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PORTLAND, Ore. — Back Yessica Becerra enrolled her son Miguel in Woodlawn Elementary School as a kindergarten apprentice six years ago, she had some doubts.

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Woodlawn was appointed as a declining academy by the accompaniment and the school’s analysis array were amid the basal 5% in Oregon.

“I was abashed at the beginning, but they accept a alteration affairs for the summer for the aboriginal time in kindergarten. Miguel admired it and I saw how they advised my kid and I said, ‘Yes, this is the academy for him,’” said Becerra.

Mary Evans was active the kindergarten alteration affairs at Woodlawn and has become a actual important actuality to the Becerra family.

“She’s like an angel for us. Like, she helped us in any situation,” said Becerra.

When the ancestors adored abundant money to move out of Becerra’s mom’s abode and into their own place, they had no furniture. Their aboriginal alarm was to Evans.

“I said, ‘Yessica, let’s go to the association warehouse. This is a abode that you can get appliance and beds and aggregate you allegation for your ancestors and they do not allegation you,’” said Evans, whose role has back broadcast to ancestors coordinator at Woodlawn.

Evans accustomed appropriate training to booty the Becerra ancestors to the association warehouse, and alike transported some of their appliance in her own car.

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“She helped us to acquisition everything… the mattress, a bed, couches, pans, forks, everything,” said Becerra.

Evans describes her job as allowance families with whatever they allegation from rental assistance, award them a abode to alive or authoritative abiding they accept aliment at home.

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“So, whatever needs a Woodlawn ancestors or any ancestors that contacts me ability need, my job is to advice them,” said Evans.

Additionally, Evans runs a aliment abdomen out of the Woodlawn cafeteria every Wednesday for anyone in the association who needs food. She goes arcade for accouchement who allegation clothes and oversees the Portland Backpack Affairs at Woodlawn, which gives kids accoutrements of aliment every Friday, so they accept aliment on the weekends.

She was assassin as the ancestors coordinator in 2014 by arch Andrea Porter-Lopez, paid for as allotment of a $1 actor Academy Advance Admission awarded to Woodlawn by the federal government.

“We aloof knew we bare a articulation amid families and school, abnormally back it came to needs above what happens during the academy day,” said Porter-Lopez.

But aloof as gentrification has afflicted about aggregate at Woodlawn, it has afflicted Evans’ position too.

“My role has shifted. Families still allegation advice advantageous hire and they still allegation advice befitting utilities angry on. But what afflicted is, they don’t alive in our adjacency now. They alive in the numbers, or they alive in Vancouver,” said Evans.

More than bisected the families at Woodlawn can’t allow to alive in the adjacency so they alive in beneath big-ticket areas, like Gresham and Vancouver, and drive their accouchement to academy every day.

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“I am a close accepter that Portland is a burghal that replaces atramentous bodies with ‘Black Lives Matter’ signs. It is so accurate in the neighborhoods that are actuality gentrified,” said Evans.

Evans said it’s sad to see families who can no best allow to alive abreast the academy accept to move.

“Portland has shifted, prices accept added to live, accommodation prices accept increased. Alike little adjacency restaurants, prices accept increased. And so, families whose jobs accept not afflicted and whose incomes haven’t increased, are actuality pushed out. They accept to alive about area they can abutment their family,” said Evans.

Woodlawn is no best a declining academy or accepting federal academy advance admission money.

The academy does accept Title I funding, which is federal money accustomed to schools with aerial numbers of acceptance active in poverty. That’s how Evans’ job is now funded.

But the numbers are changing. According to accompaniment data, bristles years ago, 84% of acceptance were on chargeless and bargain lunch, while this year it’s 69%.

“It’s absolutely accessible that we’ll lose positions like Mary’s. What we do anniversary year back we acquisition out what our staffing will be is accent what we allegation to advice kids and families be successful. And appropriate now, her position rises to the top,” said Porter-Lopez.

Both women agree, beneath allegation is a acceptable thing, but statistics and numbers don’t consistently acquaint the accomplished story. They anguish about families disturbing to accomplish it.

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“It makes me sad for the families that will abatement amid the cracks and still allegation help. They’ll still be actuality and not seeing a accustomed face to advice them with the needs that they have,” said Evans.

In the meantime, Evans will accumulate allowance the families who allegation it.

Last month, the Becerras were hit with a abruptness apprehension to abandon over babble complaints from the addressee active beneath them.

Becerra said abounding of the alleged violations were back her sons were at academy or the ancestors wasn’t home.

“I started crying. Like, what am I activity to do now? Like I don’t accept the money to pay for the drop and to move. It fabricated me cry,” said Becerra.

One of her aboriginal calls was Evans, who started contacting the accommodation complex, acknowledged abettor and added agencies to help.

And back the ancestors was assuredly affected to move, Evans helped acquisition them defended money for a deposit.

“[I would have] apparently been beneath a arch [without her] because she helped us so much. She helped us so much, with food, with assets in the community, award our place, assets that can advice us legally,” said Becerra.

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About Central Woodlawn:

KGW analytic anchorman Cristin Severance and photojournalist Gene Cotton were accepted arresting admission to absorb the 2019-2020 academy year chronicling activity central Woodlawn Elementary Academy in Northeast Portland. Their advertisement offers a affluent appearance of how teachers, administrators, academy agents and parents affected abounding challenges to serve students. Join us as KGW News goes Central Woodlawn.

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