By Colleen Sinsky
Last Friday JOIN celebrated our 20th Birthday. We threw an open-invite party at Westminster Presbyterian Church and got to spend the evening laughing, chatting, reflecting on the past twenty years and drinking delicious kombucha gifted by Townshends and Italian soda. Cheerity Floral Design donated some beautiful flower arrangements. A huge spread of food was prepared by our graduates of the Cusina cooking class, and we honored several people who have been instrumental in JOIN’s success. The Inspirators received the Community Engagement Award, longtime volunteer Judy Nawrocki received the Hope and Friendship Award, and Sharlene Rivers, the social worker serving Portland’s homeless community out of St Francis for decades, received the Kathleen Blake Awards.
JOIN has been so fortunate to have been surrounded by such dynamic and dedicated people. Our organization never could have had such a successful twenty years without the endless support of volunteers and community partners, a fantastic board, and “JOIN Lifers” on staff. There was a point in the timeline presentation about JOIN’s history that I got teary-eyed, realizing that I’m capable of caring so much about an organization. I’m inspired every day by the people we serve, and by my coworkers who have worked relentlessly for social justice on the streets of Portland. I’m excited to see where JOIN goes in the future, and know that we’re coming from a strong foundation that will carry us through the next twenty years and beyond. Happy Birthday JOIN!