Mission, Goals, and Values
At White Shield, our mission is to empower adolescent girls to lead healthy and productive lives within their families and communities.
It is with stable, well-trained supported workforce committed to the residents- current and former- that White Shield Center can strive toward our goals. Through the venue of services listed above, and in the context of health relationships, residents can build their foundation of knowledge, skills, and experience that will create conditions for future stability.
- Educate and counsel young girls and young women to recognize the impact of trauma in their lives and further prevent the continued cycles of abuse, neglect, and poverty.
- Provide a stable, supportive, and consistent academic environment in which girls and young women achieve academic success and progress toward earning a high school diploma or GED and encourage them toward higher education or engagement in the trades.
- Prepare girls and young women to live independently through pro-social development, parenting education, goal setting, workforce preparation, and an emphasis on health and wellness.
- Develop and strengthen interpersonal relationships and coping skills by fostering positive participation and contribution to the Community.
History of White Shield Center
Beginning in 1899, The Salvation Army White Shield Center has a long history in the city of Portland. Established in 1914, the Colonial Revival style center was built in Northwest Portland provided by the will of late E. henry Wemme with the purpose of opening its doors as a maternity hospital and home for young vulnerable mothers. Wemme left the establishment in the hands of J. J. Cole, Miss Jennie Carson, Henry W. Wels for three years, which was then to be passed on to local Christian Science church.
The location was moved to its present location in1917 shortly before the center was bought by The Salvation Army in 1920. The four-acre wooded location provided seclusion with all the benefits of the city. The two-leveled brick building looked over the river and the northern part of the city. The beautifully landscaped and gardened land was seen as a refuge for girls and a place filled with encouragement, as it still is today.
The establishment opened its doors to young girls, not discriminating on race or creed. Once admitted, girls were placed into one of 40 rooms; some equipped with proper medical tools for expectant mothers. Living conditions were made as homelike as possible. Expectant mothers would deliver in the E. Henry Wemme Memorial Hospital located at the end of the building while complicated deliveries were handled at Emanuel Hospital. Girls received services until they were able to go out into the world or until a family member or friend were to make other provisions.
Today, the center provides a safe, secure, nurturing learning environment for adolescent girls between the ages of 12 and 18. Residents referred by the State or Oregon?s Department of Human Services or Oregon Youth Authority. Many residents are pregnant or parenting children between the ages of 0-3. Serving the children of resident teen mothers, White Shield has opened their doors to adolescent girls to provide a safe and nurturing environment to build foundational social, emotional and behavior skills that foster stability and lay the groundwork for long-term success.