Stand Together Week

As a Board Member for Active Children Portland I was lucky enough to take part in a special #stweek event. Thanks to all who made this day fun and healthy for the kids, including Active Children Portland, Friends of the Children, Providence Health and Services, Alaska Airlines, New Relic, Stand Together, the Timbers, Thorns, and T2.

The day involved 4 stations:  Reading, gardening, healthy smoothie making, and playing soccer. 

At station #1 there were private reading rooms where kids could read to adults or vice versa. In one room there was even a child reading to a dog –adorable! 

At station #2 we pulled weeds in a garden and set stepping stones the children had made. It was inspiring to talk to the kids about eating healthy. One boy said his favorite vegetable was broccoli! I absolutely loved watching the kids pick (with such delight) the fresh strawberries, cherry tomatoes, carrots, & peppers. After they washed them off many enjoyed a fresh healthy treat. 

At station number #3 the kids chose what they wanted in a refreshing smoothie. One girl was adamant she hated spinach, but with a bit of convincing she put spinach in her smoothie. After she finished, I asked her what she thought. She said in the future she will put spinach in her smoothie because IT WAS delicious. 

Finally at station #4 everyone played soccer! Kids played with each other, then with adults, and finally, against the adult volunteers and mentors. It was a tight match. Right up until the end it was tied, but the kids scored a last-minute goal and won the game– AND THE DAY!

An incredible moment of my day volunteering came after  meeting a boy who was having struggles at home. When he first got to the camp that Active Children Portland was doing that week,  he was very unhappy and didn’t want to interact with anyone. However, thanks to our caring Program Manger (Luis) taking him under his wing he learned rule #1 of soccer… always have fun! He started to enjoy himself, and by the end of the day he was talking to everyone, asking for pictures with the  players, and most importantly, he had a huge smile on his face! It was an incredible transformation to witness.

I am truly proud to be a part of Active Children Portland, an organization that teaches such important lessons to our youth, and gives them a safe space to learn, grow and be healthy, and all while bringing smiles to their faces.

Learning Alongside our Coach-Mentors

I joined the Board of Directors of Active Children Portland because I was looking for a way to give back to communities in my backyard and provide kids who might not otherwise have the same opportunities I did, a chance to learn through sport. Little did I know, when I joined this organization, that I would find something that makes a difference in so many lives with the limited resources they have.

Active Children provides after-school programming to kids in underserved areas of Portland that includes soccer and nutrition. But the organization does much more than that. Active Children and the individuals who serve our kids truly believe in the “comprehensive and holistic approach to youth development” we strive for, something I recently had the chance to see first-hand when I attended our Spring Coach Training.

Since joining the Board, I’ve had the chance to see some of our kids in action and help with the fundraising and management sides of the organization, but hadn’t yet had the opportunity to get to know the incredible coach-mentors who work with our kids.

The training included a full day of education both in the classroom and on the soccer pitch, where our coach-mentors learned best practices for teaching nutrition, soccer skills, creative writing and other aspects of our programming.

The day began with introductions where everyone had a chance to express why they chose to work with the organization and serve as a coach-mentor. The thoughtful and insightful stories from these individuals were inspiring. Some talked about coaches or mentors who had helped them turn their lives around, while others talked about their desire to give back to their communities, while still others wanted to help give kids the same opportunities they did to learn through sports and teamwork.

Active Children’s senior program manager Luis Rodriguez-Bribiesca and program coordinator Hallie Campbell led the group through a 12-week program outline provided by the U.S. Soccer Foundation and explained best practices for getting kids engaged in all aspects of the programming which include sports and fitness, nutrition, creative writing, service learning, and mentoring and engagement.

I was thoroughly impressed by Luis’ ability to anticipate the coaches’ questions and explain how best to work with the kids in all aspects of the programming. He explained the nuances of working with kids who may be facing other challenges at home that could lead to them appearing disengaged with their teams or in the classroom. While each coach-mentor had varying levels of experience working with kids in various capacities, he engaged each of them, meeting them where they were at to guide them through the process of learning how to teach kids with external challenges.

It was a truly inspirational day for me. As a Board member, we’re not always as involved in the day-to-day operations of the organization, but the training was a great, first-hand reminder of the incredible work we’re doing as an organization and the fantastic people we have helping educate the kids we work with. Thank you to our amazing staff and coach-mentors for allowing me to join you for the day.

I look forward to seeing our fully-trained coach-mentors in action this season and wish them the best with their spring season!

@Yelp Foundation Gives Local


Active Children Portland has been nominated for the @Yelp Foundation Gives Local grant contest and need votes from our community to win up to a $5,000 grant. Will you help us?! Voting takes only a minute and doesn’t require a personal donation – just help the Yelp Foundation give away their grants! This funding could mean a lot for our organization. Please consider voting once per day from Tuesday, November 29th (Giving Day), 2016 through Friday, December 9th, 2016.

To get a text reminder to vote daily, please text YELPVOTING to 33222


Active Children Portland’s New Public Service Announcement.

Active Children Portland’s new public service announcement. Thank you  XRAY.FM.

Active Children Portland Hosts Coaches Training for Fall 2015

On Friday, September 18th, Active Children Portland hosted our annual Fall Coach-Mentor training session at adidas. Friday’s training session allowed Active Children Portland staff to prepare 20 new coaches for the upcoming Fall 2015 soccer season.

With help from staff and volunteers, Active Children Portland Program Manager Jared Hoffman led the coaches through conversations in the classroom, and then through an on field practice demonstration. Coaches were taught how to run a daily practice, how to connect with students, and the responsibilities associated with being an Active Children Portland Coach-Mentor.

Coaches were instructed in the classroom and on the field.

Coaches were instructed in the classroom and on the field.

Program Manager Jared Hoffman said “Friday’s training went great! We’re excited for the season to get started. Also, we’d like to thank adidas for allowing us to use their facilities!”

Program Fellow Abbie Tolbert said, “Friday was my first coaches training with Active Children Portland and everything went smoothly. I had a wonderful time meeting and connecting with our coach-mentors for the Fall 2015 season.”

Coaches lined up for an on field demonstration.

Coaches lined up for an on field demonstration.

We’d like to take a moment to thank all of Active Children Portland’s supporters for making Friday’s training so great. Coach-Mentors are an integral part of Active Children Portland programming, and we appreciate all of their hard work and dedication throughout the season.

We’ll see you out on the field, and make sure to check out some of the great photos from Friday’s training below!

Coaches on the move!

Coaches on the move!


Thank you adidas for allowing us to use the field!

Thank you adidas for allowing us to use the field!

Our coaches circle up for a practice demonstration.

Our coaches circle up for a practice demonstration.

It was a beautiful day for some soccer!

It was a beautiful day for some soccer!

“Be The Best Me I Can Be” Music Video


Check out “Be The Best Me I Can Be” written and performed by Dave Berg, Tony Esterly and the America Scores Portland / Active Children Portland students of Davis Elementary. We’re thrilled to have been part of such an amazing experience! The song was recorded at Kung Fu Bakery Recording Studios. Video by Michael Blake; Premiered with Lydia’s Performing Songwriter Page.

Check out the song belong, and let us know what you think!