Every quarter at FFA we carve out time from our schedules to strengthen our connections with each other outside of the office. Upon returning to work after these team-building events, we are even better integrated to serve our clients and community. For our Q3 event we chose to forgo our typical outing of playing pool or spending an afternoon sketching at the Japanese Garden in favor of a service-based experience at Portland YouthBuilders (PYB). FFA’s commitment to produce not only quality work, but work with a purpose and value for the Portland community, fueled our decision to spend the afternoon volunteering.
Our partner organization for this mission, PYB, is an alternative school in Portland’s Lents neighborhood whose mission is to “…support young people who are committed to changing their lives to become self-sufficient, contributing members of the workforce and their community.” With the goal of making our volunteer time most impactful, FFA coordinated with PYB to create an event centered around the current needs of the school. The result was a lunchtime meet-and-greet with students, followed by an afternoon work party where FFA staffers tackled some deferred maintenance projects on and around the school. Over the meal, we each had the privilege of getting to know PYB students and hearing about how having a second chance at PYB has enriched their lives. A few of us also shared our own (sometimes unconventional) educational and professional career stories and our passion for design in hopes of introducing the students to a career path they may not have considered.
After learning more about PYB and the students they serve, the FFA team headed outside to help with the school’s building and grounds maintenance, getting our hands earthy and paint splattered with work around the garden and painting the raised deck of their outdoor hands-on construction workshop space. As architects are rumored to be perpetual perfectionists, there were more than a few jokes exchanged about the exact angle needed to maximize sweeping efficiency and the ideal way to roll on a coat of paint.
We ended the day with a cold beer and a snack at nearby Zoiglhaus Brewing Company after finishing up our afternoon of service at PYB.
FFA values our relationship with this amazing organization. If you and your team, or someone you know, is committed to supporting people who make an outstanding difference in the lives of disadvantaged youth, we highly recommend you check out PYB’s website.