Albertina Kerr Centers Foundation

Every day, Albertina Kerr helps children, families and adults in Oregon who face mental health challenges and developmental disabilities, empowering them to lead fuller, self-determined lives.
Feb 27, 2017

Celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, we have had much to celebrate over the last 30 years. The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities is using the slogan “Life side by side” to celebrate the advances in community-based life for people with developmental disabilities.

Following our mission, Albertina Kerr has been at the forefront of community-based advances for people with developmental disabilities. Beginning in the 1970’s and continuing through the 1980’s, we were a leader of deinstitutionalization in Oregon. In 1976 we opened the Kerr Center for Handicapped Children (KCHC), which moved children out of the state institution and into a smaller, community-oriented center. We then opened our first neighborhood-based group home in Milwaukie in 1983. The home helped children who had aged-out of services at KCHC transition into a fuller community-based life, living side by side with their non-disabled peers. By 1989, 13 neighborhood-based group homes had opened and everyone living at KCHC had moved out, allowing for the closure of the facility.

In 2003 we significantly expanded group home services for youth with developmental disabilities. Just a year later, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed, which further opened opportunities for individuals with disabilities, guaranteeing appropriate education tailored to each student’s needs.

Albertina Kerr has routinely been ahead of social and legislative advances and we saw that again most recently in 2015 with our opening of the Project SEARCH program, a nine-month internship training program for people with developmental disabilities. Shortly after opening, the Lane v. Brown class action lawsuit was settled, giving people with developmental disabilities more opportunities to work in competitive employment instead of sheltered workshops.

Today, Albertina Kerr is helping make “life side by side” a reality for more than 550 youth and adults with developmental disabilities. We have been a leader in Oregon and are grateful for the work that has been done. We believe even more exciting advances are to come in ensuring that people with developmental disabilities live fuller lives as valued members of our community and we will continue to be a voice for those efforts.

You can lend your voice and participate in Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month on social media this month using #DDawareness17.

Nov 17, 2016

Stabilizing Children in Crisis Situations

Albertina Kerr's Crisis Psychiatric Care program supports more than 300 children from across Oregon who enter care in the midst of an emergency mental health crisis. Children remain in Kerr's care for an average of three weeks before returnin to their home community in a stable condition for further community-based care. One child's story 

For many years, Walsh had been managing the challenges of social anxiety, OCD, and Tourette’s syndrome. Then, at 12 years old, Walsh threatened suicide, telling his parents that he didn’t want to be around anymore. His parents, Julia and Rick, were also becoming fearful that Walsh could be a danger to his younger brother, Henry. After the suicide threat, Julia and Rick took Walsh to the emergency room where he was then referred to Albertina Kerr’s Crisis Psychiatric Care program. 

Initially, Walsh dug in his heels and was fearful of needing and receiving help. He had never been away from home so it was a significant change for him to be in the short-term residential facility. The time in care helped Walsh identify his strengths including drawing and reading. Kerr’s Crisis Psychiatric Care helped Walsh to open up and try new things when he went home.

Walsh’s counselor Ryan was in touch with Julia and Rick often throughout Walsh’s stay to let them know about Walsh’s progress. The routine check-ins from staff were a relief to Julia and Rick. With each note of progress, the family was becoming less concerned for the safety of Henry when Walsh returned.

When Walsh’s stay reached three weeks, a point at which most children are ready to return home, Julia, Rick and Ryan discussed the prospect and decided more time was needed. Rather than move Walsh to long-term residential care, which can keep children away from home for three to six months, the Crisis Psychiatric Care program continued care for longer than most. After 38 days Walsh returned home. He had learned how to problem solve and to think before reacting as well as self-soothing skills. His progress continues with the help of Albertina Kerr’s community-based mental health services. Today, Walsh receives visits for support at his home from Kerr’s skills trainers and counselors. Julia and Rick are continuing their own progress, taking advantage of free Collaborative Problem Solving classes for parents offered by Kerr.

Reflecting on the experience, Julia realized that once Walsh got to Albertina Kerr, she and Rick did not feel like they were helpless anymore. The staff at Kerr taught Julia to accept that Walsh’s struggles were not a reflection against her and Rick or their parenting.

“We have a long road ahead, but he’s definitely in a better spot,” said Julia. “This is a stepping stone. We had to do this to move forward. And Kerr was great along the way.”

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy.

Links:

Aug 17, 2016

Kerr Hosts Exhibition for Portland Biennial

Albertina Kerr's Project Grow has been selected as one of the exhibition sites for this year's Portland Biennial. Project Grow is one of 25 partner venues hosting exhibitions of the event, curated by Michelle Grabner and presented by Disjecta Contemporary Art Center.

Project Grow will be showcasing the work of Oregon artist Colin Pickhardt Kippen. Project Grow Artists Ricky Bearghost and Lawrence Oliver were chosen by Grabner after several studio visits to have work features in Salon: Portland2016, The Studio Visits, a salon-style exhibition at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center. Project Grow's participation establishes the Biennial program and artists as strong, relevant voices in our region's contemporary art community.

Project Grow is a program of Albertina Kerr's Port City Development Center, an activity and recreation program that provides career ans social support for adults with developmental disabilities from Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties in Oregon. Project Grow provides a space for artists with developmental disabilities to explore personal expression through an array of artisistc mediums, as well as gan skill and experience working on a chemical-free garm with an emphasis on sustainability. Project Grow is a space where creativity is fostered and supported, and where no limits are placed on the projects artists choose to undertake.

"Project Grow aims to create a shared art experience by connecting individuals with artists in the community," said Carissa Burkett, Albertina Kerr Program Manager. "We are honored to showcase the art of talented local artists and have our artists' work o exhibition for the community to see."

The opening reception was held at Project Grow on Saturday, July 9. Exhibitions run until September 18, 2016. To learn more visit www.portlandbiennial.org

 
   

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    (USD)
    give
  • $25
    (USD)
    give
  • $50
    (USD)
    give
  • $100
    (USD)
    give
  • $10
    each month

    (USD)
    give
  • $25
    each month

    (USD)
    give
  • $50
    each month

    (USD)
    give
  • $100
    each month

    (USD)
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Albertina Kerr Centers Foundation

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Albertina Kerr Centers Foundation on GreatNonProfits.org.
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.