Our mission is to champion the successful permanency of each child who comes to our door. We understand that each individuals unique history, culture and needs must be considered as they journey to stable, healthy homes.

Volunteer Spotlight: Kendra Little

Kinship House is blessed with the incredible volunteer support of community ranging from monthly clean-up of our facility to helping out at our events to providing much-need administrative support.

Kendra runs her own business. She is a database guru, helping folks with SQL server performance tuning – you can check her out here. She recently joined our volunteer team and is helping in our front office in her spare time!





  • How did you hear about Kinship House?  

Hands on Greater Portland website.

  • What motivated you to start volunteering with us?

I love that Kinship House helps and supports local kids and families.

  • What kind of volunteer assignments have you worked on at Kinship House?

I’ve worked on office management, helping fill snack bags, and making fun books so far.

  • What is a favorite childhood memory?

I have very vivid, happy memories of doing crafts and making art with my siblings and friends. 

  • What is your favorite thing to do in Oregon?
I love hiking and biking! Oregon is so beautiful.


If you are interested in volunteering for Kinship House, contact Bekka at 503-460-2796 and she will give you all the details.  For general information, check out our list of opportunities here.

— Bekka Zander, Volunteer Coordinator

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Wills, Trusts, and Other Gifts

When you give to Kinship House, you ensure that some of the most vulnerable children in Oregon received the care they need as they seek a forever home. There are approximately 3000 children in foster care in the tri-county area and Kinship House serves some of those children who need extra support during their time in foster care. There are many ways to invest in the well-being of these vulnerable children and provide tax benefits to you:

Make a Bequest
Allocate any amount, percentage, or a remainder of your estate or other assets to Kinship House through your will or revocable living trust. It’s easy to do and donors who leave a bequest can take an estate tax deduction of 100 percent of the gift’s value. This is a perfect way to benefit Kinship House when you no longer need your assets yourself.

Designate a Retirement Plan
Name Kinship House as a beneficiary of your retirement account as a way to give back and gain tax savings. IRA accounts listing Kinship House as the beneficiary are free of estate and income taxes.

List us on your Life Insurance Policy
Naming Kinship House as a beneficiary of your life insurance policies gives the insurance proceeds to us and removes them from your taxable estate.

If you’ve already included Kinship House in your estate plans, please contact Dennise M. Kowalczyk (Development & Communications Director). We’d like to thank you for your generosity! Sharing your plans with Kinship House not only helps us better assess our financial picture it also helps our staff make important decisions about the long-term future of our services in caring for foster children.

Kinship House will work with you and your professional advisors to set up the best type of fund to support the work you care about. Please contact Dennise M. Kowalczyk (Development & Communications Director) know what you’re thinking, and she’ll help you explore the available options.

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Sojourn Ventures

We are excited to share that we will be offering two trips up for bid during the live auction at our Light the Way gala on October 26! Both spectacular destinations are presented by Sojourn Ventures and are stunning.

The wonderful private garden that greets you every time you enter Casa Bacco sets this home apart from many homes in Cortona, as most do not have an outdoor space. Imagine relaxing in the private courtyard with a glass of local Tuscan wine and some fresh pecorino cheese, or preparing a meal in the fully equipped kitchen to savor with your friends and family in the outdoor garden.

Casa Bacco is a spacious and luminous home that spreads out over 2 floors. The 3 bedrooms all have queen size beds and the house can accommodate 6 people. Two of the bedrooms offer stunning views over the rooftops of Cortona and down the bucolic Val de Chiana below. The other bedroom looks out over the courtyard garden and the neighboring homes.

Miro, your host and the owner of Casa Bacco, has restored this beautiful home, which was in his family for several generations. He has gone above and beyond to ensure his guests have all the amenities and comforts needed. Casa Bacco is very inviting and offers a relaxed, cozy atmosphere in which to spend your time! Airfare not included.





Villa Paradiso is an exquisite private home, recently built and located on the tranquil eastern coast of Bali, in the village known as Amed. It sits just a few hundred meters from the beach and has stunning views of both the ocean and the lush river valley and mountains beyond.

The main house has 3 bedrooms (2 with king beds and one with 2 twin beds) and there is a separate fully self-contained 1 bedroom cottage in back of the villa with views of the valley and mountain range. All bedrooms and separate cottage have their own beautifully tiled marble bathrooms and are air conditioned.

