Portland, OR. The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO) is holding its ninth-annual “Catio” Tour in September. “Catio” is a portmanteau of “cat” and “patio,” which describes outdoor enclosures for pet cats to climb and play in safely, without risk of the animal escaping. To adjust to pandemic restrictions, FCCO has converted the tour to include both in-person observation and virtual self-guided tours of this year’s selections around the Portland metro area.
Catios come in all shapes and sizes, often containing ramps to climb, perches to rest on, and toys to play with. Following a year when many spent extensive time at home working on DIY projects, the trend of creating safe outdoor spaces for cat recreation has increased in popularity.
After many submissions, the nonprofit has selected all Portland-based catios to showcase. Registration for the event is now open here, for all interested in watching cats explore innovative constructions designed for their leisure. The 2021 Catio Tour event will take place on September 11th, 2021. The in-person self-guided tour is $10 and virtual tour access is $15.
The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon has already announced that the event will be happening in 2022, and invites all catio creators to prepare for application. The FCCO has posted additional information online detailing what catios are and can be, as well as a list of resources for Portland residents interested in having their own catio. The list includes Portland-area construction businesses that design and build catios, as well as information and instructions for those who wish to build their catios independently, from scratch.
The 2021 Catio Tour event comes as part of a partnership with Portland Audobon society, as part of their Cats Safe At Home campaign, which aims to “reduce the number of cats living outdoors in the Portland metropolitan area in a humane and environmentally responsible manner.” Catios can assist with this initiative by providing outdoor time to pet cats, while ensuring safety from outdoor hazards, protecting wildlife from cat predation, and preventing cats from running away from their owners.
From The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon:
The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon is a Portland-based nonprofit that offers spay and neuter services to Oregon and SW Washington. Their services are free for feral, stray, and barn cats, but unfortunately due to the pandemic, The FCCO is unable to offer cheap services to pet cats as they usually would. In addition to spay/neuter services, the organization also coordinates a “kitten caboose” program which has successfully relocated over 1,300 feral kittens into adopted homes. You can support the Feral Cat Coalition in its mission of housing cats, and keeping them safely off the streets on its website.
Portland, OR. As Oregon reopens, one activity Oregonians are eagerly anticipating is the return of concerts and live music. The Portland nonprofit, Friends of Noise is a local organization making a return of live music possible, and accessible for anybody who wants to get involved. It provides sound equipment to performers, hosting free age-inclusive shows, and helping creative youth navigate the local music scene. Now starting its summer 2021 season, the nonprofit has a fresh slate of performances and events to bring the joy of communal music experiences back to Portland youth, including a dance battle, hip hop cypher performance, and multiple outdoor concert events for youth artists.
Friends of Noise provides programs, workshops, and other professional development opportunities for teens and young adults to gain experience with sound equipment, and performing so they are more prepared to navigate the music industry.
An integral core foundation to Friends of Noise is the belief that getting young performers and audience members involved in music is essential to the growth of the local and global music community.
The nonprofit offers a variety of services to support Portland’s musically-oriented youth, including professional development workshops providing skills for involvement in the music industry, paid opportunities for youth musicians to perform, and offering sound equipment services for independent, youth-organized concerts, teaching those interested how to operate such equipment and offering youth paid opportunities for work with sound technology. According to Friends of Noise executive director André Middleton, the nonprofit’s mission is to “facilitate healing and growth in the community” for Portland youth artists, with a focus on BIPOC individuals.
Middleton admits that the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for Friends Of Noise, with the nonprofit completely halting operations like most other businesses at its start. However, the organization still found ways to utilize its services mid-pandemic to further its commitment to justice by providing sound equipment to local Black Lives Matter protests and marches to “lift up the voices of the unheard.” Friends of Noise even helped host a BLM protest event on labor day 2020 in Portland’s Cathedral Park, providing and setting up sound equipment for speakers.
Middleton says that his organization’s greatest challenge of the pandemic has been the recruitment of new youth performers and sound technicians to work with, stating that reconnecting with the musical youth of Portland is the current “highest priority” for Friends of Noise. Thankfully, they were still able to support independent young musicians of Portland through the pandemic by recording isolated performances in various Portland music venues from a wide range of talented youth, editing them, and uploading these performances to the Friends of Noise Youtube channel as part of their “Friends of Noise TV” series.
