Recently The New York Times reported that San Francisco has the lowest percentage of kids of any major U.S. city. There are many reasons as the high living costs. Yet, if a kid suddenly has a life threatening illness and has to undergo treatment in San Francisco, who is going to accommodate them, if their parents cannot afford it? Luckily there is Family House, a place where families can stay together and support one another while their sick child goes through treatment.
Maureen Couture, AMSI Realtor specializing in sales, furnished corporate interim housing, and Chris Todd AMSI Unfurnished Rental Specialist, volunteered at the “Give Back” day at Family House, which was hosted by the San Francisco Association of Realtors.
Family House is a not-for-profit organization and serves as a home away from home for families of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses receiving treatment at the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital.
Maureen and Chris assisted with a buffet style morning breakfast, played with the children and talked with the parents and staff. Maureen says: “It felt wonderful, a total feeling of love and giving. I couldn’t have been happier to be there!”. What she enjoyed the most was spending time with the children, especially with a young girl named Tsentol who just turned 3 this week. She has brain cancer and lives along with her mother and father at Family House.
More than 3,000 families that Family House serves at their location over the course of a year, are not just being provided with temporary 100 cost-free housing, but comfort and emotional support, free from financial concerns. Qualifying families live more than 50 miles from UCSF, and many live at or below the low-income status as determined by UCSF.
While children undergoing bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy, and radiation are their most common guests, they also accommodate those facing other life-threatening childhood illness such as fetal surgery, transplants, and cardiac patients when space is available.
Besides getting supported by volunteers and organizations from the Bay Area, they are offered specialty rooms such as a workout, meditation and teen room at Family House. Moreover a private courtyard with BBQ, play areas with books for kids and adults and much more.
Maureen has been so touched by her first visit to Family House and being involved with the kids and their families that she most definitely will volunteer there more often from now on. Along with several AMSI staff members she already has plans for her next visit at Family House. They will sponsor a lunch or dinner for the kids to brighten up their day a bit, and give them the feeling of not being alone while going through these tough times.
Family House is more than just free, temporary housing – it’s a home away from home, and a supportive community of people who are dedicated to providing a caring environment for the entire family while their child is undergoing treatment.
If you want to get involved with Family House too, you can volunteer or donate. Please visit their website for more information at www.familyhouseinc.org
You can also contact Maureen or Chris directly, if you have any questions about their volunteering experience: