June 12, 2009

Addicts in the classroom (it’s a good thing)

Category: Community — admin @ 1:00 am

Portland Police

Portland Police

Bringing drug addicts into local classrooms.  It’s a good thing (apologies to Martha Stewart).

Really, though, it is.  Some local cops got together and decided to ask local addicts for help.  They took video cameras to the streets and interviewed users about what drugs do to your life.  It’s gritty, it’s real (and yes it’s appropriate for 8th graders).

The tapes then go to local classes with a school resource officer.  Kids get a chance to see, right from the source, what trying meth or pot can do to your life.  Then, they have a frank discussion about drugs and ask questions.

Cops like Ofc. Steve Morinville who works in the David Douglas District say the program’s getting great feedback across the board (from kids, parents and faculty).

The brueau agrees.  The team behind the program were recognized at an awards ceremony for their efforts.

June 10, 2009

Battling the bulge

Category: Health — admin @ 1:00 am

Annie Bennett a few years ago

Annie Bennett a few years ago

This is Annie Bennet.  Well, it was.  For years she struggled with her waist line and her weight.  Like most of us, she believed the secret to losing pounds was simply eating less.  Makes sense, right?  But the truth is, if you only eat three ounces of potato chips (and ONLY those chips) your body is not going to be healthy.  But you can eat platefuls of grilled chicken and veggies and be in perfect health.

After years of yo-yo dieting, she figured that out.  With a passion for cooking behind her, she hit the kitchen and devised countless recipes, incorporating those good-for-you foods.

She lost seven pounds in the first week.

More than 20 pounds the first month.

Annie Bennett today

Annie Bennett today

Now, this is Annie Bennett.  (You may recognize her from the cover of this month’s issue of Good Housekeeping).  Bennett created MyFreedomFit.com after shedding 75 pounds and keeping it off for a full four and a half years.  It’s a site devoted to living a healthy lifestyle where she shares all of those delicious recipes she created to shed pounds herself.  Plus, they offer one-on-one advice and counseling, personalized to your own goals.

And here is the coolest part.  Bennett is offering the first month at only $1.00.  Now, if you try the first thirty days and are getting fantastic results from their personalized counseling staff, you are welcome to stay.  But, if you just wanted to snag some jump start advice, there is no comittment (you can download all of her recipes and ideas for only a buck).

Check out the site today, we promise you won’t be dissapointed.

June 8, 2009

Call it a ballet all-star game

Category: Arts, Fundraiser — admin @ 1:00 am

OBT tracks their quest to $750K

OBT tracks their quest to $750K

There is this old scene that played out in a lot of classic films starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.  A community center or a farm or a business of some kind is about to close and the kids all get together and put on a show, using the profits to save the day.

Judy and Mickey have NOTHING on Christopher Stowell.

Stowell is the Artistic Director for Oregon Ballet Theatre.  Despite record-setting attendance and a product unparalleled in the companies’ history, the company is at risk of closing its doors.  Donations are way down, to the tune of $750,000.  If they don’t raise that much by June, bye bye ballet.

So Stowell cracks open his address book and starts dialing some of his friends.  Little known ballet names like Joffrey Ballet … New York City Ballet … San Francisco Ballet …  Bodyvox … (and yes, there was sarcasm in that last line … these are some of the biggest names in modern dance).

When all of these companies heard about OBT’s issue, they quickly signed up to help, sending their dancers to a Portland stage for a special one night performance.

And this all adds up to Dance United, a special one night benefit for OBT.  Stowell tells GNPDX the response is a testament to OBT’s reputation across the country and they are incredibly optimistic by the response.

He also adds that this kind of response is unprecedented.  Never before has such a wide array of talent come together to aid one of their own. 

Tickets are going fast so click here to buy yours.  Oh, and if you can’t make the show, click on the link anyway to make a donation to OBT.

June 5, 2009

A gift of green equals green jobs

Category: Charity, Community — admin @ 1:00 am

The Irvington program will train people in solar and weatherization techIt’s the classic “teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime” story.  At the Irvington Covenant CDC, they offer job training for people who need a little boost turning things around (people with low income, those with one run-in with the law).  Patricia Daniels with the group says they’ve seen a dramatic decrease in trade-training as more high schools focus on prepping kids for college, so they’re filling the need.

They offer a pre-apprentice program, but they also know that green industries are gaining ground.  Daniels tells GNPDX they wanted to offer training in the new, growing industry, but needed some help with funding.

Enter the United Way.  The local charity passed on a major grant (exact amount was not available but we know it’s in the 5-6 figure range) which will cover the new classes.

Daniels says it’s a major blessing.  Not only will these classes help get people back to work, but it will put them in jobs that pay well and can provide a way out from barely making ends meet.

June 4, 2009

A ray of light in the employment world

Category: Jobs — admin @ 8:50 am

Jobless claims and the number of people claiming unemployment is DOWN this week for the first time in 5 months.  The dip is small, but it’s nice to have finally broken five months of increase, right?

June 3, 2009

Offering Vets a helping hand TODAY

Category: Jobs — admin @ 1:03 am

Central City Concern is one of the groups behind the event

Central City Concern is one of the groups behind the event

Here’s a question: who has a higher unemployment rate … civilians or veterans? 

Would it surprise you if I said that the Veteran unemployment rate is about 2% HIGHER than non-vets?  (Well it shocked the heck out of our staff).  The reasons are varied, including the slumping economy …. but we here at GNPDX are less interested in the “why” and more interested in the “how” … as in “how do we get these brave men and women back to work?”

Some local groups are hoping to offer at least a small piece of a solution to the problem.  They’re hosting a Stand Down and Job Fair (taken from the traditional meaning of the term “to stand down’ or “to rest and recoup during times of war”).

The event that happens TODAY at the Ambridge Event Center by the Lloyd District promises about 25 potential employers, job search counselors and advice plus other resources for things like housing.

For specifics click here.

June 2, 2009

Oregon leading the way out of recession?

Category: Jobs — admin @ 7:21 pm

Cool story just popped up on Oregonlive …. One of the most reputable economic pundits out there pegs Oregon as one of the states to lead us out of recession by the end of this year (could start to see job growth in just a few months).


Hope they’re right!

June 1, 2009

Paying it forward

Category: Charity, Community, Recovery — admin @ 1:00 am

mission_logoAt age 14, Brook Davis tried her first sip of booze.  The attraction was immediate and eventually led to a relationship with drugs.  Her addiction’s kept her from going to High School, let alone getting a degree.

By age 21, Brook had sobered up from drugs and alcohol, but she transferred her focus to other addictions with which she would wrestle for 20 years.  

“I was really broken inside” explains Davis in an exclusive interview with GNPDX.  At the encouragement of loved ones, she visited the Portland Rescue Mission and immediately found a safe place to heal.

After two years of hard work, Davis finally considered herself recovered and managed to restart her education.  Now working on a double major in Social Work and education, Davis is offering her story as support for others in need.

What started as an occasional volunteer gig has turned into a regular job for Davis.  She’s now on staff at the Mission, helping moms and children transition out of tough situations and regularly turns to her own struggles as an example.  It’s a position she relishes, saying that her faith helped get her through her darkest points … the least she can do is offer the same gift to others.

For more info on the Rescue Mission click here.