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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Personal Social Services, Youth Development

Mission: Self Enhancement, Inc. is dedicated to guiding underserved youth to realize their potential. Working with schools, families, and community organizations, SEI provides opportunities for personal and academic success, bringing hope to individual young people and enhancing the quality of community life. In 2006, there were over 2300 children enrolled in SEI's programs that help inner-city students overcome barriers to success and close the achievement gap. SEI works with students from age 8 to 25 in eleven Portland Public Schools, in after school and summer programs, in its own charter middle school, and in entering and succeeding college. SEI involves parents in supporting their children's education and partners with over 60 community organizations to provide options and exposure.Recognized by the prestigious Edna McConnell Clark Foundation as one of the most effective youth development organizations in the nation, SEI helps instill in thousands of North and Northeast Portland youth a sense of pride, integrity, creativity, and options. Over two-thirds of SEI participants improve school attendance, grades and behavior. An average of 98% of SEI's high school freshmen graduate four years later and 85% of those go on to college,often the first in their family to do so.SEI's motto is LIFE HAS OPTIONS.

Results: 98% of SEI students graduate from HS 85% of SEI students pursue higher education 100% of SEI Parents complete Parent Skill Building Classes SEI serves 7,500 youth and families

Target demographics: Underserved youth and families

Geographic areas served: Northeast and North Portland, East County Portland

Programs: Community and Family After School In-School Summer Post Secondary (Post High School) SEI Charter School (The Academy) Sports Program The Arts Program Counseling Program

Community Stories

7 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Angelina R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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...

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I grew up in SEI, worked at SEI out of college, and even sent my children to SEI. I'm a SEI Lifer! I believe in their mission and believe they have a strong model to serve their community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've had several opportunities to see the young participants from SEI programs in a number of events and activities. They have never failed to represent the program with distinction. SEI is a real gem in the Portland youth service and leadership development community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SEI has been a life saver in our building! The coordinators are very responsive to the students and staff needs. They've been a great partner to work with.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a retired music professor from Portland Sate University. For the last 10 years before my retirement, ( 1993-2003), I directed a one-week music camp "Let Music Be the Food of Peace" at PSU for 30 children (ages 8-10) from SEi. This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The people at SEI were wonderful to work with and the staff members were always present for me. They were enthusiastic, helpful, communicative and supportive. And not to mention the best part - the children. Such a joy to be with respectful, creative, and definitely "individual" kids. I learned a great deal from them! The camp alwaysended with a concert performed by the children and their college student mentors showing what they had all learned throughout the week. At the final concert in 2003, there was standing room only! The relationships made during that time continue to live on. For example, the piano scholarship winner from the 2003 camp, who is now a Junior at OSU will be visiting with me next week. Thank you SEI for all that you do for our community!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to experience the transformative nature of the Self Enhancement, Inc., philosophy over many years from different perspectives. First, as a middle school principal my school was one of the first schools to become involved with SEI in the early years. What was different from the very beginning was an approach that was not about delivering services to "clients," but a clear focus on establishing a personal commitment to individual students coupled with presenting them with a code of beliefs and values that were lived daily by the entire organization. It created a culture of achievement and communicated to students that expectations were high, but personal commitment to their success was steadfast. From the beginning SEI created a unique culture that has continued throughout its organizational life. Later, in my role as a central office administrator, I had the opportunity to witness the role of SEI as community partner and advocate. SEI had established itself as a voice for the needs of the community, especially students, and came from a position of strength by being open about results achieved, sharing services and resources as a community partner and creating a solid, efficient and effective organizational presence that literally changed the neighborhood. In my more recent roles of state level administrator and of university faculty member, I continue to see the role of SEI advocating for change but stepping up to be a part of the solution. In the most recent round of state school reform initiatives, SEI correctly identified the lack of opportunity for communities of color to participate in public input sessions because opportunities for such participation had not been developed by state policy makers. SEI stepped in to, not only, advocate for the opportunity to provide input, but also, to put their facilities and direct support on the line for this opportunity to happen. These efforts provided significant and important changes to new state school governance and accountability measures to require more use of disaggregatred data in school performance measures. SEI has a long, positive record of success with students, serving the community and influencing key policy questions. It is an outstanding organization.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Self Enhancement, Inc. continues to provide life changing services for youth and their families in the community of Portland Oregon as well as Miami Florida!