Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP)

Winner: Keeping Us Healthy
Awarded to an organization that helps us take care of ourselves.

Touring CHAP’s Pearl District offices is a walk through a colorful mélange of jewelry, foam-rubber masks, finger paintings, and hand-knotted Nepalese rugs emblazoned with designs, all made by Portland kids. “You should see this place during our Art Club sessions,” executive director Frank Etxaniz says, referring to the monthly events CHAP hosts for kids who are well enough to attend. “It’s wonderful chaos.”

Etxaniz, a painter and a former design consultant for New York’s Museum of Modern Art, launched CHAP in 2005 to provide art programs for children who have had to be treated at local hospitals, whether for a terminal illness or simply a broken arm. The artist could have been a kindergartner recovering from a second liver transplant or a girl born without arms. Whereas they once made only masks, the children now also paint, sculpt, and create paper flowers and greeting cards. The program reaches about 10,000 kids and their parents each year.

This month, CHAP kicks off its annual Holiday “Bizarre,” a fundraising public art factory at 937 NW Glisan St. From November 28 to December 24, the factory will showcase and auction CHAP creations (including a kiteboard coffee table and a lotus-flower sculpture adorned with 6,000 beads). Make your own masterpiece alongside these young artists.—SW Contact: 503-243-5294; chap.name

‘Our students leave with a confidence they never knew they had.’

Adelante Mujeres

Winner: Most with the Least
Awarded to an organization doing big things with minimal resources.

“‘I am teacher. You are student.’

Class, what is missing from this sentence?” teacher Dave Pero asks the 10 women sitting at a wobbly table in St. Anthony’s Catholic Church near downtown Forest Grove. The students, most of whom are from Mexico and are in their 20s to 40s, study the dry-erase board. From the back of the room a soft voice finally offers an answer: “The?”

“That’s right!” says Pero. “‘I am the teacher. You are the student.’ Nicely done.”

At first, this class may seem like any other English language course, but in fact it’s just one facet of the services that Adelante Mujeres (Spanish for “women move forward”) provides for immigrant women and their families in this rural Washington County community. Latinas who commit to Adelante’s yearlong curriculum also have access to classes and workshops on parenting, self-esteem, entrepreneurship, leadership, and empowerment.

It’s this last subject that Adelante’s executive director, Bridget Cooke, says is the most life-altering for the group’s clients. “Our students leave with confidence they never knew they had,” Cooke says. “They realize they don’t have to clean houses or wash dishes for the rest of their lives. We open up a world of possibilities for them.”

Adelante’s graduates have gone on to receive GEDs and start businesses (many now sell organic produce at Forest Grove’s weekly farmers market), but the organization’s ability to meet all of its goals almost wholly on donated time and limited resources may be its most impressive accomplishment. Last year, 78 volunteers logged 2,000 hours, and 82 percent of the annual budget now comes from grants. The dedicated crew of 90 or so teachers, staff, and volunteers prove that no hay limites_—there are no limits—to the differences each of us can make._—SW Contact: 503-992-0078; www.adelantemujeres.org