Saturday, August 31, 2013

Volunteer Spotlight: Lauren Kahn

Lauren Kahn has been an invaluable asset to the Family House business office this semester. As a Volunteer Lead, she has been spending 8 hours a week helping the business office with event planning, processing donations, and writing thank you letters to our donors. Lauren has been experiencing the behind-the-scenes action of how a non-profit runs. She was also instrumental in coordinating volunteers at our annual Cabernet for Connoisseurs event in February.

Lauren, however, is no stranger to working with children, as she has volunteered at Children's Hospital of Orange County, volunteered in the ER of Garden Grove Hospital, and will volunteer at St. Mary's Hospital in the skilled nurse department. She hopes to go into a career involving children and medicine.

In her spare time, she loves baking, cooking, yoga, and zumba. Lauren has taken the role of being the bright, shining face in the office, welcoming families and helping them navigate the city, or answer questions about the house. Lauren, we love your dedication to our families and the work you do at Family House! Thank you, we wouldn't be the same without you!

You can get involved with Family House! Learn more at

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Family House Short Video

This video features Family House staff and families, and doctors from the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, and is a great look into the mission of Family House.

Click here to learn more about Family House families:  

Monday, August 19, 2013

More Than a Hat, an interview with Brenda Orr

How did you first hear of Family House, and why did you decide to get involved?

I first heard about Family House when one of the teachers at Toro Park School (in Salinas, California) asked the staff if they could donate caps in the month of December to give to Family House.  When I went shopping, I could only afford 1-2 caps; [but I realized] I could pick out a pattern and sew caps a lot cheaper.  That was the start of my fleece cap campaign.  I’ve been making them ever since.

Fleece hats are your signature, how do you come up with the patterns and designs?

The pattern is from a pattern book.  There are only 2 pattern pieces.  They’re easy to cut out and easy to sew.  I buy fabric from a store in Morgan Hill that gives me discounts.  I buy fabric about once a month.  I love the old town Morgan Hill, so I treat myself to a trip downtown and visit my favorite shops.

When I make my caps, I usually make 20-30 or more.  I try to make an equal number of boys and girls caps.  I also make various sizes.

What do you do when you’re not making hats for Family House?
I am currently trying to get involved with the “Look Good, Feel Better” program through the American Cancer Society.  I like to make hats for ladies.  I have 3 different styles that I sew.

I am newly retired from teaching.  I am able to sew, swim, hike, read, take small trips, volunteer, and update my condo.

Last thoughts?
I’m real impressed with Family House.  The way they treat their patients and families is wonderful.  They’re organized and inspired.  Keep up the good work!

You can get involved with Family House! Learn more at

Monday, August 12, 2013

Family House Family Stories Videos

Have you seen the latest Family House Family Stories videos?  Since being introduced in June (Nino's Story), we have released two more Family Stories videos - Amenah & Anthony, and Jack's Tale.  While each story is very different, they share the same themes - love, community, compassion, gratefulness, and strength.

We plan to release a new Family Story video each month - be sure to subscribe to the Family House Youtube Channel and sign up to receive our newsletters.

Please view and share these videos - by sharing the mission of Family House, it builds our community, enabling us to help even more families in need.  Thank you!

Click here to learn more about Family House families: 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Thanking the Community

Family House is fortunate to have such wide community support - everything from Inner Sunset neighbors who solicit donations on our behalf to international companies who rally hundreds of employees behind us for donations and volunteer hours.  We truly could not provide the services of Family House without the support of every member of our community!

Recently, we were contacted by Golden Gate Pedicab company - they wanted to know what they could do to help.  After some discussion, it was decided that they would give free rides along the Embarcadero to families from the Ferry Building to Pier 39 - a perfect "tourist" experience for families who are otherwise disabled and distracted by medical treatment, and can't take advantage of visiting San Francisco.

Then our volunteer coordinators, Greg and Karen, put their heads together, and said, "Who else do we know downtown who has offered to help Family House?"  Pier 39 donated VIP passes for the day, and Ben & Jerry's provided the ice cream for our special guests.

It is through the efforts and kindness of these special people in San Francisco that we were able to help families forget about their troubles for an afternoon.  Sunshine, ice cream, and a tour along the San Francisco Bay - what could be better?

Thank you to Golden Gate Pedicab, PIER 39, and Ben & Jerry's for this special day, and for all you do for Family House families!  Love!

You can get involved with Family House! Learn more at

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Volunteer Spotlight: Jordan Phan and Justin Azar

How does one define an amazing volunteer? Family House defines this as dependable, friendly, outgoing, and motived, with a strong desire to help families. With that being said, we have had the pleasure of having two amazing and devoted summer high school volunteers - Jordan Phan (graduating class of 2014) and Justin Azar (graduating class of 2015). Not only did they volunteer for the program last year, they have also stepped it up to lead an entire team of high school volunteers during the summer of 2013. Jordan and Justin were introduced to Family House at the 2012 St. Ignatius Volunteer Fair, where they received information about the Family House Summer Volunteer Program. Their creativity, drive, and ideas were key in completing the summer project to make a Thank You video for the band Train.

What makes these two so special is that they came back to Family House to lead the next year’s class of summer volunteers. They planned and managed activities for the incoming sophomores and juniors for the summer 2013 Program. They have brought their own special talents to Family House as well. Justin isn't just the top swimmer at his school; he also loves to bake, and has led some tasty activities including baking cakes, cookies, and other treats for the families. (He plans to return to Family House in 2014 to lead the next group of Summer Volunteers!) Jordan, who will graduate high school this coming school year, has plans to attend medical school. She has participated in another service learning project at Habitat for Humanity, and currently attends undergraduate anatomy classes at Stanford University.

Thank you so much to Justin and Jordan for your amazing abilities, your creativity, and the care you give to the Family House mission. Family House adores you both, and we look forward to seeing you succeed in your future endeavors!  You have both worked so hard over the past year and half, and Family House wouldn’t be the same without you!

To see the photos from the Summer Volunteer Program, click here:

Get involved with Family House! Learn more at