Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Family House Staff Spotlight: Jessica Creager

Interview with Jessica Creager, Director of Finance and Special Events

How did you come to be at Family House?
When I first started at Family House in November 1997, as Assistant Administrator, there were only three full-time staff members. I heard about the position through the then-Executive Director, Cliff Berg, who was looking for someone who knew how to do Quickbooks, and I had that experience. I never knew about Family House before I was offered the job, but I've grown to love it!

How has Family House Changed since you first started?
When I first started, we housed 10 families a night, and now we house 34 families a night.  We had only one building; now we have two.  The annual budget has increased from $350,000 to $1.6 million. We were only three staffers, and there's eleven of us now.

What are some of your favorite Family House memories?
The Giants stadium AT&T Ballpark event! We got to celebrate Family House's 30th Anniversary with families from so many different years. It was great to see so many families that I've gotten to know while working at Family House, and to see the continuity.

Also, getting to know Nayiri Torigian, who was a young woman who battled cancer. She and her family, they were just so sweet.  She sadly passed away, but getting to know that family was really important, especially important for me, for when I later went through cancer treatment.  She was inspiring to me.

Working at Family house before my cancer diagnosis gave me so much insight to what was coming. Knowing all the kids and all the families that I'd met actually made me more brave in the face of dealing with the treatments. Treatment wasn't as scary to me because I had known personally, especially little ones, who had faced it with no problems.  So, I figured I couldn't be a total wimp about the whole thing!  [Laughs.]  The great acceptance I felt, having a personal illness, and coming back and being greeted with open arms…  not ostracized, not something strange, since at Family House, it's the norm. I've been cancer-free since 2002, and am now officially cured!

Another great thing about being at Family House has been getting to know Family House founders, The Ablins.  They've been so welcoming to me, kind of treating me like family through all these years.  It's been an honor to get to know them and hear their stories, and how they started Family House, but also how they've done so many other amazing things throughout their lives.

Learn more about the caring staff at Family House: 

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