Volunteer Profile: Wayne Wischman, Program Director

Written by Minds Matter Portland on February 1st, 2013. Posted in MM Portland

About three and half years ago, Wayne Wischmann first walked into a Minds Matter Portland Saturday Session and began his three-year journey as a mentor. After his mentee graduated last spring and headed off to college, Wayne briefly considered taking a year off and figuring out where he would best fit in to Minds Matter when he came back. Minds Matter Portland, however, had different plans for Wayne. Wayne inquired about what other roles he might take on where support was needed, and before he knew it, Wayne was anointed the Program Director!

As Wayne jumped into this new role, he found he was able to make an impact beyond the class of 45 or so mentees and mentors he had brought fun, energy, deep thoughts and levity to over the previous three years of his involvement.

When you ask around Minds Matter, “What does Wayne bring to Minds Matter?” you get a lot of responses. You get words and phrases like “laconic”, “strong but flexible”, “cool under fire”, “student-centered”, “true team player”, and “omni-present”.

Wayne’s dedication to really knowing and understanding Minds Matter inside and out has been noted, and he can be seen and heard through the entire organization with his focus on being available and of use; he was even found busy judging at the first annual “reindeer games” when mentees transformed themselves into human snowmen this past December. What versatility! Wayne has already managed to bring heart and backbone to most parts of Minds Matter, with a generous and caring nature that shows up each Saturday wearing work clothes.

What keeps Wayne doing all that he does, and how did we find him? Wayne first heard about Minds Matter Portland from a friend of his from graduate school who encouraged him to look into becoming a mentor. Her instincts were right, and after looking into the program, Wayne found that he “connected with the concept and principles of the program”. Wayne says he stays involved because he is inspired by our mentees, and the fact that they come every Saturday for over four hours because they want to be there. He appreciates that they are willing to put in the extra time to improve their path in life, and the fact that this organization can take kids who want to be there, and provide them with that chance and direction. Earlier in his volunteering, Wayne says the words of another mentor stuck in his head, that the motivation to be involved with Minds Matter comes from “…wanting to see the rest of the story for each mentee”. Wayne, who holds his Associate’s Degree at High-Tech Institute (University of Montana), and his Bachelor’s in Business Management and a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Technical Management (University of Phoenix), is making sure that our students continue to have direction and opportunities and can continue to have support in opening those doors to their future educational goals.

So what does Wayne wish for and expect from Minds Matter? He says he can sum that up in one word. Growth. Wayne has his sights set on supporting MM to grow in many directions, from the curriculum and experience offered to mentees, to the number of potential mentees that we can get the word out to. And then once the word is out, making sure that the growth is there in the infrastructure, so that the number of spaces we can provide to those potential mentors can be larger, and supported by enough volunteer mentors and fundraising efforts. As those of us who volunteer with Wayne have found, Wayne is “… willing to take on tasks of any measure…” and does not shy away from a challenge.

So Wayne, good luck and thank you as you start achieving this goal. Students, mentors, mentees, and volunteers alike are lucky to have Wayne helping steer this ship, and if Wayne’s favorite thing about Minds Matter is that the kids want to put in the extra time…it might just be Minds Matter’s favorite thing about Wayne is that he is consistently willing to put in the extra time himself. Wayne and Minds Matter Portland might just be a pretty good fit for each other.

Lunch Plans: Thanks to our Community Partners

Written by Minds Matter Portland on January 26th, 2013. Posted in MM Portland

Noodles & Co. in the Pearl District is Minds Matter’s newest lunch partner.

Some very generous community businesses are supplying Minds Matter with tasty brainfood on a budget. Organizing lunch for 50 very hunger high schoolers every Saturday, it is safe to say, is one of the biggest challenges for Minds Matter volunteers.

As any parent knows, it can be tough to please a hungry but discerning audience of teenagers. Minds Matter is grateful for the local businesses that have provided a wide array of fresh and delicious lunches this year.

Noodles & Co in the Pearl District, our newest lunch partner, donates about 30% of the food we order and provides free bread.

Elephants Delicatessen provides a high quality nutritional food at a discount to meet budget of $5 a plate.

Qdoba‘s local franchise provides special school pricing, delivery, and a hot burrito bar which is great for the picky eater.  Always plenty of food!
Minds Matter Portland is very happy to work with these partners, who help the organization stay on budget so its students can continue to have amazing summer program opportunities and go on to college.

Eryka in Qatar – A Minds Matter Senior goes the Persian Gulf

Written by Minds Matter Portland on January 26th, 2013. Posted in MM Portland

Minds Matter Senior Eryka Island in Education City, Doha, Qatar

Eryka Island, a Senior at Jefferson High School and Minds Matter student, had the opportunity to expand her horizons by participating in the Doha GOALS Forum in Education City, Qatar.  Eryka was one of 400 high school and college students chosen to attend this program.

