Serendipity’s Youth Opportunity Summit is an annual event for our students dedicated to understanding and overcoming barriers. The Summit is based on a model developed by Dr. Donna Beegle, founder of Communication Across Borders (CAB), a nationally recognized leader in helping youth develop tools to deal with — and overcome — poverty. CAB acknowledges poverty as trauma – which is accompanied by grief, pain, and anger. These issues are especially overwhelming for youth who are also struggling with mental illness.

The goals of Serendipity’s annual YO Summit are to:

  • Remove the shame that poverty teachers
  • Rebuild the hope that poverty steals
  • Reduce isolation by connecting youth with community

“If we begin by teaching children about poverty in the K-12 system, everyone would learn about the true causes of poverty and the circumstances that perpetuate it. They would gain empathy and recognition that not everyone has the same chances. More importantly, children in poverty would learn the true causes and be able to externalize the shame taught by their own experiences. It empowers them to understand and change their current context.”

— Dr. Donna Beegle, Founder of Communication Across Barriers

A First For Oregon
The first YO Summit at Serendipity (also the first in Oregon) was held in March 2014. Dr. Beegle facilitated a highly empowering experience for our students, helping them to authentically understand core poverty issues and assist them in moving out and staying out of poverty.