Programs and Services Overview

p:ear provides 5 main areas of service: safe space, education, art, recreation, transition and food. These programs and services are provided by the five staff, and 120 volunteers.

Safe Space

Safe Space means having all of the things that create stability in one’s life, from having stable mentors, to having milk in the fridge and food in your belly. Last year alone, homeless youth spent over 22,900 hours inside p:ear’s doors, with a daily average of 54 youth sharing over 13,650 meals together. p:ear youth receive a broad range of support and guidance from staff to meet their needs from bus tickets, and haircuts, to community networking opportunities, referral services for clothing, job training, counseling and mental and physical healthcare.


p:ear instills a curiosity that creates life-long learners. While p:ear’s education program supports youth pursuing their GED through individualized support, academic counseling and instruction, we also offer youth experiential learning of the core competencies through project learning. We explore a living literacy, decide our physical, biological and ecological place in the world, discern how we relate to other people or how we measure and quantify everything from a star to a recipe for apple pie. p:ear also helps seek financial aid and scholarships for those wishing to continue their educational journey.


Art and music can leave words behind and communicate directly to, and with, the heart. Art builds bridges between people, ideas, and cultures. p:ear’s Arts and Culture program brings music, art, theater and movement into the lives of youth creating opportunites for them to develop emotional, motor and cognitive skills through workshops, cultural events, and one on one instruction. We believe that the enriching qualities of the arts are powerful and important and that all of us deserve beauty and depth in our lives. p:ear also works with youth who seek a career in the arts by helping to create a portfolio and pursing higher education in the arts.

Serving as an open house where community members and p:ear youth engage in dialogue and appreciation of the art, the Trim/Vojdani Gallery at p:ear opens First Thursdays and is a celebration of the artisic achievment of p:ear youth in combination with at least one professional artist. It serves as Youth keep 90% of the sales of their art – often making a differece in their ability to survive.

The Going Places program opens doors to attending performances, exhibits and cultural events that would otherwise be socially or financially prohibitive and that enlarge the positive social engagements and world-view for youth.


Music is a language that strengthens all forms of communication, and is a vital part of how p:ear staff and mentors connect with youth. Fostering relationships through a love for music, “p:ear jam” creates opportunities for youth and Portland musicians to interact through a shared musical dialog that enhances musical skill through collaborative jam sessions, recording / song writing, and one-on-one instruction.



Homeless youth rarely have the opportunity to travel beyond their urban context. Their bodies are unhealthy, their minds are stressed and their hearts are searching for connection to trustworthy people, beauty and peace. p:ear’s wilderness recreation program has a direct impact on all three of these issues – providing a safe place for the opportunities that empowers youth to learn, grow and heal in mind, body and spirit. Through the core activities of cycling, hiking, cross-country skiing and whitewater rafting trips, youth build the skill sets to connect with and care for the environment and build a community beyond their lives on the streets. Our trips have proven to be one of the most effective ways to promote trusting positive relationships, build self-confidence and a sense of responsibility and instill stronger critical thinking and decision making skills while encouraging a reverence for the environment and a desire for a healthier life.

p:ear barista school

Portland has a strong coffee culture and what better way for youth to participate than to become a barista! In partnership with Nossa Familia Coffee, the program offers an in-depth, on-site, eight week training exploring all aspects of becoming a barista in today’s competitive market – from understanding bean sourcing, to milk textures, to customer service and basic money management. The program helps to build their confidence and their resumes, and provides consistent, on-going mentorship while youth engage in the activities associated with learning the beautiful art and science of preparing and serving exceptional coffee.

Kitchen and Food

p:ear’s kitchen and food program offers two fresh, nutritious meals a day for youth and helps them let go of at least one worry, “What am I going to eat today?” p:ear strives to offer local, organic options along with healthy conversations on the importance of these practices. p:ear’s food program is the hub for community meals that provide homeless young people with the opportunity to create and share food with other students, staff and volunteers and instills a sense of belonging while providing an experience for them to know they are cared for, appreciated, and worthy of being nurtured.



Bike Mechanic School

Partnering with Sellwood Cycle Repair, this ten week program provides youth the opportunity to learn the basics of bike mechanics, perform complete bike builds and the in and outs of each bike system from building and truing wheels to overhauling a bottom bracket to proper installation of shifter and break cables and housing. The BMS program will provide the skills necessary for entry-level positions in a professional bicycle shop setting. Youth participants will build confidence, critical thinking and life skills.