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The purpose of the scholarship is threefold: to honor Al Forthan, award scholarships to students from families impacted by addiction and poverty, and encourage students to explore how addiction has impacted our community and the solutions to this complex problem.
Al Forthan was a man that was heavily involved in the drug and criminal lifestyle in Portland, until 1991, when he entered Volunteers of America Men’s Residential Center (MRC) and he changed his life around. After graduating the treatment program he enrolled in the Portland Community College Alcohol & Drug Counselor Program to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. In 1992, he became the first alumnus to work at the MRC. He worked from his heart and brought love, wisdom, integrity, humility, and a deep passion and commitment to recovery. During the ten years at MRC, Al touched the lives of hundreds of men and was the ultimate role model of recovery.
After Al Forthan passed away in 2006, Greg Stone, the Program Director of MRC, created this scholarship in Al’s honor. He took $500 dollars out of his own pocket to award to an Oregon high school senior who came from a family impacted by addiction. This scholarship was created to help break the cycle of addiction within families by supporting students to achieve their dreams of attending college and furthering their education. The students are extremely resilient which is shown through their effort in school and service work. What started as a $500 scholarship has grown immensely over the years in which we were able to award $82,000 to 56 Oregon high school seniors in 2019. Since 2006, we have awarded $575,000 in scholarship assistance. We hope to continue supporting these incredible students in their future goals, and breaking down the cycle of addiction within families with the help of those in our community.