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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 28 August 2018

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced a five-year, nearly $28 million U.S. Department of Education grant to Self Enhancement, Inc. will serve more than 7,000 underserved students and families in Portland.

“When I was a child, my father took me to the doors of the schoolhouse and told me that if I worked hard, I could do just about anything, because we live in America,” Merkley said. “That is the promise of our nation. But all too often, that promise isn’t fulfilled for students in underserved and under-resourced communities. This grant is an exciting opportunity to have a meaningful impact on thousands of children’s futures with the support and services that will make them successful. I will continue to use my seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee to make sure grants like these serve Oregonians.”

“SEI and its partners have long, proven histories of helping vulnerable children and families throughout Portland by delivering quality services that make a hugely positive impact,” Wyden said. “This grant recognizes the success of their model and how its innovative approach has earned support for its expansion to help even more Portlanders.” 

“Many organizations today make ‘a’ difference,” said Tony Hopson, President and CEO of Self Enhancement Inc. “This Promise Neighborhood Grant gives SEI and its partners the opportunity to replicate the SEI Whole School Model and make ‘the’ difference.”

The Promise Neighborhood Grant of almost $5.6 million per year for five years will allow Self Enhancement, Inc. to serve more than 7,000 students and their families in some of Portland’s most underserved and under-resourced communities, through the Albina-Rockwood Promise Neighborhood Initiative. The initiative is designed both to achieve significant outcomes with diverse populations locally, and to document and demonstrate how solutions implemented can be replicated around the nation.

Self Enhancement Inc’s “Whole School Model” has already proven successful in the Jefferson High School cluster in the Reynolds School District, in partnership with a number of community-based organizations.

The model:

  • Integrates services providers into the school day and the school system, as well as in out-of-school and summer activities.
  • Substantially increases the number of adults of color working within schools.
  • Achieves a high level of family engagement and advocacy.
  • Focuses on improving the use of data so that services providers and local and national evaluators can record, share, track, and analyze data.

The U.S. Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods program provides funding to support eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, that support the vision of all children and youth growing up in Promise Neighborhoods having access to great schools and strong systems of family and community support, which will prepare them to attain an excellent education and successfully transition to college and a career.

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