Robert has spent most of his life in Sonoma County. But last year, his family was crammed into one room in a family member’s apartment. Robert made an important decision to put his children first, and address his substance abuse issues. After finishing the program, he and his family moved into the Kids First Family Shelter.


Establishing a healthy connection to another person is the first step to rebuilding a life. “For me, the best part of the shelter was connecting with my case manager, Emily, who really helped with my parenting skills. She had a lot of good suggestions and she’s respectful.”

“This may sound counterintuitive, but the kids loved living there,” he says. “We all loved the structure, the order. The kids loved the playground, the art projects and the other kids.”


Once a connection is made, hope can take root. “Once we got settled, and could hear about how other people had found housing, we could find a way forward,” says Robert.


An intention is a focused and realistic goal. “It was useful to have help making a plan and a budget,” Robert says. “I’m an organized person, but I really enjoyed being accountable about our spending.”


Intention is deciding on a path to take; integrity is staying on it. Robert and his partner now work full- time. He works the graveyard shift and she works during the day as a caregiver. The family rents a three-bedroom town- home in Santa Rosa. Their schedules don’t allow much time together. “But we’re doing it. We have to,” says Robert.