When the Cruz family first arrived at Theriault House Emergency Family Shelter, they were still
reeling from the fire that had now left them homeless. This family of four had been renting a single
room, but after the fire found themselves once again on the streets. They had been told by other
organizations that they couldn’t be housed because Mr. Cruz was undocumented and currently
unemployed, but Illumination Foundation did not consider those barriers to helping this family.
Mr. and Mrs. Cruz, with their two toddlers, ages one and three, had been living out of their car, and
at one point, even slept in their storage area. When they learned about Illumination Foundation
through a family friend, they immediately contacted Rose Wolfrum, Director of Children and
Families Programs. Rose told them there was an available open room at Theriault House, and they
moved in last July. Pretty quickly after that, Mr. Cruz was able to start working full time again
because he now had a stable place to call home.
The family also immediately became active in all of Theriault’s children’s services. The family
participated in a Parent and Me class and the Chapman University Speech and Language program
at Theriault House. When the Cruzes moved into Theriault House, their eldest daughter wasn’t
talking and wasn’t meeting other developmental milestones. As part of Illumination Foundation’s
services, Illumination Foundation worked with the young girl to help improve her language skills.
In addition to these basic social skills for the family, Illumination Foundation also worked diligently
to help the family find a new home, such as teaching them what to say, what to write on an
application, and driving them to see properties. Even with all the barriers facing them, Illumination
Foundation was able to match them to their Housing Support Program, and in September, the Cruz
family moved into their new home in Anaheim.
“We were so excited that the family was getting o to such a great start,” said Rose. “They now have
a home, the father found a job, and the oldest daughter started talking while they were with us—by
the time she exited the program, she was meeting all the developmental milestones for her age!
Helping people like the Cruz family is why we do the work we do—and what makes all those who
support us so important to our programs.”