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1st Annual Winter Relief Outreach Event

It’s our 1st Annual Winter Relief Outreach Event!

We’re having a donation drive and would greatly appreciate your help!
October 1st – December 16th, 2016

Hundreds of individuals find themselves without shelter and forced to live on the streets and face the harsh winter conditions of the Pacific Northwest. Our goal is to help prepare as many individuals as we can with warm, waterproof, winter essentials.

*Financial donations for this drive are also encouraged.

MOST NEEDED ITEMS:

  • Waterproof backpacks
  • Waterproof boots (mens and womens)
  • Wool Socks, Hats, Gloves and Scarves

TOILETRY/MISC ITEMS NEEDED:

  • Baby wipes
  • Lip balm
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Tampons/pads
  • Brushes/Combs
  • Razors
  • Toilet paper
  • First aid kits
  • Lighters
  • Candles
  • Travel Coffee Mugs

FOOD ITEMS NEEDED:

  • Beef jerky
  • Crackers/Cheese packets
  • Trail mix
  • Pudding cups
  • Mints

Would you please help spread the word?

Link to event flyer: 1st Annual Winter Relief Outreach Event

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Congratulations Graduates!

Congratulations Graduates! You did it!
You’ve finished an amazing part of your journey in life
and you should be proud of yourself!

So what’s next?

Whether you’ve graduated from High School or College, now is the time to decide which path to take next. Perhaps you’ve already decided and are well on your way. If not, you have some things to think about and decisions to make. If you ever need someone to chat with about school, career or life, please email me! I’d love to hear what you’re thinking of or debating about. Sometimes it helps to talk things through and you might discover a path that you hadn’t considered before.

I Remember…

Just a few months after I gave birth to my daughter, I was getting restless as a stay-at-home mom. Some moms can do it, and I totally respect it! But I just couldn’t kick the itch to get out of the house and do something… but what? My daughter’s father (who later became my husband) suggested beauty school. “HA!” I thought. What an odd idea since the only makeup I even owned at the time was eyeliner, mascara and chapstick. I had typically worn my hair down natural or just threw it up in a messy bun. What would they think of me if I walked into beauty school to apply for admission? Whelp. Who cares what others think, right? I applied and started classes in September 2008, and graduated almost two years later from Beau Monde’s full-course Cosmetology program. I was already working evenings as a server, but the obvious thing to do after graduating Cosmetology school is to get my Hair License and begin working in a salon. So that’s what I did.

Not What I Was Expecting

Working two part-time jobs at minimum wage got old quickly. Working seven days a week, as a single mom, sacrificing time with my daughter so I could work to pay bills, was not only exhausting physically, but emotionally and spiritually. (Oh how I missed those rent-free days at my mom’s house) I suppose I may have been more motivated to quit my server job and push building my clientele at the salon if I had been more passionate about cutting and coloring hair everyday, but I became bored quickly and felt limited creatively. So although it took me almost 2 years of Cosmetology school, $20,000 of student loan debt, and about 4 months of salon working to discover this wasn’t the career path I wanted to take, I was optimistic that I would find the right career path for me. I started praying that God would help me to find a full-time day job with a set schedule and medical/dental benefits, and amazingly, I was offered a job as an administrative assistant at a manufacturing company.

What do I want to be when I grow up?

Knowing I didn’t want to work in admin forever, I looked into going back to school for my Bachelor’s in Business Administration. I figured it would be the best foundation in order to pursue a career in management down the road. I had finally answered the question I had been asked so many times throughout my life, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer is simple: “I want to be the boss.”

Now, I don’t want to be “the boss” just to be “in control”. I want to hold a position of management because I believe I would be an awesome leader! I love motivating people, encouraging people and teaching people. I really enjoyed taking the Business Management courses of my Bachelor’s program and look forward to the day when I have a department to manage and a staff to motivate. So what else can I do to set myself apart and give myself a better chance to attain the position of my dreams? I searched through job postings on Craigslist and Indeed to research what was required of potential applicants of CFO and Controller positions. The most common requirement was a CPA license with MBA preferred. Hmm… That would take two years of Graduate School and about a year of studying and test-taking to get my CPA license. With the Portland, OR average at $150,000 annually and a potential annual salary nearing a quarter-million dollars, I decided the investment was worth it.

So What’s Next?

Graduate School! I’ve completed everything required for my application into WSU’s MBA program, except for taking the GMAT exam. So in less than two weeks I will be sitting in front of a computer, all kinds of nervous but hopefully fully prepared, to take my GMAT exam. If all goes well, Fall quarter begins August 22nd and that is my start date goal. So if you think about me around 8:00 AM on the morning of June 25th, I’ll accept prayers, good vibes and happy thoughts! ha ha… I’ll let you know how it goes either way.

