Justins House appeared in Santa Clara Weekly

We were featured in a beautifully written story in the Santa Clara Weekly this week. Read journalist Melissa McKenzie’s article below.

New Non–Profit Inspires Youth to Live Beyond Addiction
By Melissa McKenzie

In January 2013, Kelly Villarreal and her husband, Justin Bell, were acclimating to their new life in Oregon. Villarreal had retired early from Santa Clara Unified School District and relocated to Redmond for Bell’s job with Cupertino Electric. As she pondered her next career move, tragedy struck. Bell suffered a heart attack on Jan. 6 and was pulled from life support five days later. Less than 24 hours after his death, Villarreal had an epiphany.

Using Bell’s lifelong struggle with alcoholism as her driving force, Villarreal would turn her personal hardship into hope and salvation for youth going through the same trials and tribulations Bell battled throughout his short life. Her mission was simple: help kids facing problems with addiction. In the two years since Bell’s death, Villarreal, armed with a superstar team of women including Pat Flot, Jennifer Dericco, Tabitha Kappeler-Hurley, Julie Eastburn and Sheila Morales, has formed Justin’s House, a non-profit dedicated to inspiring “youth to live beyond abuse and addiction.”

[The morning after Bell’s death], I woke up and I knew that this was what I was going to do,” said Villarreal. “I was going to start a program and honor him, and work with kids who struggled as he did. We had a lot of conversations over the years about his struggle and his life and he used to talk about some different programs that he would go and try when he was younger. He was very defiant and nothing ever stuck but he did mention often that if he had had a place that was kind of a safe haven – someplace he could go when times got really tough at home or if he had been somewhere where he had gained some skills where he could have remained sober or knew how to deal with his friends – that maybe it would have been helpful. This kind of grew out of that idea.”

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