Holiday Homecoming


“This is starting to feel different”, Marcus thought to himself as he sat on his living room floor, his mom in her wheelchair to his left, and Melissa, his Savio therapist sitting with him on the floor to his right.

It wasn’t the feeling of the hardwood floor beneath him that felt different. He had gotten used to that – his family didn’t have a couch, or a kitchen table to sit at.  His family was recently homeless and there hadn’t been any furniture in his family’s apartment since they moved.

It was the conversation that felt different.

The sixteen-year-old’s history of arrests had put him in contact with a lot of professionals aimed at getting him to change. But Marcus didn’t concern himself about the opinions of others – he was too concerned about finding ways to help his mother, and his younger brother and sister.

So was Melissa, he was realizing.  She didn’t seem to judge his mom for their empty house. He was happy that Melissa understood his mom’s condition would make it difficult for her to travel across town to Savio House. Instead, she drove him across town to have their family therapy sessions on his living room floor.  Financial support from donors helps provide enough residential staff that therapists can be flexible in how they meet a family’s needs.

Today they weren’t talking about his troubling behaviors, but they were discussing his family and their situation. His mother was battling a major illness as a single mother of three kids. All along, Marcus’s allegiance to his family fueled him – the good decisions and the bad. Melissa hadn’t judged him for things he had done. She saw him as a kid who cared for his family and managed his poverty and past trauma the best that the sixteen-year-old knew how.

Over the next couple of months, Marcus started participating in treatment.  He began taking his medications, started talking about his past actions, and discussed what he wanted for his future. And his family.

His progress came quickly. More than a third of kids in Colorado stay in out-of-home placements for more than a year.  Marcus had met more than 80% of his treatment goals in less than three months. He had made enough progress that Savio and his county caseworkers met a week before Christmas to discuss discharging him in time to spend the holidays with his family.

The county caseworker was thrilled with his progress but wasn’t willing to discharge him.  “We can’t send him home. Not yet. We can’t let him go home when he doesn’t have a bed to sleep on”, his county caseworker said.

Marcus didn’t panic; “I know Savio will come through for us”, he thought to himself. Within 48 hours, donors had provided beds for him and his siblings.  Donors also provided his family with a kitchen table and holiday gifts for him and his family.

Marcus was officially discharged from Savio House on December 22nd. He couldn’t be happier to be spending Christmas with his family this year.

We can’t thank our donors enough.  We are seeing 22% more families this holiday season than last year, and you’ve responded by contributing more generously than ever. Your support has allowed us to meet the need and still go the extra mile to make these stories possible.  Thank you for remembering there is no more important gift than family.

Adam Becker-Hafnor