Each year the Dragonfly Transitions’ young adults head to Portland, Oregon for a week before the holiday break. These year end activities focus on community service in the Portland area and mix in fun activities for students to enjoy. With so much going on for our young adults during this time of year we brought a therapist on the trip and made a point to continue therapeutic work on the trip to provide continued care.
The community was split into 4 separate houses each with their own itineraries, which included service work. We served 3 specific programs. First The Community Warehouse, a community furniture bank that serves Portland and its surrounding areas. Second, The Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), a community center that teaches and provides outreach and support to the Native American population in Portland. They provide diapers, have a food pantry, provide clothes, and teach cultural and historical information to the youth and families of the area with the help of tribal elders. And third, The Porch-light Streetlight Shelter with the Janus Youth Programs (JYP) which provides many different forms of care and support to youth in the city of Portland. They have Streetlight and Porchlight shelters that provide a safe place for young adults (18-24) in crisis who need safe beds to get on their feet, who would otherwise be sleeping on the street. They have Harry’s Mother that provides safe places to sleep for adolescents, Insights that teaches teen parenting skills, and Village Gardens that helps fight hunger in Portland.
Each house served at these three community programs for 3 days of the trip, allotting 1 down day to enjoy themselves around the city of Portland and to rest from all the hard work.
Monday, December 15th, all Dragonfly students and staff volunteered with Janus Youth Programs at one of their homeless shelters. Everyone broke into small groups to complete tasks to spruce up the shelter. Some students and staff worked together to give rooms and hallways a new coat of paint, while others sorted and organized clothing in the Janus Youth Program’s clothing closet. Dragonfly also donated two large boxes of clothing to the program. Many students reflected how it was eye-opening to volunteer at the shelter and know that the young people near their age who stay there each night would be out on the street if it weren’t for the Janus Youth Program’s worthy cause.
After the volunteer work was completed for the day, the groups split up and made their way to the Portland Goodwill Outlet to shop for bargains, or to Glowing Greens 3-D Mini-Golf. Later in the evening, two groups met up at Grand Central Bowling to indulge in appetizers and show off their bowling skills, while others headed to Sky High Sports trampoline center to bounce together, play trampoline dodgeball, and jump or rope swing into giant foam pits.
On Tuesday, December 16th, the morning started off with one group volunteering at the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA). This organization represents over 300 Native American tribes in the Portland area; including members of the Klamath and Modoc tribes of Klamath County where Dragonfly is located. Students and mentors helped out with gardening, set up for a clothing drive, worked in the food pantry and picked up trash outside of the center. Afterwards the group visited a Portland original, Voodoo Doughnuts, one student commented, “I think I have contracted diabetes, “ from the sugary deliciousness of the doughnuts.
Another group had a day of rest, which began with pedicures or manicures for all of the ladies at Healthy Nails and Spa. Then they went back to their house to get ready, before heading into downtown Portland for an exciting shopping experience at Pioneer Square Mall and dinner at Yama Sushi.
The last group volunteered with the Janus Youth Program again, continuing with more painting projects at the shelter. Once finished, the group headed to “The Modern Man” for traditional straight-razor shaves. Once finished, they indulged in some of Portland’s most delicious and unique ice cream flavors at Salt ‘n’ Straw, then browsed one of Portland’s most popular places, Powell’s Books. Taking up an entire city block, Powell’s is 4 stories high and features a rare book room, as well as an amazing gift shop and coffee shop where visitors can read and browse their book choices.
Later in the evening, all of the students and mentors met up at Portland Center Stage to take in a holiday theatre experience called “Twist Your Dickens.” Many students dressed up for the occasion. The play was hysterical, with improv and comedy weaved into Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” The performance was enjoyed by all!
On Wednesday, December 17th a large group began their day volunteering again with the Janus Youth Program. The group split into smaller groups to complete various projects, including more painting, touch-ups, and working in the food pantry to organize their stock. Some students had the pleasure of sitting down with the director of the shelter, Ryan, and talk with him about the population the shelter serves. This helped them to get a better idea of who they were helping. Afterwards, they headed to downtown Portland for lunch at the famous food cart pods. There are over 700 food trucks in Portland! The cuisines range from grilled cheese to Thai and everything in between. It was awesome to see what all of the students and mentors chose to eat!
Before lunch, a separate group completed a scavenger hunt inside of Powell’s books, with the opportunity for the winner to receive a gift card to purchase a new book! After lunch students continued their day by volunteering with the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA)
On Thursday, December 18th more service commenced with a day of service at the Community Warehouse. A local preschool came to the warehouse to donate pillows and blankets they had collected, the children were so cute and caring! The students helped match up silverware, fold blankets and sheets, clean up the parking lots, weed and beautify the plant beds and deep clean the staff offices. The staff and volunteers at Community Warehouse were so grateful for the additional help and support. Later in the day a group went to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) to enjoy exhibits about the human body, rocks and gems, chemistry, renewable energy, robots and so much more.while others took an exciting hike to Multnomah Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Oregon. After the long hike, they headed to Old Town Pizza, which was reported to be haunted. Although the students didn’t see any ghosts, they enjoyed delicious pizza, then played laser tag at the Ultra Zone while others went to see The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies on the big screen.
On Friday, December 19th, After an exciting, productive and fun-filled trip, it was time for students to head home for the holiday break or return to Dragonfly. Mentors provided shuttles to the Portland airport starting at 3:30am, continuing until 2pm. After all students had departed, it was time to start the journey home. Mentors and students returned to Klamath Falls in the late evening, exhausted but grateful for such a wonderful experience exploring and serving in the city of Portland.
When students finally returned to Oregon from their holiday visits they were almost immediately off on another small adventure. This time to Bend Oregon to celebrate the New Year together before returning to the normal schedule at Dragonfly.
The trip started off with a 3 hour drive from Klamath Falls into Sun River, where everyone got checked into their houses. Mentors and students then headed to Bend in order to slightly overwhelm a ski rental shop! After rentals, everyone traveled back to their houses and settled in over dinner and movies.
The next morning, with a temperature of 15 degrees, several inches of fresh powder, and a snow covered mountainous playground in our midst the Dragonfly ski trip at Mt. Batchelor began! Students were motivated to get out on the mountain early, many taking lessons and others going straight to the lift. After the first day of skiing a student shared, “It was nice to be able to go and ski on my own, This trip has allowed me to get to know my fellow Dragonfly students with whom I usually do not get to spend time with”. With Dragonfly’s expansion into Ashland and several senior students moving during the holiday season, there were numerous new faces around campus. This trip became not only a lot of fun, but also a community builder.
On New Years, all the students gathered under one roof for some pizza and games then watched the Times Square New Years party on TV.
10/29 Family Workshop (virtual)
11/11 Parent Cohort Virtual