As we near the end of a challenging year, we are grateful for the ways in which our community has rallied to support high school students. Just as much, we’re inspired by the students themselves, whose resilience will serve them well in their future careers.

This week, students in our inaugural PWA Youth Impact Council gathered (virtually) for the first time to get to know each other and plan ahead. Students in this new group will guide PWA’s programming while also receiving career mentoring, leadership opportunities, and a small stipend for their time.

“I want to be part of the voice of the youth that the community wants to hear,” said Daniela, a youth council member from Gresham High.

Last week marked the final session of our Fall “Future of Nursing” Mentor Program, which served 30 great high school students over four weeks. They connected with nursing students, explored the many pathways in nursing, and learned how to use stethoscopes and blood-pressure cuffs sent to them in a PWA care package for hands-on learning.

“Seeing people like me and the same background as me is so comforting and inspiring to hear,” a North Clackamas student named Andrea told us.

“Now I have a vision of how I want my future to be!” said Tina, a Parkrose student.

Hats off to our industry partners and educators for making this mentorship program a success, and for helping to expand career opportunities for underrepresented students.

We can't end the year without thanking our dedicated Board of Directors for their time and commitment to the PWA mission. Each month, we highlight a board member and their contributions. This month, meet Lena Battan, Director of People Operations at

Our gratitude extends to career coordinators and teachers, and to the many employer partners connecting with students virtually this fall, inspiring and helping prepare them for life after high school. In November, we teamed up with ZGF Architects, Wieden+Kennedy, KGW News, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, and more, each creating a unique and valuable experience for students.

Looking ahead, we're planning a Kaiser Permanente Career Talk this week, an architecture and construction Career Talk in January, the annual NW Youth Careers Expo in March, and of course, much more. Click the links below to find out more about each event, and stay tuned for additional opportunities in January with Nike and other partners.

In an inspiring show of support, individual donors contributed $1,245 to PWA during our Fall Giving/Giving Tuesday. We were so touched to read the messages from donors who pledged their support in honor of someone who has made a difference in their life or the lives of young people.

"Coming from a family of teachers, it's hard for me to choose just one person to honor, so my donation this year is for every teacher in my life." – Anna Yates, PWA past Board President

Read more moving messages like these in our Fall Giving round-up. You may still join this campaign by making a year-end donation.

Our year-round work depends on hundreds of volunteers, each sharing the vision that all students need access to good jobs and great careers. We're so thankful for our wonderful community.

PWA Future of Nursing Mentor Program: Special thanks

Partners: University of Portland School of Nursing, Kaiser Permanente, Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon Nurses Association, Legacy Health

Foundation Support: Oregon Community Foundation, Legacy Health, John & Ginger Niemeyer Fund

School districts: Gresham-Barlow, North Clackamas, Reynolds, Parkrose, Portland Public Schools

PWA December 2020: Rising to the Challenge