Homeless youth are becoming youth leaders through our newest program Seeds of Hope.

This unique program is providing hands on experience in sustainable gardening and photography while providing homeless teens with fresh fruit and vegetables that otherwise would not be available to them.  As teens grow their own food on an acre of donated land, acquire new skills and make a meaningful contribution to the community they begin to see themselves and their peers as leaders.


We are excited to be partnering with New Avenues for Youth as well as Portland Community Legacy Program of Our United Villages to empower homeless teens!

Check out our students photographs and their progress in the garden on Facebook!




Seeds of Hope

  • Produces food and art
  • Creates green space
  • Encourages community engagement
  • Incorporates science and math curriculum
  • Improves the Fanno Creek Watershed

This program builds on our ten years of success and provides a safe place for homeless youth to retreat from the noise and commotion of the urban environment , grow their own food and connect with the beauty and wonder of nature.

Interested in volunteering?  Please call  Donna Lee to volunteer 503 341-6878.

Thank you for your donation to Focus on Youth!



Focus on Youth nurtures creativity, promotes leadership skills, encourages success and profoundly transforms the lives of our students and our participants.

How FOY makes a difference

Click here for higher quality version of the video.


Why We Do It…

This remarkable letter, written by a student with her mother, describes how many of our students feel about their mentors and the program (though after our classes they are usually better at saying it visually than verbally). Two of the photos are portraits our Spring 2012 class with New Avenues for Youth students took of each other, the third is a “self-portrait” statement by Keenen about who he sees himself to be………

Our lives were shut off…Some blinded by heartbreak…
Others standing alone in a colorless world.
Some suffering in silence, scared to speak, yet longing to be heard…
Others, hiding in the shadows, yet pleading to be seen….
Some searching for a hand to hold…others for a shoulder to cry on…
We all were praying for a miracle…a special sign to point the way…
Someone to show us how to fill the “empty frames” in our lives…
Then together you came…inviting us all into your circle of inspiration!


Breaking through our silence…you offered to share our dreams…
You showed us what we couldn’t see…and how to capture the moments!
To look for the miraculous…in places others miss.
How to write our own stories through a camera’s lens….
To trace our own journey, as each new exposure came into view…
Then, miraculously one click at a time…the shadows disappeared!
Clear new found images of light chased away our darkness…
Empty frames vanished…revealing instead new full impressions of life.


Through you all…our wise and trusted mentors…Our faithful friends…
You show us how to bring into focus…amazing images…
You taught us how to discover our own special legacy.
We found our voice in each landscape you helped us capture…
We were touched deeply by the passion and skills you shared…
Everyone changed forever by the visual autographs you left in our lives.
We feel honored to have been given this fresh glimpse of the world…
A chance to view the beauty of life through a photographer’s lens…
You are our heroes…We are your legacy…Please remember us all…
For…we are your best work yet!

Your personal photographs of hope!

Please like us on Facebook – we’re able to update that page much more often than the ones on this site… and we have many more marvelous photos… Focus on Youth Facebook

 If you’re not a Facebook user, we’d love to have you keep track of our activities by subscribing to our Focus On Youth Email Newsletter. We promise not to overload your mailbox, share your email, or keep sending them if you decide to unsubscribe. We also promise at least one beautiful image from one of our kids in every issue.

Make a Donation



Focus on Youth Greeting Cards now available. You'll find more information and images by following the link.

Don't forget that we're going to be selling really beautiful cards (printed for us by our good friend Al Barreth at Digicraft) at Umpqua Bank's Beaumont-Wilshire branch starting in July. For details, please click BLOG up in the tool bar for the site.

Terrific segment broadcast on KGW NewsChannel 8 called Students Focus on Beauty. Our sincere thanks to Pat Dooris and the folks at KGW who really do care about our community and show it every day. Here's a link to take you to the segment: - Focus On Beauty.

Exhibits & Events

Visit our exhibit at the Lloyd Center Umpqua Bank from July 1st until September 30th.

The Albina Bank in the Pearl is hosting an exhibit of our work during the month of August.