Filling the gap:

When the community steps in to meet the need

The summer of 2016 provided some amazing and humbling examples of how community support impacts the success of Mt. Scott Learning Center and the services we are able to provide to struggling youth in the Portland area.

As explained in our “Every Student Counts” video, Mt. Scott receives just 80% of the funding allocated to students at larger traditional schools, which means we do more with less. We must fundraise or leverage the other 20 percent on our own in order to meet the needs of our high needs student population.

The majority of our budget goes directly into services for youth, with minimal funding remaining for facility maintenance, repairs, upgrades, furniture and supplies. But when community partners step in to help fill that gap, the results can truly be difference-makers.

Two great examples are the support Mt. Scott received from Catalyst Partnerships NW and volunteers from Westside Church in Beaverton. In the spring of 2016, Mt. Scott’s long-standing need to convert a previously unusable upstairs space into a useable multipurpose room once again stalled because of funding challenges. That’s when Catalyst and its executive director, Shawn Mitchell (a licensed contractor), stepped in to put his organization’s mission into action by “bringing together useful resources and caring volunteers to meet the needs of under-resourced people in our communities.”

Catalyst offered to provide a majority of the required labor for the upstairs remodel project at no cost to Mt. Scott. Immediately, the project had new life and actions were taken to prepare for starting construction in August. Catalyst then teamed with a small army of volunteers from Westside Church to complete the project over a three-week period in August of 2016.  A small sampling of photos on this page – as well as a short video donated by Sproutbox Media – shows the dramatic transformation of the school’s upstairs space (a former church balcony at Mt. Scott’s historic building in SE Portland).

Other organizations also joined in to provide in-kind contributions to the project, including Lewis & Van Fleet, Inc. (consulting engineers), Tri-County HVAC, and Wyatt Fire Protection.

Thank you Catalyst Partnerships NW, Westside Church and the other organizations and individuals highlighted in this update. Together, your acts of service and generosity are making a positive difference at Mt. Scott Learning Center and in the lives of the youth we serve.


Tom DeJardin
Executive Director