Founded in 2002, p:ear is a nonprofit organization in Downtown Portland that offers mentorship to homeless and transitional youth 15-25 years old. p:ear youth are often facing debilitating situations like familial abuse, incarceration, sexual minority issues, substance abuse, violence, and absent or rotating caregivers. Without intervention, these young people can enter adulthood feeling victimized, isolated, and distrustful, lacking the skills or confidence to pursue meaningful ways to gainful employment. Through academic counseling and instruction, job training, arts, and recreation that help youth recognize and build upon their capabilities, p:ear aims to end homelessness in the future generation.
p:ear’s Arts Program involves youth in fields ranging from fine arts to breakdancing and graphic design. Workshops, along with cultural events and one-to-one instruction, allow youth to deepen their emotional, motor, and cognitive skills. Among various classes, p:ear offers Tech Tuesday, a free graphic design class for youth seeking a career in graphic design. Young designers can also benefit from p:ear Prints, an informal job training program through which students may be hired to design and fabricate custom silkscreen t-shirts and posters.
In p:ear’s on-site art gallery, youth work with local professional artists, learning skills including acrylic painting and silkscreen printmaking. The p:ear gallery hosts monthly showings for Portland’s Art Walk, during which artwork by youth and guest artists are shown together. This fall, the p:ear gallery kicks off the season with a new p:ear youth artists show on Thursday, October 3rd from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.
p:ear has found that the biggest factor leading to youth homelessness is lack of connection to a supportive community in which to acquire skills and gain confidence. Correspondingly, p:ear’s mentor-based programs help youth find role models, affirm personal worth, develop supportive relationships, and ultimately empower themselves to see beyond homelessness and arrive at a meaningful, healthy adulthood.
For more information, contact p:ear at (503) 228-6677 or firstname.lastname@example.org.