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Hello, Friends of Kerr!

I had a great, sunny run for my first few months, but now the rain has started. I look forward to leaning into the cold and wet that is Portland sitting by the fire and snuggling up with my cat (and kids!). Kerr is a lively place in the fall; below are just a few noteworthy highlights.

The Dean Kirn Training Center
When you drive by Kerr’s Administrative Center (424 NE 22nd), you will notice new exterior signage. Kerr was able to refresh and update the building and create dedicated training spaces for our staff. This was possible due to a generous gift from Ken Kirn and his family in memory of his wife, Dean Kirn, who passed away on January 4, 2021. Dean devoted 22 years as a volunteer in the gift shop at Albertina’s Place, sharing her passion and commitment to helping others. According to her husband, she was grateful for the opportunity to belong to a community that makes a difference in the lives of the youth and adults Kerr served. Soon there will be a plaque on the first floor with details about Dean’s extraordinary life and contribution to Kerr. Dean believed one should find their passion and pass it on with enthusiasm and positivity. These are beautiful words to live by. We’re deeply grateful for the Kirn family’s donation and that we can honor Dean and her legacy.

Kerr Staff Recognized
I’m pleased to announce that two Kerr staff members were recently honored with prestigious awards. Sierra Balderrama (pictured top right)—a Job Developer with Kerr’s Employment Services team—was recognized for her impactful work in the Supported Employment field with the 2022 Outstanding Employment Professional Award at the Nike World Headquarters CBRE Disability Month celebration. And Edy Luttrell (pictured bottom right)—a Kerr Assistant Program Manager—received the Oregon Resource Association (ORA) 2022 Works of Heart Award for her dedication and service. I’m so proud of Sierra, Edy, and all our staff at Kerr!

The Power of Pets
Many of Albertina Kerr’s children’s group homes have pets. I’ve had a chance to meet Chester the cat, Guppy the fish, and some chickens. I love that Kerr responsibly cares for these animals, so our kids benefit from these companions. According to the National Institute of Health, pet ownership can positively impact children with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies have shown the unconditional love of a pet helps reduce stress, ease anxiety, and build empathy, compassion, and confidence, while also teaching responsibility.

Halloween Fun
Kerr’s residents and staff showed off their creative decorating skills for our annual Home Halloween Decorating Contest. Congratulations to the winning team at our group home on 159th with their glowing ghosts and silly pumpkin patch. Kerr’s Weathers home was runner-up with carved jack-o-lanterns in the windows and a yard full of glowing insects.

Allison Stark
CEO, Albertina Kerr