Monday, September 30, 2013

Update! How I Got Involved with Family House by Erika Shue

What sorts of Family House activities have you been involved with since you started volunteering here?
When I first started volunteering at Family House in November 2011, I had a weekly volunteer shift on Friday mornings.  I did a lot of checklists - making sure the families on every floor had what they need (toilet paper, laundry detergent, food label stickers, etc.)  I joined the Family House Young Professionals Advisory Council when my schedule no longer allowed for a weekly volunteer shift.  As a YPAC member, I helped put together family activity nights.  The YPAC Family Activity Nights included snacks and a seasonal craft.

Are there any events/experiences that stand out for you?
One of my favorite experiences at Family House was making valentines at the February YPAC Family Activity Night.  This is a special memory for me because my friend, Steven, and his family joined us.  Steven is the reason why I started volunteering with Family House - while he was receiving treatment at UCSF, his family stayed at Family House.  It was wonderful to not only see my friend healthy, but also see him and his family providing peer support to the families.

What do you like best about being involved with YPAC?
The people - YPAC members, Family House staff, volunteers, and the families. I feel very lucky to be around such wonderful people.

What's coming up next for YPAC, and what is the long-term future of YPAC as you see it?
YPAC's 2nd Annual Shipwrecked on the Barbary Coast was a few weeks ago, on September 21st - what a great night!

I am so excited to see what the future holds for YPAC, especially once Family House moves to Mission Bay.  Shipwrecked is sure to continue to be one of YPAC's main events.  In addition, I hope to see YPAC have move direct involvement in the House.

Camp Okizu offers summer-camp experiences for kids with cancer and their families. Some Family House families have had life-changing experiences at Okizu.  How did you get involved with them?
There was a summer camp job fair in the Student Union at Sacramento State University.  Since I got out of class early and had a few extra minutes before meeting my friends, I thought, "Why not check it out?"  I was just about to leave when I met Grams and Mold (we have camp names at Okizu - mine is Pumpkin).  I can't remember exactly what they told me about camp, but I remember walking away thinking "I want to be a part of that!"  Okizu wasn't something I actively sought out.  I just happened to be at the right place, at the right time, and I am so thankful for that.

What was a favorite experience/memory at Camp Okizu?
Baseball lunch is my favorite camp event.  We eat hot dogs, dress up in our favorite baseball gear, and dance to music.  I usually like to dance, but one summer I skipped out on the dancing to sit with a couple of kids who didn't feel like dancing.  It was wonderful watching everyone dance.  They were all having so much fun; you would never know that they were affected by childhood cancer.

Have you ever met any Family House kids/families there?
This summer I met a camper who stayed at Family House.  Hearing how highly he spoke of Family House made me feel proud to be a Family House volunteer.

To learn more about volunteering with Family House, or about our Young Professionals Advisory Council, click here:

To learn more about Camp Okizu, click here:

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