Featuring Family Advocates, Heather Antonini and Araceli Figueroa

This past summer, family members told 17-year-old Lauren she had to leave home for drinking alcohol and taking their car. A social worker referred her to Hutton House, Center for Human Services’ temporary shelter in Modesto for teens in crisis and families dealing with adolescent-parent challenges; the only shelter of its kind between Sacramento and Fresno.

“At first, it was kind of scary because I’m not the kind of person who opens up easily,” Lauren recalls. “But after one or two meetings with the Hutton House staff, I felt really comfortable because they didn’t pressure me to talk. They were really nice and let me talk at my own pace.”

Hutton House Family Advocates Araceli Figueroa and Heather Antonini worked with Lauren and her family.

“She came in a bit apprehensive and closed up, without the skills to communicate her frustrations and conflicts,” Heather said. “But it only took a few check-ins for Lauren to begin to open up and realize we were here to listen and help. She displayed a willingness to learn about herself and took courageous steps toward making better decisions.”

“They talked one on one with me about substance and alcohol abuse and how to implement coping skills instead of reverting to that,” Lauren said. “When we met with my family, Heather and Araceli acted as mediators so we could talk to each other without getting angry and gain back trust.”

That’s truly the goal for Hutton House staff – to facilitate conversations with family members to build trust and reunite the family as quickly as possible. If they determine that a stay at Hutton House will prevent a teen from running away or being in an unsafe situation, the teen may stay until the situation is stabilized, at no cost.   

Whether preventing conflict from becoming a c