La Verne Magazine
Spring 1999

"Defining Family"

'What Does Family Mean?'

by Jelani A. Kimble
photography by Isela Peña

Throughout our day-to-day living, family plays an integral role in our lives. From celebrating holiday dinners to vacationing together, family provides an outlet to the daily stresses that we experience. As these members support our choices and the different paths that we may choose in life, they motivate us to never surrender our personal hopes and dreams. Asked candidly, random individuals uniquely define and express appreciation for their "family" in the vignettes that follow.

My definition of family is someone who cares about you. Sometimes you have to have a lot of love and motivation to care about other people besides yourself. It's good to always think about other people in addition to yourself."
-- Charlton Charles, 19, University of La Verne history major

There is a nuclear family and a regular family. My nuclear family would be here [at ULV]. I don't think there's a real definition, but it's something that is really really important to me -- to my parents and my brother. It is one of the most important things in my life. It is something that you don't get to choose, but you have to learn to appreciate. If you can manage to do that, you don't even have to call them family anymore. You can just call them buddies. They don't have to be parents.
-- Alen Zilic, 21, University of La Verne Bosnian student, majoring in computer science

Family is the most important thing in life. I come from a foster home orphanage, so anything that feels as close as you feel within a family is family to you. I have a fiancée, so she's my family now. Before that, my best friends were my family.
-- Christopher Kemp, 28, La Verne Resident

Family are people who are usually related to you by blood, but not necessarily so-people with whom you feel a kinship and a bond. It could be your children, or it can be your best friend. When you talk about extended family, it's only because it's not someone who's related to you by blood; but they can be as supportive as family who are related by blood. This whole Admissions Office is very close. I consider that a family.
-- Sharon Cruz-McKinney, ULV, 46, Associate Director of Admissions

Family is when, hopefully, both the mother and dad are there at home with the children and having children who are obedient and are clean cut and Christians. It would be nice to live in a little town like La Verne because it's much nicer than the big city.
-- Eleanora Walton, 87, La Verne Resident

Family are people whom you feel comfortable being with, people whom you love, people whom you enjoy.
-- Pamela Foerstel, 20, University of La Verne political science major

Family doesn't necessarily have to be a biological unit, but it's necessary to have a community that you feel safe in. It's not necessarily a home or intangible, but just somewhere you can go where you feel like you belong and people who are there to take care of you. The girls and I who live in my wing all have a family sense. We support one another and all let each other know what's going on.
-- Natalie Fowle, 19, University of La Verne psychology major

Family is the most significant and the greatest bond between two people. I belong to Phi Delta Theta, which I consider a family to me.
-- Faust Obeso, 20, University of La Verne business major

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