Rhona Mahl has worked with the marginalized youth of Portland her entire career; youth caught in the cycles of abuse, poverty, addiction, sex trafficking, homelessness, and hopelessness. Rhona knows firsthand the pull of the streets as she too was once one of the youth that she serves today.
Born at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Rhona’s first home became the family car for the first seven years of her life, along with three of her six siblings, a mother who came from abuse herself, and a father whose addictions and abuse would lead her mother to eventually escape to Portland, the city Rhona now considers home.
Rhona’s childhood was filled with neglect, abuse, loneliness and points of despair so deep she started using drugs at 12 year old, was on the streets as a run-away and a throw away at 13, and by 14 was a teen mom.
As Rhona became a mother at this tender age, she experienced hope for the first time in her life. At 14 she called out to God and dared Him to reveal the reality of His existence. He did, and Rhona never looked back. That tiny thread of hope was all she needed to fight; fight for her baby girl, fight for her life.
Today, Rhona serves the youth of Portland on the very streets she came from. She is the Founder of Braking Cycles, and she feels great honor to be the Executive Director of Braking Cycles umbrella organization, Transitional Youth (www.transitionalyouth.org). Rhona is the mother of four beautiful, adult daughters and the a proud grandmother of 3 granddaughters, two grandsons, and more on the way. She has devoted her life to God, her family and bringing the marginalized youth of Portland hope through the transforming message of the outrageous love of God, our rescuer and restorer.