A Place of Self Discovery, Love, Trust and Hope for Young People Moving Through and Beyond Homelessness

Homelessness often results in scars of feeling like an outsider, without connection to the community. The p:ear organization in Portland, Oregon has created a safe physical space, and an invitation to an open, non-judgmental and affirming community for homeless and transitional youth, ages fifteen through twenty-five.

For two decades, p:ear has brought music, art, theater, dance, and literature in to the lives of 350+ youth each year. The arts offer avenues to break down barriers, allowing for relationships to be built naturally. Creative outlets give a sense of voice and community, reducing the alienation, isolation, and trauma that plague these youth.

The Olseth Family Foundation supports Tech Tuesday, a program in which homeless youth are taught valuable graphic design skill-building and learning. Over the course of eight weeks, the youth learn “job ready” skills such as: computer animation, photo editing, vector tracing, typography, color theory, digital art, print and graphic design, and digital art. Upon course completion, the course participants’ works are displayed during First Thursday p:ear Gallery openings. Pieces are also highlighted on the p:ear social media platforms, providing access to thousands of p:ear supporters. With the combination of Tech Tuesday courses, job training, recreation, and mentorship, each young person is provided with tools and a solid base from which their future goals can be explored, defined, and realized.