In today’s Resiliency Conversation, you’ll hear from Nicolas and Taylor, the incredible team behind Serendipity’s Growing Minds Garden.
Check out the video below to find out how this passionate team blends the garden seamlessly into virtual learning and takes us behind the scenes of our crucial Family Food Share Program which delivers food to 25 families every week. Nicolas emphasizes how many of the Serendipity staff are part of this unique collaboration that maintains an important wellness connection with the students – physically and emotionally.
As Nicolas mentioned in the video, we’d like to reiterate our thanks to Bob’s Red Mill, Dave’s Killer Bread, and Pacific Foods for their incredible donations that support our Family Food Share Program. Their continued partnership with Serendipity over the past years and amidst this current crisis is invaluable and incredibly appreciated.
We are so excited to share the very first of Serendipity’s ‘Resiliency Conversations’ with you. As this pandemic continues, we know you have many questions about how Serendipity is meeting the challenges of Comprehensive Distance Learning as well as providing mental health support in a virtual format.
Kari Gale, our Communications and Event Manager, will be having a series of conversations with key staff at Serendipity, asking them about how the school is adapting and adjusting to meet the needs of the students in this unprecedented school year.
Serendipity opened its virtual doors for the 2020-2021 school year with a thoughtful, and customized approach for our students. We call it our Resiliency Response Approach. In this first conversation, Kari interviews Kevin Thompson, Serendipity’s Vice-Principal about our Resiliency Response.
We are continuing to adapt our exceptional Four Pillar model of education, mental health, transition readiness, and wellness using virtual participation with an emphasis on literacy and engagement. We have decided to deliver an enhanced program of mental health treatment in response to critical needs now, and when we return to school.
“Responding to students’ increased needs for skilled and individualized mental health supports
is our most critical priority”.
Belinda Marier, Executive Director
WELCOME TO THE 2020/2021 SCHOOL YEAR!
Serendipity has just completed its first month of school and our staff and students are doing a remarkable job of adapting to our new virtual reality with creativity and resiliency. We, as always, are committed to supporting our students as we have always done in the past, through our four pillars of education, mental health, transition, and wellness.
As we look into the next few months, however, we know we will face many additional challenges and are evaluating what new supports our students will need throughout this year, and as especially as they transition back into our classrooms when it is safe to do so.
CREATIVE THINKING DURING COVID
Our Garden Manager Nicholas was preparing to compost 50+ pounds of giant zucchini that had overgrown while were on break at the end of the summer, when serendipitously, Taylor, his assistant, had made a loaf of zucchini bread and brought it to share. As they were eating it (in a physically distanced setting) in the garden, she mentioned having made it from one of the giants. Brian, our head chef, immediately signed on to process the rest of them and start making loaves.
We included a loaf in the first Family Food Share of the 2020-2021 school year since it was a way of getting some fresh wholesome food to students and as a reminder of their time at Serendipity (zucchini & pumpkin bread were part of the breakfast menu). In the following weeks, Tyler, Brian’s assistant got in on the project as well and now they plan to continue offering a loaf of zucchini bread in each share for months to come and potentially switch to pumpkin bread when the zucchini runs out. By grating & freezing it in batches, they were able to preserve the harvest and keep a little taste of Serendipity coming to students.
This is a great example of a deepening synergy between the garden and kitchen teams & the delicious result of some creative thinking and rock-solid follow-through that keeps Serendipity staff connected to our kids in tangible ways that go above and beyond education.
We will continue to share our journey with you as we navigate supporting Serendipity students in this challenging year. We are so grateful to have you as part of our community of supporters, and we hope you are well and thriving even as we all face difficult times.
We set a very ambitious goal of $240,000 for our 2019–2020 Four Pillar Fund campaign and we triumphantly came within $4,000 of that goal!
Our community rose to the challenge magnificently to support Serendipity as we navigated a world where school was closed and events to celebrate and support our school were cancelled. Through all of these obstacles you were there for Serendipity and we were overwhelmed by your commitment, kindness, and generosity.
