Don’t Miss Our 2017 Something to Talk About Breakfast!

Come to our 2017 Something to Talk About Breakfast

Join us for our annual complimentary breakfast and let’s raise our voices in support of the 21,000 people we serve – and all those still in need — to help them rediscover hope.

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Celebrate Kwanzaa with LifeWorks NW

JAMBO!* LifeWorks NW’s REAL Program (Recovery, Empowerment, Achievement in Life), a culturally-responsive, community-based program for adolescents, has selected NIA, the fifth principle and day of Kwanzaa, to renew our purpose of service in our community. Kwanzaa’s seven principles, the “Nguzo Saba,” are an integral part of the REAL program’s curriculum and service delivery. Members of the general public are invited to celebrate with us.

What: A free event featuring speakers, music, soul food, and the opportunity to meet the REAL staff while celebrating the principles of Kwanzaa among a caring community of people. The event will feature a short program with presentations by:
• Joyce Harris, Mother Kwanzaa
• Michael Chappie Grice, spoken word historian and educator
• Jazz music by Yugen Rashad with Dialog & Friends
Plus, a savory, African American traditional and favorite soul food dish: Gumbo!

When: Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 — 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Where: LifeWorks NW’s Umoja Center, 4941 NE 17th St., Portland, OR 97211

Who: Adults and children are invited to attend the FREE community event, open to all.

*Jambo is the Swahili greeting of hello.

About Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa, the seven day, African American holiday, begins on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 and ends on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017.  Founded by Maulana Karenga, the week-long celebration embraces the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, known as the “Nguzo Saba:”

  1. Umoja – Unity
  2. Kujichagulia – Self Determination
  3. Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility
  4. Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics
  5. Nia – Purpose
  6. Kuumba – Creativity
  7. Imani — Faith
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Portland’s Premier Restaurants and Chefs to Appear at Event for Children’s Relief Nurseries

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From Lost to Found — Justina’s Journey of Discovery

You’re 22 and you’re lost, scared and depressed. Even in your young life, so much trauma has happened that you suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Each breath gets harder. Anxiety is your shadow. The blanket of despair is heavy. You wonder, what’s the best way out?

For Justina, that path toward better possibilities began when she was referred by another agency and accepted into LifeWorks NW’s Transition Age Youth (TAY) program. TAY is a program designed for older adolescents and young adults who are moving out of the children’s mental health system and into adult mental health services. It targets individuals with complex needs who may be transitioning out of the state hospital, residential treatment, juvenile correction facilities, intensive outpatient programs or local hospitals. Its goal is to assist individuals to become as independent as possible, while reaching developmental milestones such as independent housing, education, employment and development of social relationships.

Justina recounted the depth of her despair, “I was suicidal when I first applied for the TAY program. I was lost, scared, depressed and PTSD was controlling my life. I never thought I would get or keep a job.”

Over the course of seven months, Justina worked with her LifeWorks NW therapist and case manager to set and accomplish goals and overcome barriers to achieve them. “I slowly discovered myself and built up my confidence and self-esteem,” she said. “I got my GED, moved out of a group home into a more independent setting, and will soon graduate from the substance abuse treatment program. Plus, in Supported Employment I learned about how to get and keep a job, and what to do to be comfortable in interviews. I could not have done any of that without TAY.”

Her Supported Employment specialist offered high praise for Justina’s success. “Although she faced some setbacks as she worked toward her goals, she remained resilient and didn’t give up. She learned to rely on resources like family and the TAY program when she needs help coping with stress and life’s struggles. She makes others feel warmly welcomed and has such a strong initiative and drive toward her goals – she continues on, even in the face of challenges.”

Today, Justina is growing up with confidence in herself and the assurance that she is on the right road now – one that leads toward only the brightest future.

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New Relief Nursery in Hillsboro will help children at risk of abuse and neglect

LifeWorks NW Adds Relief Nursery in Washington County
With a 6.5 percent increase* in child abuse/neglect incidents across Oregon
from FY2014 to FY2015, the need for intervention strategies is greater than ever.

Portland, Ore. – Aug. 30, 2016 — Every eight minutes across the state, there is a report of child abuse/neglect, according to the Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries (OARN). In fact, of the reports made during FFY 2015 (October 2014-September 2015), 10,402 Oregon children were known victims of abuse or neglect*. These sobering statistics are the catalyst for the intervention tactics employed through Children’s Relief Nurseries.