All That To Say…

I share a piece of my history and my experiences in hopes to encourage you in your life pursuits. There are so many decisions to make in life and it can get extremely overwhelming, especially if you’re like me and you add the pressure of thinking you absolutely have to make the “right choice”. But how do you know if you’re making the right choice? Honestly, you don’t always know. And honestly, if you make the wrong choice, life will not end. You simply redirect and keep going. You’ve heard that corny phrase, “Life is what you make it?” Well, I totally agree with it. You’re in control of the decisions you make and the attitude you hold throughout all the right and wrong choices. Choose to stay optimistic, be encouraged and get your head in the clouds! Yes, get your Hopes Up and Dream Big! There are so many opportunities and potential paths to take, why not get excited about where your potential lies? What are your passions and interests? What skills and abilities do you possess? In what areas do you want to grow and learn more? I would encourage you to write out your goals, if you haven’t already. Where do you want to see yourself in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and 20 years? Now, what is it going to take to get you there? I’d love to hear what you’ve come up with, if you’re willing to share! You can email me at info@jeffreysdream.org to share, or ask questions.

Happy dreaming!

Michaela Byers, Founder/Executive Director
Jeffrey’s Dream

 

WPC Graduation, May 17th, 2016
Bachelor’s of Business Administration, Second Major: Accounting
Graduated Honors: Magna Cum Laude

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The Graduate!

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My rock, my biggest support, my husband <3

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Baby girl is just happy mommy doesn’t have to leave for class anymore, ha ha

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Accounting Professor Shelly & Myself

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Flowers from my mom and husband

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Vote for your favorite!

Inquiring minds want to know…

What’s your favorite local coffee roaster?

As coffee shop planning has begun, we want to know what brand of coffee you want to enjoy at Jeffrey’s Coffee Shop.

We love & support our local community, including our local coffee roasters! So how awesome would it be to stop into Jeffrey’s Coffee Shop to support the job training program of at-risk youth & homeless/unstably housed individuals and enjoy a cup of your favorite local coffee roasters coffee!

Vote here:

What's your favorite local coffee roaster?
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2016 Goals & Expectations

Happy New Year!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe it’s 2016 already. Last year just flew by, along with the years before it. I must admit, however, that I am most excited for 2016 and would love to share with you our goals and expectations for this year.

2016 Goals & Expectations #1 – Tax Exemption Status

2016 Goals & Expectations 1 (2)

January 2015 we held our first Jeffrey’s Dream board meeting and mailed off our completed Form 1023, application for tax exemption under 501(c)3, to the IRS. To our surprise, we heard back from the Determination Specialist assigned to our application in just 5 months. It was May 2015 when she told us that we would be receiving a letter requesting more information, in order to help her make a decision about approving our application. We never received that letter. So after many phone calls and voicemail messages over many months, I finally heard back from the IRS. A new Determination Specialist was assigned to our application. The original Determination Specialist had been reassigned to auditing. It was just a few days ago that I was able to speak with our new Determination Specialist and he told me we would receive an update on the status of our application in only a couple weeks.

We’ve waited as patiently as we could through the past year and I feel confident that we will be receiving our approval letter soon, confirming our tax exemption status, and making us a 501(c)3 organization.

2016 Goals & Expectations #2 – Jeffrey’s Coffee Shop

2016 Goals & Expectations 1 & 2

 The main activity of Jeffrey’s Dream will be Jeffrey’s Coffee Shop, which will host The Dream Program. The Dream Program is our job-training program. It is a paid, apprenticeship-type opportunity for at-risk youth and homeless/unstably-housed individuals. We will be partnering with other local nonprofit organizations which run transitional housing facilities and case management for their residents. The Dream Program will be unique and individualized to each participant, in order to compliment the case management they will already be receiving. Jeffrey’s Dream’s dedicated volunteer mentors will also help each participant create a life plan, encouraging them to get their hopes up and dream big, then help guide them to plan how they will achieve those goals.

The Dream Program will be a stepping stone for individuals to gain self-sufficiency, and the knowledge and skills to be successful in whatever path they choose to pursue.  If we can be that one chance that someone needed to get back on their feet, that means the world to us!

2016 Goals & Expectations #3 – Communication

2016 Goals & Expectations 1 2 & 3

My goal as the Founder and Executive Director of Jeffrey’s Dream is to increase communications between Jeffrey’s Dream organization and YOU!

I’m so passionate about what we’ve done, what we’re doing and everything we are going to do, I want you to be excited about Jeffrey’s Dream too! So moving forward, you can expect to see monthly eNewsletters and blog posts, as well as regular posts on our social media sites. If you have not yet signed up for our eNewsletter, I encourage you to do so! I would also like to encourage you to offer feedback or ask questions at any time you desire. You can contact me at info@jeffreysdream.org and I will email you back quickly.

Thank you so much for taking time to read our first blog post of the new year! Feel free to share with friends, family and colleagues 🙂

Michaela Byers, Founder/Executive Director
Jeffrey’s Dream

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Tent City – Part 1

Saturday, 10/17/2015

We got together early Saturday evening to prepare sandwiches for our first community outreach that night. Tatiana spread on the peanut butter halves, as I spread on the jelly, and Jenifer placed the sandwiches into plastic baggies. We put Ronald and Doug to work placing the sandwiches into individual brown paper lunch bags with bags of chips. We made as many sandwiches as four loaves of bread would prepare. I was wondering if we had made too many, I didn’t want anything to go to waste, but I was assured by Doug that they would all be taken, no problem. We loaded them into the car, along with three cases of water bottles, and we headed out to ‘tent city’ in downtown Vancouver, WA.

