On Thursday, January 29, the students of Serendipity Center earned their second school-wide PBIS reward of the year. This time the students of Serendipity chose a pajama and movie day to celebrate their positive behavior! Groups of students across grade levels were invited into the dining hall to watch “Box Trolls.” Students munched on snacks and relaxed in their PJs, enjoying their earned reward for weeks of making safe, respectful, and responsible choices while at school.

Our PBIS coordinator and valued interventionist, Gretchen, organized the event for Serendipity students. The school-wide PBIS protocol has been successful at rewarding students for making good choices while at school. Students are now able to be rewarded by any of the Serendipity staff when they are seen demonstrating safe, respectful, and responsible behavior. This has lead to students being more mindful of their behavior outside of the classroom and they have become more respectful of staff who work indirectly with them. Thank you to all the staff who helped organize and produce the pajama and movie day for Serendipity’s students!



Serendipity Center extends our sincere gratitude to all those who donated time, money, and energy to making this holiday season a joyful and memorable one for Serendipity’s students and their families.

As a way of closing out the fall semester and 2014, Serendipity held our annual Holiday Celebration to distribute donated gifts to students before they left for winter break. Gifts were donated by NIKE, the employees of CapitalOne, and patrons of Glendoveer Golf Course. The Central East Portland Rotary and St. Joseph the Worker’s Peace and Justice Committee  provided 17 families with groceries to help during winter break. We were also able to provide 28 families with $100 Fred Meyer gift cards due to donations from individuals and organizations such as Brown & Brown NW, Metro West Women’s Club, and OPNW.

It is this type of leadership and generosity from our community partners and our Board of Directors that has helped make 2014 a year of tremendous growth for Serendipity Center. We would like to say “Thank You” to all those who supported Serendipity in 2013-2014, we wish you all the best in 2015!


Program Assistant, Elise, and Garden Coordinator, Nicolas, pose with a student during our Holiday Celebration.


This year Nike donated Soccer balls and Basketballs for every student at Serendipity.

One of the most popular areas of Serendipity Center for students is the Game Room. This area is used for a variety of therapeutic and recreational purposes. It is common to see students taking a structured break with Serendipity staff, or enjoying a game of pool during recess with peers during the day. For many of our students, it is an area to practice sportsmanship and turn-taking with others in a safe, constructive environment. Naturally, when students found out that we would be replacing our pool table the school was buzzing with excitement.

Last week on Tuesday, November 25th the incredibly generous individuals at Golden West Billiards donated and installed our new “Delta Queen” style billiard table; a significant, and much needed upgrade from our previous table. Serendipity Center would like to extend sincere gratitude to Rich, Jack, and Zack at Golden West for donating your time and energy to install our fabulous new table. To visit their website please click here, and Like their Facebook page here.



On Thursday, November 20th at the Multnomah Athletic Club in downtown Portland, Serendipity Center hosted it’s second annual Youth Opportunity Summit informational breakfast. The early morning event, hosted at MAC featured a speaking engagement from Dr. Wilson Kenney – the Co-owner of the Center for Integrated Intervention. Dr. Kenney delivered a focused and engaging presentation about the impact of poverty on human development, and discussed ways we can help individuals and families overcome such tremendous obstacles. To learn more about the Center for Integrated Intervention, click here.

The Youth Opportunity Summit breakfast successfully brought together leaders from the education and business communities to discuss the social and emotional impacts of poverty, particularly it’s effects on children. Last school year, Serendipity Center students participated in the “YO” Summit; an all-day event designed to better equip Serendipity students and graduates with the skills necessary to become positive members of the Portland community.

Special thanks to Miller Nash LLP for continuing to embrace the Serendipity Center mission by sponsoring our Youth Opportunity Breakfast.

Thank You: Katie Dutt & Family, Multnomah Athletic Club, and Think A/V

This fall the students of Serendipity Center were challenged to reach a goal of 2,000 school-wide PBIS tickets to earn a wonderful autumn celebration. Not only did the students of Serendipity rise to the challenge and succeed at earning the Fall Harvest Festival, they smashed through the 2,000 ticket goal and earned over 2,200 by demonstrating safe, respectful, and responsible behavior at school.  Some of the events at this year’s Harvest Festival included an apple press, which gave students an opportunity to make apple cider from scratch using apples donated to Serendipity Center by The Barn for the festival. Students were also able to participate in a needle in the haystack search and decorate pumpkins, some of which were harvested from our Growing Minds Garden.

Serendipity Center adopted PBIS as a school-wide protocol in 2010 and has since seen a number of positive changes in student behavioral management. PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports)  is the framework for adopting and organizing evidence-based behavioral interventions into an integrated continuum that enhances academic and social behavior outcomes for all students (pbis.org). Our fantastic behavioral support specialists have guided Serendipity Center though the adoption phase of PBIS and provide continue support to classroom and support staff. 

Thank you to all of the staff, students, and volunteers who worked so hard to ensure the Harvest Festival was fun and memorable afternoon.



Our hope is that the holidays can always be a joyful time for our students. But for those facing economic challenges, this can be an incredibly stressful time. Currently, 79% of our students receive free or reduced meals (breakfast and lunch) at school. Read more

The TTIP program proved their entrepreneurial mettle before the winter break by making and selling festive holiday wreaths to sell to staff. They made over one hundred dollars which they plan to apply towards the cost of a Wii Fitness for the program. Their newest product is a selection of dog treats, designed and baked in our JFR Foundation Life Skills Room.

Serendipity’s Board of Directors, staff members, and students welcome Randi Johnson who brings valuable business experience and a commitment to Serendipity’s mission to provide support for students to heal, learn, and contribute.

Randi is founder and owner of Copia Group, which provides recruitment services for executive and director level positions. Her work allows Randi to build on her core beliefs—that relationships matter, that meeting people where they are  makes learning possible, and that meaningful work is empowering.  Randi not only guides her clients towards the formulation of their personal goals, she herself operates from a personal mission statement. She seeks to help people find and go towards their potential while she finds and goes towards hers.

There seems to be a natural alignment of Randi’s philosophy with Serendipity’s mission. Her background makes her an important addition to our finance committee, where she helps oversee and guide financial reports and decisions. Her enthusiasm to become quickly involved and to support the board’s projects is very much appreciated.

The entire Serendipity team feels strengthened by Randi’s skills, expertise, and commitment to the welfare of our children. Please join us in welcoming her.

Serendipity’s student council is a wonderful opportunity for some of our high school students to participate as leaders in our school.

This year, the student council got right to work on planning high school-wide activities such as the Halloween Dance and the Holiday Lunch. They also worked on some service projects. Several of our council members were volunteers at a leadership conference for disabled youth. The experience deepened their insight into both the challenges faced by disabled individuals and the resources and supports available to them. It proved an inspiring experience, and everyone came away feeling empowered to seek further leadership opportunities in their communities. The student council also sends a representative to Serendipity Center’s Quality Improvement Committee, which convenes four times a year to review and discuss how our program and services can be strengthened.

During the month of February, the student council sponsored “Spirit Week”. Tie-dyed shirts in Serendipity school colors were created, and a slate of silly, fun activities were scheduled for every student in the school. It was a time for our students to feel unified, to feel pride in their school, and to experience the importance of including joy in our lives. The Valentine’s Day dance was another great success.

Students who are interested in serving on the student council are required to fill out an application in September and must meet specific criteria in order to be considered, including excellent attendance, passing grades, and consistent safe, respectful and responsible behaviors. This year there has been increased interest in student leadership, and the council is currently functioning with up to 10 members. They are a group of students who have risen to the expectations and have been exemplary student leaders.