Jack Ensminger
Jack Ensminger

Blanchet House of Hospitality in Portland has chosen its 2020-21 student ambassadors from local Catholic high schools.

The ambassadors will participate in a yearlong program designed to build leadership skills, grow awareness of the causes of homelessness, and engage their school communities in projects that help the people Blanchet House serves. The venerable Catholic ministry, begun in the 1950s by University of Portland students, provides food, housing, addiction treatment and job help.

This is the third year Blanchet House has hosted the student ambassador program.

Jack Ensminger is a senior at Jesuit High School in Southwest Portland. He plans to help the community by encouraging his neighbors and peers to serve others. Ensminger is passionate about helping the homeless and would like to inspire others in his community to become more aware and active in helping those who are marginalized in society.

“During quarantine, it really struck me how difficult it must be for the homeless in our city,” Ensminger  said. “As a result of this, I decided to become a more active volunteer by serving dinner at Blanchet House.”

Hannah Cooper is a senior at Central Catholic High School in Southeast Portland. Her goal is to shed extra light on the homeless population of Portland and make sure others don’t forget about them. Inspired by her grandmother and parents, Cooper was always taught to help people less fortunate than herself. Last year, she organized Central Catholic’s first Human Dignity Summit.

“In times of need, like right now, it’s easy to forget about those who struggle more than we do,” said Cooper.

Chase Kerman, a junior at Jesuit, wants to initiate change by listening to the perspectives of those who have been marginalized. Kerman is interested in social justice and has become aware of the inequalities that lie in Portland’s houseless communities. She believes Blanchet House exemplifies compassion, hope, and care, and is excited about becoming more involved in the work. Kerman has spent many hours volunteering in the clothing closet and serving meals at Blanchet House.

“I think it is important to turn words into action in order to instigate change and actively reform disparities in our community,” Kerman said.


Learn more

See the projects ambassadors work on at blanchethouse.org/student-ambassadors.