Cause Area

  • Children & Youth
  • Education & Literacy


11124 NE Halsey PMB 656Portland, OR 97220 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

HOLLA was established in 2013 as a vital grassroots culturally responsive mentorship movement that was created to address the impact of gentrification on students of color in NE Portland. Gentrification has significantly displaced students and families of color, further highlighting the lack of representation within the school systems and the workforce. HOLLA exists to address this disparity and to close opportunity gaps that stand in the way of youth of color realizing their power and potential. We believe in the power and potential of Black and Brown youth. We believe that mentor and mentee are mutually transformed through a relationship, both are learning and growing from each other. We believe representation matters and this is reflected across our organization with 90% of our Board identifying as BIPOC, 91% of our staff, and 72% of our mentors. We center relationships at every level of the organization. Each first and third Monday of the month we set aside time to connect with mentors as a community. HOLLA is not just a mentoring opportunity, we are a diverse and beautiful community. Mentoring with HOLLA is a big commitment, we recognize this and seek to invest in our mentors just as much as our mentees and families.


HOLLA mentors believe in the power and potential of Black and Brown youth. HOLLA mentors are committed to being culturally responsive and pursuing equity in their relationship and in the community. HOLLA mentors seek to support their mentee in developing a positive sense of self identity. A mentor is not a teacher, a friend, a tutor, or a parent. Mentors fill a unique space in a student's life as an advocate and positive role model. Mentors help guide students through their experience with friends, school, family and culture. Mentors recognize they don't hold all the answers, but instead are learning and growing with their mentees. Mentors set healthy boundaries with students and establish a relationship with the family in order to build trust. Mentors are ready to show up fully in relationship with a young person and their family. While most of our mentors do identify as BIPOC, there is room for anyone who is committed to the work of addressing racial equity in themselves and the community.

Minimum Requirements for Mentors:
-Must be at least 18 years or older and have completed high school or GED equivalent
-Be interested in working with young people
-Be willing to adhere to all program policies and procedures
-Be willing to complete the application and screening process
-Be dependable and consistent in meeting the time commitments
-Attend mentor trainings as prescribed
-Be willing to communicate regularly with program staff, submit activity information, and take constructive feedback regarding mentoring activities
-Have access to public transit or an automobile
-Have a clean criminal history
-No use of illicit drugs
-No use of alcohol or controlled substances in an inappropriate manner
-Not currently in treatment for substance abuse and have have a non-addictive period of at least 5 years
-not currently in treatment for a mental disorder or hospitalized for such in the past three years
-Must be able to commit to at least one year of mentoring

The following are the steps to applying to mentor with HOLLA:
-complete an online application
-provide 4 references (2 personal and 2 professional)
-complete an informational interview with HOLLA staff
-complete and pass criminal background check
-attend an initial culturally responsive mentor training Saturday August 28th 2021 and at least one other training during the year

All of these steps must be completed prior to HOLLA determining acceptance to mentor with HOLLA. Folks who aren't the best fit as a mentor may opt to volunteer in other capacities with our organization.

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