Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Feelings Cards

Sometimes, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be hard to use your mental energy to help resolve your feelings. We created a set of “feelings cards” that are in every guest room at Family House. They may not fix everything, but sometimes a simple reminder can be enough to help you on a path to feeling better.

One mom asked if we have any cards for when you go home... Family Services Coordinator Elan Slavin came up with a few ideas that someone can use from anywhere!

I’m Feeling Lonely
You Can…

- Call or text a friend… “just to say hi!”

- Reach out to your trusted support network
- Ask for a hug

I’m Feeling Creative
You Can…

- Gather a few art supplies (even a piece of paper and a pen will do), walk outside, and find inspiration in nature around you

- Do a five minute writing exercise:
    - Define Love
    - Normal is…
    - List 5 things you expect in a good friend
    - List 3 things you DIDN’T do this weekend
    - Name one food you will never give up

I’m Feeling Frustrated
You Can…

- Take 3 deep, slow breadths and count to 10

- Reach out to someone you trust, who is a good listener - and vent!

- Create a “pros and cons” list of what’s frustrating you

- Visualize your HAPPY PLACE

I’m Feeling Happy
You Can…

- Start a Gratitude journal!

- Start by listing the top 3 things in your life to be grateful for

- Play! Go outside & enjoy some fresh air

- Find some “me” time - do what you love to do most

- Pay it Forward - do one thing kind for someone else

Have more ideas? We’d love to hear them!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Staff Spotlight: Araceli Guerrero

Name: Araceli Guerrero

Where did you grow up? In El Salvador

Position at Family House: Housekeeping

Reason for working at Family House: I love the families, I love my job, I like all the staff in Family House - everyone is very nice.

Favorite thing to do in San Francisco: Walk, enjoy the weather, visit friends.

What makes you special? I am a very simple person and I feel special because I am a mom of four wonderful kids. 2 girls - 18  and 17, and two boys - 13 and 7, who are in El Salvador.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Rockstar Volunteer: Alyssa Hunter

Many Family House volunteers are able to bring their special talents to help families directly, in areas such as yoga, massage therapy, or providing haircuts.  A very unique and special gift that Alyssa Hunter has brought to our families is to capturing the beauty in their lives.  Alyssa has been offering free portrait photography to all of the families since December 2016. She has also generously captured big parties at Family House, such as Thanksgiving Dinner, Holiday Dinner, Summer Carnival, and other events.

 Alyssa takes time to get to know each family, and photographs the whole family together, and does individual portraits, too. She has a unique skill to make the little ones smile and pose even when they are not up for the task. She is very caring, gentle, and empathetic for the situations they are going through.  The photos are a stunning display of the courage, hope, and beauty within each child.

Outside of volunteering at Family House, Alyssa runs her own photography business, Alyssa Hunter Photo, capturing photos of Bay Area families. She has a natural eye for providing her clients with the perfect portrait. On behalf of the families and staff, we say THANK YOU to Alyssa for all that she offers, and for her help in making our families feel beautiful.

Check out Alyssa's beautiful work at

Monday, January 29, 2018

Family Stories: Agnes and Milan

Watch the latest Family House Family Stories video: Agnes and Milan. They’ve traveled all the way from Hungary so Milan can participate in a clinical trial at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Volunteer Spotlight: Lael Robertson

Lael Robertson is a superstar volunteer and has become an incredible asset at Family House. She started volunteering in May 2017 and has already made a huge impact in every department. She has logged more than 150 volunteer hours at Family House in just 9 months. Her dedication and compassion go beyond the tasks she performs, which include supporting volunteer group activities, helping with administrative
tasks and house projects, and in the development office. Lael has also helped run our daily breakfast service so staff could take a break without negatively impacting the families. She will soon be helping to support the front desk staff that works directly with families.

Lael is willing and able to help with any task that is asked of her and understands the importance of supporting our families. She takes care and treats every family with respect and dignity.

Lael shares and is a living example of the beliefs of Family House. Thank you, Lael, for all you have done over the past months and we hope that you continue to volunteer with Family House for many years to come!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Self-Care Kit

Self-Care Kit
When you’re going through a stressful time, it can be helpful to have care and comfort items at the ready, so you don’t have to go far to find some relief. Here are some suggestions for what might go into a self-care kit for yourself or someone you love:

Mop up some tears or keep your germs to yourself – it’s the worst to need a tissue and not have one handy. Bonus: sharing with someone else who really needs one.

Hand Sanitizer
Especially during cold-and-flu season, it’s a must to have hand sanitizer available. If you’re immune-compromised, the last thing you need is to be exposed to other people’s germs. And if you’re sick, you don’t want to spread them around.

Lots of hand washing, wintry weather, and even many medicines can leave your skin dry. Keep a small bottle of lotion handy (get it? Handy?) for when you need it.

Sometimes things feel overwhelming when you really just need a little food. Keep healthy, non-perishable snacks close by, such as almonds, crackers, or a peanut butter packet. Maybe keep a tea bag or some instant hot chocolate, too, for when you need something warm and soothing.

Inspirational Quotes
Keep some wise words handy, or ask your friends to write you some love notes to read when you’re feeling down.

Stuffed Animal or Comfort Item
It doesn’t matter how old you are, sometimes something soft and cuddly can make a world of difference. Whether it’s a stuffed animal, a soft blanket, or your favorite hoodie – reaching for a familiar comfort can help you get through a tough moment.

Music is one of the most therapeutic things out there, because you can find the groove that best fits your mood. Keep a pair of headphones handy for when you need to tune out the outside world.

A Notebook
Expressing your thoughts and feelings on paper can be a huge relief! Or, it can be very helpful to write things down so you don’t forget – what the doctor said, your next appointment, or even your shopping list.

Coloring Book
Adult coloring books are all the rage, and we remember why we loved to color as kids! If you haven’t tried it lately, we highly recommend it.

Manicure Kit
Need some down time? Take a few minutes to paint your finger or toenails. Not only will you feel a little prettier, but it’ll be a good distraction and excuse to chill out while you wait for the polish to dry.

Fuzzy Socks
Pick up some cute socks to wear instead of the ugly ones they give you at the hospital. Why not add some fun flair to your outfit?

Favorite Movies
If you don’t know where to start for some good pick-me-up screen time, ask around. Chances are, your friends can recommend a movie or TV series that will get you smiling.

Keep your favorite people and places close at hand with some of your favorite photos! Tip: If you can keep them in your phone’s photo library, you won’t have to worry about a wifi connection to see your favorite faces.

What's in your comfort kit?

Monday, December 18, 2017

Family House 2017 Yearbook

2017 was a banner year, thanks to our incredible community! More than 270 volunteer groups and 3,000 volunteers helped us provide services to over 3,000 families! We had lots of special guest visitors from San Francisco and beyond, helping to make Family House more than just a place to stay. Sharing our heartfelt thanks to all of the donors, volunteers, and community members who help make Family House a home away from home!