VOA Oregon announces winners of the 2016 Al Forthan Scholarships

VOA Oregon announced over $65,000 in college scholarships to 37 students from high schools on March 23, 2016 throughout Oregon.  Top honors were awarded to the following students:

  • Piedad Gonzalez-Diaz—Grants Pass High School—$10,000
  • Graciela Lyons—Elkton Charter School—$4,000
  • Jacob Helton—Rainier High School—$4,000
  • Aminna Ackridge—South Salem High School—$4,000
  • Alanna Vera—Oregon City High School—$4,000
  • Asianique Savage—Jefferson High School—$4,000
  • Danielle Finlay—Neah-Kah-Nie High School—$4,000
  • Keely Ann Byerly—Parkrose High School—$4,000
  • Eli Bliss—Gladstone High School—$2,000
  • William Wright —Gladstone High School—$2,000

VOA Oregon’s Al Forthan Memorial Scholarship is awarded to high school seniors from all over Oregon and who are from a family affected by drug or alcohol addiction, or they are in recovery from their own addiction.  The scholarships serve to encourage students to explore how addiction affects them and their community, and to think about solutions to this complex problem.

Natalie Vega Juarez, a 2013 scholarship winner recalls her experience: “After being chosen as a recipient and attending the ceremony showed me that you recognized the strength it took to continue to love my stepfather as his addiction worsened.  This part of my life is not something I share about openly; so to have it be received with so much love and understanding was especially important to me.”

The scholarship is named for Al Forthan, a graduate of VOA Oregon’s Men’s Residential Center program (MRC) and the first MRC alumnus to become an MRC employee.  Al both successfully overcame his own addictions through his participation in MRC, and also became an inspirational influence for hundreds of men struggling with their own addiction recovery process. The great love, wisdom, integrity, humility and deep passion for and commitment to recovery lives on through this scholarship.

The awards will be presented at the 5th Annual Al Forthan Scholarship Ceremony on Wednesday, May 4th at 5:00 pm at New Song Community Church in Northeast Portland.

About VOA Oregon Our Mission:

To change lives by promoting self-determination, building strong communities and standing for social justice. From at-risk youth to victims of domestic violence, recovering addicts and the frail elderly, VOA Oregon provides a range of supportive and empowering services to our area’s most vulnerable populations – and works with over 19,000 individuals in the greater Portland area to rebuild their lives and reach their full potential to. We are passionate about finding innovative solutions to our community’s most intractable social problems. Our comprehensive programs focus on three main areas: children and family, public safety/substance abuse treatment, and senior services.