Portland, OR. Empowering families to find health, healing, happiness, and wholeness was the theme of the Black Parent Initiative first ever ‘Circle of Hope’ Dinner. Nichole & Ezell Watson attended the benefit on February 22nd at Hilton Portland Downtown. The heart-warming display of support for Black parents had a live auction and exciting program to celebrate the work and progress of black families.

First Circle of Hope dinner and live auction, contribution’s went directly to support the critical work of three programs: Parent University, Together We Can (TWC), and Black Family Resource Center. All programs are built upon three core values: culturally specific programming, empowerment, and family health and well-being. (Photo credit, Naim Hasan)

Valarie Pearce

Wienta Mebrahtu, Kimberly Porter

Chuck Smith

Kelly Russell, Chabre Vickers

Parent University, including the annual Parent Symposium, provides classes and community experiences for families to strengthen home-based literacy support, culturally specific parent skill development, and parent advocacy on behalf of their children. TWC provides relationship-based intensive home visiting and group services for families with young children focused on safety, stability, parenting, social connections, and personal growth and consciousness. The Black Family Resource Center is a space for parents to find culturally specific information, resources, books, and personal growth opportunities to improve the lives of their families and children.

From Black Parent Initiative:

Thank you to our staff, our volunteers and speakers. Thank you to Chabre Vickers for acting as an incredible emcee and Alonzo Chadwick for sharing your family’s story and your musical talents. Thank you to Asia Greene for ending the night with an incredible powerful spoken word piece.

And of course, thank you to our sponsors, Uber, Coca-Cola, Multnomah County Health Department, Pepsi, Providence Health & Services, The Standard and all of our Table Hosts.

We couldn’t do what we do without you. All of you. Thank you for joining our circle of hope. There is a bright future ahead for BPI, and we’re grateful to have your partnership.

About The Black Parent Initiative:

The Black Parent Initiative (BPI) was established in 2006 to help families achieve financial, educational and spiritual success. BPI was founded and organized on  a large body of educational research that demonstrates the importance of parental and family engagement in attaining educational success for children.

The original premise was to engage Black parents and caregivers utilizing historically predominant Black churches as the organizing place, based on the notion that the missing link was Black families’ absence from conversations around education reform. Through community feedback, research, and experience, BPI’s approach has evolved to its current state. BPI is currently the only culturally specific organization in Portland focused solely on supporting low/moderate income parents as a vehicle for enhancing the lives of Black youth. Our programs- Together We Can (TWC), Parent University, and Black Family Resource Center- are based in a large body of research that shows children are more likely to succeed in learning, life, and realizing their dreams when supported by stable, and engaged adults.

Our unique approach is to improve the lives of Portland’s Black and multi-ethnic children by focusing on optimal health, cultural identity development, parent education, and ensuring parents and caregivers have the resources to ensure children succeed. We provide a range of services including parent coaching, parent training, and education. We have a history of working with parents of young children seeking reunification from foster care, preventing their child’s removal from the home, or navigating a moderate crisis in the home. BPI strategically partners with parents to improve parents’ job prospects, secure stable housing, access health care, enhance parenting success, and promote family stability.


BPI provides culturally specific programming to transform the lives of families and children.  Parents and children who have a strong sense of identity can achieve their dreams.  We assist parents and caregivers in strengthening their involvement in the lives of their children so their dreams can be realized.

Culturally Specific Programming

Program designs and services that are explicitly built upon, and connected to the cultural values and traditions of Black and African people. Programming that is designed to preserve and instill historical values that contribute to optimal health and well-being, and reorder, change, or greatly modify behaviors or practices that are harmful/detrimental.  The structure and design of the program illuminates and promotes the positive cultural and racial identity of Black people. (adapted from Madeleine Leininger’s definition of Culturally Specific Interventions, 2002)

Parent University

Experience – promoting parent engagement in education and literacy

Educate – home-based support for improved child reading and comprehension

Equip – cultivating parent advocates

Empower – mobilizing parent advocates

Together We Can

Intensive Home Visiting- relationship-based; focus on safety, stability, and personal growth

Home Visiting with Group Services (Ubuntu)- personal growth, consciousness, and connection

Home Visiting with Community Engagement- optimal health promotion and community connection

Black Family Resource Center

Providing information, direct support, materials, educational experiences, and community connections to promote optimal health.

  • Intellectual

  • Emotional

  • Physical

  • Spiritual

  • Socio-Economic

  • Relationship

“To step back to tradition is the first step forward.”
Mali Proverb