Here’s a video from ‘Friends of Noise TV’:
Behind the scenes photo depicting the filming of a live performance by Arietta Ward/”Mz. Etta” at Jack London Revue for the Friends of Noise TV YouTube concert series.
Middleton says what he was most excited for about the return of live music, but for Friends of Noise, concerts have been back for a while as they have done sound equipment for and hosted a series of concerts for youth artists in parks around Portland, following COVID safety procedures such that youth could still gather, connecting to both music and one another, safely. He is most eagerly anticipating the Friends of Noise Summer Jam being held for free at Oregon Contemporary on July 11th from 6-10pm, where the organization will be hosting a variety of talented young performers. Middleton also noted that he is currently working with a youth graphic designer in a paid opportunity to create a poster for the event, highlighting his organization’s commitment to uplifting creative youth and getting them involved in as many ways as possible.
Middleton hopes support for Friends of Noise will take off this summer in comparison to last year, as the organization has its eyes set on a large, yet important project— the creation of a free, youth-led, all-ages, all-inclusive space for performances, music, workshops. and creativity as part of public housing in Northeast Portland. He expressed disappointment in the fact that Portland currently has no all-ages, youth-inclusive concert spaces, and hopes to change that by saving the organization’s funds and donations to establish the community center.
More information about Friends of Noise can be found at the nonprofit’s website, friendsofnoise.org. Here, supporters of FON’s mission can find times and locations for all of the organization’s upcoming events mentioned in this article and many more. Further, readers can donate funds through the website via posted PayPal, Venmo, and Cashapp to help make André Middleton’s dream of an youth led and focused, all-inclusive community concert center a reality— one which places the importance of creative expression above alcohol sales.
Portland, OR. The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Hope Reigns’ and organizers are encouraging local businesses to decorate their buildings and storefronts. It’s the second year with modified activities. In 2020 some aspects of the festival were similar to the past, like the crowning of Queen Anya Anand seen above, but organizers explain, “Oregon isn’t quite ready yet for big outdoor events, and the health and safety of our community is still our top priority. The Rose Festival has been here for more than a century despite many challenges and will be here when Oregon is ready for big outdoor events again as we start down the runway to the traditional Rose Festival in 2022.”
Click here for a link to a festival website event list. Programming like the Court and Porch Parade will continue this May & June 2021. This year, with Portland businesses hit especially hard from the pandemic and social unrest, the Festival is reaching back to the time when all of Portland turned out with Rose Festival-themed floral decorations. Businesses are once again being encouraged to decorate a front door, window or even building face. The Portland Rose Festival will produce an online map with the locations, so the public can walk, bike, or drive around, and share in the celebration.
The Rose Festival Porch Parade celebration runs from May 31 through June 13, 2021. (Registration is now open at this website on the Porch Parade page.) The Rose Festival Porch Parade celebration runs from May 31 through June 13, 2021. (Registration is now open at this website on the Porch Parade page.)
The Rose Festival’s Parading in Place concept wasn’t only popular in Portland, festivals across the country picked up the idea in: San Antonio, Detroit, New Orleans, Mobile, Alabama, and Washington D.C. to name just a few.
Themes for the 2021 Rose Festival Porch Parade honoring the Rose Festival’s three traditional parades include The Grand Floral, the Starlight, and the Junior parades. Porch designers are encouraged to pull out their seasonal Christmas lights and create a multi-themed concept with a Grand Floral Parade or Junior Parade in daylight hours, and a Starlight Parade theme by night. Porch Parade designers are not limited to Rose Festival themes and are encouraged to create their own family-friendly fun ideas to share with the greater Festival community.
In 2020, the Porch Parade encouraged people to decorate outside their homes.
Last year, dignitaries formed a procession to tour selected homes.
From The Rose Festival:
The Portland Rose Festival Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that serves families and individuals with programs and events that promote the arts, education and volunteerism. We value environmental responsibility, diversity, patriotism and our historic & floral heritage.
Portland, OR. Poison Waters (on left, posing with Tracy Curtis) will take her enthusiasm online this year for the ‘Our House’ Virtual Gala. Organizers encourage supporters to step back in time and tune in for an MTV-esque online event set in the ‘80s. The free benefit on Feb. 20th offers an opportunity to support the organization which provides healthcare, housing, and other vital services to people in the Portland community living with HIV. The nonprofit started in 1988.
