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(Pictured left to right: Kerr Assistant Director Jessica Compton, Kerr Chief Program Officer Derrick Perry, Kerr CEO Allison Stark, Oregon State Representative Lisa Reynolds, and Marcie Lowe, Kerr Program Manager II)

Dear Friends of Kerr,

I hope this message finds you all well! I had a great spring break with my family in Central Oregon and am ready to tackle the final stretch of our fiscal year!

April marks National Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month, spotlighting the essence of our mission at Albertina Kerr. We’re committed to nurturing environments where individuals with I/DD, including autism, discover belonging and empowerment. Let’s unite in advocacy, celebrating their unique talents, and ensuring every voice is valued.

Recently, we had the honor of hosting Oregon State Representative Lisa Reynolds at one of our residential group homes, where she witnessed firsthand our unwavering dedication to fostering autonomy and self-determination. Representatives Tawna Sanchez and Rob Nosse also took time to meet with us, demonstrating their steadfast support for our cause. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to these esteemed representatives for their invaluable support. (Pictured with me in the top photo from left to right is Rep. Nosse, Rep. Sanchez, Kerr Chief Program Officer Derrick Perry, Kerr Medical Director Dr. Naomi Fishman, and Kerr Assistant Director Espe Avalos)

In other news, I’m thrilled to share that the U.S. Senate has passed Bill S.1332, recognizing Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) with a standard occupational classification. This milestone could pave the way for better policies and higher wages for DSPs. I urge each of you to contact your representatives in the House to support this crucial bill.

At Kerr, we are committed to excellence in service delivery, which is why we are pursuing Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) accreditation to ensure accountability and prioritize person-centered care. Already, we have trained nearly 200 frontline staff, equipping them with the tools needed to uphold our high standards.

I’m also excited to announce the return of Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) at Kerr. This evidence-based approach, developed at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry, focuses on flexibility, frustration tolerance, and effective problem-solving. Our staff have reported reduced stress and improved interactions, aligning perfectly with our accreditation goals.

Lastly, I am deeply grateful for receiving the Portland Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award. It’s a humbling recognition, made even more special by the other remarkable women awardees. I extend my heartfelt thanks to Angela Hult, president of the Kuni Foundation, for her gracious introduction and to the PBJ team for organizing such an inspiring event. (Pictured with me in the bottom right photo is Kerr Governing Board member Shouka Darvishi and Kerr Governing Board Chair Paul Litwinczuk) 

As we press forward in our journey of championing diversity and inclusion, let us draw inspiration from our namesake, Albertina Sechtem Kerr. Her story exemplifies resilience, determination, and the power of compassion. Albertina Kerr’s legacy guides us to create a world where everyone feels empowered and supported.

Thank you for your unwavering dedication to our mission.

Allison Stark
CEO, Albertina Kerr