Kids saw between 250 and 300 kids, and between 30 and 60 volunteersevery Saturday during the summer, along with many of their parents and guardians, at 3 different sites in Portland neighborhoods. Local communities made a difference in their own spaces, loving on their neighbors, providing meals and friendship and fun! At the end of the summer, we were able to take 50 kids to camp to deepen and strengthen relationships!
First Door homework club helps kids with reading and writing stability, assisting local schools by offering tutoring to 20-30 elementary kids every school day. They are a year-round, every day presence in children’s lives.
Night Strike continues each Thursday to serve our neighbors who have found themselves in the ditch. An average of 150 volunteers (7,200+ annually) and between 300 and 400 (close to 17,000 annually) guests meet under the Burnside bridge to give and receive valuable, life giving services. This year, we have provided: