Our Story



Two friends who both went through Portland Public Schools came up with the idea and plan to help youth. Levell Thomas and Mark Jackson founded REAP, and shared the passion for became REAP’s mission:

To proactively ignite, elevate and engage the next wave of leaders for the future now.”

From their experiences, Levell and Mark knew the potential contained within youth, and their yearning for opportunities in the larger world. They also knew how to adapt successful, proven programs as a structure for guiding and supporting youth.

And they know how to tap into networks in business, government, and the nonprofit sector to connect the youth to leaders, mentors, and potential employers across our communities and the state.

For the past 18 years, REAP has been working at the leading edge of the demographic change we now see all around us. The executive team calls REAP “the United Nations of youth empowerment” in our community.

Most recently, REAP has been focusing on school communities with significant numbers of families in challenging economic circumstances and non-English speaking families. Children of these families face the most challenge in negotiating school and life.


Our Values

REAP provides students a window into their future:

  • Elevate student voice

  • Empower student leaders with a global mindset

  • Develop innovation toward entrepreneurship

  • Engage students in cooperative management (conflict resolution)