The Serenity Street Foundation was founded in March of 1996. A lease was signed for a duplex located at 1138-1140 S. High St. Shortly thereafter, the first resident was admitted. Several years later, Serenity Catering was launched to provide resident job training and income for the Foundation. In that same year, an agreement was forged with YWCA of Columbus, which allowed the Serenity Cafe and Catering business to open on the main floor of 65 S. 4th St. In the year 2000, the Foundation purchased a residence located at 31 E. Woodrow Ave., and moved program operations to this site.
Serenity Cafe and Catering relocated to space located at 79 S. 4th St. in the fall of 2002. All residents participated in various operations of the food business. Through this experience, they acquired valuable job skills, and learned to interact with the public in a professional and courteous manner. Following a nine year run, a downturn in business forced the closing of the food business. Soon thereafter, Serenity Street began partnering with business owners who shared our vision and understood barriers to employment which confronted our residents – such as felony convictions, erratic work histories, weak resumes, etc. After time in the orientation phase, each resident earned the opportunity to work for a partner employer.
A generous grant from the Melville Charitable Trust (Boston, MA) allowed for the construction of a Residential Care Facility, licensed by the City of Columbus, located at 32 E. Woodrow Ave. This facility became the Serenity Street headquarters. A grand opening of the new 14 bed residence was held on May 5, 2012. The former Program House (31 E. Woodrow Ave.) was converted to a 5 bedroom residence, which is utilized by graduates of the Serenity program, who posses a passion to stay involved in the Serenity community.
Serenity Online was founded in 2013. The Foundation sells donated items on various Internet sites as well as through local venues. Incoming residents currently work for the Online store during the initial stages of their commitment. Following approval by the overseeing committee, each resident is recommended to a partner employer. This process has proven to be very successful for both residents and the organization.
In 2015, Wells Fargo Bank donated two adjoining parcels (1661-1663 S. Third St.) to Serenity Street. They are located contiguous to the Program House. We are currently collaborating with grantors in order to raise funds to rehabilitate the existing structures which are located on the site. The finished product will increase the graduate bed space by 7 occupants.
We look forward – with a tremendous amount of anticipation – to the extraordinary opportunities that the future holds for The Serenity Street Foundation.