Word is Bond
Word Is Bond’s mission is to empower young Black men to be leaders and change-makers in their communities. We serve young men ages 15 through 19 years old across the greater Portland metro area. Youth hear about our program through our outreach to schools, through social media, and more often than not, through their peers. We provide year-round leadership experience through two programs, Rising Leaders and Word Up.
Rising Leaders is our dynamic rites-of-passage leadership experience for young Black men in the greater Portland, OR metro area. The paid six-week paid internship program is open to young Black men ages 16-21, supported by our partners at WorkSystems. Through this program, ambassadors learn public speaking, goal setting, financial literacy, career exploration, and outdoor leadership.
Word Up is our school year program running from September through May annually. It provides leadership Black men, pro-social, and career opportunities for young Black men in high school. Highlights include our know-your-rights trainings, mentor nights, winter ski trip (new this year), and our walking tours in February.
Bottom Line for Portland
We are sending young Black men to Washington D.C. and Ghana, West Africa and you can help make it happen! This year's funds for Give!Guide, with our goal of $50K, will go to two leadership trips that will take young Black men both nationally and internationally this year with Word is Bond.
Spring Leadership Forum: This is our second year of the program, after last year's successful inaugural year thanks to funds raised during Give!Guide. Our ambassadors met with U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to discuss public policy, they toured the Historically Black colleges of Howard, Bowie, Coppin, and Morgan State, visited the African American History museum, toured the National Mall and visited Baltimore and Philidelphia. This year's Give!Guide funds will help support this year's group heading to D.C. in March 2023.
The Black Star Homecoming Expedition: This brand-new program will send 12 of our third-year leaders to Accra, Ghana in West Africa for a two-week leadership trip as the capstone experience of our Rising Leaders leadership program. Participating youth leaders will meet with local youth leaders, participate in community service projects, visit a slave castle on the coast of Ghana where enslaved Africans were brought to the Americas, hike an ancient forest, and learn about local history and culture in the capital city of Accra.
Funds raised through Give!Guide will be split between our Spring Leadership Forum and Black Star Homecoming Expidition.
-Word is Bond is an eye-opening experience that will put you in rooms you never thought you could be in. -Simon, University of Oregon
-Word is Bond is an opportunity for young Black men to gain professional development skills they can use in their lives. -Nigusu, McDaniel High School
-Word is Bond is an opportunity for young Black men to get a look at real Black history and an outlet for many great connections and possibilities for the future. -Jonathon, Mannahouse Christian Academy
-“Hello, just wanted to send a note of HUGE thanks to [the] entire team at WIB. I think this has been the best summer of [my son's] life! This last year has been tough for him and meeting all of you, learning, and hanging out has been amazing. He is inspired. His mood and confidence are lifted, and I am so proud of him.” -Word is Bond parent
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Word is Bond is a leading driver of engaging young Black men in the various discussions for creating an equitable Portland. We have youth leaders on our Board of Directors and they are part of the development and facilitation of our program curriculums. Our summer internship program, Rising Leaders, is paid because we believe in no free Black labor.
Word is Bond is offering several incentives from our generous community partners. In addition to the gifts below, each incentive comes with a Word is Bond poetry book and beanie.
Eight exclusive donors ($1000 or more) will be selected to win a walking tour of North Portland for your organization (up to 30 people) led by Word is Bond community ambassadors. The one-hour tour includes the local history of Black Portland, poetry reading, and insight from local youth about changes they would like to see in the community.