Located in San Francisco, CA, the motto of Raphael House is "Inspiring Families. Illuminating hope." Their mission is "to help at-risk families achieve stable housing and financial independence while strengthening family bonds and personal dignity."
The history section of their website explains that Raphael House began in 1971 as "an emergency shelter for single mothers and their children" and, after relocating to bigger space in 1997 they became "the first homeless shelter for families in Northern California."
They offer a variety of programs in the community. The residential shelter program provides not only a family-centered shelter, but also case management, job placement services, mental-health counseling and educational workshops. Up to 60 families per year participate and 85% of those find stable housing. Support for these families continues through the bridge program, which serves over 300 families per year. Children staying at Raphael House can participate in an interactive children's' program and an academic enrichment program which includes tutoring, mentoring and scholarships for extracurricular pursuits.
To increase the good feelings on a Friday that could really use it (ooh, vague yet topical), check out the success stories and news pages. From two college-bound teens who participated in the academic enrichment program to two girls who sold lemonade for $0.50/cup and donated their $40 in profits to Raphael House there are plenty of stories to make you feel good.
So now that you love Raphael House, how do you support them? They have both short and long term volunteer opportunities for those of you living in the Bay Area. You can also make a donation no matter where you live.
As always, be sure to stay in the social media loop by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @RaphaelHouseSF. I've done both of those things and am now going to the store. I've got a sudden craving for lemonade.