Go. Learn. Return. Respond.
Through Transformation Trips, teams of volunteers do more than come to Portland to serve. They fully participate in the mantra above and are invited to leave the comfort of their homes, churches, and socioeconomic statuses in order to GO with us on a journey of LEARNING. Together, we peel back layers of stereotypes, judgements, and fear as we build relationships with some of Portland’s most marginalized populations and delve into a series of interactive learning activities that are designed to break down the barriers between us, teach radical love, and inspire intentional living. Afterwards, teams RETURN home and RESPOND creatively to the unique cry of their own city.
Trips begin by BPM staff sharing stories of beginnings. We share the story of Because People Matter, the creation of life, love, and rest, as well as the two stories we so often face in the world:
Self-Preservation and Production VS. Self-Sacrifice and Rest
Trips then move into interactive learning environments that start on the surface and slowly step further and further into understanding. We introduce participants to our city, allowing them to orient themselves before going a little deeper, past the shallow experience of tourism to embark on experiences that will teach them to see and hear through a new perspective. We lead them toward authentic relationships so they can hear the stories and learn the names of the marginalized in Portland. It’s in these authentic relationships that participants experience the humanity of individuals who life in a vastly different reality than their own.
Participants learn about the reality of houselessness and debunk common myths through very hands-on activities before stepping into Night Strike and serving, by which point they are open wide open for growth and discovery. For the remainder of their time, we lean into radical acceptance, raw love, and explore purpose. Our final time is spent together in a call to action. Every city, suburb, and town has a different need or injustice. We found Portland’s need and responded. We challenge our participants to listen to the pulse of their own communities and provide a response that will creatively meet that need.
Over the course of the trip, whether here for five days or 22 hours, students learn first-hand what it means to be people who live intentionally. Our hope is that students:
- Embrace the Story: Students engage and recognize their part in this story of radial acceptance and love.
- Become Aware: Students open their eyes to see, their ears to hear, and let their hearts break for people.
- Seek Understanding: Students gain personal perspective and understanding by engaging with Portland’s marginalized populations in new ways.
- Build Relationships: Students learn that in order to make real change they must go beyond the surface of philanthropy.
- Respond: Students understand they can be agents of change simply by living differently and partnering with others