We don’t “teach English” – we inspire, empower, motivate, and support people who are learning to navigate a culture. It turns out that’s the fastest way to develop fluency in a language.
Since January, 2009 we have built an impressive list of accomplishments with very few resources – much like the communities we serve. 2013 was the first year we collected and analyzed data throughout our community-based Language & Life Skills network, and those results are presented below:
Accomplishments (as of 2/3/18)
# of individual learners: ~4500
# of classes taught: 4300+
# of engagements (classroom visits): 30,000+
# of sites served with Voz Alta Language & Life Skills Programming: 40
# of graduates English for the Community Apprenticeship: 37
# of graduates Classroom Confidence Practicum: 27
# of CCP/EFTC graduates placed in China: 5
# of CCP/EFTC graduates placed in Spain: 3
# of CCP/EFTC graduates placed in Venezuela: 2
# of CCP/EFTC graduates placed in Costa Rica: 2
# of CCP/EFTC graduates placed in Thailand: 2
# of CCP/EFTC graduates placed in Italy: 1
# of CCP/EFTC graduates placed in Mexico: 1
# of CCP/EFTC graduates placed in Uganda: 1
# of CCP/EFTC graduates placed in Uruguay: 1
# of CCP/EFTC graduates placed in Colombia: 1
# of CCP/EFTC graduates placed in Vietnam: 1
# of CCP/EFTC graduates placed in Saudi Arabia: 1
# of CCP/EFTC graduates placed in Russia: 1
# of conference appearances: 16
In 2017, we logged some noteworthy milestones:
- We presented a Poster Session about the Deck of Professions at the TESOL 2017 Conference (Seattle, Wa)
- We published the Cultural Competency in Healthcare Booklet with Oregon Medical Board and the help of Cicely Rodgers and Comunicarte
- We went to the Bahamas to support Tanya Kelly’s Project Social, with the support of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Reverse exchange program. We hosted Tanya in 2016, and she returned the favor by hosting us as we traveled to Grand Bahama, Cat Island, and Eleuthera, working with Junior High and High School Students to inspire and motivate them to create business opportunities that support local economies. Tanya is the CEO of Global Conversations Development Centre.
- We completed our first summer camp for Japanese Students with ETC – 40 high school students came to Scappoose, and we rocked them with camp songs and dynamic activities, ending with a massive rendition of the Cup Song. Magical!
- We supported the Community Care Festival, generating hundreds of dollars of revenue for immigrant businesses in East Portland, and resources for hundreds of East Portlanders.
- We created our first Community Health Worker partnership with IRCO, serving the Burmese refugee community of East Portland
- We presented a half day workshop at LESLLA – Limited Education and Second Language Learners Association on our Resource Generating Community ESOL Model (Portland, OR)
- We supported Vianca Diaz and Pueblo Unido by helping them win a RACC grant for her Zine project to amplify the voices of undocumented folks. We will help administer the grant through 2018. It couldn’t come at a better time, as the current administration literally cut the DACA program around the same time as we submitted these grant proposals.
- We participated in the 3rd year of the Festival of Nations event with Division Midway Alliance, and had generated more income for the Taste of Nations tent, despite another year of rain. This year featured Cuba, Somali, Ethiopia, and Burma.
- We partnered with Portland4Everyone for our first community organizing project that connects with East Portlanders and non native English speakers to bring their voices around housing issues to the Portland City Council.
- We achieved a goal of working with Rigler elementary, a partner we’ve wanted to work with for a long time – and also had a fantastic collaborative class with the Latino Network Computer class, which ended in an amazing serenade for the Virgin of Guadalupe with our old friends Bajo Salario!
- We had several successful Excursion Learning Activities: Marc Czornij of Bureau of Environmental Services and other partners were able to provide a pathway for language learners to plant and count trees. We also explored Green Infrastructure in downtown Portland, and our most successful outing yet: 20 people exploring the Lents neighborhood, laughing, connecting, exploring, and practicing English.
- We worked with OSU Master Gardener program to gather data for their website about pests in the garden, demonstrating our ability to support organizations as they learn to communicate better with non native English speakers.
- Green Lents received a grant that names us as a partner, which will mark the first time we’ve had an organizational partner who will pay us to train community members to practice language and cultural skills in the Lents community. This will continue and amplify the work that’s already in process!
- And finally, we say goodbye to the Beloved Portland Mercado. After 2 and a half years, our business just can’t support paying for an office at this time. When we moved in, we didn’t know how we’d bring the money in, but somehow we did it – but it’s time to get focused on making our business sustainable. But we remain friends of the community, and it’s still our SE home base, especially with all of our work in Lents!
- We achieved our third year of $50,000 in revenue – and we’re hoping that we will be able to make a living by making change in 2018. And there’s plenty of change to be made.
