The Gift Of Giving, Continued...

Adorable pup from Project Pooch

As a continuation of last week's blog about the Willamette Week's Give!Guide, two more Oregon Wild staff members weigh in about which organizations they are choosing to donate to this year. 

Marielle Cowdin, Outreach and Marketing Coordinator:

I grew up raised by a single, hard-working mother - a teacher. She strove daily to ensure I had a great education, both in the classroom and in the outdoors, so that I could grow up to be strong and capable, while also allowing me to see my role in life’s bigger picture with so many possibilities to affect change. Both of my grandmothers were also major influences, and each taught me in different ways how to grow. 

There is so much good needed in this world, and so many ways each of us can give back. Over and over I read that one of the biggest ways we can positively change our global culture is to educate and empower women and girls. 

That’s why I give to Girls Inc.of the Pacific Northwest. Their mission is to inspire girls ages 6-18 to be strong, smart and bold through enrichment programs, allowing them to navigate gender, economic and social barriers and to grow into healthy, educated and independent adults. If more young women can find inspiration and empowerment through strong female role models and groups like this, I see a bright future ahead. Give to Girls Inc. today!

Gaby Diaz, Office and Event Manager:

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.” Dean Koontz words ring true for my coworkers, my friends, and myself. My husky-mix, Lacey, has enriched my life in so many ways and she’s become such a source of strength, love, and compassion. The past few years would have not been the same without her, and that why I’m donating to a nonprofit that brings youth and canines together to better each other.

Project Pooch is a program that gives youth at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn the opportunity to gain personal and vocational skills by learning to care for and train shelter dogs. In return, these dogs provide emotional support and mutual trust. In some cases, these relationships are the first experience of unconditional love for both dogs and youth, and to me, that is absolutely something worth supporting.

For youth that go through the Project Pooch program there is zero recidivism, which means that they don’t return to MacLaren once they’ve left. That’s amazing! Project Pooch and their shelter dogs are changing lives every day, and I’m incredibly inspired by the work they do. If you’d like to donate to Project Pooch, or are able to provide a forever home for a shelter dog, visit