You could hear the party even before you arrived. On August 20, people gathered at Ascending Flow’s colorful headquarters in the Mill Park neighborhood of Portland. Attendees enjoyed a jam-packed music roster, mouth-watering tacos, and kid-friendly activities. Focusing on artistic outlets for former foster youth, Ascending Flow showcased amazing talent including a live art installation mural as a memorial—a reminder of the importance of coming together as a community. Musical headliners Dark Time Sunshine with DJ Zion, Swiggle Mandela, and Young Mil rocked the party! Special guest artists included Wassla, Lil B Raps, Jordan Baroni, EZ-J, Jermaine, Nay Nay, and Cayla Jai.
Ascending Flow Program Manager Talilo Marfil remembered a favorite moment of the day: one of the performing foster alums couldn’t remember their lyrics, and after starting over three times they left the stage in tears. Talilo immediately sent mentors to support him through his anxiety. Later, the alum returned to the stage and excelled during his performance. Thy Tran, the Program Supervisor, remarked, “This moment not only reflected the powerful resilience between mentor and student, but the power of community.”
Talilo agreed. “This event inspired the community, lifted our spirits, and was also a reality check on the trauma that happens. [T]he event reminded us of why coming together is important. There was a moment when some of the performers with lived experience in foster care shared their testimony; it set the stage for our youth to open up as well. We even received a message from another peer in New Narrative who said that moment brought her to tears and solidified why she is a peer support specialist.”
“I thought to myself, this is what community looks like,” he said.
Special thanks to the City of Portland and their Vibrant Spaces Community Events Activation Fund grant for making this day possible, including the booking of BIPOC Artists and Businesses for this event. This party aimed to continue building awareness around foster care youth and to invite community support for this program of New Narrative.
Tucked under New Narrative’s Mill Park building off of SE 122nd Avenue, Ascending Flow’s drop-in space is a beacon of hope for foster care alumni. There are over 8000 Oregon children living in foster care today, of whom approximately 200 are waiting to be adopted. Ascending Flow serves 20 former foster care youth build their independence and nurtures their imagination so that they may thrive, not just survive. This drop in space provides artistic outlets for former foster youth to overcome their experiences before, during, and after being in DHS care, so that they can better focus on building a productive and fulfilling life.
To learn more about Ascending Flow and other New Narrative peer support programs, visit our Peer Programs Page.