As we pulled up where Lincoln Avenue meets West 13th Street, I knew instantly we had not prepared enough. We parked the cars, gathered the boxes of sandwich bags and cases of water bottles and began walking the block around where the men’s Share house stands. There were tents set up lining both sides of the block as far as we could see in both directions. So we just decided to start walking down Lincoln Ave and make our way around the block. As we began walking it hit hard and quick the reality that we faced. Men and women cuddled in tents, all their personal possessions in there with them. Garbage lined the streets also, filling the corners of the streets and gutters. In this dark place, the brightest light came from the faces that lit up as we walked around announcing, “Sandwiches and water bottles. Would anyone like a sandwich and water bottle?” People started coming out of the tents eager to receive what had. With every “Thank You” and “God Bless” it warmed my heart more and more. We hadn’t made it half way down the first side of the street when a lady yelled towards me, “Can I have two?!” I turned around to see a lady walking towards me quickly, repeating, “Can I have two?” I gave her two sandwich bags and she told me there are people around front of the street too. She was very concerned that they would miss out. Such a caring women, I asked what her name was. “My name is Nancy.” I asked Nancy if she knew how many people were living in tent city and she said at least 150 people. She talked about some of the challenges they face and the hardships of living on the streets. She explained that everyone is staying around the Share house because of the food program that is available. They serve three meals a day for the homeless community, although the first meal of the day is at 6:00AM, so if you miss it you don’t get to eat until 12:00 noon. They also allow 6 women to shower each day, but it is first come, first serve, so there are many women who miss the opportunity every day.

After chatting with Nancy for a while, I caught up with the rest of the group and we continued to pass out sandwich bags and water bottles. It amazed me that not one person was concerned about what type of sandwich or flavor of chips we were handing out, they were simply thankful for receiving the food. It was humbling for me, because I can be so picky when it comes to what kind of food I have to eat every day, and these individuals were simply thankful to receive whatever we had brought for them…

Michaela Byers, Founder/Executive Director
Jeffrey’s Dream

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The Columbian wrote an interesting article about Tent City also:
http://www.columbian.com/news/2015/sep/21/vancouver-officials-tour-growing-tent-city/

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Saturday Outreach

Last weekend we had the opportunity to meet with Mercy Table and Hands of Favor and were truly amazed and blessed by the experience.

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Mercy Table at University Place United Methodist Church

Mercy Table opens its doors each Saturday afternoon for the homeless community of North Portland. When we walked in the doors we were warmly greeted by Nick and Rebecca Floyd, the pastors of University Park United Methodist Church. We were new faces to the place and Rebecca was very friendly in asking how we came to hear about the place and what we were interested in knowing. We explained we had heard about their outreach through Mr. Derek Thompson of Hands of Favor and really wanted to check out how things were done and what they were all about. She welcomed us to stay, take a look around, eat food, visit and participate in what they had going on that afternoon.

We were amazed by what they were doing. This small church had a large amount of clothing spread out, as well as an assortment of food items, welcome to take. The doors remained open, welcoming everyone who wanted to come in. The biggest thing that touched our hearts was how Nick and Rebecca had built relationships with the people that come to Mercy Table. They called people by name, chatting and tossing jokes around like they were all old friends. This differed from how we’ve experienced homeless outreach before, not just a formal line to walk through and receive your clothes, food, etc. but this was real relationship, true love that was shared and experienced.

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Portable shower unit provided by All One Community services

Outside there was a portable shower station setup, offering showers for those who wanted them. This mobile unit was provided by All One Community services, and we were completely in awe because we had never seen anything like it before. Chatting with the fellows setting it up, they explained they travel to different organizations around the Portland area four days a week offering showers to the homeless communities. They bring the mobile shower unit, and all they need is the propane and a water source to provide warm showers. They are willing to travel to more locations, but they do have a need to be met! The cost of fuel to drive to the different locations and the propane needed to offer the hot showers costs money. They are in need of donations in order to keep providing this amazingly loving and life-changing service. If you are able to help, or interest in supporting the mobile shower truck, we’d love to connect you with their organization and ways to help.

 

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Hands of Favor

Derek Thompson with Hands of Favor was setup in a side room, offering free haircuts. His lovely wife Regina, was making rounds and checking in with folks to see who was interested in getting their hair cut that afternoon. We had an awesome conversation with Derek and Regina both, getting to know more about Hands of Favor and the heart behind their ministry. We absolutely loved watching people get their hair cut. Their whole attitude and demeanor can change dramatically after this mini-makeover is completed. A new sense of self-confidence is noticed and all because of a hair cut. Something that most people may take for granted or seem minuscule, is a life-changer for a homeless person who does not have the means to acquire a shower or haircut on a regular basis.

We are looking forward to getting to know more about Hands of Favor, Derek and Regina Thompson, and what Jeffrey’s Dream can do in conjunction with their amazing ministry.

 

Thank you Mercy Table, All One Community services and Hands of Favor for all you’re doing in our community and allowing us to visit with you and get to know you all!