Monday, April 24, 2017

National Volunteer Week

Dear Volunteers,

This year for National Volunteer Week I want to take a moment to truly thank all of you for your support.

We rely on the volunteers who donate thousands of hours each year to keep our doors open. Over the past year, because of you, we accomplished a huge undertaking - moving into the new Nancy & Stephen Grand Family House at Mission Bay. More than 2,700 volunteers helped us move supplies, install closets, make beds, and open our new home with as much efficiently as possible, making a seamless transition for our families.

Since moving to Mission Bay, we have had hundreds of family meals served by volunteers, many therapy dog visits, and hours of arts and crafts activities to help families going through one of the most difficult times in their lives. A special shout out to the volunteers who have cleaned and disinfected the many common areas throughout the house - keeping our house germ-free is absolutely critical for the health and well-being of our families.

Volunteer Week is all about celebrating you and all that you do! Without our community of dedicated individuals, we simply would not be able to serve our families as we do.

Thank you so much to everyone. Your volunteering makes a difference! Your support of Family House is the reason that we can positively impact the lives our families. We truly appreciate all of your efforts.


Karen Banks
Director of Volunteer Programs

Monday, April 10, 2017

Rockstar Volunteer: Kalmia Beets

Kalmia Beets has excelled as a Volunteer Leader at Family House these past seasons. In the summer of 2016, she was able to pursue her interest in volunteering at Family House.   As a student at University of San Francisco, Kalmia majors in Child Psychology/Pre-med.  Her interests are dancing, baking, cooking, sewing, and outdoor sports and activities.

 When Kalmia was young, she lived at a Ronald McDonald House.  As such, she has been able to give her unique awareness of what families face during treatment away from home.  Kalmia understands that having a system of support surrounded by a strong community and a “place to call home” is an essential part of recovery and the essence of Family House.

Kalmia has been a remarkable asset to the Family House volunteer team. She understands the workflow of the house and how the team operates. When the volunteer team needs support, Kalmia is always able to bridge the gap. She can work independently, yet at the same time, she can skillfully manage individual volunteers, volunteer groups, and volunteer activities - without hesitation. 

We want to thank Kalmia Beets for being an outstanding Volunteer Leader and being part of what makes Family House so special.

She continues to make a valuable impact on all of us at Family House. 
We appreciate her drive, her compassion, and her courage.

Learn more about volunteering at Family House at

Monday, April 3, 2017

Staff Spotlight: Monique Ngo

Where did you grow up?
San Jose

Position at Family House:      
Hospitality Services Coordinator

Reason for working at Family House:
I used to volunteer for Family House when I was an undergraduate student at the University of San Francisco, and remembered how much I loved working with the staff and how great it was to be a part of something that provided so much support and empathy to families with children with cancer or other serious illnesses. Considering my mom has been sick for a majority of my life (kidney failure, then cancer), I know how an illness can affect not only the one who is sick, but the entire family as well. I wanted to be a part of the staff at Family House in order to provide families the support and love they need in order to hopefully lessen some of the stress they may be facing.
Favorite thing to do in San Francisco: 
I love trying new restaurants around the city! There are just so many different places I want to go and try that my list just keeps getting longer! I also love exploring around the city. There are a lot of little gems around the city and whenever I have free time I like to go adventure to find them.

What makes you special?
I always have colorful hair! I enjoy dyeing my hair different colors and I have a tendency to change it up often. Having colorful hair just makes me feel happy and so far it seems to put a smile on other peoples faces, too, so that makes me even more happy!

What's the story behind the photo?
This photo was taken on my birthday this year when I was at the Academy of Sciences with my partner. I love being around plants and nature so when I saw this wall of plants it just made me happy so I wanted a picture with it. So my partner started to take pictures of me standing in front of it but instead of counting off or telling me he was going to start to take a picture, he just kept snapping picture after picture, during which I kept moving. This is one of the photos that resulted from the “photoshoot” my partner decided to have of me standing in front of a wall of plants. My friends and I also used to joke how I could just blend in with trees and plants because my hair was so green during this little “photoshoot” -  I kept joking how my hair was a part of the plants!