Dana Kinney, Director of Development and Communications, explains the decision behind the 80s’ themed virtual gala, “Since, Our House came to life in the eighties, we decided this would be a really fun year to do a flashback to the eighties and talk about how we’ve come, how we progressed, how our community has stood by us and how that was reflected in the height of the AIDS epidemic, but also at the height of the COVID pandemic.”
Kinney recognizes that the AIDS epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic are very different in who is affected and how both communities are impacted differently, but the need for help and support has not changed.
“We’ve been fortunate enough that our community of supporters and donors have really stepped up tremendously to give us so much more than we could imagine during a pandemic to ensure that the most vulnerable keep getting supported,” Kinney explains.
Johnna Wells and Carrie Welch speak to guests at the Hopelessly Devoted to Our House Gala from 2019. This year’s virtual gala speaker will be Dale Johannes.
There will also be a virtual auction that opens on Feb. 12 at 8 am and closes on Feb. 20 at 9 pm. Once the auction opens, each package will be available to view and attendees can bid as often and as much as they like. Some auction packages include the following: beach vacations, mountain vacations, a hot tub boat in Seattle, nature tours, and art/wine tours.
There is also a chance to win two roundtrip Alaska Airlines ticket vouchers for $80. There are only 200 raffle tickets available and the winner will be announced during the live stream on Feb. 20.
Prizes are not the only thing to look forward to either. With previous in-person events, the organization has offered catering services which have also seen a significant impact from the pandemic. In order to ensure that attendees still have the full virtual experience, there will still be a catering service from Vibrant Table who has partnered with Our House before. Make sure to RSVP for the event and order food ahead to have it ready by clicking the link here.
Participants bid on auction items at the 2019 Hopelessly Devoted to Our House Gala. Auction items are still available with the event being virtual this year.
The live stream event is going to be really fun Kinney explains, “I would love for anyone who is either familiar or just learning about Our House or has no idea who we are, to tune in and just learn about us and see what we’re doing for the community and whether it’s as their one time that they’re watching and learning about us, or if they want to learn more, they can get ahold of us or even volunteer.”
From Our House website: Our House inspires people with HIV to LIVE WELL. Our House provides integrated health and housing services to people with HIV/AIDS. Guided by compassion, collaboration, and respect, we provide 24-hour specialized care, supportive services, and independent housing with support services.
Our House Core Values:
Compassion for those most in need was the reason we founded Our House and it continues to be our guiding value.
Collaboration at Our House builds relationships by sharing resources and expertise in the community to serve our clients.
Our House Respects the dignity, spirit, worth, needs, and rights of everyone we touch.
Our House maintains a Resourceful staff, stable finances, and effective programs through innovative and responsive action.
Our House Empowers clients to optimize the quality of life in a safe and accepting environment.
Portland, OR. The 2020 Oregon wildfire season was one of the most destructive on record in the state of Oregon; more than one million acres of forestry burned taking homes as well. In response to the fires, Oregon Parks Forever set a goal of raising funds to plant one million trees. Currently, funding and planning are in the early stages with a goal of beginning to replant trees this Fall at the earliest.
Seth Miller, Executive Director of Oregon Parks Forever, touches on the benefits of replanting trees, “Why should we replant after a fire? Trees provide the very necessities of life. They clear our air, protect our drinking water, create healthy communities and feed our souls. Our forests provide critical wildlife habitat, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities. They sequester carbon and help reduce soil erosion by stabilizing slopes and preventing landslides.”
According to Miller, Oregon fires this past summer was more than twice the amount of damage the state has experienced in recent years.
Depending on how much money is raised and after determining the greatest need and potential impact, Oregon Parks Forever will work with the following agencies and county departments:
Public land managers from the US Forest Service
Oregon Department of Forestry
Bureau of Land Management
Oregon Parks & Recreation
County park departments in Clackamas, Marion, Lane, and Jackson counties
More than 1 million acres of forest in Oregon burned this past summer.
By planting these trees, Oregon Parks Forever aims to have the highest impact of visual benefits as well as recreational. According to Miller, U.S. Route 22 between Salem to Bend has one of the highest burn areas and will be a high priority area.
This comes at a time where budgets of public land managers are already stressed due to ongoing funding challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic according to Miller. There are a number of promotional events going on currently, including a promotion for Oregon Parks Forever with KGW TV for the next couple of months.
