Kiwanis Family House


Our Mission

Our mission is to provide temporary housing and support to families of seriously ill or injured children and adults being treated at University of California, Davis, Medical Center, Sacramento. Our Vision is to continually provide convenient, restful, secure, and low cost accommodations for the families of patients being treated at the UCD Medical Center or at Shriners Hospital. Our Values are guided by the KIWANIS Service Motto: “Serving the Children of the World”. The KIWANIS FAMILY HOUSE encourages the following core values:
  • A sense of community
  • Dedication to service
  • Respect for families
  • Augmentation of services provided by other organizations
  • Collaboration with community partners
  • Foster awareness for those in need
  • Generosity

History of the Kiwanis Family House – Leona Bright Story

The Kiwanis Family House Story

The Kiwanis Family House was built through the efforts of many Kiwanis club volunteers from the Sacramento area. It opened on July 23, 1984 to answer an urgent need for temporary housing for the families of pediatric patients at the UCD Children’s Hospital in Sacramento. Prior to our response, there were no accommodations available at the hospital, and no nearby hotel or motel facilities that were safe and affordable. When a child was in a life-threatening condition as a result of cystic fibrosis, cancer, prenatal difficulties, or trauma from an accident, the distraught families who needed to be near their child were forced to sleep in their cars, with no access to bathing, bathrooms, laundry facilities or a place to gain respite from their overwhelming fears. So, in many cases, children were left without the comfort of their parent’s presence because the parents could not afford to find temporary housing for extended stays. Located on property donated by the UCD Medical Center, the Kiwanis Family House offers 32 bedrooms, each with  shower and bathroom facilities, four kitchens with dining areas for self-meal preparation, laundry room, a child’s game room and an outdoor play area. Families have free long distance phone and internet access, free shuttle bus transportation to and from the hospital 24 hours a day. Because families often arrive in emergency situations, the Kiwanis Family House also provides a clothes closet and toiletries, a food closet, and all necessary cooking and dining equipment. The Family House provides clean bedding and towels.  Kiwanis volunteers and staff assist families 24 hours a day every day of the year. There is a nominal rent fee of $50 per night for families staying at the Family House. Guest families that stay at the Kiwanis Family House should live at least 35 miles from Sacramento. While most families live in California, many come from all parts of the United States as well as internationally. The Kiwanis Family House has been able to successfully meet its mission of helping families in need since 1984 only through the financial and volunteer support of Kiwanis clubs and their members, and through the generosity of the community at large. It is with this continued support that the Kiwanis Family House will be able to continue to help these families in need far into the future.

Founders of the Kiwanis Family House

Vern & Leona Bright Leona Bright, wife of Southeast Sacramento Kiwanis club member Vern Bright, heard about the need for temporary housing, and asked her husband, “Why doesn’t Kiwanis do something about this?” The idea was born and a group of Kiwanis Club members found a site, donated by the UC Davis Medical Center. They purchased five surplus construction trailers, converted them into a seven bedroom facility, and provided furnishings, carpeting, appliances, and all that was required to make the Kiwanis Family House a home.

The Bright Award

The Bright Award was established by the Board of Directors of the Kiwanis Family House to honor the co-founders, Vern and Leona Bright. It may be used as a means to honor individuals, Kiwanis Clubs, Divisions, Districts, or Organizations that have exemplified dedicated service to Kiwanis, their club or community. The $1000 donation is tax deductible. For more information and to nominate someone or an organization, please download the Bright Award form.

40th Anniversary Celebration!

Elks Tower
Kyle Draper

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