The cottage has an exquisite private outdoor shower. In the main house, you will enjoy a full-size kitchen equipped with all modern amenities, there is a half bathroom with washer/dryer. The living room and dining area is surrounded by sliding glass doors that open out to the pool, so that you may truly experience indoor-outdoor living. The living area has a flat screen TV with satellite reception and DVD. The furnishings are tastefully done and all locally made. There is daily housekeeping service.

Villa Paradiso has a beautiful, private 40 ft. swimming pool and there is a smaller shallow pool set apart for young children or simply taking a quick dip without going in the main pool. You have complete access to a full-service restaurant and dive center at our sister hotel, Apakabar Villas, www.apakabarvillas.com. You also can enjoy meals at our bar/caffè, Bar Pazzo, located directly across the street from Villa Paradiso.

Discover the culture, beauty and delightful people of Bali while enjoying a truly unique vacation and adventure on this lovely tropical island in the Indian Ocean! Airfare not included.

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Community Collaborator: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Kinship House is pleased to announce that we have been selected as this year’s beneficiary of the annual book donation presented by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)!

The SCBWI is one of the largest existing organizations for writers and illustrators. It is the only professional organization specifically for those individuals writing and illustrating for children and young adults in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia.

Their mission is to support the creation and availability of quality children’s books around the world. They accomplish this by fostering a vibrant community of individuals who bring books for young readers to the public including writers, illustrators, translators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators, booksellers, bloggers, enthusiasts, and others.

They also provide education and support for these individuals and the community through awards, grants, programs, and events. They strive to increase the quality and quantity of children’s books in the marketplace and act as a consolidated voice for writers and illustrators of children’s books worldwide.

Out of 300 nationwide nominations, Kinship House was selected as this year’s recipient. We will be receiving a wide selection of children’s books for our lending library and also receiving books to give away to our kiddos. We are so excited about this fantastic donation and thank the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as, all of their members for this most generous gift.  We will be hosting a celebration on November 4 at our location.  Stay tuned for details!

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Community Collaborator: The Walters Family Foundation

Glenn and Viola Walters worked together to construct and operate the Glenn Walters Nursery, one of the largest plant farms in the State of Oregon. Thanks to their hard work, they became the most successful nursery in the state and developed a national and international reputation, adopting the motto, “Quality is our Specialty.”


Following the final sale of the Glenn Walters Nursery and retiring in the late 1990s, Glenn and Viola set out to give back to the community that had supported them during their business years. The Walters Family Foundation was established in 1999 with the primary interest of funding activities or organizations which address the needs of youth, families, and the elderly. The Foundation has a commitment to bettering the lives of the less fortunate with a particular interest in local community centers and public park and recreation department programs.

(L to R) Heather, Jamie, Tia, and Cliff

Today, their son, Cliff, and granddaughter, Jamie, visited Kinship House.  The foundation has been a longtime supporter of our organization’s work in serving foster kids and their families. We thank The Walters Family Foundation for its role in helping us bring positive change in our community!

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Community Partner: Bridge Meadows

Bridge Meadows promotes health and well-being across three generations by providing permanent, adoptive homes for youth in foster care, supporting adoptive parents with resources and guidance, and helping elders retain meaning and purpose in their daily lives through a positive social connection.

Their residents have come from both near and far to be a part of the Bridge Meadows community. Adoptive families in need of supportive housing are typically referred to the organization through the Department of Human Services. Each of the families has agreed to provide permanence to three or more children (typically siblings) and are in some stage of that process prior to their arrival.

Elders come to the community from a variety of sources and referrals. Churches, family members, senior service organizations, online research, and word of mouth. Some of the elders (a term used to convey honor and respect to those 55 and older) have come from as far away as Colorado, Arizona, New York, and California, and as close as down the street!

Kinship House has been a partner with Bridge Meadows for several years providing on-site clinical support for families.  We are excited to support them at their new community in Beaverton that is opening up this fall!  I had the pleasure of taking a tour of the new site with the executive director, Derenda Schubert and another guest, Marcie Siegel-Kittrell of Boys & Girls Aid (another Kinship House Partner) this week.

To learn more about Bridge Meadows, click here.


