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  • Thomas House Family Shelter

Help Them Home: Surviving Siblings Build New Life

In September 2022, we shared the story of Javier (27) and Alondra (12) who lost their mother, Martina, to leukemia. Here’s an update on Javier and Alondra’s continued journey of healing and growth at Thomas House and their recent exciting and fantastic news!

Read their initial September 2022 or, here’s a brief recap:

After Martina and her two children, Javier and Alondra, fled domestic violence, Martina worked hard at multiple jobs to independently provide for her family. Then, when what Martina thought may be COVID was diagnosed as leukemia, she re

alized why she was too weak to work and unable to recover. Initially helped by neighbors, the family remained in their apartment for a few months. Then, as Martina’s health continued to decline and their bills mounted, the school counselor recommended Thomas House.

We were delighted to welcome them into Thomas House in May 2021, and the family was relieved to be in our supportive community while Martina fought for her life during grueling cancer treatments. Sadly, in October 2021, Martina lost her battle with leukemia. Javier and Alondra struggled with the significant emotions and challenges presented by such a tragic loss.


Thanks to continued community and family support, Javier and Alondra remained in Thomas House where they could heal, learn parenting and life tools, and prepare to live independently and self-sufficiently.

In keeping with a key tenet of Thomas House’s mission, “to keep families together,” we supported Javier’s journey to obtain permanent parental custody of Alondra, a goal all parties shared. In May 2022, we were all elated when Javier was granted permanent parenting custody!

Javier further stepped up to embrace his roles of both brother and parent to Alondra, roles that he does not take lightly. He obtained work as a full-time machine operator with Oakley Sunglasses, and, over time, increased his hourly wages. After his long shifts, he prepares meals and supports Alondra with her schoolwork and after school activities. He consistently attends and participates in Thomas House Parenting and Life Skills classes. He also meets weekly with his Case Manager to brainstorm on ways to meet or further his goals to find permanent housing, continue to improve his mental and physical health, and improve his relationship with and be the best guardian he can be for his sister.

Unsure of how to cope with the grief from the loss of her mother, Alondra initially struggled with depression, an eating disorder, and making long-lasting friendships. With encouragement from our Teen Case Manager and Javier, Alondra engaged in our therapy services, Teen Case Management, and Youth Development Programs (YDP). In YDP, she enjoyed National Charity League events CL, and all of the teen events. She especially liked girls’ night! She began to set goals for herself, including to do well in school, start more hobbies, and join an extracurricular activity.


Today, Alondra is beginning to flourish as she develops her own voice and life path. She formed strong relationships with her Teen Case Managers and became close friends with the other teens at Thomas House. She is focused on school and keeps he

r grades high. She also started making her own jewelry, arts and crafts, baking, and practicing her makeup skills.

Javier has also made tremendous progress. He enjoyed attending Thomas House’s weekly Parenting and Life Skills classes and he and his family benefit from ongoing Spanish speaking therapy sessions to heal from the loss of their mother. He especially likes that he can check in with his Case Manager on both a scheduled and as-needed basis. Through Thomas House programs, Javier improved his mental health and parenting skills, increased his hourly wages, saved money for apartment down payments and life’s next steps, and learned vital life skills such as budgeting, communication, coping, and setting boundaries, to name a few.  


After all of their hard work, we are pleased to announce that Javier and Alondra have officially graduated from our Transitional Shelter and Supportive Services program and have moved into permanent housing in Garden Grove!

Javier shares, "Thomas House helped my family and me throughout the hardest times of our lives. Sadly, our mother is no longer here in person but is always with us in spirit. I can feel her presence, and she would be very proud and happy to know that we now have our own place to call home."

Alondra joins in, "and I'm glad that we moved somewhere close so that I can still walk to Thomas House to be with my friends and my Case Manager."


We are so grateful that Javier and Alondra have chosen to remain actively engaged with Thomas House. Through our Homeless Prevention Program (designed to ensure shelter graduates have as-needed, on-going support), Ja

vier continues to attend our weekly Parenting and Life Skills class, and Alondra continues to participate in our Teen Case Management and Youth Development Programs.  

We are so very proud of Javier and Alondra! Because of their hard work and because of people like you investing in programs that heal and empower, we feel confident that their future is bright!

"A bright future beckons, the onus is on us, through hard work, honesty,

and integrity, to reach for the stars."

Nelson Mandela

DONATE NOW to help us continue to empower Javier and Alondra and the 55-60 at-risk and unhoused families with children we serve annually!

We look forward to celebrating more graduations to permanent housing with you!

Continue to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and join us on April 26, 2023 for Help Them Home, when 25 organizations come together to raise $1,750,000 to help end homelessness in Orange County.

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