Monday, August 28, 2017

Staff Spotlight: Beryl Velasco

Name: Beryl Velasco

Where did you grow up? Guadalajara, Mexico

Position at Family House:
Hospitality Services Coordinator 

Reason for working at Family House:
I love helping others and I am so glad I can do it in a place so welcoming and amazing like Family House

Favorite thing to do in San Francisco:   
Having brunch at Art’s CafĂ© in the Sunset and soak up some sun at Dolores Park.

What makes you special? 
I can count to ten in 5 languages: English, Spanish, French, Japanese and Italian

What's the story behind the photo?
This is the time I went to Tomales Bay and I learned how to open oysters!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Remembering Dr. Arthur Ablin

We at Family House mourn the loss of Dr. Art Ablin, beloved Co-Founder of our organization and a true visionary.

Art was Professor Emeritus at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, where he served as Chief of Pediatric Oncology, and was a leader in his field. Art was both a general pediatrician and pediatric oncologist who treated scores of young patients since the 1950s, as well as a friend and mentor to countless folks lucky enough to know him. Among his many good works is the creation of Family House in 1981, which started because of his vision and commitment to all families whose children face cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Out of a desire to provide family-centered care in partnership with UCSF, Art’s vision was to provide free housing and basic needs for the families of seriously ill young patients. In the 1980s, Art noticed many of his young patients’ family members sleeping in their cars or in hospital waiting rooms, unable to pay for a hotel. “Family House was set up as cost-free place for families to stay, but also as a center based very much on communal experience, so these families could share with each other what they were going through,” Art said.

In 1981, Art and others raised nearly $500,000 to buy housing from the Mormon Church that sat adjacent to the UCSF Children’s Hospital (later UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital), with the intention of providing housing for patients’ families. With the opening of the new Nancy and Stephen Grand Family House, Debbie and Art Ablin have ensured that families will always have a home to turn to when patients need medical attention in San Francisco.

While Art was a highly regarded physician and internationally sought-after speaker on the topic of pediatric hematology, his compassion and unwavering dedication to children and families at Family House for the past 36 years has produced a model of community that we celebrate this day and every day of the year. Those of us who had the unbelievable pleasure of working with Art since Family House was founded 36 years ago know that his talent, passion, wisdom, humor, and loving spirit infuse every aspect of our organization and the work we do for kids and families. Art’s inherent talent for nurturing what is best in us will live on as we are inspired by his values and humanity.

From all of us and the thousands of families that have stayed at Family House, we will remember Art with the great respect and love that he gave so freely to others.

We are so lucky to have known him and will miss him deeply.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Summer Carnival 2017

Our second annual End of Summer Carnival at the Nancy and Stephen Grand Family House was a blast! We had so many great volunteers who pitched in with donations, decorations, hosting carnival games, prizes, entertainment, food, and so much more! All of the parents and children in attendance had a great time! Thanks to everyone who helped give our families such a fun and special afternoon! Special thanks to Gina Gorman and friends, including residents, staff, and business partners of The Madrone Residences; Canine Companions for Independence therapy dogs; Boswick The Clown; Suzy Q face painting; San Francisco Fire Department/ SFFD Station 4; photographer Jillian Gorman Photography; summer high school volunteers; and regular weekly Family House SanFrancisco volunteers - we could not have provided such a wonderful experience without each and every one of you! See photos at