Promotions with other TV stations will also occur later this Spring along with a co-branding deal with a winery, brewery, and cidery in the summertime. To help raise the funds needed in order to complete the goal of one million trees the organization is in need of donations.
From the Oregon Parks Forever website:
There are currently three ways to help donate:
Use this link to the Oregon Parks Forever website to make a donation
Send a TEXT to 41444 with the message REPLANT
Use your Smartphone camera at this QR code below
Currently, there are no volunteer opportunities available at this early stage but keep an eye out for Oregon Parks Forever monthly newsletter with the most current updates on the project. Use this link to access the Wildfire Impact Panel video recording that Oregon Parks Forever held on Nov. 17, 2020, about the fires. The passcode for the recording is: trees4parks!
Our mission is to raise funds to enhance and preserve special places and experiences in Oregon’s parks, now and for generations to come, and to encourage and promote an outdoor lifestyle.
Portland, OR. Portland Rose Festival Foundation has elected Dave Todd (pictured with his grandson, Henry) as the new president for a two-year term. Todd is a retired Navy Captain (Reserve) and recently retired from a 33-year career as a university-level teacher. Todd plans on leading a group of board members into the new year of 2021 with the theme “Hope Reigns” for the Portland Rose Festival.
Todd shared his thoughts on the transition into the new year, “All of us feel a sense of loss as we look back on the year that spun out of control and changed our Festival so dramatically. Even so, those of us who work and volunteer for the Festival remain grateful that we are privileged to be a part of the world’s best Festival. The pay-forward for that privilege is we must do everything we can to make sure that the Festival does what it needs to do whenever people are able to return to it. We want the Festival always to be an escape, a celebration, and not a reminder of what was lost.”
“Hope Reigns” 2021 Portland Rose Festival Theme
Todd also served as a Rose Festival Director for 31 years where he worked on a wide variety of committees, held all but one of the Foundation’s elective offices, and chaired multiple committees including seven terms as Chair of the Fleet Committee.
Secretary Dr. Thompson Faller – University of Portland (Retired)
Treasurer Bill Poppino – Corporate Airline Pilot
Assistant Treasurer Dayna Kirk – The Standard
The Festival board has also elected three new directors for 2021 including Steve Welch, a Senior Mortgage Banker with Guild Mortgage Company and member of the Rose Festival Clowns. Tragically on Jan. 3, 2021, Welch passed away due to a non- COVID illness.
Welch was well respected by the Rose Festival staff and volunteers not only for his wonderful antics as a member of the Festival’s clown family but as an incredibly warm and compassionate person.
The elected 2021 Directors include:
Tamara (Tam) Allison – Associate Financial Analyst at Portland General Electric
Steven Welch – Senior Mortgage Banker with Guild Mortgage Company (deceased)
Mary Abbott Young – Realtor with Coldwell Banker
Looking forward, Todd speaks on health and continuing the tradition of the Portland Rose Festival, “The health of our community and our friends around the world remains the most important thing. The Portland Rose Festival is here to stay. We continue to plan for a Rose Festival celebration when conditions allow.”
From Portland Rose Festival website: The Portland Rose Festival Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that serves families and individuals with programs and events that promote the arts, education, and volunteerism. We value environmental responsibility, diversity, patriotism, and our historic & floral heritage.
Portland, OR. You could find your next Christmas gift at the Arts Council of Lake Oswego Holiday Marketplace. It showcases work from over 30 local artists including fine art, wood, ceramics, jewelry, handmade gifts, ornaments, textiles, confections, accessories, and more. The Holiday Marketplace is open for in-person, online, and curbside pickup shopping from Nov 28 to Dec 30.
During the two-week freeze that started on Nov 18th by order of Oregon Gov Kate Brown, the Holiday Marketplace is able to still offer in-person shopping with a lowered capacity that is limited to ten people including employees.
“I think what’s great about it is that we still are able to offer some sort of in-person shopping experience and from artists who are local,” Executive Director, Nicole Nathan, said. “So, while it may look a little bit different, we’re still able to offer the same core [values] at the heart of what we do and support our artists while also supporting the artistic community in Lake Oswego.”
The 2019 Holiday Marketplace.
In its fourth year, the Holiday Marketplace is one of the only in-person local gatherings of artists for the Portland and Lake Oswego area. Purchases directly benefit the artists and community-enriching programming of the Arts Council and this year the Holiday Marketplace can be found at the ARTspace Gallery.