To help in the fight against child abuse and neglect, as of September 1, 2016, LifeWorks Northwest (LWNW) – a leading provider of mental health, addiction and prevention services in the Portland metro area – will open a satellite Children’s Relief Nursery in Washington County. The site, located in Hillsboro, will expand the nonprofit’s Relief Nursery reach across the tri-county area, joining its oldest site — North Portland (St. Johns) and two other satellites in Southeast Portland (Mill Park) and Gladstone.

“Relief nurseries have proven, positive impacts for children and their families. In fact, OARN data shows a 70 percent reduction in the incidence of abuse/neglect when Children’s Relief Nurseries intervene,” said Amy Shea Reyes, MA, LWNW service area director for prevention, intensive and specialty services. “Through our programs we have seen that same reduction in risks and development of stronger and healthier families. With the opening of our new nursery in Hillsboro, we will be able to serve 16 children (in two groups of eight each) and their families.”

The LWNW Hillsboro Children’s Relief Nursery will provide assistance to Washington County-area families with children ages 18 months to four years old. Relief Nursery services are offered within a culturally-appropriate, comprehensive and integrated early childhood and family support system to meet the needs of the individual family with children who have been abused or are at risk of child abuse and neglect. Early childhood specialists, mental health therapists and skills trainers will deliver programming that includes therapeutic early childhood preschool, parenting education and support and home-based services.


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About LifeWorks NW
With sites across the tri-county metro area, LifeWorks NW serves nearly 19,000 people annually – from children and families to teens, adults and seniors – providing mental health, addiction and prevention services toward good health for all. One arm of our services is our Children’s Relief Nurseries, which focus on parenting and early intervention as effective solutions to prevent child abuse and neglect. For more information, visit

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Board Approves Long-term Lease for Washington County Mental Health Urgent Care Center

At their board meeting on July 26, the Washington County Board of Commissioners approved a 10-year lease for a new mental health urgent care center (MHUCC). The facility, the first of its kind in the county, will be located at 5240 NE Elam Young Parkway in Hillsboro and is slated to open in March 2017.

“Our community has long needed a walk-in center to address a critical gap in the mental health system,” says Chair Andy Duyck. “Individuals and their families want to avoid the kind of crisis that leads to the emergency room or even to jail. This center will provide a way to get help sooner in a more appropriate and less costly environment.”

The MHUCC will be a supportive place where adults and youth, including those in crisis, can receive care and assistance in accessing ongoing treatment and other helpful resources. It will offer crisis counseling, information and referral, treatment connection, and other types of supportive services to individuals who do not require intensive, hospital-based help to address mental health and addictions concerns.

“We conducted an extensive search to find the most suitable facility,” says Kristin Burke, Human Services manager with Washington County. “The building’s size and space configuration, location and proximity to public transportation meet all of our needs.”

Washington County is contracting with LifeWorks NW to provide MHUCC staffing and services. Staff will include master’s level clinicians, people experienced in treating addictions, and trained peers who have recovered from their own mental health issues. Existing County mental health crisis programs — also staffed by Lifeworks NW and focused on rapid assessment and connection to care — will also be housed at the MHUCC. These programs are largely mobile and often serve people in their homes or the community. The walk-in clinic will expand these services by offering a physical place people can go for help.

“We are thankful for the hard work of our staff and dozens of community partners who are making this vision a reality,” says Commissioner Bob Terry. “Washington County residents will benefit from the compassionate and supportive services this center can provide.”

The center will most likely be open 12 hours a day, including weekends. Both walk-ins and appointments will be available.

All Washington County Human Services staff and programs will move into an adjoining space. Neighboring organizations in the complex with related missions include Oregon Department of Human Services and Washington County Disability, Aging and Veteran Services. There will also be shared space available for other nonprofits to provide services onsite. “This makes connecting people to services even more seamless,” says Burke.

“We have a lot of exciting work ahead of us,” says Burke. “This includes coming up with a name that makes it clear what the facility is and does, but also one that makes people feel safe and welcome.”

The public is invited to submit name suggestions by August 31, 2016. They can submit a simple form online at or send an email directly to The person who submits the selected name will receive a privately funded $100 gift certificate to the restaurant of his or her choice.

