Overcoming Adversity Through Human Connection

COMMON Collection
Published in
4 min readJan 16, 2017


Meet Jen Serbin, Entrepreneur In The Making.

There has never been an honorary luncheon celebrating my contributions to society. My time, talents, interests, and abilities have seldom been rewarded by a paycheck. I do not have a cohesive resume, or an illustrious academic career validated by degrees and impressive titles. What I have learned, I’ve had to gather together for myself. I’ve had to define my success, not by my bank account, but by the success of those who had been entrusted to my care.

I am a mother of five boys. That’s right. Five. Boys. Energetic, curious, and at times, somewhat destructive (all in the name of creativity, mind you).

It wasn’t until I decided to homeschool my own burgeoning family that I learned to read and write properly, having had a stunted formal education due to childhood sexual abuse. Endeavoring to instruct my own children, I gained a love for learning myself.

While living under a domestically abusive marriage, the strain manifested itself in a chronic and debilitating illness. I battled the subsequent depression and isolation by reaching out to my community, creating and implementing an enrichment program for young mothers and their children. By working together, we collected our resources and found ways to meet each other’s emotional, spiritual, and financial needs.

My journey has been one of overcoming adversity through utilizing the power that lies within the human connection.

Jen Serbin

It was during my stay at a shelter that I began to visualize a program that would help give victims of domestic abuse better resources; transitioning them back into society as a powerful force. Financial dependency is a leading factor in perpetuating abusive cycles, especially among women. By teaching viable trade and administrative skills, victims could become financially strong and independent.

As I pondered these ideas, I began meeting incredible people who shared the same basic desire to improve living conditions through social business, and I felt myself inspired to deepen my commitment and involvement in the movement.

It was during this remarkable time in my life that I was introduced to the concept of permaculture. Immediately, I could see how the ethics and principles of creating sustainable building and design systems could be applied to whole communities on a large, and global scale. Opportunities to work alongside experts in the fields of agriculture, engineering, and social business began to manifest themselves. The most significant was a serendipitous meeting with a trusted friend, who is a leader in the COMMON Community. I was warmly welcomed, and have continued to receive priceless love, support, and mentorship.

COMMON has helped me connect the dots of my life experiences. I feel encouraged to help educate and empower women and children. I hope to use my background as an artist, teacher, and builder to create a company that would incorporate some of the lofty ideas of permaculture into our everyday lives. I am currently working on a concept of a Mobile Maker Space. This would give me the ability to travel to different communities and offer instructional programs that teach the basic concepts of electronics, woodworking, metal fabrication, welding, and mechanical engineering. By providing fun hands-on activities and projects, I hope to inspire women and children to use these skills in an innovative and creative way.

I would like to engage in the COMMON community in any way possible. Mentorship? Sign me up. Resources? I’ll take it. Exposure? Absolutely. Connection? Without a doubt. One of my favorite principles of permaculture is to use relative location by placing elements in ways that create useful relationships and energy-saving connections among all parts. The number of connections among the elements creates a healthy, diverse ecosystem. In light of that, I would like my place among the COMMON community to bring enrichment to my life, as well as be used to enrich the lives of my fellow members.

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COMMON is a creative accelerator and community for social businesses and projects. We help entrepreneurs build, launch, and promote products and ideas that take care of the planet and all the creatures on it.

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COMMON Collection

A creative accelerator for social businesses and projects. We're working to build international excitement, conversation and action around entrepreneurialism