Friday, January 18, 2019

A Letter to Family House

January 16, 2019
Kneeland, California

Dear Family House families, staff, and friends,

Happy new year! Since my son finished a three and a half-year course of treatment for leukemia last September, I’ve had some time to reflect on what Tristan and our family went through during that period, and what that period, much of it spent at Family House, means to me. I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

First things first: I have no regrets. Of course, if I were given the choice, I would choose for my toddler son to not develop leukemia. I’d be a nutter otherwise. But I didn’t get to make that choice, and there are lots of things in my life that are not the way they would have been if we had not been through all that we went through. They’re better. Tristan and I share a wonderful closeness; I’m a different person from the one I was before, more confident and willing to take on new challenges that would have been prohibitively intimidating before; and I now have in my life a group of incredible friends whom I would not otherwise have met. Most of these people – warrior moms and warrior kids, I call them – I met at Family House.

Sitting around the dining table at the old Family House in the Sunset District, and later in the sunny, new Mission Bay kitchens, one by one I met people – parents and kids – who were so bravely toughing it out through the most horrendous experiences you can imagine. I saw such love from parents, for example when teenage Bianca’s father stood protectively behind her chair while she told me the story of her double lung transplant. It was like he needed to be as near to her as possible to guard her while she replayed the story, and, if you heard the story, that would make sense. Bianca, you are one tough chick. I felt such kindness from parents who, in solidarity over the fear and uncertainty we faced every day, shared their love with me – I’ll never forget those delicious enchiladas that Kristina, Ivan’s mom, fed me one night. Thank you, Kristina, for your warmth and generosity, and for your husband’s salsa, which was amazing. I saw such strength in warrior moms who were fighting for their kids with every neutrophil and platelet in their mama bodies, and who were finding creative ways to make it all okay. Coco, those henna designs covering your daughter’s bald head were stunning; I’ve never seen anything like it.

I learned and grew with each warrior mom and warrior kid I met, and I’m not the same person I was when Tristan and I began this whole adventure. I know much more about how people suffer, but, more importantly, I know much more about how strong people, including me, can be, and about how much love is out there, and that there is a lot of good in the universe. Thanks, Family House, for connecting me with others who taught me these things.

Much love,

Friday, January 11, 2019

Become a Family House Volunteer Leader

Do you have what it takes to be a Volunteer Leader? 

Family House Volunteer Leaders have the unique opportunity to manage volunteer groups that visit Family House to host meals and other activities which are important for the families staying with us. The leadership role will include training new volunteers, welcoming and orienting group volunteers, completing house tasks, managing volunteer projects, and spending time with the families we serve. 

Interactions with families are essential to our organization and we need your help to lead events that foster impactful moments. Becoming a Volunteer Leader is a fantastic way to meet families, create friendships, learn leadership skills, build your resume, and give back to the local nonprofit community. Volunteer Leaders will have the opportunity to manage volunteer groups and activities during the mornings between 7:30am - 10:30am for breakfast; or evenings between 4:00pm - 7:00pm for dinner. 

We are asking Leaders to commit to 1 shift per week for 6 months (or longer). Ideal candidates are independent, self-starters, flexible, and determined to improve the lives of Family House families.

Volunteers are critical for the success of Family House and your leadership could be crucial to the support we offer our families. Consider becoming a Volunteer Leader and make a lasting impact on our children and families. 

To volunteer at Family House, applicants are required to complete a volunteer application, background check, photo release, and submit immunizations. We work with immunocompromised children and our requirements are for the health and safety of our families.

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Tarence Dixon at 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2018 Year in Review Video

See some of the highlights of “Family House magic” in action in 2018! We are so grateful to our amazing community for the tremendous support that allows moments like these to happen, making Family House a home away from home for families of children with life-threatening illnesses.