Dinner & A Movie has a mentorship aspect that far exceeds expectations. They serve a niche with homeless youth that isn't being filled in Portland. Mentorship with Dinner & A Movie is basically life long because they understand that it takes a long time to help abused children who feel as though they are unloveable. There Child & Family Development Program is also tremendous, where mom's invite other mom's because they know how much it has helped them. Great place where the kids rave about the good food and that they actually feel loved and cared for.
I have volunteered on a weekly basis for Dinner and A Movie for more than 6 years. This organization serves young adults and teen agers who are child abuse victims. As a result of abuse, these young people are so psychologically damaged that they have become homeless and cannot participate productively in society. Through mentoring, we work to heal that psychological damage so that they can pursue their dreams of a normal life--home, job, family, etc.
Through my involvement, I've met people I never would have come across in any other way. And I'm so thankful that I have, because it has been a life-changing experience for me. I've learned to see the world through the eyes of people who--through no fault of their own--are "on the outside looking in." I've gotten to know many child abuse victims, and I will never forget them.
Being a part of the work that this organization does--literally saving lives--is very gratifying. On the other hand, hearing about the suicides and murders makes me realize how horrendous child abuse is, and how very important it is to stop it. Child abuse is learned behavior, and many many children who suffer abuse will grow up to abuse their own children. Dinner & A Movie works to break that cycle by mentoring impoverished families who are at-risk for child abuse because the parents are abuse victims.
As someone who has volunteered at DnM for close to ten years. I can honestly say it is one of the most sincere programs in the NW when it comes to helping homeless youth and families. There is no fluff, no apology for doing what's right, no lack real life.. I have seen so much positive change in people from so little, a pair of clean socks, a warm meal or a conversation about life and yes even having the privilege of coming home without my shoes because someone else needed them more than I did.
This program has also changed me, for the better. I work in the same area as the drop-in and see the kids during my work ours. I have been challenged to be honest about who I am and what I stand for. Although I get strange looks from co-workers when homeless kids comes up and shares a story about their day, or just wants to say Hi and ask me if I will be there on Tues night. It always makes me smile.
I can't think of a more noble or effective cause to be a associated with.
Serving the abused children and families of the abused on the streets of Portland, Oregon since 9/11. They have a holistic approach which recognizes that abuse has driven deep within their "constituency" two negative core beliefs - 1) I'm not loveable - if you really knew me you'd hate me and 2) I'm essentially helpless - can't fend for myself, as I grew up hearing "you're stupid, and we wish you'd never been born.
Dinner & A Movie serves youth and families by being the "loving parents" their constituency never knew. Being parents means communicating that "you are loved," "you are a unique and gifted person," and "your life is really worth living."
Once the individual being "re-parented" begins to feel loved and not helpless, D&M staff work through issues like homelessness, addiction recovery, employment needs, GED certification, college admissions tests, and other basic "needs" to get off the streets -
often through other social service agencies and non-profits which serve a particular need.
This is a great mentoring project in Portland,Oregon for homeless youth and young families. Although they are faith-based, there is no pushiness with the religion. They have a Tuesday drop-in night where they can eat a hot meal in a safe place, watch a movie, play cards, etc. They can also pick up clean, warm clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, and other items. Portland has a large youth homeless population, the majority of which have been abused in their own homes and foster homes. Dinner and a Movie connects with them on Tuesdays to build mentoring relationships to help these kids.