Native Leader Makes Change
Walking in the doors as a NAYA client in 2005 Anna Allen, Shoshone-Bannock, was an at-risk youth seeking services to finish high school and make change in her life. Shortly after becoming a client Anna found herself facing homelessness, NAYA was there with supportive services to ensure Anna had her critical needs met. Anna recognized the traditional value of giving and it wasn’t long before she started volunteering at NAYA and building relationships in Portland’s Native community. The desire Anna has to serve her people resulted in a full-time position as a Youth Advocate in the Youth Education Services department. There she mentored youth, advocated for students and their families, and began developing programs. Her talents, ambition, and connection to community are an asset that didn’t go unnoticed.
Anna was offered a position in Development department to work with NAYA’s donors and partners. While a part of the development team, Anna was a leader in raising more funds than NAYA had ever raised at the annual gala. In 2014 Anna participated in Oregon LEAD, NAYA’s leadership development program. While in LEAD Anna and a colleague developed the Young Native Ambassadors Program (YNAP); a program for at-risk youth to connect with Native culture and community to find resources to re-engage with school and employment all-while learning more about Native traditions such as beading, art, and drumming. Anna sought funding through the Oregon Youth Development Council’s Youth and Community grant and was awarded $100,000.
The work doesn’t stop in the office for Anna, she is also a member of the City of Portland’s Public Involvement Advisory Council and speaks publicly about Portland’s urban Native community. Portland Monthly magazine recognized Anna’s dedication and leadership by awarding her the 2014 Light a Fire Emerging Leader award.
Anna is ready to start a new journey and take her experience to Multnomah County working for Chair Deborah Kafoury’s as a Community Engagement Advisor. She brings a wealth of experience to the County and passion to advocate for all Portlanders. “NAYA has given me a lot; family, culture, personal and professional growth, and the tools to stay rooted in who I am as a Native woman. As I venture into a new chapter of my career I am grateful for that.”
The County is lucky to have Anna, NAYA wishes her the very best in her new role.