December 2019 & End-of-Year Update Newsletter

Dear residents, local businesses, and community partners,

Happy New Year 2020 from Division Midway Alliance (DMA)! As we begin this year, we, at Division Midway Alliance, are excited to share our 2019 accomplishments! We appreciate your support and we hope to continue serving communities in our district.  Some of DMA's 2019 highlights are:
  • Increased DMA's staff capacity to serve the district populations who speak diverse languages - Spanish speaking Elizabeth Lopez-Hernandez (Program Coordinator) and Swahili speaking Joy Sadi (Operations and Communication Coordinator)
  • Festival of Nations 2019 - 9 different cultural performances, and 70 unique vendors with 1,800 visitors from across Portland and abroad!
  • DMA became one of the Public sites for Low Income Fare Enrollment Program 
  • DMA launched a new program: Youth Environmental Leadership Program
  • In 2019 DMA helped over 1,047 community members! DMA made 21 employment referrals to SE WORKS and 24 business referrals to Livelihood NW. 
  • DMA Community Liaison helped 10 community members attend English Language and Citizenship classes, 9 of the members passed the Naturalization Test. 
If you or any of the community members speak Burmese, Karen, Bhutanese/Nepali, Spanish, French, Swahili, and Tonga and need support or information about programs, business, and/or technical advice please do not hesitate to contact us at 503-841-5201 or 


Owning to Owning Workshop for Latino Community, Community Investment Trust in collaboration with Mercy Corps

DMA in collaboration with Mercy Corps, held their first Spanish speaking Community Investment Trust class on January 12th and 19th. This class was made available to community members that DMA works with and that fell under the CIT zip code. 6 Spanish community members attended the class. 
Crosswalk Safety
DMA in partnership with Portland Bureau of Transportation held a “Safety Crosswalk Laws Session” on January 26, 2019. The event was open to community members who speak, Burmese, Karen, Tonga, Nepali, and Spanish. DMA was able to educate 48 community members on how to safely cross streets and be safe drivers.
Gardening workshop for Karen group in
partnership with Oregon Food Bank
The members from the Karen community attended the gardening workshop in March and April offered by the Oregon Food Bank in collaboration with DMA. During the workshops, participants learned about plant needs and the components of land that is fit for cultivating. They also learned about the different fertilizers to use, which the facilitators presented. This enabled them to gather ideas on how to make their own compost. 12 households have access to gardening space to grow food. DMA is planning to organize a mini farmers market in 2020!
English and Citizenship Classes

During Lwewah Shee's (DMA Community Liaison)  time at DMA, many of her Karen community members came seeking for help. However, learning English was more concerning for the members because they were interested in becoming U.S Citizens which caught Lwewah's attention. She said that "having the U.S citizenship classes taught by someone who knows their language, they believed that the classes would prepare them to understand the naturalization process, pass the English, reading, and writing tests, and be successful in the naturalization interview." About ten community members participated in the class. By the end of 2019, nine of her community members told her they passed the Naturalization test. She said, "I am overwhelmed with joy and motivated to continue helping others. The members were thankful to DMA for providing space for them to study and resources to use, more than they expected."  
Collaboration with LIF TriMet Program

DMA is one of the 9 community Partners of TriMet's Low-Income Fare (LIF) program.  Since the beginning of June, 192 community members have signed up for the HOP Card with us. About 50% of the applicants were helped with language interpretation. We will continue offering this service in 2020.
Storefront Grant Program
In 2019, DMA granted 5 local businesses $34,667 to help with their storefront improvements. DMA provides storefront grants to businesses located between 117th - 148th SE Division Street to improve the infrastructure and visibility of local businesses. Below is an example of a completed storefront grant project. 

                           Pizzayaki - Signage and painting improvements 

                       Before                                                      After 

Youth Environmental Leadership Program
DMA partnered with the Community Watershed Stewardship Program, Bureau of Environmental Services, City of Portland to create the new Youth Environmental Leadership Program which started in the Fall. Elizabeth Lopez-Hernandez, the DMA Program Coordinator, recruited six youths from different ethnicities to be a part of the program. The youth completed three training sessions and starting next year, the six leaders will be leading small classes, where they will teach other youths about what they have learned. At the end of the program, the youth leaders and their groups will be hosting a cleanup day in early April 2020!


Youth Job Fair Outreach in Partnership With Gateway to College National Network 

In partnership with Worksystems, Prosper Portland, and a number of other community organizations – hosted the 2019 Opportunity Youth Job Fair. The Fair was free and offered full-time, part-time, and seasonal jobs, as well as apprenticeships and internships. The Fair focused on jobs for young people between the ages of 16 and 24, including those who are out of school and unemployed. More than 50 Portland-area employers were present at the Fair, and many of the employers interviewed and offered jobs on site.


On September 7th, 2019 DMA celebrated the diversity of Division Street by holding our annual Festival of Nations. We would like to thank all our volunteers, sponsors, and all those who joined. The Festival of Nations is a great opportunity to discover and learn about new cultures, food, and music. If you were not able to join us this year, keep a lookout for next year's Festival of Nations. This year’s Festival of nations saw 9 different cultural performances and 70 unique vendors with 1,800 visitors from across Portland and abroad!


Livelihood NW 
The Business Outreach Program now has a new name, Livelihood NW! Livelihood NW offers drop-in office hours at DMA from 9 am to noon every Wednesday. For more information visit their website at or please email a business advisor.

Here are the Business advisors emails:


DMA has an ongoing partnership with SE WORKS to help community members find jobs. Nathaly Pretell, Workforce Neighborhood Navigator, has drop-ins every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month from 1 pm to 2:30 pm.  She can help with building resumes and connecting with different employment opportunities!


Small Business Listening Session
DMA in collaboration with the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) is organizing small businesses listening section on Monday, January 6th, 2020
Time: 6:00 pm to 8 pm
Location: Division Midway Alliance
11721 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97266
Come join us and share your ideas to improve communication and services offered by BDS

Entrepreneurship 101

DMA is starting a new training program Entrepreneurship 101: Engage, Empower and Emerge to support aspiring refugee entrepreneurs. East Portland Action Plan (EPAP) is providing support for this program. On December 13th, our team had a brainstorming session with Susan Halverson Fonseca from Elemental Initiatives to create a culturally tailored curriculum for the training. We are looking to start training in late February 2020. There will be six sessions in total. We will share more information as we get closer to the training sessions. 
Census 101 
Blanca Gaytan Farfan from East County Rising will be at the DMA office on January 10th from 4 to 5:30 pm to discuss Census 101. Contact us at 503-841-5201 or if your community likes to organize a similar session. 

Division Midway Alliance is funded by:
Copyright © 2018 Division Midway Alliance, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
11918 SE Division St, PMB 386, Portland, Oregon 97266
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