Two Hood River residents, both of whom relocated to the city after successful lives elsewhere, will share the spotlight on March 4, when the Providence Hood River Foundation bestows on them the Hearts of Gold Award.
Recipients Bonnie New and Allyson Pate have both dedicated much of their Hood River time to helping lift young people to stability and productive lives.
The event begins at 6 p.m. in the Gorge Room of the Best Western Hood River Inn.
New, a retired physician, worked with the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which led her to start Mentor for Success.
Pate is the founder of Give Them Wings (WINGS), which provides clean and sober housing, education, life skills and support for homeless young people.
New moved to the Gorge after retiring from a medical practice in Texas, new volunteered with CASA, then served on its board and as interim director for a year.
She became especially concerned about older kids in the foster care system, which led her to start the “Mentor for Success” program in partnership with a Portland mentorship organization, and later moved it under The Next Door, Inc. The program offers one-on-one, community-based mentoring to at-risk teens referred from school counselors and the Oregon Department of Human Services. The goal is to help the mentored youth feel cared-for and learn to trust adults.
In addition, New is now helping the Area Agency on Aging group explore age-friendly community models for seniors.
“I hope my work leaves the world a better place,” New said.
With a similar passion for helping others, Pate has followed her heart in serving young adults who were previously homeless and unemployed. After Pate moved to the Gorge in 2001, she had the chance to act on an idea inspired by her middle son, who was adopted.
Pate realized that after years of often, tumultuous living situations, many foster kids and other young people did not know how to live independently when they turned 18.
“Someone should do something,” Pate thought.
With no experience with non-profits, Pate and her board have helped 90 young men, 13 young mothers and 11 children in the last 10 years. Her program helps young men learn basic life skills and obtain General Education Diplomas while providing them housing and work training.
Through a variety of community employment opportunities, the young people learn skills while earning a stipend and saving for the future.
WINGS now exclusively serves young mothers with children. Wasco County continues to manage the men’s program.
“It’s terrific to see the ‘firsts’ these kids experience,” said Pate. “Although tough at times, it’s been a joyful journey,”
The awards event is open to the public. The event features a cocktail reception, live music, interactive displays and a gourmet meal. A limited number of tickets are available at $85 each and sponsorships are available. Call 541-387-6242 to purchase tickets or visit the Providence Hearts of Gold web page.
All proceeds from the evening benefit the Music in Healing Program supported by the Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital Foundation.