Education City is an area of Qatar.  Elite universities from around the world have recognized the opportunity in this region and have descended on this modern and affluent peninsula country in the Persian Gulf to expand their international presence and gain a unique perspective from the culture and its people.

Doha, the capitol of Qatar, and, more specifically, Education City have focused on utilizing traditional areas of education – the sciences, humanities, classics, and the like – to bring about change in this region. Yet, leaders from around the world recently descended upon Education City to utilize a very non-traditional area of education to create social change during the Doha GOALS Forum – sport.

Created, funded, and led by Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, The Emir of Qatar, the goal of the Doha GOALS Forum was to bring together thinkers and influencers from around the world to use sport to create social initiatives that instigate social change around the world.  The three day event in December 2012 consisted of lectures, task forces, and debates with some of the most famous and influential heads of state, policymakers, NGO’s, federation heads, athletes, corporate executives and students to create a roadmap to achieve social involvement.

For Eryka, the door to this experience was opened through her participation in the Wharton Sports Business Academy at the University of Pennsylvania this summer, her Minds Matter Summer Program.  As one of the elite universities in Education City, Penn was provided the opportunity to hand select 25 of their brightest Sports Management undergraduate and graduate students, as well as 25 of their Sports Business Academy high school participants for the Doha GOALS Forum.  Each student was provided with an all-expense paid trip to Doha to participate in the festivities.

The experience at the Doha GOALS Forum was truly enlightening for Eryka.  Not only was she thrilled to meet some of her favorite national and international athletes, like Carl Lewis, Juan Howard, Oscar Pistorious, and Mark Spitz, but she also was struck by the insights gained during her task force conversations, specifically about the role of sports in her peers’ lives around the world.

During her time with a fellow student from China, she learned that physical education is not a requirement in schools, because they country feels it will not help them in their careers in the future.  Unless children are identified from an early age as having a great aptitude for a certain sport and are sent to a special school to develop their skills, sport does not play a dominant role in Chinese students’ lives.

Eryka’s participation in the Women and Sports Task Force also truly impacted her.  Women in the Middle East have a strong desire to play sports, but stay on the sidelines, because of religious and societal issues; many women feel others who are devoutly religious or of an “old world” mentality will lose respect for them if they play sports.  Eryka and the team were tasked with brainstorming ways to encourage female participation in sports, based on their positive experiences as women in sports.

In all, the experience provided Eryka with a whole new perspective about the power of sports and its role in society.  “I am so appreciative of my experience with sports,” Eryka said.  “In the US, I can play sports and do what I love without penalty or anyone holding me back.  I hope the whole world can experience sports like I have some day.”

 

Student Kevin Truong helps craft Portland schools bond measure

Written by Minds Matter Portland on June 27th, 2012. Posted in MM Portland

Minds Matter student Kevin Truong, a junior at Benson Polytechnic High School, helped craft four potential capitol bond proposals for the Portland School Board to consider. The board could vote this month to refer a bond measure to the November ballot.

The Portland Tribute has the story.

Portland photographer profiles Minds Matter student

Written by Minds Matter Portland on June 26th, 2012. Posted in MM Portland

Nhuyen Hoang, a Minds Matter student, attended Marshall High School until the Portland Public School District made a decision to close it after the 2011 school year, Nhuyen’s junior year. A local photographer and Marshall High graduate documented the transition of Nhuyen and her friend Jazzmine as they completed their senior year at Franklin High School.

From Oregon Public Broadcasting:

A Year At Franklin

Photographer Tory Campbell documented the aftermath of the closing of Marshall High at the end of the 2010- 2011 school year by following students Nhuyen Hoang and Jazzmine Alcala as they they made the transition to attending Franklin High School.

Photos and Audio by Tory Campbell.

Produced by Michael Clapp.

 

May 2012 Newsletter

Written by Minds Matter Portland on June 26th, 2012. Posted in MM Portland

The May 2012 Newsletter features profiles of each of our graduating seniors. Download it in PDF format.

Senior Newsletter 2011

Written by Minds Matter Portland on January 21st, 2012. Posted in MM Portland

Take a look at our 2011 Senior Newsletter. We’re proud that, once again, all our seniors won admission to a four-year school with significant financial aid.

Minds Matter Senior Newsletter 2011

Minds Matter of Portland on KATU News

Written by Minds Matter Portland on January 21st, 2012. Posted in MM Portland

Back in May 2011, local news station KATU brought their cameras to our Jazz Soirée at Jimmy Mak’s. In the video, Minds Matter of Portland director Graham Covington explains what makes the program work.

Back in Session

Written by Minds Matter Portland on January 7th, 2012. Posted in MM Portland

After a nice holiday break, we are back in session! See everyone soon! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, can’t wait to get back to working together on Saturdays!!

Happy New Year!

Written by Minds Matter Portland on January 7th, 2012. Posted in MM Portland

Happy new year to everyone involved with Minds Matter Portland — our students, our volunteers, and our supporters. Many thanks to all of you for a wonderful 2011, and we can’t wait to see what 2012 brings!

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