For those who would like to stay local and stay safe while shopping, an online option will be available for the first time due to COVID-19 coinciding with the opening day of the Holiday Marketplace on Nov 28. The online shopping platform won’t feature everything from the gallery, instead, a few pieces of work from this years’ artists will be available to browse.
Nathan believes that this will be a good option for those who either live far away or might be sheltering place, because of travel restrictions, since they might not be able to come by in person. The online Holiday Marketplace will be able to reach those from further afield and still be able to enjoy some work, by local artists, or artists who they love and have seen before.
Some of the artwork offered at the Holiday Marketplace last year.
With restrictions in place, the Holiday Marketplace will look different this year with fewer wearables such as clothing and textiles. Vendors will also be further spread out to adhere to the six-foot guidelines. With the few pieces of clothing that are offered those will be disinfected between each visitor among other extra precautions.
ARTspace Gallery is taking all the safety precautions for a safe visit including:
Face masks are required to visit
Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the gallery
Safe distance decals and public capacity are enforced
Sanitizing and cleaning after visitors
Contact-tracing – provide information where the public can check-in
Requesting people to stay home if not feeling well
According to Nathan, “We have an incredible number of artists who’ve been with us in past years and some new work as well. There’s some beautiful work, that you can get for yourself or your loved ones; It’s really in great support of not only our artists but helps support the arts council throughout the year.”
From the Arts Council of Lake Oswego website: The Arts Council of Lake Oswego works to ensure that arts are an integral part of life in our community, now and into the future.
Portland, OR. For the past 35 years, Literary Arts has built a community around literature, books, and storytelling. A yearly highlight was the Portland Book Festival, pictured above. This year due to COVID-19 the nonprofit is moving its annual Portland Book Festival online where people can attend for free.
Up until this year, Portland Book Festival was a one-day event that drew about 9,000 attendees. Now participants will have access to the event over the course of two weeks from Nov. 5 to Nov. 21. There will be more than 100 authors, writing classes, and book events of all genres for kids, teens, and adults to explore.
The festival will also feature an exhibitor fair and writing classes for adults/youth that will be accessible online. Pop-up readings have also been filmed at the Portland Art Museum and are being offered digitally as well.
Holman Wang, a writer of children’s books, sits with a fan from the 2019 Portland Book Festival.
Festival Director, Amanda Bullock speaks on the Portland Book Festival going virtual, “The festival strives to offer something for every kind of reader and offers a diverse lineup of authors from exciting new voices to literary superstars. I really hope that the virtual festival throws the doors open even wider and that more folks get a chance to be a part of the festival.”
According to Andrew Proctor, Executive Director of Literary Arts, before going virtual there would be roughly 200-300 volunteers to help with the festival; however, the new digital format this year is not conducive to volunteer opportunities.
Although the Portland Book Festival is different this year, according to Bullock, she hopes the event will be a chance to discover parts of the festival they otherwise might not have before.
Attendees walk around the 2019 Portland Book Festival looking at the different vendors.
Volunteer opportunities may not be available for the 2020 Portland Book Festival, but there are other volunteer positions available on the Literary Arts website. One virtual opportunity is to become a college essay mentor to junior and senior high school students where a majority are first-generation applicants to college. Check out more about the volunteer opportunities here.
Portland, OR. For many families, the current pandemic has made trick-or-treating impossible, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get in the Halloween spirit like the ring-tailed lemur pictured above. During the Oregon Zoo‘s annual Howloween festivities, kids can show off their costumes and learn about wildlife in a fun and safe setting. The event takes place on Oct. 24th–25th and Oct. 29th–Nov. 1st. Reserved tickets are required.
“Like everything else, Halloween will look a little different this time around, but we’re still going to have a good time,” zoo events manager Nikki Simmons said. “We’ve got fun things planned for both kids and animals.”
A red panda plays with a pumpkin on Howloween.
A scavenger hunt around the zoo teaches kids about wildlife and throughout the day, guests can watch as animals enjoy holiday-themed treats like jack-o’-lanterns stuffed with snacks. Activities are free with zoo admission and treat bags are available for an additional fee of $3 per participant. In keeping with the zoo’s mission, Howloween aims to be educational as well as fun, and all the treats come from companies that are committed to using deforestation-free palm oil. Learn more about palm oil and how consumer choices impact animals around the world.
A river otter and a pumpkin.
