Catlin Gabel High School
Emma Linder, a senior at Catlin Gabel, is a student leader who is involved in a variety of activities within her home and school communities. Born in Virginia but an Oregon native, Emma has been regularly active in volunteerism and service as a way to immerse herself in the community and meet new people. Emma says she was drawn to the Blanchet House student ambassador program because she feels for the struggles and dangers people suffering from homelessness bear and she wants to attack issues and injustices head-on. Throughout high school, she has been involved in Mental Health, Feminism, and YES (youth ending slavery) clubs. In her free time, Emma can usually be found hanging out with her friends, going on runs, working in a hospital, or playing with her black lab, Olive.
Catlin Gabel High School
Peter Ye, 17, is a junior at Catlin Gabel School. He was first introduced to Blanchet House by participating in a clothing drive, but it was after participating in a sack lunch drive during the pandemic that he realized he wanted to become more involved on a regular basis. He was drawn to the ambassador program because of his interest in working with other local students and leading projects that directly impact those that are served by the Blanchet House. He plans to bring awareness to the many ways one can better the lives of the houseless and food insecure by encouraging his fellow classmates to become involved alongside him. When he’s not volunteering, Peter participates in Mock Trial, enjoys playing tennis, and cooking. His other passions involve focusing on climate change, criminal justice, and equal education.
Riverdale High School
Olivia Schallich, 15, is a sophomore at Riverdale High School. She first connected to Blanchet House by donating reusable water bottles this summer. Her desire to help others in her community only grew. After learning about the need for dog food among the houseless community, she organized a dog food drive for the Blanchet House where over 250 ziplock bags of dog food were donated. As a student ambassador, Olivia wants to help Blanchet House cultivate relations with area businesses and increase accessibility of women’s necessities for the houseless community in Portland. Outside of helping the Portland community, Olivia enjoys playing basketball and volleyball with her friends and baking delicious foods.
Wilson High School
Kate Rodgers, 15, is a sophomore at Wilson High School. Inspired by her mother, she spends most of her time volunteering at numerous places across the Portland metro area. Kate and her mom have given back to the community through volunteering at Project Lemonade, Meals on Wheels, Urban Gleaners, and a wide variety of other organizations. Most mornings, before school even starts, you will often find her volunteering. After school, Kate heads to tennis and volleyball practice. Kate enjoys spending her time traveling, going on hikes, solving math problems, and playing the piano and guitar. This year, Kate is looking forward to bringing awareness to Blanchet House and working with the other ambassadors. Kate has been volunteering at Blanchet House for three years now, and her favorite things are the people that volunteer there and the people she has the pleasure of serving.
Jamie Mack, 16, is a junior at Northwest Academy. She has been involved in dance and theater since she was 4 and now, along with volunteering at the Blanchet House, she is an editor for her school’s newspaper and the communications coordinator for her thespian troupe. As an ambassador, she realizes that this devastating pandemic has only intensified the hardships that Portland’s homeless population already faces. Jamie believes that one of the best things a person can do, especially in times of distress, is offer up their time and energy to those who need it most. Above all, Jamie is grateful for the opportunity to put others above herself by helping break the harmful stigma surrounding the homeless community. She has recently learned the value of her own inherent privileges and hopes to help others see homelessness in a different light; one driven by empathy instead of judgement.
Jesuit High School
Jack Ensminger is a Senior at Jesuit High School. Many know him as the kid who does it all: track, student government, and an overall leader in the community. He also juggles a job working at a Lake Oswego diner. As a sophomore, Jack suffered an MCL tear which put an end to his athletics for the year. However, this didn’t stop Jack from participating in something he enjoyed. Over the course of his sports hiatus, Jack took part in multiple clubs and philanthropies to pass his time. Many Jesuit students volunteer at Blanchet House, which inspired Jack to volunteer as well. As an ambassador, he hopes to start a Lettuce Eating Club and a Business Philanthropy club at his high school.
Central Catholic High School
Hannah Cooper, 17, is a senior at Central Catholic and a returning ambassador at Blanchet House. Volunteering with her grandma at the Ronald McDonald charity and Blanchet House has opened her eyes and helped her understand the importance of supporting people less fortunate than herself. Hannah is an active member of her community serving on the Student Council, Women’s Coalition, and Black Student Union as well as participating in peaceful protests in downtown Portland. Last year, Hannah planned a diversity summit at her school called Beauty Beyond Size and published an article about it in the Blanchet House newsletter. She is excited to meet the other ambassadors and work with them on more projects this year to raise awareness in our city.
Grant High School
Eleanor Matteri is a junior at Grant High School. A lover of sports, she plays both tennis and soccer for her high school as well as soccer for a local club team. Ellie began volunteering for the Blanchet house around a year ago. With the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, she became interested in educating herself on the links between systematic racism and homelessness. She recognizes the harmful stigma surrounding the houseless/homeless community and hopes to gain more insight in her year as a student ambassador. She is also the vice president for her school’s Key Club and is involved with a youth action program called “Next Up.” It should be mentioned she is a “die hard vegetarian!”
Jesuit High School
Chase Kerman, 16, is a junior at Jesuit High School. She wanted to become a student ambassador because she is very interested in social justice and has become aware of the inequalities that lie in Portland’s homeless communities. She admires and believes that the Blanchet House exemplifies compassion, hope, and care, and she is excited about becoming more involved in their work. As a student ambassador, she wants to initiate change by listening to the perspectives of those who have been marginalized. She is grateful to be given the opportunity and space to voice her ideas and opinions in order to take action and enact change.
Roosevelt High School
Alexia Valdez, 17, is a senior at Roosevelt High School. She wanted to become a student ambassador because community service has always been very important to her. While growing up, Alexia was taught to always give extra help to those in need and to seize any opportunity she had to help others. She appreciates how Blanchet House helps all people and noticed that, in her school, there has been some discrimination against certain racial groups and those who may need some extra help financially. She hopes that by working with the Blanchet House, she can help bring awareness to certain topics like racial justice and economic inequality, both of which are prominent in her community.