Summer Volunteering Begins at Avenues of Art

It’s the start of a new week, but we’re still buzzing from a whirlwind of volunteer efforts made by Levé members during the last seven days.

In the largest volunteer effort with our nonprofit partner this year, Levé members showed up last Thursday to help New Avenues for Youth during its annual Avenues of Art event. This year’s affair was held downtown at Directors Park and featured artwork created through the “Billions and Billions of People” project that began in 2011. Internationally acclaimed artists Chris Johanson and Jo Jackson, along with 30 homeless youth, contributed to the project that beautified the Park Avenue West tower construction site with street art. The murals — composed of colorful faces —graced downtown Portland for two years until construction resumed on the Park Avenue West tower.

Avenues of Art gave residents a chance to bid on the artwork and take home a piece of Portland history, and raised more than $30,000 that will help foster, at-risk and homeless youth. For Levé, the event unofficially kicked off our volunteer efforts with our 2015 nonprofit partner. We’re slated to lend a hand at other upcoming New Avenues for Youth events such as Brews for New Avenues on Sept. 12, which is expected to be another lighthearted and fun-filled event. We’ve also started cooking and serving meals at the organization’s day service center, which has allowed us to meet the homeless and at-risk youth New Avenues for Youth supports.

Levé members Lauren post and Lisa Hattery volunteer at Avenues of Art.
Levé members Lauren post and Lisa Hattery volunteer at Avenues of Art.

“Although many people focus on the financial support we provide, the volunteering aspect is such a crucial component of Levé’s nonprofit partnerships,” says Priscilla Barker, a Levé board member. She volunteered at Avenues of Art, and also spent Saturday afternoon in the kitchen of the day service center. “To fully understand the work our partners are doing in the community and the challenges they face, we have to experience it firsthand. It’s an eye-opening experience once you see the tangible impact of their programs.”

The volunteer opportunities also give our networks an opportunity to connect with Levé’s nonprofit partner. On Saturday, Barker’s husband cooked and served brunch alongside her; on Thursday, Levé members also brought four friends and family members to volunteer at Avenues of Art.

We believe lending a hand is the best way to understand the impact New Avenues for Youth is making in our community. If you’d like to join us at a volunteer event, please drop us a line at info@leve-nw.org.