Best wishes to Heather Brown, Outside In’s Youth Services Director
We are sending gratitude, love, and best wishes to Heather Brown, Outside In’s Youth Services Director, who retired earlier this month after 23 years of service to Outside In – and to youth experiencing homelessness in Portland.
Heather’s contributions are so significant – and there are so many! Heather was one of the founding members of the Homeless Youth Continuum, which has transformed the services for youth experiencing homelessness in our region. At one time, Outside In had a single mental health clinician – and today we have an entire Behavioral Health Department that includes our RISE ACT and outpatient programs. Under her leadership – we grew our transitional living program and permanent supportive housing options, built our integrated Employment and Education program with an Accredited Alternative School, moved from offering sack lunches to three nutritious meals each day in our Drop In Day Program, and so much more!!
Some members of Outside In’s Youth Department shared words of appreciation for Heather:
“Heather has been such a compassionate and dynamic influence on homeless youth services in Portland and I deeply value her dedication. She has also been an incredible presence in my life and her nurturing and support have helped me grow professionally and, really, just as a person in the world.”
“Heather has been a big part of figuring out what kind of leader I’d like to be—that delicate balance of compassion and directness, seeming to always know the answers but somehow also humble and curious. I’m very grateful for the time that Heather chose to share with us.”
“HB has been a mighty inspiration in how I strive to interact with clients. Empowering, peaceful, compassionate, caring. I am eternally grateful for her ability to work with and navigate grants and funding sources to ensure we have jobs and are able to provide the best possible services for our youth. Cheers to you…..the OG HB!!!”
“Heather and I have taught de-escalation together and she has had to use those same skills we teach on me a number of times. She had my back when I had a grievance against a cop who seemed to be doing his best to make sure I was traumatized. She has stared at subpoenas with me and translated the lawyer speak. She does her best not to take it personally when I get mad at federal regs that we have to follow, but that she didn’t make. I don’t get to snark at the feds so she often has to be the one to hear me say, “that’s dumb”. She doesn’t bat an eye when I have crawled under the table in her office to take a breather where no one can find me. We’ve stayed late at work when a client used the metal support over the clinic sliding door as a balance beam. In case you are wondering, you can call emergency services for that, but they won’t “get him down” so you have to wait until he gets hungry. These are the lessons you learn while walking alongside Heather Brown.”
We just can’t thank Heather enough for all that she has given to Outside In – and to the community. She has changed and impacted so many lives and built an incredibly strong and resilient program that will continue to support youth for many years to come.
Heather is an amazing human, and we wish her nothing but the best on her next adventure.
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