Timber Joey, Stand Together Week, Portland Youth Builders
Photo by L.M. Parr

Stand Together Week has far reaching impact across Portland

Close to 1,000 community volunteers, including 80 members of the Portland Timbers staff, coaches and players came together for Stand Together Week last week, donating over 1,400 hours of service to the Portland community. Stand Together Week is the first of its kind, not only in Portland, but nationwide.

The City of Portland declared October 8-14 Stand Together Week as “a call to action by the City, the Portland Timbers, and our community partners to inspire people to give back through community service,” and what a call to action it was.

If you break down the 1,400 hours' worth of donated time, that's thirty-five 40-hour work weeks or, to put it another way, nearly nine months' worth of work.

The Timbers worked with Hands On Greater Portland to organize the weeklong event with over 35 local non-profit organizations. Hands On Greater Portland, an organization that supports volunteerism and works to ensure that everyone has the chance to make a difference in their community.

“I think this is a really unique opportunity for the Timbers and the sponsors of the event to really step up and let the community know that they value service and giving back,” said Lydia Cox, program director for Hands On Greater Portland. “The Portland Timbers are really going out of the box to try to lift up service and make it a part of their players, employees and all of their fans.”

Patty Goffe, a member of the Portland Timbers Community Fund Advisory Board, volunteered with AC Portland at Parklane Elementary School on behalf of adidas. “It’s really exciting when I think there’s a lot of people in the community that want to get out and volunteer and maybe don’t know exactly how, so when an organization as visible and as well-loved as the Timbers can bring people together and offer these opportunities, I think it’s really great,” she said.

Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters Northwest and spoke about the bond between the team the community.

“It’s important to show that we’re not just athletes but also positive, productive members of the community,” he said. “They show us ongoing support and with events like these we’re able to show them the same support that they show us. It matters to have these events in the community to show that we have more to offer [to our community] than just what we do on the field.”

Tonia Kovtunovich, associate director of development at Portland YouthBuilders (PYB), works with young men and women between the ages of 17 and 24 who have dropped out of high school. PYB is an accredited high school that helps their students earn diplomas. At PYB students are taught the importance of service and learn skills that are transferable for higher education or the work force.

“Having others come and volunteer beside them is huge for them. The fact that other people are paying attention to them and that they’re getting positive reinforcement from the community is huge,” added Kovtunovich.

Though Stand Together Week was an ambitious endeavor, it also speaks volumes about not only the Timbers, sponsors and individual volunteers, but the Portland community as a whole, says Hands On’s Cox.

“Portland is number two in the nation as far as volunteerism, behind Minneapolis/St. Paul. I think being second in the nation for the amount of service that our community gives back says a lot about our values,” she said. “I think that the support we see for Stand Together Week shows that Portlanders want to give back and have fun. Stand Together Week is all about bringing people together around a common value of having a positive impact on the community.”