The Portland Timbers front office embraced the holiday spirit this month by partnering with adidas to support Stand Together pillar partner Portland YouthBuilders. PYB is an organization committed to helping low-income youth make long term positive change in their lives by assisting with academic, career, and leadership development. Many students at PYB are young parents between the ages of 17-24 who are working to break out of a cycle of poverty or domestic violence.
PYB students balance finishing high school with receiving vocational training in either construction or computer technology. Many enter college, apprenticeship programs or the workforce following graduation.
For this holiday season, Timbers staff members volunteered their help by picking up special holiday gift “wish” ornaments from PYB students and kids hung on a holiday tree in the team’s main lobby. The team’s employees then gathered hundreds of gifts, toys, clothes, and books while adidas donated $2000 dollars’ worth of new clothing and shoes to give to sixty PYB students and their 22 children.
“We were happy the Timbers extended an opportunity for us to include our products and our employees to help make the season brighter for the youth served by PYB and their family members,” said Patty Goffe, head of adidas America’s community affairs department.
PYB students work hard and are extremely motivated to create a better life for their kids. All of these young parents are thriving at PYB and the Timbers organization was eager to help. In fact, the first collection of wish ornaments left on the tree in the team lobby were picked up so quickly on the first day by team employees wishing to give, that a second ornament collection was needed.
“We are so impressed by the students at Portland YouthBuilders,” said Christa Thoeresz, Timbers director of community relations. “They are disciplined, hardworking and driven, and we make every effort to support the students and organization whenever possible.”
Aided by the $2000 donation from adidas, Timbers employees along with Timber Joey took the PYB wish list to the adidas Employee Store and loaded up on new clothes for the students.
“As a close friend and partner, adidas was a great teammate in our effort to bring some joy and needed items to these students and their kids,” added Thoeresz.
All of the presents and adidas gear were wrapped by team staff at JELD-WEN Field and then delivered at a special PYB party last Friday. Timber Joey, community ambassadors Mick Hoban and Scot Thompson, and adidas staff spent the morning at PYB playing games, making ornaments, and sewing hats and scarves with the students.
“I had an amazing time with the students at PYB,” said Thompson. “They took the time to help me make a new Timbers Hat and show me how to make Christmas ornaments. Even though they beat me at the game Apples to Apples, it's inspiring the work they do and I wish more people could experience the program!”
The festive cheer was evident across all three organizations—particularly with the young children at the gathering.
"[The Timbers and adidas] didn't have to do anything for us,” said one excited PYB student. “But to have them give us warm clothes—cool clothes!—and toys for the little kids was pretty awesome."
Another student piped in, "I liked how they were thoughtful enough to hang out and spend time with us, instead of just dropping things off and keeping their distance. It makes you feel good to know that they want to hang out."
The feeling was definitely mutual. “We were thrilled to be a part of their holiday,” said Thoeresz.