Black Parent Initiative holds family fun day in North Portland

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 10:23 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – Families gathered at Dawson Park Friday afternoon for a family fun day put on by the Black Parent Initiative.

Leigh Bohannon is their community outreach and family resource manager.

“Really just a whole heart celebration, a welcome back, get ready for the school year, thanks for the summer, thanks for the sunshine fun event,” says Bohannon.

Kids got their faces painted, they played basketball on the court and on the playground, all while several community organizations set up around the park to provide information and resources to families.

Black Parent Initiative has been based in northeast Portland since 2006, providing services and programs to families through the years.

“BPI is a community organization that serves Black, African American, and African families in the community,” Leigh Bohannon, BPI Community Outreach and Family Resource Manager. “We offer culturally specific services that range from families that are pregnant or expecting to families that have kids in school. We have home visiting. We also have COVID response support services and then there is a wide range of general resources for anyone that might need some extra support moving barriers so they can achieve their goals and success.”

Kanesha Jackson heard about Black Parent Initiative through her family. She got involved and was volunteering at Friday’s event. She says she enjoys the community.

“Especially nowadays, the community means a lot. We need to bring back community and the kids closer together to make sure they feel safe in the community,” Jackson says. “It feels good because we don’t get this a lot. To be in one spot and nothing bad is happening, it’s a good thing. Especially for the kids to enjoy.”

“It’s super important to have these kinds of events because we have kind of been pushed out of this community. Dawson Park has really been a central park for the Black community so it’s really important for us to come back here, offer something positive in a space that’s not always feeling like a positive space anymore,” Bohannon says. “It’s just full community. It’s important that we are together and enjoying the space and having good, positive fun.”