Next generation of leaders addresses county board and asks for support

June 9, 2014

REAP student representatives outside the Multnomah Building the morning they presented to the Board of County Commissioners.

REAP (Reaching and Empowering All People) presented its mission and future goals to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners on June 5, in hope of gaining support from the county.

REAP student representatives spoke to commissioners at the board’s weekly meeting regarding their desire to increase the number of summer employment opportunities for high school students and young adults, as well as their struggles to get access to transportation to and from school and after school activities.

REAP student representatives also encouraged county commissioners to speak at the upcoming annual REAP leadership conference known as Challenge: Academy of Leadership Innovations, which will be held at Portland State University Aug. 26-29.

“Keep speaking,” said interim Commissioner Liesl Wendt in what was her last board meeting. “We need to hear from you. Not just us, but the governor, the mayor, and other folks that you have mentioned. Your voice is so critical and I can’t wait to see what this next generation becomes.”

REAP is a Portland non-profit organization established in 2001. Its mission is to empower and engage young men and young women, families and the community for a better future. The program works to instill middle school and high school students with the confidence, motivation and guidance needed to excel inside and outside the classroom. REAP has a 96 percent graduation rate, proving that the impact of the program is lifechanging.

REAP serves more than 600 students per year from various school districts including Portland, David Douglas, Beaverton, Centennial and Reynolds. The students who participate in REAP include 15 different ethnicities and native languages.

“I want to give back to my community and others like myself so they are aware of the opportunities that are available to succeed in life,” said LeeMarcus Manning, a junior at David Douglas High School.

Through REAP’s weekly after-school program, students engage in leadership classes where they discuss civic engagement, business and education. Once students have gone through weeks of training, they are summoned  back to their communities as young ambassadors to interact with CEO’s, educators and elected officials to discuss community and policy issues.

For more information, including volunteer opportunities, please visit the official REAP website at