AmeriCorps members' 'We are St. Helens' videos highlight town character

by Jared Paben

"The shadow of Portland looms large in our part of Columbia County and it’s sometimes hard for residents to see all the local character."

AmeriCorps member Blake H. has found that his position in the town of St. Helens has given him, and other AmeriCorps members, the perfect opportunity to publicly highlight the town's character. Blake helped start a YouTube Channel called "We are St. Helens."

He is serving through the Resource Assistance for Rural Environments program, and he is based at the Port of St. Helens.

His story of service:

One of my favorite things about life in RAREAmeriCorp is not just living and serving in my community, this is generally true for most of us, but RARE allows you to engage your community in ways that I feel you would not otherwise be able to. In a sense, it gives one a platform, and here in St. Helens we are taking advantage of our platform.

We have a great thing going in St. Helens. Life is good, we live next door to the Columbia River, have ample recreational opportunities, a major city right down the highway, and some great independent minded and creative people. However, the shadow of Portland looms large in our part of Columbia County and it’s sometimes hard for residents to see all the local character. With a little push from the right people, us local AmeriCorps representatives (3 RARE AmeriCorps members and a VISTA) started a YouTube Channel called ‘We Are St. Helens.’

‘We Are St. Helens’ looks at all parts of the community and celebrates them; our community’s history, businesses, environment, and hearts. We’ve made two videos so far that focus on St. Helens’ big heart, the local group called Community Meals and the nonprofit SAFE. These two organizations provide a service to the community that can’t always be quantified but should always be applauded. Local businesses are getting the spotlight as well with a video on Alterations by Heather, a local alteration shop that promotes its employee’s hand crafted wares.

We hope that these videos can inspire local residents, help them to appreciate all the great things around them, and eventually for them to connect and participate with their community. ‘We Are St. Helens’ will soon post its 6th video about the city’s lone distillery, Ye ‘Ole Grog Distillery, so be on the lookout!

Posted on June 30, 2014 in AmeriCorps.