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The Quest for a Job

Getting a job and going to work; seems like the normal course of adult life. Unless it isn’t. And it often isn’t for individuals who may have lacked a support system that could set them on the right path. Maybe they never had an entry-level job as a teen or their home environment was unstable. Whatever the situation, getting and keeping a job can be tougher than it might seem.

That’s the life Richard faced. With minimal employment skills and unhealthy coping mechanisms, Richard just couldn’t hold down a job. His overall mental state was poor enough to result in hospitalizations and what seemed like a never-ending downward spiral.

When Richard connected with LifeWorks NW though, he began to see a positive change. The  LifeWorks NW Supported Employment team worked with Richard to not only help him learn better ways to cope and express his emotions, they aided him in identifying the kind of work that might best suit his interests and skills.

With a stronger sense of self and a positive outlook, in April 2016 Richard began working as a dishwasher – a position he still holds today. While continuing his connections with the Supported Employment team at LifeWorks NW, Richard has had fewer hospitalizations and uses healthy coping skills to de-escalate the kind of situations that might previously have caused him problems.

And with that steady income, Richard has purchased a television and was able to take his cat to the vet for a wellness check – the things of routine life. Thanks to the support of LifeWorks NW, Richard has turned his modest dreams into reality.

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Taking a Stand for Himself

At 20 years old, the world and all its opportunities lie ahead. Unlimited possibilities await – unless that is, you are shackled by deteriorating mental health. Even when you can see interests, the debilitating effects of a mental illness overshadows everything else.

That’s how it felt for Cody de Sully. Feeling depressed compounded his decreasing lack of enthusiasm for activities and complete sense of apathy toward life. Although he had a vision of education and job goals, those were hard to reach as he began experiencing psychotic symptoms including occasional audio and visual hallucinations. Understandably, he became ever more anxious.

For Cody, the turnaround began to happen when he found his way to LifeWorks NW and its Early Assessment and Support Alliance (EASA)/Supported Employment program. Adamant that he did not want to take medication, Cody committed to taking an active role in his journey back to good mental health. He worked closely with his service coordinator, supported employment specialist and occupational therapist, and regularly attended multi-family group meetings. In every instance, Cody’s LifeWorks NW EASA/Supported Employment team helped him cope with his symptoms through natural means.

And the outcome is that through EASA, Cody has improved relationships with his family and friends and has balanced work and full time school while maintaining excellent grades. Most important, Cody learned to advocate for himself – taking a healthy approach to symptom management — so he could get back to doing the things he enjoys.

Those things he enjoys include attending school at Portland Community College and working as its new director of legislative affairs. In addition to his new role, he has another part time job teaching children ceramics. Through his involvement in politics he plans to do his part to raise awareness and reduce the stigma to ensure that others can find their way back to good mental health, just like he has.

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2016 Portland’s Original Iron Chef

LifeWorks NW serves nearly 19,000 people annually, providing mental health, addiction and prevention services toward good health for all. One arm of our services is our children’s relief nurseries, which focus on parenting and early intervention as solutions to prevent child abuse and neglect. It is sobering to realize that every eight minutes there is a report of child abuse or neglect across Oregon. Through the Portland’s Original Iron Chef event, we bring awareness and raise funds needed to continue our work to ensure healthy children and families.

This year “Portland’s Original Iron Chef” will be held the evening of Thursday, October 20, at the Portland Art Museum. It will be a rollicking event with six to eight prominent Portland area chefs vying to claim the coveted “Iron Chef” title. 2015 champion Jin Soo Yang of Bamboo Sushi will be back to defend his title.

You’ll enjoy the unique occasion to sample hearty, signature appetizers created by the chefs – and then vote for your favorite. Plus, you’ll further support the relief nurseries by participating in silent and live auctions and other fun activities.

Tickets are on sale as of Monday, July 11, 2016. Individual tickets are $125 and a table of 10 is $1,150. PURCHASE TICKETS NOW, to reserve your spot  for this exclusive and intimate evening dedicated to good food and a good cause.

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Veteran Portland police officer honored for work combating prostitution

Officer Mike Gallagher, a 24-year bureau veteran, was honored with the Mark Zylawy Distinguished Service Medal – one of dozens of awards presented at the Portland Police Bureau’s annual ceremony Thursday afternoon.

Read More….

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