As of Friday, February 24, 2017
To truly have a heart of gold, you must put others above yourself — that’s the message behind Providence Hood River Foundation’s Hearts of Gold celebration, now in its 20th year.
The dinner celebration will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 4, at Best Western Plus Hood River Inn’s Gorge Room, at 1108 E. Marina Drive.
Hearts of Gold honors community members in a celebration to benefit the Music in Healing Program, which provides music in the hospital, hospice and memory care settings.
This year’s recipients include Bonnie New, who is known for her work with vulnerable youth in the courts and foster systems.
Allyson Pate is also being honored with a Hearts of Gold award. She is the founder of Give Them Wings (WINGS), an organization that 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. She joined CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, as a volunteer, became a member of the board, and served as interim director for a year. She found helping vulnerable kids in the court system was very rewarding.
She became especially concerned about older kids in the foster care system, and wanted to help. New started the “Mentor for Success” program in the Gorge 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.
When asked why she gives so much of herself, New said, “I hope my work leaves the world a better place.”
With a similar passion for helping others, honoree Pate has followed her heart in serving young adults who were previously homeless and unemployed. When Pate moved to the Gorge in 2001, she had the opportunity 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. “I guess that someone is me.”
She was guided by the idea of what her son would need if he wasn’t with their family. Having no experience with non-profits, she 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.
Pate’s WINGS organization now exclusively serves young mothers with children as management of the men’s program has transitioned to Wasco County. Partnerships are bringing resources to a new group of young adults in need. “It’s terrific to see the ‘firsts’ these kids experience,” Pate said. “Although tough at times, it’s been a joyful journey,”
The Hearts of Gold celebration is open to the public. Guests will be treated to 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 www.phrhf.ejoinme.org/heartofgold. All proceeds from the evening benefit the Music in Healing Program supported by the Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital Foundation.