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.

Honoring Wayne T. Naillon – Friend of the Children

Last fall, Kinship House was the recipient of a $3,000.00 donation from the Windermere Foundation on behalf of Lenore LaTour of Windermere Stellar located in Portland.

The donation came from a part of Ms. LaTour’s commission from the home sale of Mr. Wayne T. Naillon.  Mr. Naillon passed away in May 2016.  He worked for Multnomah County Mental Health and Addiction Services and he fostered 68 children in his home during his 40 years of living in the Irvington neighborhood.

Lenore LaTour, a broker with Windermere Stellar and long-time neighbor and friend, generously donated to Kinship House to honor Mr. Naillon’s years of care of foster children.

This past weekend, friends and family of Mr. Naillon joined us at Kinship House to celebrate his loving work with foster children.  We thank all of Mr. Naillon’s beloved friends and families for visiting Kinship House and sharing a bit of his story with us.



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Community Partner: Thrive Ministries

Thrive Ministries is a ministry focused on supporting families who are experiencing challenges in life and who need support as foster families. Their volunteering is based in East County.

The effort is lead by Summer and Dan Hermann, parents of a family of seven, who started this program two years ago. Their passion is to care for children and families who are part of the foster care, as well as, the special needs community. They work alongside Department of Human Services staff to help support families in our child welfare system but providing such services as Packs in a Pinch and a Just in Case Box.

The Packs in a Pinch project provides enough clothing for three days for a child entering Oregon’s child welfare system.  The Just in Case Box project provides extra clothes, snacks, toys, and other supplies to special education classrooms.

To learn more about the organization and their community support projects, visit their website or send an email to thriveministries.co@gmail.com.




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It Takes A Village: Alycia, Henry, & Steve

We love to celebrate Kinship House Heroes and we get to do so often because there are many of you to celebrate.

A few weeks ago, Alycia and Henry came by for a tour of Kinship House and I shared that we were in need of backpacks to offer our kids who do not have suitcases.  Alycia recruited her husband, Steve to the cause and with the help of some of their friends and a few of his colleagues at Wieden+Kennedy, they rounded up about 50 backpacks a couple of weeks later.  Now, when a kiddo needs a bag, we have several to choose from so they can carry their belongings.  Thanks to Alycia, Henry, Steve, their friends, and the staff at Wieden+Kennedy for donating a whole mess of backpacks to Kinship House.  We are so appreciative of your generosity!

If you want to be a Kinship House Hero, there are many ways to become one.  Learn more here.

— Dennise M. Kowalczyk
Development & Communications Director


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Emerging Professionals of Portland

Kinship House is honored to have been selected as one of the featured non-profits at the monthly EPOP gathering held on last Tuesday’s of the month. Last night, about 50+ attendees gathered at Migration Brewing to meet other professionals and to learn about the leadership role that Kinship House fills in providing mental health care for foster and adopted children.

The Portland Business Alliance’s Emerging Professionals of Portland (EPOP) program is the place where young professionals in Portland can prosper and grow in their careers, build a peer network and get exposure to business leaders. EPOP brings together the Alliance’s EMERGE program and the Young Professionals of Portland.

EPOP offers programming focused on education and professional development, civic engagement and networking.

Thanks to Cassie Diamond of MassMutual Oregon, one of our fabulous board members at Kinship House, for speaking to the group about our work in the community. The end of year EPOP gathering is taking place on June 27 at the Jupiter Hotel from 5 pm to 7 pm.  We hope to see you there! Kinship House is a proud member of the Portland Business Alliance.

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Volunteer Spotlight – Jenna Scott

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.

Jenna recently joined our volunteer team and is helping in our front office!

  • How did you hear about Kinship House?
    I heard about Kinship House through a Hands On Greater Portland volunteer opportunity that was posted. I had been looking for a volunteer opportunity that would be a good fit for me for a while. When I read about the mission and services, I definitely wanted to learn more.
  • What motivated you to start volunteering with us?
    After college I volunteered for a year through the JesuitVolunteer I wanted to make volunteering a part of my “normal” life because giving my time and talents to the world is important to me. When I met with Bekka to learn more about Kinship House, I thought I’d give it a try. Every week so far has been different!
  • What kind of volunteer assignments have you worked on at Kinship House?
    My husband works for a non-profit and so I hear about fundraising almost every day. The projects that have been the most meaningful for me have been the mailings. I know it takes a lot of staff time to do, so if a volunteer can come in and help with that it’s a big relief for the staff.
  • What is a favorite childhood memory?
    I did gymnastics in middle school. Every day, my mom would rush to pick me up at school and drive me across town to practice.My mom also worked full-time and had three of us to lug Knowing I hated sandwiches, the easy, on-the-go meal, one day when she picked me up she brought me a plate of homemade tacos and rice. Kinda simple, but it was the best!
  • What is your favorite thing to do in Oregon?
    In the summer, I really like to go up to the Washougal River with my floatie and some friends. There are a number of different swimming holes and small rapids to float and adventure.


