Above, left to right: Turon W., Ezequiel V., Kathleen Fullerton of Hope Partnership, Marco A., Tyler S., Andy S. M., and Agustin E. V.
“We give them the opportunity to change their life, and they take it.”
That’s how Kathleen Fullerton sums up the work of Hope Partnership at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility.
Hope — run by Fullerton and Janus Youth Programs inside MacLaren — provides classes, workshops, and other programs to help youth explore their talents and prepare for their eventual transition back into the community.
A big part of that preparation is education, which is why Janus has awarded scholarships annually to youth in its programs since 2001.
Started by a gift from Robert Gootee, CEO of Moda Health, the scholarship fund provided nine scholarships to Hope Partnership youth this year.
One youth, Mauricio A., received his scholarship at a reception in Portland in late May. The other eight were honored in early October during an event at MacLaren.
Marco A., 18
Marco is currently enrolled at Chemeketa Community College, where he has a 3.2 GPA. He will use his $1,200 scholarship to continue his studies at Chemeketa.
He has been part of Hope Partnership for three years, and he is known for his artistic talent and for mentoring other youth.
Marco is also a regular participant in restorative justice, he mentors other youth in the fitness program, and he is a certified recovery mentor who helps other youth working to stay on track in their recovery from drugs and alcohol.
“Sometimes I think, ‘What if Kathleen wasn’t here? What would I be doing?’” Marco said. “I’m so grateful for this support. Kathleen, you’ve impacted my life a lot. I feel like I’d be in prison, to be honest, if I didn’t have some of your help.”
Agustin E. V., 21
Agustin earned three associate degrees in 2019 from Chemeketa Community College. He’s continuing his studies at Oregon State University, working toward a bachelor’s in business administration.
This is his second time earning a scholarship from Janus. This year’s award will provide him $3,000.
His next goal is to earn a Master of Business Administration.
“I want to thank Kathleen and Janus Youth Programs for offering the scholarship to us,” Agustin said. “We really appreciate this opportunity. Without this, I wouldn’t be able to go to Oregon State right now.”
Gustavo P. S., 24
Gustavo, who recently paroled out of MacLaren, earned $2,000 to continue his studies at Eastern Oregon University. This is his third scholarship from Janus.
He regularly mentored other youth during his time with OYA, and he was seen by staff and his peers as a leader and a role model.
An OYA staffperson wrote about Gustavo: “When I first met Gustavo … he was angry, arrogant, defiant, and on the road to prison. How I look at Gustavo and I can’t even picture the young man he was. … He has turned his anger into passion, his arrogance into confidence, and most importantly, his defiance into leadership, empathy, and passion for doing the right thing.”
Sintorri Q. M., 22
Sintorri has been involved in Hope’s restorative justice workshop, Toastmasters, writing and art workshops, and programs with the Morpheus Youth Project.
As an ambassador for Hope within the MacLaren facility, he continually works to recruit new youth to the program.
He will use his $2,000 scholarship to continue classes at Chemeketa Community College and then transfer to Oregon State University next year.
Andy S. M., 20
Andy currently has a 3.84 GPA at Chemeketa Community College, where he’s working toward an associate degree in business, with the goal of transferring to Oregon State University.
Regarded by his peers as a deep intellectual and committed student, Andy is also recognized by staff and other youth for his candidness, honesty, humor, and humble demeanor.
His scholarship is for $2,000.
“Janus provides support for me and other people in here as well, and I just want to say thank you for that,” Andy said.
Tyler S., 21
Tyler earned a $2,000 that he will apply toward his studies at Portland State University. His goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree in communications.
He has participated in countless Hope activities, including the youth advisory group, Toastmasters, and restorative justice.
He is recognized as a youth who always has an idea for community development and projects to give back to others.
“Kathleen helped me see things I would never have seen in myself,” Tyler said. “She is my light that I really do need within this place. Without her, I wouldn’t have met any of you guys, and seen … that you really do care about us and want us to succeed.”
Turon W., 20
When Fullerton first asked Turon to join Hope Partnership, he replied, “I don’t do groups.”
Two years later, he is fully engaged in Hope’s programs, including Toastmasters, playwriting, and music.
Turon began his higher education career through a Portland State University Inside Out class. Today, he’s working toward an associate degree at Chemeketa Community College.
He will use his $2,000 scholarship to continue his studies at Chemeketa. He hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism or sports medicine.
“It’s humbling to get this scholarship,” Turon said. “I know somebody else is helping me do what I need to get done. It’s not all on me.”
Ezequiel V., 23
Ezequiel earned his bachelor’s degree in social science from Portland State University last spring, with a GPA of 3.74.
This is his third scholarship from Janus. This year, he earned $2,000.
He has been a member of Hope Partnership for five years and is known as the “elder statesman” of the program. His goal is to work with at-risk, gang-affected youth.
In a recommendation letter for the scholarship, and OYA staffperson wrote: “When I first met Ezequiel, I saw a young, hardened criminal who wasn’t looking to do anything with his life but what he wanted to do, good or bad. Over time, I saw he was different. … He has molded himself into a man that even someone in my position can look up to.”
“Sometimes when you’re in a position like this, you don’t get the same opportunities or support that you would out in the community,” Ezequiel said. “Education should be for everybody. I think we’re showing it here every day. Everybody (who earned a scholarship) is thriving and succeeding.”