The purpose of the scholarship is threefold: to honor Al Forthan, to award higher education scholarships to students from families impacted by addiction and poverty, and to 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. In 1991, Al made a dramatic life change toward recovery when he entered and completed the treatment program at Volunteers of America Men’s Residential Center (MRC). 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 the 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 awarded are extremely resilient, which is shown through their effort in school and service work. The $500 scholarship grew immensely in the course of these first ten years. We were able to award $69,500 to 37 Oregon high school seniors in 2017. Since 2006, we have awarded $417,500 in scholarship assistance. Our aim is to continue supporting these incredible students in their future goals, and breaking down the cycle of addiction within families. This is only possible with the help and support of those in our community.