To help ensure a safe experience for all, the following measures will be in place during this year’s Howloween:
All costumes must include masks that cover the nose and mouth.
Howloween participants must purchase pre-filled treat bags that can be collected at the end of their scavenger hunt instead of collecting candy throughout the zoo. Treat bags are $3 each and are available for purchase online.
All tickets must be purchased in advance, in timed-entry segments. Because of the capacity restrictions, even infants need to be counted. Infants are free with a paid adult admission but must have a ticket.
Items like treat-filled pumpkins are part of the Oregon Zoo’s world-renowned environmental enrichment program, which helps animals stay active and mentally engaged. It was at the Oregon Zoo in the 1980s that the concept of environmental enrichment was established. The first international animal enrichment conference was held at the Oregon Zoo in 1993, producing the book Second Nature, co-edited by former Oregon Zoo deputy conservation manager Dr. David Shepherdson and Dr. Jill Mellen, a member of the zoo’s animal welfare committee.
The Oregon Zoo says “Bring your costumed kids to Howloween for treats and safe fun!”
From the Oregon Zoo website: The mission of the Oregon Zoo Foundation is to foster community pride and involvement in the Oregon Zoo and to secure financial support for the zoo’s conservation, education and animal welfare programs. We work with individual donors, corporations and community organizations that share our dedication to creating a better future for wildlife.
Portland, OR. Unlike many nonprofits, online operations are no new challenge for BACKBONES. This organization provides support and education for people with spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D). In-person meetups like that pictured above have been replaced by monthly peer-to-peer chats. The BACKBONES team already worked remotely, according to Executive Director Reveca Torres. They have successfully continued their online-based leadership program and boosted attendance for their monthly virtual meet-up group PeerConnect.
PeerConnect provides a space for people with SCI/D to take their minds off their worries and build relationships. Program Coordinator Shannon Kelly chooses conversational topics and activities for the group. Lately, numbers have grown. “At first, it was just a few people, and now we’ve had a consistent number of attendees,” says Torres. On September 19th, PeerConnect will host a discussion on managing mental health during COVID.
The BACKBONES Leaders Program also took place over video call pre-pandemic. As a result, social distancing and shelter-in-place orders were not major obstacles. The Leaders Program prepares individuals with SCI/D to advocate for others, be civically aware, and serve as role models. On October 22nd, BACKBONES will host a virtual celebration of this year’s participants and discuss plans for next year.
Before the pandemic, backbones created events and experiences that promote awareness and engage people of all abilities.
Despite BACKBONES’s preparedness, COVID did introduce new challenges for the organization. Many have turned to BACKBONES for help managing their healthcare mid-pandemic: for example, providing protective equipment for in-home caregivers. The nonprofit’s board had to cancel some in-person events. Economic hardships have made donations slow down. Also, some in the SCI/D community also feel an added layer of anxiety due to talks of ‘medical rationing.’ “Society doesn’t see disabled lives as valuable often,” Torres explains. “There’s this fear that, if it comes to rationing medical care, that people with disabilities would be at the bottom of that.”
Discussions of bias in medicine and disability rights intertwine with subjects like racism and policing. The Black Lives Matter movement continues to shed light on these topics and encourage solidarity between marginalized groups. “It’s been nice to see that disabled voices have been included. A large number of people with disabilities are victims of police brutality,” says Torres, citing officers’ frequent inability to communicate with autistic, deaf, and mentally ill people.
However, the intersection between racial justice and disabled rights gives Torres hope. According to her: “Everything that’s going on — with COVID, with BLM, with all the issues really — it’s bringing to the surface different issues we all face at the same time and if we work together we can make change in a more efficient way.”
From BACKBONES’s website: BACKBONES exists to help people with spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D) and their families connect with their communities. We do that by creating events and experiences that promote awareness and engage people of all abilities.
BACKBONES was born when friends and family of Reveca Torres started a fundraising campaign in order to help pay for medical expenses after a spinal cord injury. Surrounded by great people, Reveca realized the importance of a support system to help reach one’s goals after an injury and the impact others with similar injuries had — they provided motivation and confidence that couldn’t be found elsewhere.
With the support and guidance of so many, Reveca Torres and co-founders Veronica Gott, Patricia Mikicic and Annie Gonzalez put a long-time goal into motion and transformed BACKBONES into what it is today: a place to connect with others with the purpose of learning, teaching, and sharing.
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