Kendra lives in Home 1; she was referred to us by Homeward Bound. Kendra is 24 and the single mother of two young children: her daughter is two years old and her son is 11 months. Kendra was born in Alameda County and moved with her family to Marin County when she was nine years old. After graduating from high school, Kendra worked in retail jobs until the children were born. She was uncomfortable talking about the circumstances that led to her entering a shelter where she and the children have lived for over a year. We respected her desire for privacy. Today Kendra is delighted to have a two-bedroom apartment, as well as an outdoor protected play area for the kids to use when they get a little older. Now that she has a stable home, she so looks forward to getting a job to support herself and the children as soon as possible—hopefully in retail again.
Kendra was delayed in returning home on Welcoming Day; the transformation volunteers had already left when she returned. When she did come back a couple of hours later, she sent us this note ...
"When we came in the front door, I was speechless. It's just so awesome, really incredible. I was truly overwhelmed with happiness. My mother was with me and she was proud for me. I just can't believe how beautiful it all is: it's like one showroom after another.
"Of course, the kids went right for the toy box in their room, and I just walked around admiring all of the art on the walls and the way you guys fixed everything up.
"I love every room. I couldn't ask for anything better. I am filled with gratitude. Thank you so much for doing this for us. We will be very comfortable here. We already felt at home here the very next day."
Christina lives in Home 2 with her 22-year-old son and nine-year-old granddaughter; she was referred to us by Marin Housing Authority.
Christina moved from LA to Marin in 2011. She is a Certified Nursing Assistant, but was working as a Job Coach for clients at a local Marin non-profit — a job she really enjoyed.
When her daughter (the nine-year-old's mother) died suddenly in 2021, the family’s lives were turned upside down. Her granddaughter became a ward of the state and went into the foster care system. Christina worked tirelessly to be able to foster her. She finally succeeded and has now officially adopted her.
In order to keep her granddaughter in the school district with her friends, Christina and her son had to move. She applied to Marin Housing. With their help and support, for which she is eternally grateful, they are now in their new home.
Her son has been taking college level classes in Art History and hopes to pursue a career in photography. He is taking a year off from his studies, working at a local supermarket, to help contribute to supporting the family. Christina's granddaughter is a delightful and incredibly focused young girl who loves math and science. She also loves nature and happily watches the neighbor’s cat sitting on the fence outside her bedroom window. She asked if we knew that bees play a very important part in nature! She intends to become a doctor and “fix people’s broken bones.” We have no doubt that she will!
The family didn't have much after their devastating loss; we wanted to give them comfortable and beautiful home so each of them can thrive.
As the family walked in the door of their new home there were immediate gasps and a flood of tears. They were truly overwhelmed.
The three beamed as they went excitedly from room to room, the nine-year-old squealing in delight and jumped up and down when she saw her pretty bedroom, complete with sparkly curtains and a princess-like canopy over her bed. The young girl had a mirror over her desk, framed with light bulb outlets. One volunteer took the time to attach pink artificial flowers, that exactly matched her comforter, over the outlets.
The team also created a private office space out of a walk-in closet for Christina. Through her tears (happy tears, Christina told us) she said she never imagined she would have a home like this. She was beyond grateful to everyone who worked to make this all happen for them.
"It's more than I could ever have dreamed," she exclaimed as the family hugged each other excitedly, snuggled on their new sofa. Our volunteers, too, had tears in their eyes as they said good bye to this wonderful family.
Chris and his chihuahua Luna live in Home 3; they were referred to us by Marin Housing Authority.
Chris grew up in San Rafael. His mother suffered from alcoholism and his father died when Chris was young. After his mom died, he moved to the East Coast to live with his grandfather. He credits his grandfather as the one person in his life who really cared about him.
When Chris was 18, his grandfather died and Chris became houseless, living in his car, a tent or sleeping on friends' couches. He has not been able to work due to the instability, lack of housing and no support for almost 20 years.
Now that he has a home, he hopes to find work in construction in the future. This is the first home Chris has ever had as an adult. He is grateful — and totally overwhelmed — by the generosity of Welcoming Home and the donors who made this possible.
Chris ... and Luna (his four-legged best friend) ... were thrilled with their new home. Luna immediately got comfortable on the sofa. Chris kept exclaiming “You guys rock. I love it; it’s perfect! Luna is so happy.
"You are amazing — I'm going to text you thanks for days." And, indeed, he did 😊
The next day, we received this note from a friend of Chris':
"We went to see Chris in his apt last Saturday evening. We were SO inpressed with what you did to make his place a home; it was exceptional. He wanted to show us everything, including the vacuum. And he kept pointing out all you had done for Luna. The whole experience was extraordinary and I want to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart."
Home 4 is where Hannah and her six-year-old son live; they were referred to us by Homeward Bound of Marin.
Hannah and her son are victims of domestic violence; they had 24 hours to get out of their last living situation. As a result, they were unable to bring most of their belongings with them.
Their new home is a safe place for the two of them. Hannah is very excited to start her new job working in the social service sector. She applied a year ago and now is finally able to report for work next month. It's a fresh start, not just with her new job but more importantly, for the two as a family.
The volunteers who worked on this home said, "Creating this space for Hannah and her son was such a wonderful experience and a true honor." The mother and son had to leave their previous home in a hurry. Fortunately, Hannah was later able to retrieve her family heirlooms and figurines, which are on display in her grandmother’s hutch. She feels grateful to be surrounded by items she holds near and dear, though her most prized belonging, of course, is her little six-year-old son, Koda.
When he first met us, Koda was quite shy but then his "bigger than life" personality came out!
He is now sleeping in an awesome bed, with Sonic the Hedgehog sheets on the bottom bunk and Spider-Man sheets on the top bunk. He has a desk where he can complete his schoolwork and make beautiful art.
Koda is really an exceptional child; we hope this experience helps to set him up for much success in life. When they walked into their new space, they were so impressed. Koda quickly invited us to come over and play anytime!