Hello everyone! My name is Alannah Clay, and I am a rising senior, double majoring in Social Work and Psychology. This summer, I am interning with an organization called Because People Matter (BPM) located in Portland, Oregon. BPM’s mission statement is “Loving People Because People Matter.” How fitting of a statement during this unique time for all of us.
BPM is an organization that exists to develop and sustain relational environments that create movement within groups and individuals to demonstrate love and generosity lived out in the world. BPM creates relational environments that provide Relief, Mobilization, and Transformation. The core value they believe in is that people should feel known, that they matter, and that they are loved. BPM has three types of humanitarian services: Night Strike, Transformation Trips, and BTown Kids.
- Night Strike is a unique opportunity for people to spend time under the Burnside Bridge every Thursday night to love people because people matter; especially our homeless community.
- Transformation Trips are an opportunity for people around the United States to come and partner with BPM to do service, peel back layers of stereotypes, judgements and fear as people learn more about Portland’s most marginalized population and how we can break down the barriers between us.
- BTown Kids is a space where children and families develop community and capacity through encouragement, relationship, and fun.
All of these humanitarian services are important for our Portland community, but due to the coronavirus pandemic a lot of these services had to be put on a hold and had to be changed in a creative manner.
Due to circumstances, I had to return home to Salt Lake City, Utah, and with that BPM and I had to change my internship from being in person to remote. What that entailed for me was I still had the incredible opportunity to serve my community at home through various non-profit organizations that work with the homeless community; like Volunteers of America, Utah Food Bank, Utah Community Actions, and Salt Lake City Mission. These non-profit organizations worked hard to still provide food, housing, clothing, hygiene products and various materials that people need during this unprecedented time. These organizations showed that they love people because they saw that people matter. Through safety and various precautions, they were able to think creatively on how to still involve volunteers in their help of making sure that those in the most marginalized communities are still getting what they need.
Through BPM, I was able to be involved in their leadership development through our zoom staff meetings, as they believe that their interns should come in and leave with a new sense of what it means to be a leader. I could go on and on of what I learned, but one big take away I got from my training was how to be a creator. Being a creator means always remembering to be playful even when times are tough. That not everything will go as planned, and we need to come up with creative ways to still serve our communities. BPM did this through partnering with other local non-profit organizations to pass out sack lunches, hygiene products, and masks to those in the most marginalized community.
I am very grateful and fortunate to have had the opportunity to intern with BPM and my local non-profit organizations in Utah, as these are hard times for everyone but when we come together and serve our communities we are reminding ourselves that we are loving people because people matter.