In4All Possibilities event connects attendees to the mission and to each other

Kimberly Howard shares her story of encountering racial issues and the systemic barriers students face

Kimberly Howard shares her story of encountering racial issues and the systemic barriers students face

One year ago, we revealed our new name at the annual stakeholder event at Tektronix and we’ve never looked back. The In4All name is now firmly rooted in our identity as we focus on mobilizing the community to create limitless possibilities for students who have been historically underserved.

Many of those community members attended our annual event, now known as Possibilities, on October 10 to celebrate the successful transition. The crowd included members of industry, education, foundations, and community organizations, some of whom have been involved for years and others who are just learning about us.

Alicia Hollar of Digimarc, one of our business partners, was really looking forward to the event this year. “Coming to Possibilities this year reminded me that I am part of a larger community that is making the same commitment to students that we are,” said Alicia. “Being here refreshes and excites me for the work that lies ahead this school year.”

Alicia and the other attendees heard from three speakers who emphasized the shared responsibility we have as a community. In4All Executive Director, Elaine Charpentier Philippi, took us on a journey that started with three business partners and a group of educators who worked together to create STEM Connect in 2013.

“Daimler Trucks North America, IBM and Vernier Software & Technology have been there since the beginning,” said Elaine. “Their collaboration with teachers and schools defined our unique model for co-creating programs which guides our thinking today.”

Elaine described how business and education partners worked closely together to develop and pilot the new middle school program that uses a design-thinking process to solve community problems. Initial results have shown the program increases student interest, school attendance, and classroom engagement – all key indicators of success.

She also previewed a high school program In4All piloted the past two summers where a teacher from east Portland worked with a team of students to tackle a real-life project for a business. The approach not only enhances the student sense of belonging in industry and future career plans, but it is having a profound impact on the adults involved.

Possibilities attendees were also treated to a keynote speech from Kimberly Howard, Education Initiatives at PGE and vice chair of the Oregon Department of Education board of directors. Kimberly shared her story of growing up in a supportive family and community as a black female only to encounter challenges professionally when issues of race started showing up.

She sees that happening today with our students of color whose world is shaped by language and behavior that presents barriers they must navigate. Barriers their white peers do not. They are more likely to receive discipline referrals, suspensions and expulsions than their white counterparts regardless of their abilities. Kimberly believes In4All is on the right path in addressing those systemic barriers and creating opportunities for students of color.

The event was concluded by Matt Ringer, In4All Board Chair and representative from Cambia Health Solutions, who shared his personal reasons for being involved and asked others to join him in financially supporting the mission. We are very grateful to the individuals and companies that made donations to help us pursue a $50,000 match from the Niemeyer Family Foundation. If you would like to help us reach our goal for the match, you can donate online here.

We are humbled by the support of everyone who attended the Possibilities event and hope every attendee will take an even greater sense of purpose back to their communities. Together, we can create limitless possibilities for students who have been historically underserved. We’re In4All!

Staff Written