Raphael House

Reflections on A Summer Kayaking Trip with Raphael House Teens


Throughout the year we take the teens in our Residential and Bridge programs on outdoor adventure trips with Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC). One such recent adventure was a kayaking trip that we took this summer to Angel Island.

My hope for the trip was that the kids would get a break from their regular life, which I suppose is what we all want when we go away for the weekend. Many of the kids are the oldest siblings in their families, a position that often comes with a great deal of responsibility as their guardians face the day-to-day challenges of working their way out of homelessness. These are kids who…

Posted August 09, 2016 by Kim Lessard. Categorized as FAMILY ACTIVITIES, TEENS.

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Fourth Graders Cami and Kate Sell Lemonade for Raphael House

Lemonade Stand Sign

Cami and Kate, two fourth graders, walked into Raphael House one evening laughing and holding a small white envelope. They happily explained that they recently held a lemonade stand and wanted to donate all of their profits to helping families at Raphael House. The girls had sold cookies along with the lemonade and raised about $40. The two friends said they knew they wanted to donate the money they made at the lemonade stand to a homeless shelter because they see a lot of homeless people on their street and often times the same people day-to-day.

Cami and Kate

Posted July 01, 2016 by Kim Lessard. Categorized as Uncategorized, VOLUNTEERS AND COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT.

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Watch: Panel Discussion On Homelessness in San Francisco With Ralph Payton, Sam Dodge, and Others

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Thanks to everyone who came out to the Haight earlier this month for an engaging and educational discussion around homelessness in our community. The discussion was organized in anticipation of the SF Homeless Project media blitz this week, during which local media outlets have saturated the news with stories about homelessness in San Francisco in order to increase awareness and inspire citywide action toward workable solutions. The event took place at The Booksmith, and the panel included Raphael House executive director Ralph Payton, Sam Dodge from the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of HOPE, Mary Howe from Homeless Youth Alliance, Captain John Sanford from the Park Station Police Department, and  representatives from Taking it to…

Posted June 30, 2016 by Kim Lessard. Categorized as Uncategorized.

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Congrats to our College-Bound Teens

University of California at Berkeley at the entrance gate

We’re excited to share that two of our teens, who just graduated from high school, will be off to college this fall. Cole will be attending UC Berkeley to study mechanical engineering and plans to continue on to get his master’s in biomedical engineering.  And Balan will pursue his dream to become a commercial pilot at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.

Both young men have worked extremely hard over the years in Raphael House’s Saturday Tutoring Club and have excelled in the summer academic programs they were able to attend with support from our Academic Enrichment Program.  We know their parents are extremely proud. And we…

Posted June 13, 2016 by Kim Lessard. Categorized as SUCCESS STORIES.

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Former Resident Works With Others Who Are Homeless


Spring reminds us of new beginnings, a time for a fresh start. It’s a season that in many ways is an apt symbol of the transformation and sense of renewal often experienced by our families. When Alejandra and her eight-year-old daughter arrived at Raphael House on Christmas day, 2014, after leaving an abusive home, they were scared and riddled with anxiety about their future. By the end of June, 2014 Alejandra had transformed into a secure, independent, and successful woman while her daughter blossomed into a smiling, social butterfly. “I can breathe, I can go to my…

Posted June 13, 2016 by Raphael House. Categorized as SUCCESS STORIES.

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Jesua’s Journey From Surviving to Thriving

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Jesua, mom to five-year-old Riley, is such an amazing woman who has overcome seemingly insurmountable hardships, but the pain of those hardships continues to follow her every time her credit is checked by a prospective landlord. A year and a half ago, Riley’s father destroyed their apartment during an emotional crisis that was exacerbated by his drug use. That same weekend, he took his own life. Before coming to Raphael House, Jesua and Riley hadn’t been able to begin processing what had happened. They were too caught up in the simple act of surviving after that trauma.

Now that they are in a space where they are surrounded by…

Posted June 13, 2016 by Raphael House. Categorized as SUCCESS STORIES.

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Kids playing on the roof_bw

San Francisco, (June 8, 2016)—Raphael House, San Francisco’s oldest and only privately funded shelter and services program for families experiencing or at risk of homelessness, announced today the kick-off of a year-long celebration as it begins its 45th year of helping Bay Area families in need achieve long-term stability and financial independence. Raphael House will host a series of fundraising, community, and educational events to increase awareness of family homelessness and grow its community of donors, volunteers, and advocates as it continues to increase services provided by its Bridge Program following the successful expansion of its Residential Shelter Program in 2015. The culminating event for the year-long…

Posted June 08, 2016 by Kim Lessard. Categorized as PRESS RELEASE.

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BABC and Aramark host “A Jolly Good Day at the Races” Benefiting Raphael House

A great big thank you to all who attended A Jolly Good Day at The Races benefiting Raphael House, at Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley this past weekend. The event, hosted by the British-American Business Council (Northern California) and Aramark Building Community, was a fun-filled day that resulted in $770 in donations raised and a package of day trips donated for Raphael House families to enjoy at popular Bay Area educational and cultural attractions.

Stephanie Favaloro-Elliot, who organized the event, said: “We are so very happy to support Raphael House in any way that we can.  Raphael House is a fantastic program that offers…

Posted June 02, 2016 by Kim Lessard. Categorized as VOLUNTEERS AND COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT.

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Summer Camp Offers Relief for Low-Income Families


Summer break can be stressful for families who are homeless or living at or below the poverty line. For parents who work or who are in the process of searching for work, the structure of the school day along with after-school programs, such as the Tutoring Club at Raphael House, offers them a reliable source of childcare while providing their children the academic foundation and the emotional acuity they need to have a brighter future. And in some instances, as with kids who have special needs, the continuity of a day-to-day routine is critical to their developmental success.

One of the ways we support families is by providing parents with financial…

Posted May 25, 2016 by Kim Lessard. Categorized as VOLUNTEERS AND COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT.

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Raphael House Gala Raises Record Funds

We are thrilled to report that our 19th Annual One Home, Many Hearts Gala, “A Golden Tomorrow,” raised more than $643,000—making it Raphael House’s highest grossing fundraiser to date! The event, which took place on Saturday, May 14 at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, was co-chaired by Josselyn Eccleston and Laura Larsen, and was our largest Gala to date with 570 guests in attendance. We are truly grateful to and inspired by the outpouring of generosity from everyone who attended and participated in this important event to help families who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness achieve long-term stability and financial independence.

We are especially grateful to…

Posted May 17, 2016 by Kim Lessard. Categorized as Uncategorized, VOLUNTEERS AND COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT.

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