Our hearts are heavy as we share that one of our beloved employees, Andrew Ayala, passed away unexpectedly, October 21, 2020 and is no longer with us. Andrew joined staff here at KairosPDX in October 2019, though in ways it feels much longer.
Andrew integrated himself into the fabric of KairosPDX and all its functions. Though his work was focused on policy and grants, his heart extended far beyond these things. Andrew loved the work that Kairos did with children and families and when he had a break, could often be found in a classroom helping out as needed. He was especially proud of our Latinx youth and was honored to be a face that they could recognize, that looked like them. One of these Kairos leaders earned a spot on television for his piano skills and he literally beamed. Andrew believed in the concept of “see a need, fill a need”. Whether it was staying late at Family Engagement events to help clean up or sharing jokes in the staff lounge to cheer people up, or greeting families at the door…he enjoyed all the things.
Andrew likened KairosPDX to be a family for him, and it showed. He loved his family of origin, and his eyes would light up when he spoke of his grandmother and brother, but he saw KairosPDX to be his Portland family. And fortunately for Kairos, we enjoyed not only his hard work ethic but his thoughtful repose and kindness that he showered upon everyone. He was resilient and optimistic, responsible and a quick learner; a storyteller whose laughter and smile could light up a room. More than anything, Andrew cared about being a positive force for good and was deeply troubled by racial inequity and societal injustice. He represented KairosPDX in the Pre-School for All Taskforce and was an advocate on the Student Success Act policy group. For him, KairosPDX embodied his heart and soul’s work – to make community better.
KairosPDX will suspend all activities, Friday, October 23, 2020 to give ALL KairosPDX staff and community members time to grieve this heartbreaking loss. Therefore, there will be no school for KairosPDX Learning Academy students; we will resume school with assembly on Monday, October 26th at 9:00am. Click here to submit a tribute message or image for Andrew Ayala.
Listen to KairosPDX Executive Director & CoFounder, Kali Thorne Ladd, discuss What Are Children Taking From The Protests?
Featuring our own, Kali Thorne Ladd, listen to her specific message during the Press Conference.
Check out the Oregonian, “Opinion: Oregon’s ‘data driven’ coronavirus strategy is missing key data on race.” Co-authored by, KairosPDX’s Executive Director, Kali Thorne Ladd, on Friday, May 15, 2020.
KairosPDX staff receive a shout-out from a parent in the publication PDX Parent, on piece focused on “How’s Homeschooling going?, May 13, 2020.
Check out the Oregonian, “Opinion: The racial disparity of COVID-19’s impacts are well-known. Oregon officials aren’t doing anything about it.” Co-authored by, KairosPDX’s Executive Director, Kali Thorne Ladd, on Wednesday, April 29, 2020.
Watch as Lamar Hurd on NBC Sports Northwests’ Hurd Mentality, interviews Kali Thorne Ladd about KairosPDX on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.
The Portland Observer, features, Kali Thorne Ladd’s tips on Mitigating COVID-19 Trauma on Kids, April 9, 2020.
Watch the Portland Public Schools, Public Hearing for KairosPDX Learning Academy on February 13, 2020
KairosPDX recently received one of our most honorable recognitions to date– the Emily G. Gottfried Human Rights Commission Award. The Human Rights Commission is focused on building peace and ending discrimination; this was also a life-focus for Emily Gottfried. While this is certainly the bedrock of what Kairos is about, we recognize we’re still early on our journey making such a recognition humbling.
We are strengthened knowing this award belongs -not only to us- but every person and organization that has been part of our story. When Kairos was founded in 2012, we dedicated ourselves to being an organization for the community and by the community. This has been our reality every step of the way. This work on behalf of children has been a phenomenal journey thus far and we are so grateful for all the people who have come along side us. Together, we are making a difference. And so, to our collective KairosPDX family, this award belongs to you.
Our KairosPDX Co-Founder, Zalika Gardner, spoke at the 4th installment of TEDxPortland.