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PSU Student’s Reflections on p:ear

Pear - Creatively Mentoring Homeless Youth

This past summer, Sarah Dougher’s PSU Capstone class volunteered at p:ear to learn about the issues around food and homelessness, and held a fundraiser that brought in nearly $2,6oo for the p:ear kitchen. Here’s one student’s reflection on her experience at p:ear:

Sometimes we experience something which deeply connects us to our community, pulls at our core, moves us to change the way we pursue life; if even in a subtle way.

Over the summer I enrolled in a senior capstone class at Portland State University which brought me closer to the issues of food insecurity and homelessness than I ever thought possible. Through that class, the other students and I worked closely with Pippa, Joy, Beth, and other volunteers to cook food for the kids at p:ear. Additionally, we organized a fundraiser that was, in our humble opinions, a monumental undertaking.

As the class progressed and my knowledge of social issues grew, I found myself profoundly moved by what the folks at p:ear provide with small donations. Not only do they feed people with donations alone, they serve good, nutritious, tasty, soul-satisfying meals. The staff and volunteers work extremely hard to acquire this food and create a safe space. Observing their hard work cemented my resolve for organizing an event to assist their cause. I knew we were more than capable of organizing an event, and I felt personally compelled to volunteer my time and energy to do so.

Throughout the planning of the fundraiser, I became increasingly aware of p:ear’s mission, and as the date of the fundraiser drew near I further realized the impact that their organization has on the community it serves. Without p:ear, there would be more young adults struggling to carve a niche in the world for themselves—alone. I firmly believe that the success of our fundraiser was a direct result of the connection we felt as a class to p:ear’s work.

My time with p:ear was an experience that shifted the way I will pursue my life, and I look forward to continuing to build a connection with all the folks at 338 NW 6th Avenue.