2021 Volunteer Award Winner

Loretta Young, Volunteer for Constructing Hope, is the yeʔlan lima award winner for the volunteer category.

Loretta’s nomination letter:

Constructing Hope helps people of color, returning citizens (people coming from incarceration), and unemployed Oregonians enter careers in the skilled construction trades, so they can earn middle class wages to support themselves and their families. There are many joys serving as Constructing Hope’s executive director:  helping people move out of poverty, opening doors to diversity in construction and engaging partners.

One unique source of joy and gratitude is encountering someone who cares so much about making the world a better place that they will devote a huge part of their life and energy volunteering to help others. Loretta Young is one such individual. I am honored to nominate Constructing Hope Volunteer Loretta Young for the yeʔlan lima award.

Loretta joined Constructing Hope in 2016. She had previously worked at the City of Portland as a contractor development supervisor. Part of her job, and her personal vision, was to help people of color enter the skilled construction trades. She saw that vision realized at Constructing Hope, and after she retired from the city, Loretta gave me a call and asked if I needed help. As a nonprofit leader, there could only be one answer: yes! Loretta has volunteered 16 – 24 hour per week over these years. She is 100% a team member. Loretta schedules board meetings where she takes the minutes. She attends staff meetings as an equal member, is part of the interview team for staff hiring, participates in strategic planning sessions, helps fundraise, and has organized or supported every quarterly graduation since she started. No job is too big or too small.

One of her greatest contributions has been serving as a mentor and guide for Constructing Hope students. With her unique experience in workforce development, caring and calming presence, and life experience as a Black woman in the construction industry, she has uniquely counseled and helped our students. She helps participants navigate complex systems, apply for benefits, and have someone to listen to them, to recognize them as valuable and full of potential. Her work at times has risen to the level of case management, and the impact is always positive.

Constructing Hope has grown and expanded significantly, but in 2015 we experienced a financial shortfall, and we faced a severe staff shortage. Loretta filled in as a volunteer for staff positions in addition to her regular volunteer contributions. In 2020, the pandemic hit us hard, and we were short-staffed again, but once again Loretta was there to fill the gap, and as staff were on boarded, Loretta joined me to train the new hires. She helped us rebuild the program, and without her we would not be where we are today.

Before Loretta joined Constructing Hope, I only knew her in passing, but now she is a dear friend who I count on every week. She is warm, calm, engaging, unflappable, humble, and hard working. I hope you will consider Loretta Young for this award.

2021 Paid Non-Management Award Winner

Lisa Judd, Case Manager for Northwest Housing Alternatives, is the yeʔlan lima award winner for the paid staff category.

Lisa’s nomination letter:

For over twenty years, Lisa Judd has worked with families experiencing homelessness in Clackamas County, helping to get them stabilized into permanent housing. Lisa’s calm demeanor, extensive knowledge, and accepting mindset meets families where they are without judgement, allowing her to build trust with those who need a helping hand to get back on track.

For her entire tenure at Northwest Housing Alternatives, Lisa has been connected with the Annie Ross House family emergency shelter, which is the only shelter for whole families in Clackamas County. There, she has touched the lives of hundreds of families over the years, some of whom directly trace their success back to Lisa’s guidance during their stay at the shelter. Lisa began her Annie Ross work as a weekend frontline shelter staff and then added case management tasks to this work. She is now a full-time case manager for families with children experiencing homelessness.

Lisa has played a key role in modernizing the Annie Ross program through the various changes in evidence-based sheltering and case management that the field has witnessed through the past two decades. Transforming shelter coverage from sleep-in staff, to awake staff shifts, and the full implementation of both Low Barrier shelter and Housing First case management and programming, Lisa has led the quality improvements of our shelter programming. 

Despite the incredible impact that Lisa has had on peoples’ lives over the years, she remains a humble, diligent, and dedicated advocate for families experiencing homelessness.

2021 Paid Management Award Winner

Alysha Lacey, Director of Program Services for Dougy Center, is the yeʔlan lima (Helping Hand) award winner for the paid management category.

 Alysha’s nomination letter:

Alysha has worked as the Director of Program Services at Dougy Center for the last five years. Her dedication, enthusiasm, and willingness to “do whatever it takes” played a significant role in Dougy Center’s ability to respond immediately to the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic and to weather the ongoing uncertainty of physical distancing requirements and lockdowns while also supporting Dougy Center families who are grieving.

Alysha can always be counted on to think of our families first and to ensure that Dougy Center services are responsive to their needs.

Jana DeCristafaro, host and producer of our podcast Grief Out Loud, says: “Between navigating public health guidelines and the needs of the families we serve, the volunteers who are part of our program, and our staff, along with her own personal losses, Alysha continues to show up to provide stable, consistent and responsive leadership. We would have been lost at sea without her!”

Alysha is a strong and steady leader who takes pride in her work and inspires others to be their best. She embodies a perfect balance of tackling complex tasks while prioritizing self-care and without seeking credit or recognition. For that reason, we would be thrilled to surprise her with this nomination and potential award. Thank you for your consideration.