Chabre Vickers with Rob Ingram at the Big Brothers Big Sister's of the Columbia Northwest Annual Breakfast 2011.
The Skanner News has selected Chabre Vickers as its Newsmaker of the Year 2012, in recognition of her exceptional work with Portland's 11:45 Movement to link at-risk youth with adult mentors.
The Royal Rosarians, Portland's official goodwill ambassadors, hold the annual Newsmaker of the Year banquet to honor "citizens who have performed exceptional acts of heroism or benevolent service in the metro area." News organizations are invited to nominate an individual for the prestigious award, which is presented at the banquet.
This year's awards banquet will be held Wednesday, March 14 at the Double Tree Lloyd Center Hotel.
Vickers, who is director of community relations and diversity programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Columbia Northwest has been active with the 11:45 Movement since it was formed. The pastor-led initiative was created in response to an increase in youth violence that last year took the lives of several teens including: Yashanee Vaughn, Shiloh Hampton, Shalamar Edmonds, Mario Marin and Julio Cesar Marquez.
Chabre Vickers talks to volunteers at the 11:45 meeting in June 2011
At its first community-wide meeting last June, Vickers signed up 85 people to become mentors for youth. That was a first for the organization and drew national interest from other chapters of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Vickers spoke at the nonprofit's national meeting in Atlanta about 11:45 and the mentoring initiative.
"People were calling me up from all over the country," Vickers says. "They wanted to know how did I manage to do that – in the least churched state."
Vickers says Portland's church communities stepped up to help youth because they saw the need and believed in the power of mentors to change children's lives. Since then she has continued to gain volunteers from 11:45. About 2,000 children are on the waiting list for mentors. Vickers said the hardest matches to make are for African American and Latino boys. Many boys of color who need and want mentors grow up without ever being matched with an adult Big Brother.
Vickers work through 11:45 is not her only exceptional achievement. Through a partnership with NIKE's Black Employees group, she has secured donations and opportunities that will help Portland-metro area children for years to come.
If you want to volunteer as a mentor you can contact Chabre Vickers at 503-249-4859.
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