— Dennise M. Kowalczyk (Kinship House – Development & Communications Director)

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Volunteer Spotlight: Debbie Ngan

Our board members dedicate hours of volunteer time to lead our organization. Debbie Ngan of US Bank joined the Kinship House board over three years ago in March 2014. In her role as a board member, she serves as our Board Treasurer, sits on our executive committee and development committee, and chairs our Our Kin Mini Golf event committee (US Bank is one of our sponsors!).

Debbie Ngan is a native Oregonian and graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Business Administration. Currently, Debbie serves as Vice President – Client Manager in Business Banking for U.S. Bank. In her 14 years of banking, Debbie has worked with small to medium sized businesses in the Portland-Metro area, providing commercial real estate/business financing and banking solutions to help her clients meet their goals. For the past 9 years, Debbie has been a Client Manager, focusing on retention and growth of business relationships. When Debbie isn’t working she enjoys spending time with her three children and reading. Debbie is also a huge foodie.

What is one memory of a fun family vacation?

A fun memory of a family vacation is when the family went to Hong Kong with her parents. The twins were 3.5 years old and she was 5 months pregnant. We had a blast taking the subways, walking around the streets, eating the foods. Disneyland Hong Kong was the first visit to “Disney” for the kids, and they loved it with a passion. The kids also loved staying in the big hotels, and now when they see tall buildings, regardless of what the building is, they ask to go back to Hong Kong. Thankfully, the girls were adaptable to a different environment, and were incredibly easy-going with the long flight and time change.

Thank you, Debbie, for all your support of our work at Kinship House!

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Executive Director Joins OACP Board


Kinship House is pleased to announce that Heather Jefferis, executive director, has been appointed to the Oregon Alliance of Children’s Programs board of directors.

The Oregon Alliance of Children’s Programs represents a variety of providers who offer services and programs in the areas of mental health, foster care, child welfare, and other service sectors. Ms. Jefferis has been a member of the coalition since 2013 and will be serving in this leadership position through July 2019.

“I am honored with the opportunity to increase my service of advocating for the care of foster and adopted children in our state,” said executive director, Heather Jefferis.  “I’m looking forward to working with our peer members in furthering access to health care and other support for Oregon’s children.”

Ms. Jefferis’ background includes coalition building, child and family advocacy, and extensive work in direct services in the behavioral health and criminal justice sector.  She also serves on the Tri-County Regional SOC Executive Council and the Oregon Child and Family Services Council. She is an active member and founding Board Member of the Tri-County Behavioral Health Providers Association as well as other organizations.

Kinship House is a non-profit that was founded in 1996 and provides outpatient mental health services to foster and adopted children and their families. We specialize in championing children and families with target interventions during all stages of foster care, reunification, and adoption.  In twenty years of providing mental health services, we have served thousands of local children on their journey to the care only a permanent and healthy family can provide. With almost 3,000 children in foster care annually in the Tri-county area, our services ensure that foster children successfully find their forever home. For more information about our types of services, click here.

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Project Lemonade

Last month, I had the opportunity to meet with two representatives of Project Lemonade: Kristy (president of the board) and Kirsten.

Project Lemonade is a non-profit run entirely by volunteers with the help of one staff person. Their mission is to support and promote confidence in foster youth. Each August, youth ages 5-20 shop for free, back to school clothes in their pop-up shop located in Lloyd Center. Each foster youth chooses his or her own new or nearly new outfits, accessories, and shoes.

To learn more about the program and reserving your time to shop, please see their website for all the details!

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The Bill Healy Foundation

Kinship House is excited to announce a recent grant award of $10,000 from The Bill Healy Foundation!

The award will aid Kinship House in opening a second clinic in partnership with Bridge Meadows, a housing first intentional community for elders and families adopting foster children.

Together, we effectively utilize precious resources in the quest to help more children move from foster care to a permanent healthy family. For the last four years, we have partnered intensively with our peer agency Bridge Meadows through placing Kinship House clinical staff on site with their housing first intentional intergenerational community located in North Portland. The community is comprised of families adopting children from child welfare and elders providing ten hours a month of volunteerism as part of their lease agreement, in support of each family’s success, thereby creating a community of natural support. This funding will support this important and effective partnership by increasing access to essential support for children and their families in their newest location in Beaverton.

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