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From Homeless to Homeward Bound of Marin

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SMMC Philanthropy

By: Sarah Dobrovolny  |  October 4, 2023

I’d like to share with you the story of Tarryn and Kharter:


Tarryn found Homeward Bound of Marin in May 2021. She was pregnant with her first child — due the following January — and didn’t have stable housing. She had been relying on her mother, aunt, and friends for a place to sleep, and support for keeping the baby was wavering, so she felt like she needed to find a place of her own. While Tarryn had finished high school and started looking to her future education and employment opportunities, her plans were upended by the pandemic: “I only had done small jobs, like server or retail,” says Tarryn. “There was no housing that was affordable out there for me.”


That is when Tarryn moved into a studio unit at the Next Key Apartments, Homeward Bound’s transitional housing program in Novato. Tarryn recalls she had no car, no credit, and little idea of her next move after her son Kharter’s arrival. But with encouragement from peers and staff at Next Key, Tarryn began building credit with a prepaid introductory card, purchased a “starter car,” and received help with applications to place Kharter in the nearby Head Start child care program. Tarryn set her sights on phlebotomy training and won a $3,000 scholarship from the state’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity program to pay for the course.


Tarryn plans to gain some experience in the field and then seek more training to become a Certified Medical Assistant. “I like helping people. I’ve also thought of being a teacher, but I’m taking things one step at a time,” she adds. Her home at the Next Key Apartments makes the future seem possible, Tarryn says. “Having this place overall lets me focus on making sure everything is right for Kharter and making plans for myself. I’m very happy to be here.”


Homeward Bound is the primary provider of homeless shelters and services for homeless families and individuals in Marin. In the last year, their family programs served 133 children. Of the families that left Homeward Bound’s programs during the year, 90% moved to stable housing. This organization does incredible work supporting families, and SMMC is proud to help where we can.


In years past, SMMC members have donated car seats, served dinners, given holiday gifts, and lovingly packaged Thanksgiving meal boxes.


This October and November, we all have an opportunity to continue supporting this wonderful organization and the people it serves:

  • Between October 1-8, donate new and gently used Halloween costumes for 60 resident children ages 2 years to 16 years, or make a contribution toward the purchase of new costumes.
  • Join us on October 14 to decorate Homeward Bound’s community space for the residents’ Halloween party. Donations to fund the decorations are also greatly appreciated.
  • Help make Thanksgiving care packages for 75 families. Each family will receive a food gift certificate, a tin of homemade cookies, and a handmade card. Please consider making a donation to help fund the food gift certificates and supplies for the care packages. We also invite you to bring your kiddos to our Thanksgiving card making party on November 4, sign up to bake cookies, and/or come to Moms’ Night Out on November 15 to put the care packages together.

Our collective efforts aim to bring joy to families during an otherwise challenging time. Thank you in advance for your support.


Sarah Dobrovolny lives in San Anselmo with her husband Spencer and their 20-month-old Sadie. Sarah is a Stay At Home Mom and serves on the SMMC Board as Director of Philanthropy. Sarah also volunteers as SMMC’s SAHM group leader, co-leader of the San Anselmo/Fairfax town group, coordinator for Little Movers & Shakers, on the 2023 Events team, and as a copy editor for The Crier.
More from this issue:

Championing Imagination in Our Children’s Lives and Our Own HERE >> 

From Homeless to Homeward Bound of Marin HERE >> 

How to Choose a Preschool: A Complete Guide HERE >> 

My Inner Anauraliac HERE >>

October is for ADHD! HERE >>

So Do You HERE >>

The Power of an Early Start HERE >>