People, Pets, and Purpose: Mark Castaneda Lived on the Street With His Dog

These days, Mark Castenada and his dog Jelly Bean share a home in California, where Mark is studying space sciences at the University of the Pacific. Mark has interned with NASAyes that NASA—and also advocates for bringing healthcare services to communities in need, through his work with CommonSpirit Health

Mark brings a very personal passion, and understanding, to this part of his life. It was only a couple of years ago, that he and Jelly Bean were themselves unhoused, living on the street, and looking after each other—something Mark says was an essential part of bringing them both to where they are today. 

“The more I took care of her and the more that I loved her, the more I was able to take care of myself,” Mark says. “The more I was able to learn to love myself again.”

Learn about this family’s remarkable transformation in this episode of People, Pets, and Purpose, an interview series about the human-animal bond and what really matters. Host Diaz Dixon speaks with Mark about the ways he and Jelly Bean survived, and took care of each other, during their time without a home—and what it’s like to now reach for the stars, while also working to support those who are still living on the street.

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