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.

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The Herd: Mammoth HR

Last week, Kinship House was honored to receive a generous donation of art supplies from Mammoth HR, a Portland-based human resources company that helps organizations comply with their regulatory responsibilities and implement best practices.

Our budding friendship started a couple of months ago when one of the employees, Theo Ward, visited Kinship House for a tour.  He shared his experience with his co-workers, some of which sit on a newly formed committee to come up with community engagement opportunities.  We were thrilled that they selected us for their Art Drive Happy Hour!

The staff and the company donated over 160 items ranging from glitter to coloring books to googly eyes (who doesn’t love googly eyes?).  The gathering also included treats like otter pops, popcorn, and gummy bears. All in all, it was a delightful time.

Executive Director, Heather Jefferis, Development & Communications Director, Dennise M. Kowalczyk, and board members Cassie Diamond and Jamie Kilberg attended the gathering.

Mammoth HR offers a unique approach to human resources — each plan is tailored to the organization and includes a dedicated HR Pro who will aid in tackling HR matters. And instead of charging by the billable hour, Mammoth delivers its services under a flat, monthly membership fee.  Learn more here.

Thanks to The Herd at Mammoth HR for sharing the love for Kinship House and foster kids in our community! To see all the photos in our gallery, click here.

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Oregon Senate Passes Bill to Boost Services to Children

The Oregon State Legislature announced this week that the Oregon Senate passed Senate Bill 123 that will allow communities to form children’s special districts. The special districts will have the ability to accept grants and loans and to ask taxpayers to help pay for children’s services within the geographic boundaries of the district. There are almost 30 special districts in the state but none are dedicated to supporting children and youth in this way.

The bill will head to the Oregon House of Representatives for consideration.

Download the complete press release here.

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Community Hotline – May 2017

Kinship House had the another opportunity to appear on Community Hotline, a program that spotlights local non-profits and is produced by MetroEast Community Media.

Executive director Heather Jefferis, and board member Timothy Travis spoke with host Monica Weitzel about the importance of Foster Care Awareness Month and Kinship House’s work with foster and adopted children.


Watch the conversation here or by clicking on the image below. Thanks to Monica and the entire production team for the opportunity!

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Volunteer Spotlight: Dr. Shannon Carey

Our board members dedicate hours of volunteer time to lead our organization.  Shannon Carey joined the Kinship House board in May 2015.  In her role as a board member, she serves on our board’s Program Committee.

Shannon is Co-President and Senior Research Associate at NPC Research, a private firm that delivers human services research, evaluation, training, and technical assistance. She has worked in the areas of juvenile justice, child welfare, criminal justice and substance abuse treatment for over 18 years. In addition to managing the firm, her experience includes designing and implementing evaluations of programs related to substance abuse prevention and treatment, and adult criminal justice and juvenile justice policy. Shannon has been involved in performing process, outcome and/or cost evaluations in over 250 programs across the U.S. as well as providing technical assistance and training in New Zealand, Chile, Australia and England.

Shannon earned her Ph.D. from Portland State University in Systems Science and Applied Psychology. She is a Portland native and is married to an Oregonian with two children, also born in Portland. She deeply appreciates the beauty and opportunities that exist in Stump Town and in the outdoors of the great Northwest.

One of her memories of a heartwarming childhood experience is of her mother telling her that she could be anything she wanted to be when she grew up. She told everyone she wanted to be either a mommy or a lion. She managed the mommy part but have not yet succeeded in becoming a lion though depending on her mood, my children may disagree.

Thank you, Shannon!

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Boys & Girls Aid

Boys & Girls Aid works to secure lifelong connections for every child in Oregon. Regardless of age or background, they believe children belong in families that are permanent and stable. While every child deserves a family, not every child has a family. Between the ages of 0 to 23, they have a focus on making sure every child has a lifelong adult connected to their future.

The organization was founded in 1885 and it is the state’s oldest child welfare agency. It was created to solve the problem of abandoned children living on the streets of Portland. Today, Boys & Girls Aid supports hundreds of foster kids in connecting with their forever families.

Vera Stoulil (L) and Marilyn Anderson (R)

Today, I had the pleasure of meeting two staff members of the agency:  Vera Stoulil (Chief Operating Officer) and Marilyn Anderson (Development Director).  I toured their facility and learned about their programs.

Learn more about Boys & Girls Aid here.


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

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