Client Stories

Stephanie’s Success

Stephanie languished in foster care as an infant. Fortunately, her cousins took her in at 18 months and adopted her at four. She currently lives with them with her two adorable toddlers: Kylie and Josiah.

When she discovered Serra Center, she was disillusioned by her care provider. That’s all changed now! Stephanie is actively working on her goals: Obtaining housing and getting her driver’s license.

It’s clients like Stephanie who make our jobs rewarding. And it’s dedicated Serra Center staff who gives their all to ensure our clients forge ahead in their lives — with dignity, respect and choice.

And it’s support like yours that allows us to continue and broaden our services. Your partnership is imperative and we simply want to say thank you.

Bill & Roger: Like The Odd Couple (in a good way!)

  1. Roommates for nearly 30 years. Great friends who look out for each other!
  2. World travelers: Europe, Hawaii & Mexico are a few trips they’ve taken with Serra Center.
  3. Enjoy baseball games and Disney on Ice.
  4. Attend church together every Sunday – St. Joseph’s.
  5. Well-groomed: “manis & pedis” every month and clothes are always meticulous.
  6. Bill comes from a military family, born in The Panama Canal Zone. Roger grew up on his family farm in Iowa.
  7. Weekly dinners out: favorites include Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse.
  8. They attend Noll Center Day Program together.Ooops, so many fun facts! One more:
  9. They have a long history of participating in Special Olympics: bocce ball & bowling. Retired from basketball, but both were fierce on the courts.

These two are pretty much joined at the hip — almost like brothers! And they’re cherished clients at Serra Center. Their current and former staff feel so fortunate just knowing and caring for them. They are truly the bee’s knees and the cat’s pajamas!

Roseann – Happy & Healthy at 74!

Roseann and her Serra Center instructor, Joycelynn, share a very close bond. “She’s my sister, she’s family,” says Joycelynn.

They’ve been together for 19 years, with Joycelynn cooking and caring for Roseann, who has an infectiously sunny disposition. She says she’s happy and healthy &jmdash; walks the treadmill for 30 minutes daily, swims laps in the summer, and attends Holy Spirit Church every Sunday. And Roseann is adored by the Safeway gang, who always take time to say hi. Cheers to you both and keep it up!!

Courtland — the “other” Mayor of Fremont?

Courtland’s Got Game!

Courtland’s talents and accomplishments include:

  • Almost anywhere he goes, people know him!
  • Played AAU basketball
  • Works locally as a host at Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Attends Ohlone College
  • Likes creative writing, poetry, and rap poetry
  • Has “mad” computer skills
  • Just got his driver’s permit

He’s been with his Serra Center Coordinator, Matt, for one year. With a focus on increased independence, they work on time & money management, and cooking & cleaning skills. Matt’s consistent support has helped boost Courtland’s confidence and he’s on the waiting list to move into Good Shepherd Residence.

Along with Courtland’s family, we are fortunate to play a role in fostering his sense of pride for all he does in life. Empowerment is what rocks our clients’ world (and ours!).


Donald – Ready to Help!

Donald works at the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop in Fremont.

He’s the “toy & electronics” guy — sorting and testing to ensure that they work properly. And he’s always willing to lend a hand.

Donald’s passion is gardening.

He’s been hooked since his mom introduced him as a child. He grows onions, tomatoes, and squash at his Serra Center home.

Donald attends Sorensdale Recreation Center.

He thrives at wood shop (making whirligigs) and in the garden. He often helps tutor other students!

At Serra Center we encourage our clients to be as active as possible to foster independence, creativity, and pride in their accomplishments.

We are your community.


Happy Birthday, Joanne!

Joanne has lived in our community for 15 years and a Serra Center client for over 20 years. She lives in her own home where we provide her weekly services. Born in Oakland 55 years ago, she has two sisters close by, with whom she spends holidays and family gatherings.

But if you DO indeed recognize her, have you guessed where you know her from? She’s certainly well known to any bargain shopper…she’s worked at our local T.J. Maxx for 15 years. In fact, she recently celebrated her 15th anniversary. She enjoys working there, they treat her well, and the bus takes her door-to-door!

Joanne likes to be active and partakes in the local chapter of Special Olympics, including track & field, bowling, floor hockey, bocce ball, and she just started basketball.

She’s also very independent: Joanne pays her own bills and shops locally. Her Serra Center instructor for five years, Natalya, visits once a week to take her on errands or to the doctor, help her with some pesky paperwork, and sometimes the movies (one of Joanne’s favorite activities).

Natalya has become an integral part of Joanne’s life and she welcomes her weekly visits to take care of necessities and for some recreation. The feeling is mutual for Natalya, “She is the best client! We fit together really well — our personalities are similar.” They have formed a special bond and always attend our holiday parties!

Our directive is always to provide what the client needs and wants to empower them to take charge of their lives and to keep them safe and comfortable. Joanne is a perfect example of our success — and her own!

Joanne was tickled to be featured here so say hi next time you see her at TJ Maxx or anywhere around town! And mention you saw this article – it’s sure to rouse a smile from her.

Family & Client Testimonials

Manuel and Cyndy“It is with my warmest regards and feelings that I describe what Serra Center has meant to me and my family. It has given us a peace of mind to know that the care given is dedicated and caring for the good of the clients. As a former Treasurer and Board member of Serra Center, I can attest the activities and programs provided have enriched my daughter for 30 years. The financial support it has gives us comfort that it is a stable and continuing operation. The Regional Center of the East Bay, a State Agency, has often shown the housing facilities as examples of good living conditions. Our family is pleased that this non-profit organization has been so highly accepted by the City of Fremont and by the residents of its communities.

~Daniel C. Pope, Parent

“Ed’s sister Karen has been at Serra Center for many years. She is in a loving family environment and when she speaks of her caretakers, it is with great affection. In all our visits to see her and her surroundings, we have been impressed with the complete care given to her. This includes thoroughness, cleanliness, compassion, encouragement and the development of her identity and self-worth.  We are grateful to see her progress.”

~Ed and Linda Blackburn, Family Members

“I enjoy Serra Center services. I’m pleased there is a place where special people can go and receive help.  I’ve been with Serra Center for 4 years now and appreciate learning how to write checks.”

~Les, Serra Center Client

“I like living on my own and I do a lot on my own with everybody’s help – like getting my medicine, finding a job, learning money and how to make a check. I appreciate my Instructor teaching me how to get the right foods. I am proud of my life because of Serra Center.”

~Michelle, Serra Center Client

“I am so happy for the day I decided that Eleanor, my sister, should begin to live independently. Serra Center has been a wonderful organization in helping my sister to fulfill this way of living. I believe that everyone at the Center is so wonderful and is always very helpful. Ellie’s trainer is wonderful. He goes over the top with his services. I have never had a worker or trainer for Ellie that would actually dye her hair!

He is always there for her. He carefully plans out everything for her and keeps on top of everything. I appreciate everyone at Serra Center and look forward to a long relationship with them. I fully recommend them to anyone.”

~Shirley Gordon, Family Member

“I love being on my own and in my own apartment. I appreciate Serra Center’s services and everyone has helped me to be independent and everything.”

~John, ILS Client

“I think I would end up living with my Mom without Serra Center.”

~Steve, Serra Center Client

“Serra Center has always provided optimal care for this challenging population. They have the best to offer in terms of professional and compassionate care. They have always cultivated a great collaborative relation with families of residents as well.”

~Norbert Ralph, PhD, MPH