Since my daughter started the sixth grade at SEI academy she has become a straight A student, and I am in awe of her new commitment to be all she can be. She has found acceptance and self worth at the academy and is anxious not to miss a day at school and she doesn't want to be late. She loves the experience and fits in surrounded by peers like herself! Thank you SEI for helping my daughter be all she can be!!! Sincelely, Angelina, Proud Parent of sixth grade daughter at the academy...
There are moments in life when the combination of relationships, concepts and processes come together to significantly impact personal lives. SEI was that for me! In light of what I received as a young SEI participant 30 years ago, I was ecstatic to be in a position to contribute, organizationally, as a Board Member. Thus, I have witnessed both sides of this life-changing non-profit. SEI is a lifestyle. I felt loved right away and because of that reality, love became embedded into another part of my world. The relationship foundation captivated my attention and was solidified with being taught life concepts well beyond what attracted me there (basketball). Due to the evolution of the SEI brand, reach and effective tools over time, the mission is now all-inclusive and comprehensive so youth and their families benefit greatly. The culture provides a road map to WIN, but since the staff cares so much about you, they stay connected with you to ensure you realize your full potential through young adulthood.
I went to their fundraiser last year - as a community member who has worked with Tony Hopson on the Portland African American Leadership Forum. I had always heard great things - but never seen them as up close as this. They are doing a great job instilling a love of learning and a zest for life into their kids. And most amazing is the mutual love and respect between the children and all the adults who work there.
Problem - Portland public schools graduate just 59% of their students. This isn’t even close to the worst in the nation. The national average is better, but still pathetic. It’s worse for minorities. Studies have shown that only 25 to 40% of African American students meet basic reading, writing and math standards in the 10th grade. Outcomes for so called ‘at risk’ kids are worse still. Just consider some of the long term consequences of this reality. More importantly, imagine the positive social and economic impacts of dramatically turning this around in every community across the nation. Solution - For more than 25 years, SEI has been supporting kids in Portland Public Schools. Each year, they work with approximately 1,000 young adults. They start working with kids at age 8 and support them through age 25. Over 90% of SEI kids are minorities, and 90% are ‘at risk’.
For many kids, SEI is where they go for inspiration and unconditional support. SEI builds self-respect and develops positive attitudes and life skills that result in success in and beyond the classroom. Amazing results - For the past decade, the average graduation rate for SEI kids is 98%! It’s been 100% for the past three years. 85% of SEI kids go on to college or other post-secondary education. Many of these kids are the first in their family to do so. SEI is simply phenomenal at creating resilient young adults.
Please check them out. Their founder, team, kids, and results are simply awe inspiring.
I am a retired School Psychologist and Licensed Clinical Psychologist who worked in the Portland Public Schools for over 25 years. I first met Tony Hopson when he was a high school counselor and respected the work he did with the students. When he created Self-Enhancement, I was very pleased and excited about the possibilities. I became a donor and a fan of the work. When I was completing my doctoral dissertation on the topic of "Girls in Gangs" I was able to make arrangements to evaluate and interview a number of young women attending the Self-Enhancement summer program. The information I was able to gather made a significant contribution to the field of research about adolescent women. In addition, I was happy to learn that the Self-Enhancement program was working as a great deterrent to future gang involvement and other-at-risk behaviors. I especially value the mentoring and community support that is provided to the young people of Portland by Self-Enhancement. The youth who have benefited from this wonderful resource continue to give back to the community and to the young people following in their footsteps. I believe that Self-Enhancement is a perfect example of what happens when a great idea arises from within a community and is given support and nourishment to become a well-respected institution that meets a huge need. Dr. Sandy Ramirez
Making change in the lives of children and their family, offering life choices and higher life expectations is a worthwhile dream. SEI makes that a reality and the proof is documented by the past and present recipients of SEI leadership. As a young man who grew up in North Portland and knew the consequences of negative youth distractions, I personally looked to leadership groups in the community for guidance. SEI has proven to me a valid investment in a community that needs solutions.
SEI has played a significant role in the success of my daughters. They were raised in a single parent home for the majority of their elementary and secondary school years. SEI supported them through high school and played a significant role in the graduation from college. SEI assisted me with airfare during the holiday and summer breaks; provided funds for books and other college fees. The organization has played a very important role in my family and I don't know what I would have done without the assistance from Pamphlin Program. Each year I dedicate my United Way contributions at my full time and part time jobs to SEI. It's the least I can do!
Take a tour and see for yourself. This organization changes lives, and the community. Their complete and total impact is hard to quantify as it is so far-reaching and effective. Don't be fooled by the success. SEI needs the financial support and more raving fans to spread the word.