Special Education Teacher Rikki Drews and Executive Director Sharon Juenemann try on "body socks" used for sensory regulation while setting up Parklane Elementary's first Sensory Space.
(PORTLAND, Ore.) —This week, healthcare organization CareOregon announced that it has awarded $265,810 in community giving grants to 19 Portland metro area nonprofit organizations that address social determinant of health needs. Selected organizations fill critical gaps in the region’s social safety net, including providing family and social support, addressing food security, offering targeted education support, mental health resources and more.
“These grants continue CareOregon’s emphasis on working with our partners to meet the needs of individuals and families in our community,” said Shawn DeCarlo, CareOregon director of community benefit. “We know that so many of these community-based organizations are tackling barriers to health by expanding access to much needed resources. Our hope is that together, we can continue to improve the health of our community now, and for many years into the future.”
Among the grants awarded, CareOregon is investing $20,000 in The Shadow Project to expand SuperSensory Spaces to all schools in the Centennial School District. These spaces aid in learning by providing designated places for students needing additional social or emotional support to learn self-calming skills and become advocates for their own mental health—allowing students to be more present in class and limiting interruptions to their and others’ learning.
CareOregon played a key role in Shadow Project’s early partnership with the Centennial School District (CSD), providing funds for the installation of SuperSensory Spaces at all seven CSD elementary schools.
This grant will allow this proven model to expand districtwide. The Shadow Project will install SuperSensory Spaces at Centennial High School and the two middle schools in the district, along with second installations at six elementary schools. Additionally, educators will receive trauma-informed, culturally responsive training on how to use the spaces to support student mental health and emotional well-being.
"We are thrilled to receive this funding from CareOregon which will help The Shadow Project install Sensory Spaces at more locations within the Centennial School District,” said The Shadow Project Executive Director, Sharon Juenemann, M.Ed.
“Our Sensory Spaces are designed to bring healing and academic support to special education students. Nothing could be more important as we continue to work with teachers to help kids recover learning lost to the pandemic."
CareOregon is committed to supporting community-based organizations that play a key role in the healthcare system and work to improve health equity and overall community health. Funds will be used to help cover programming costs, hire and train additional staff and scale services to meet the needs of the community.
Grant recipients include:
Aim High PDX ($9,500): Funds will be used to purchase program materials needed for Aim High’s Ascent program which offers targeted support for children with autism.
Boys and Girls Club Portland Metropolitan Area ($7,000): Funds will be used to create a welcoming outdoor gardening space at the CareOregon Boys and Girls Club at Rockwood. The club is located in an area with limited green space and lower access to fresh, healthy foods.
Elevate Oregon ($25,000): Funding will support staff salaries and direct client assistance for youth and families in the Parkrose School District, such as covering the cost of critical bills (food, utilities and rent) for identified Elevate Oregon families who are struggling.
Friends of Zenger Farm ($25,000): The grant will support CSA program subsidies for uninsured folks in the community.
Latino Network ($25,000): The grant will support COVID-19 relief efforts for the Latinx community served by Latino Network.
Meals on Wheels People ($25,000): Funding will provide nutrition services to older adults in our community who face food insecurity and isolation.
MIKE Program ($8,500): Grant will support MIKE’s Mentored Health Education programming in local schools. Funds will go toward nutrition support, staffing and training sessions.
Northwest Mothers Milk Bank ($10,000): Funding will serve 92 Oregon families and improve the health and survival of infants by providing a minimum of 24 oz of donor milk while the mother is working to establish lactation.
Portland Open Bible Church ($9,500): Funding will support food purchases of fresh produce for BIPOC community members.
Outgrowing Hunger ($9,950): The grant will fund purchases of fresh produce that support the Rohingyan and Burmese community through Outgrowing Hunger’s Rockwood Multicultural Pantry.
PDX Saints Love ($20,000): The grant will support 2022 community wellness events and aid in additional staffing and lifesaving supplies for houseless individuals, such as wound care, hygiene, blankets, tarps, coats, shoes, etc.
PHAME ($7,000): Funds will go toward PHAME's continued education and support of adults with developmental disabilities.
Profile Theatre ($5,000): The grant will support emergency funds to replace stolen computers. Profile Theatre is a partner of CareOregon, running a "Community Profile" program that uses the practice of writing to create networks of mutual support among traditional health workers in the CareOregon network.
Rockwood CDC ($10,000): Funds will go toward school supplies, book bags and children’s entertainment for the Back to School Back to Health Carnival, which will bring health resources, such as dental and vaccine clinics, to the Rockwood community.
Safe Families for Children / Kindred Partners ($19,860): The grant will serve six children through the Safe Families for Children Program which aims to keep children safe and support/stabilize families suffering from crises such as homelessness or domestic violence.
Southwest Somali Community of Oregon ($9.500): The grant will fund additional staffing for mental health support in the Somali community.
The Shadow Project ($20,000): Funds will cover installation and training costs for SuperSensory Spaces to be installed at Centennial School District locations, including Centennial High School and the two middle schools in the district, as well as expanding SuperSensory Spaces at six CSD elementary schools.
Working Class Acupuncture ($10,000): The grant will help fund pop-up acupuncture clinics in North Portland.