Your donations to the 2019–2020 Four Pillar Fund were essential to serving students during an unexpected and unprecedented period of distance learning. This fund allowed for virtual art therapy, the continued cultivation and harvest of our garden and farm, and the physical and technical preparations necessary for Serendipity to reopen.
The pride exhibited by our four graduating seniors and the joy displayed in the virtual talent show can be directly traced to the individuals and corporations that invested in the care of our students. Even the act of converting learning to another setting and another format, as challenging as this can be, helped shine a light on what it takes to be resilient. Our resiliency has grown through the support of Serendipity’s friends and investors.
We truly cannot thank you enough for your extraordinary generosity.
Belinda Marier, Executive Director
We are so excited to welcome Kevin Thompson, Serendipity’s new Vice Principal!
Below is a short video from Kevin introducing himself and sharing a little bit of his background and passion for working with the students at Serendipity.
In Kevin’s own words to the staff in his introductory email:
“I’m super excited to work with you all and help you navigate instruction and classroom management in the current climate of distance learning and beyond. I know from first-hand experience the unique challenges presented by the students we serve, and I consider it my job to ensure that teachers have everything they need to do their jobs well.”
All of us here at Serendipity are thrilled to have Kevin join our management team. His experience and enthusiasm will be invaluable as we continue to navigate the unique and challenging times ahead!
MAKING A CASE FOR GIVING!
Looking for a way to support Serendipity and enjoy some fabulous Stoller Wine this Memorial Day?
Stoller Wine group and Serendipity are partnering to bring you a very special wine offer for the week of May 25 through May 31. Stoller Wine Group will donate 20% of all proceeds from Stoller wine purchased during this one week only. Just use the promo code: SERENDIPITY. Buy a bottle or two, or even better a case of Stoller Wine and support Serendipity.
You can pick up your wine at Stoller Family Estate or Chehalem Tasting Room seven days a week using the convenient drive-thru, or get $10 flat rate shipping on 6 bottles or more. Shipping is on Stoller Wine Group when you buy a case!
This charitable donation is valid for one week only. So, whether it’s a bottle or a case, shop now and give back!
WHILE THE PANDEMIC HAS CHANGED OUR WORLD DRAMATICALLY…
Serendipity’s commitment to providing special education together with emotional and behavioral growth remains unchanged. Our teachers and mental health clinicians work diligently each day to continue to deliver our unique model of special education, weaving mental health treatment into each student’s day.
As you can imagine, delivering mental health treatment from a distance has created new challenges for all of us. Working together, our students and case managers have demonstrated flexibility and resilience in their efforts to receive and provide mental health counseling remotely.
Our incredible team of mental health specialists is led by our Treatment Director, Jackie Trussell, who has a personal message to share with you in the video below.
YES, TODAY IS #GivingTUESDAYNow…
BUT WE ARE RENAMING IT #GivingTHANKSTuesday
I wanted to reach out to all of our staff, supporters and donors with my deepest appreciation for your incredible support of Serendipity at this time. We have all come together as one community to support special education and mental health treatment at a time when our students and their families face more challenges than ever before.
To our Serendipity staff, an enormous thank you for demonstrating incredible resilience and the ability to adapt and master new methods of delivering special education and mental health treatment. Through your dedication, Serendipity has continued to deliver our Four Pillar Model without interruption during this unprecedented school closure.
To all of our friends, supporters and donors, an enormous thank you for supporting our urgent COVID-19 Fund to provide food for our students and technology for our teachers. We truly could not have done it without you.
I acknowledge each and every one of you with pride and awe. I’d like to express my gratitude with a short video.
THANKS TO EVERYONE (INCLUDING THIS PAST WEEK’S DONORS BELOW) WHO DONATED TO MEET OUR URGENT TECHNOLOGY AND FOOD ASSISTANCE NEEDS! WE ARE SO APPRECIATIVE OF YOUR SUPPORT!
To provide the best environment for students to heal and become educated, productive community members.