Candyce's Story

Former Barbara Maher resident leaves her mark at the building

Candyce spent twenty-three years of her life addicted to smoking crack before she landed in jail because of her addiction. She got an early release on the condition that she enter a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.

“Like a lot of people, I’m sure, I thought I’d just get through this required treatment, and go right back to where I was,” Candyce says. “Instead, in six months there, I learned how to deal with my criminality and substance abuse.” She also used this time to enroll in school at PCC to work toward a transfer degree.

One of the requirements at her treatment program is that after the six month residential stay, you must find clean and sober housing to move into. Her counselor referred her to the Barbara Maher building, Transition Projects’ 32-unit supportive housing facility for women in recovery. Residents stay connected to their referring case manager for ongoing support, and there are additional support resources on site. It turned out to be a great fit for Candyce.

“It was very convenient and close to school,” she says. “It could be a challenge at times, with 30 other women struggling with their own sobriety, but during my two and a half years there, I learned to deal with other people better, and learned how to keep my focus on what I’m trying to do, on my own program.”

Candyce continued studying at PCC through her stay at the Barbara Maher, and while taking an art class “just for fun,” discovered a passion - and knack - for sculpture.

“It wound up changing my whole career focus,” Candyce says. “I had an assignment to make a kinetic sculpture. While working on this, I mixed a few common ingredients and wound up creating a whole new compound, which dries really lightweight and curved, and easily catches air currents and moves. My instructor and I were both so impressed with how it turned out, I started mixing different colors and making more mobiles.”

“During my time at the Barbara Maher, I tried to be a role model. Barbara Maher MobileBecause I was back in school, I promoted that to other residents. I really wanted to leave something behind at the Barbara Maher through my art – I wanted to send the message that if you have a dream, and you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you can make it come to fruition.”

Candyce’s parting gift to the Barbara Maher, before moving out into a new apartment last November, was a mobile in the stairwell in purples and maroons, to match the freshly painted color scheme in the building.

This Spring, Candyce received a commission for another large mobile, to hang at the First Unitarian Church in downtown Portland. She finished her transfer degree at PCC this June, and just received a scholarship to enter Marylhurst’s art therapy program this fall.

“I hope to give other people hope and inspiration," she says. “ You never know what tomorrow will bring, but amazing things can and do happen. I certainly never thought I would be starting a new career, not at this age. I wasted so much of my life, I guess I’m making up for it now!”

Glisan Center "leftovers" support local community

The Glisan Center Shelter, Empty

Last month, we officially left behind the Dr. Rodney Glisan Center, home to our Glisan Center men’s program, Community Service Center, and administrative offices for the last two decades. Transition Projects has helped literally tens of thousands of people from this building over the years. With our relocation into the bud Clark Commons in June, we also had the chance to help fellow nonprofits by handing down the furnishings and supplies left behind.

Our bunk beds went to the Portland Rescue Mission. Because they are six inches less wide than their old beds, they can now accommodate more bunks in their space. Their shelter capacity has grown from 50 to 58 – an additional 2,920 nights of shelter each year!

The fridge from the kitchen was donated to the Blanchet House, who were greatly in need of additional fridge space.

Two schools – the SW Charter School and brand new start-up school the REAL Prep Charter Academy – benefited from desks, chairs, file cabinets, office supplies, and lockers.

Many other agencies were able to take office supplies and furniture as well. Thanks to our Resource staff for coordinating the “nonprofit giveaway” days, and to all the nonprofits who came and helped us clear out our old space!

A Delicious Day at the Bud Clark Commons

Transition Projects held its 2nd Annual Ice Cream Social on Thursday, August 18th, at the Bud Clark Commons. Nearly two hundred neighbors, clients and friends came out to enjoy a scoop of ice cream in the sunny courtyard. Thanks to the Transition Projects staff who helped dish up ice cream, and thanks to everone who came to join us for this fun event. We're looking forward to the 3rd Annual ice cream social next summer!