From Russia to Casa Pacifica, Hear Dmitry’s Story


A couple of weeks ago as I was leaving a Board meeting, I thought I recognized someone in the lobby.  It was Dmitry coming back to Casa Pacifica for the first time in five years – sunburnt, but still with that boyish grin we had come to know and love. He was so excited to be back at Casa Pacifica and be near something familiar. Turns out he had spent the last few weeks homeless.

Dmitry came to Casa Pacifica at age 16. Adopted from a Russian orphanage at age eight along with his half-sister, Dmitry’s parents brought him to San Bernardino where they lived.


 “I’m not sure what went wrong,” admits Dmitry. “I guess I was a bad kid. I started lying all the time and stealing. I guess my parents got tired of it and gave up – that’s when I got into the foster system.”  Click below to hear Dmitry’s story.


 “I remember realizing Casa Pacifica was going to be different because I saw all the kids playing outside when I got here. We didn’t have that everywhere. Everybody just looked so happy.” 

“When I turned 18, I was able to move to Stepping Stones. (Casa Pacifica’s program for youth ages 18 to 21). I liked it there, I had a lot of freedom – but it was too quick. I never took it seriously. I had so many chances at Casa Pacifica, but eventually they had to let me go. I left Stepping Stones and headed to Victorville to live with my sister.” After getting his high school diploma, Dmitry joined the California Conservation Corps, but old habits die hard. “I got in a fight with another kid and was asked to leave.”


Dmitry went to Oregon and got a high-risk job that paid well, but just didn’t suit him nor did he feel safe. That’s when he decided it was time for a change.
“So I came back to Casa Pacifica to visit, told them what’s up and from there they helped me get the resources I needed.”
It’s a different experience feeling all grown,” Dmitry laughed. “I’m really adulting!” he stated proudly. Dmitry found a job and also began renting a room with the help of Casa Pacifica staff who acted as references for his potential landlords. The home is not far from Casa Pacifica and he still drops by to say hi and help with random tasks around campus.
Dmitry celebrated his 23rd birthday with Casa Pacifica staff and he says it’s already shaping up to be his best year yet.
Give today to help youth like Dmitry



 Success looks different for each of our kids – for some it’s getting their high school diploma, for some it’s holding a steady job, for others it’s staying out of jail. Everyone has low points in their life and our kids are no exception, but if they’re willing to put in the work we’re always willing to help – and so proud to watch them grow, change, and succeed.

Will you join me and show these kids they have a place in this world, a place with people who care about them and their future?Sincerely,

 Steven Elson, Ph.D.
CEO, Casa Pacifica


P.S. Your year-end tax-deductible gift will make a difference in a young person’s life – young people who don’t have things we often take for granted, even basic things like a home.

Donate Now
Casa Pacifica restores hope, enhances resilience, and strengthens community connections for children, young adults and families at the most challenging times of their lives.
1722 Lewis Rd.
Camarillo, Ca.
(805) 366-4000

Casa Pacifica

Get Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments