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Voluntourism Spotlight: Family House, San Francisco

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FamilyHouseChildren who need hospital care for life-threatening illnesses sometimes have to travel miles away from home to get it. If the child becomes an inpatient, families are forced to pay for a hotel, face long commutes, or—in the worst-case scenario—leave the child behind and visit when they can.  In San Francisco, Family House provides free rooms and activities for these families, and is completely dependent on donations and volunteers. Check out the program below and remember to tune into Peter Greenberg Worldwide this weekend for more information. Plus, don’t forget to check out our archive for all kinds of voluntourism opportunities.

In 1981, the San Francisco non-profit Family House was founded as a non-profit, providing free rooms for out-of-town families with children in life-saving hospital care at the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital.

Volunteering at Family House provides rewarding experiences. You can work as house support to clean and stock items, be a part of a group for activities like barbecues and game nights and, if you have a talent such as magic or playing music, you can perform for the families!

If you want to volunteer but are short on time, Family House hosts Saturday Volunteer Day on the second Saturday of every month from 10 am to 1 pm. This allows you to jump right in and help with whatever group tasks they may have. If you’re a student, these hours would be a good choice to use toward community service requirements for your school.

There are also great opportunities for travelers. If you’re staying at one of Personality Hotels‘ select locations in San Francisco, it’s easy to help out Family House. Personality Hotels offers the “Save Me, San Francisco” package that includes special wine, chocolate, and a ten dollar donation. If you check in on Foursquare, they donate one dollar back to Family House.

To be a volunteer, apply online, call the volunteer director Greg Mora at 415-514-6663, or email him at



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