In 2016, we had some incredible achievements:
- We received 2016 “Business of the Year” Spirit of Portland Award! Thanks to PDX Bureau of Environmental Services for nominating us.
- With the help of Metro, we completed our Curriculum Module Template – consisting of a “Folio” with a Word Cloud, a Scorecard, and a Reference Sheet, and a Facilitator’s Guide”. This is the foundation that our Real World Curriculum will be built upon! Thanks to Mikhail Zepeda for the graphic design work and Ivy Watson for writing the project. We were able to make amazing new partners from Green Lents to Nadaka Nature Park to Audubon. We took our learners out to the park and out to the bioswale. And we came up with 10 new modules: Busy Bees, Birds on the Wing, Oregon Territory, The Great Outdoors, Animals Adapt!, Tree Hugger, Recycle It!, Local Flora, Stormwater Management, Salmon Nation
- We partnered with Trash for Peace and took on the incredible Confluence AmeriCorps Ashley Lopez to help us blend TfP’s sustainability curriculum with P-P-T’s language curriculum to create a cross-cultural, cross generational language & culture curriculum for the whole family!
- Presented several sessions at the historic and controversial “Whiteness History Month” at Portland Community College
- Had a piece published in “What Does It Mean To Be White In America” and sat on a panel of contributors at the July, 2016 Race Talks
- Sheila, Zadok, and Ramin presented their first conference presentation at the Portland Literacy Conference! A big step up for our team!
- We had a total of 4 AmeriCorps members learn to practice their intercultural skills by facilitating classes with us: Marc Czornij (PDX BES, Confluence), Ivy Watson (Gresham, NW Youth Corps), Ashlyn Teather (Gresham, NW Youth Corps), Ashley Lopez (TfP/P-P-T Confluence)
- We promoted 2 new Owners’ Circle Members: Ramin Tokhi and Jacob Gerke!
- We hosted Tanya Kelly from the Global Conversations Development Centre, a language school in The Bahamas. She was with us for 3 week as part of the Young Leaders of the Americas and Caribbean (YLAI)
- These folks used skills or connections they developed with us to travel or work outside the US: Ethan Jacot, Graziella Ioele, Krysie Bright, Janet Gallagher, Santiago Fadahafet, Owen Wise-Pierik, Brooke Stady, Zadok Taylor, Monica Quintero-DeVlaeminck, Megan Corning, Luke Young, Tiffani Nuttnauer
- We had the most successful year of classes yet, with increasing our total visits by more than 2,000
- Had just about the same amount of revenue this year as last year, indicating possible viability.
- Started receiving private clients from the State of Oregon and other sources – 9 in all!
- We had the 2nd year of the Festival of Nations. Though we were rained on pretty badly, we were happy to receive $2,000 from the Center for Geographic Education in Oregon and the use of their Giant World Map. Also incredibly proud that Sheila Gibbons was able to take over the leadership of the Taste of Nations tent
In 2015, we achieved some major successes.
- We released the Deck of Professions, a visual tool for localized language & culture learning
- We opened our first office at the amazing Portland Mercado, an incredible dream come true
- We completed a profound and transformative series of race dialogues at Portland Parks & Recreation with Donna Maxey the founder of Race Talks
- We worked with Division Midway Alliance and East Portland Action Plan to create a Taste of Nations Food Tent at the Festival of Nations, a spectacular success that provided hundreds of dollars to newcomers who delighted us with their traditional dishes
- We conceived and built a successful Holiday Bazar & pop-up Tienda Navidena at the Portland Mercado, as part of the Portland Posada in partnership with HispanicPros – a profound honor
- Our revenue miraculously increased 600% over prior years – and we lived up to our Equity philosophy: “We Pay You First” – over $25,000 of the revenue we took in was paid out to immigrants, refugees, and people of color for contracted work
- People-Places-Things’ Founder and Program Director, Patrik McDade, for the first time, drew a small stipend
As of Summer 2014 – just over three years in action – we have placed two teachers in Venezuela, and four in China! We’ve also made a placement in Japan, and one of our graduates is building P-P-T International in Cancun, Yucatan. Our graduates & colleagues are making a positive impact on the communities in which they’re placed. They have solid classroom skills and it’s obvious.
Nearly every graduate of our program has gotten paid work teaching English, and the ones that haven’t have chosen another route.
In 2013, we completed our first workplace language & culture skills program with Crowne Plaza Hotels, focusing on customer service skills for the Housekeeping staff. It was a fantastic success, and we plan to build stronger bridges with Crowne Plaza, eventually creating a flexible curriculum for the hospitality industry.
In 2010 and 2011, we had our first paid Language & Life skills site at Gresham High School. In 2012, we picked up David Douglas High School, East Gresham, Hall, and Wilkes Elementary. In 2013, we added Menlo/Mill Park, Lynch Wood, Lynch Meadows, and Lynch View. We have more paying jobs than we have trained teachers. And more work is on the way…