The BEAM Village began as a pilot program at Portland Community College - Cascade Campus called The Passage to Higher Education (2012-14).
"The Passage" was a network of Black academic advisers, educators, and students committed to using an informal mentoring and supplemental learning program to increase the retention and graduation rate for African American students at local colleges and universities.
Community partners felt that providing co-curricular services to students would be insufficient without significant change in classroom practices and system-wide policies related to school-community relations. This new collective then planned and held the first Black Student Success Summit (BSSS) in 2014.
After the successful execution of the Summit, members of our collective met for months regularly to evaluate the needs of students, and development activities that would support students from the classroom through career attainment. Next, an increasing number of educators, new industry, community supporters, school districts, city and state partners were invited to the table to assist the vision. BEAM Village began to grow deep roots, as other huts joined the movement.
The drive to educate all students equally continues to guide our work, due to our caring volunteers, committed partnerships, sharing of resources, redistribution of power all rooted in the belief that we can derail the current pipeline to prison and replace it with a new track of educational and career attainment.