YMCA Youth and Family Services’ Mary’s House Program is able to keep its doors open to young former foster women, thanks to the commitment and hard work of the San Diego County Fire Department and the special efforts of the Montebello Fire Department.

Flames threatened houses in the surrounding areas, engulfing a few neighboring properties, after the Cocos Fire spread from San Marcos into Escondido on Thursday, May 15th. After a precautionary evacuation on Thursday afternoon, Ahni Rocha-Redmond, Program Director of Mary’s House Transitional Living Program, returned on Friday morning to find Mary’s House thankfully intact. She was greeted by a fire rig in the driveway of the undamaged house. Firefighters from Montebello, California, part of L.A. County, were stationed outside of Mary’s House overnight, ready to defend any blazes that made it over the hill into Escondido.

Ahni shared, “They had been fighting fires all day yesterday in the Harmony Grove area and were sent to Mary’s House in the evening to get some rest. They walked me around the house to show me what they had done as a precaution. They had removed all the patio furniture and grill away from the house.”

After bringing the fire crew coffee and muffins, Ahni left them to continue their work, passing on appreciation from all Mary’s House staff and participants. The fire is still a threat but crews are working hard to save this meaningful place in the community.

Mary’s House Transitional Living Program, in partnership with Promises 2 Kids, is part of YMCA Youth & Family Services in San Diego County. The program is dedicated to assisting and supporting young women, ages 18-24, as they transition out of the foster care system. YMCA staff provide services to assist participants through various stages of their personal, professional and academic growth with the goal of developing the skills necessary for them to live a self-sufficient lifestyle. For more information visit www.yfs.ymca.org.