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Host Spotlight: The Titus-Roksa Family

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Greetings from Josipa Roksa and Shenandoah Titus!


My wife and I come from diverse backgrounds, as you can readily see (smile). But there is much more to our diversity than “meets the eye.”


Josipa is from the beautiful country of Croatia. Hers is a wonderful immigration story. Josipa came to America as a refugee, in a sense. Her country was engaged in a war and she braved the unknown to come to America, as a teenager, to complete her education. 


Her Croatian family had modest means, but Josipa never once complained, nor was she ever deterred from her objective. She was welcomed into the home of a wonderful Alaskan family, where she completed her high school education. She then went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and


from there she earned her Ph.D. at New York University (NYU). Josipa persevered even during the infamous terrorist attacks of 911, living only a few blocks at the time from the World Trade Center. Her apartment building was evacuated due to the fallen debris. Josipa is now a Full Professor of Sociology and Education at the University of Virginia and serves as a Senior Advisor to the Executive Office at UVA.


Mine, too, is a story of perseverance. But I’ll be more succinct telling my own story because I prefer to boast more about Josipa. I would like to think of my journey as one of those cliché “rags to riches” (although I’m still waiting on the “riches” part). I grew up in severe poverty and worked my way through school. I completed my education primarily at Cornell and Harvard. I am now a licensed attorney with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (DC Bar). After serving a number of years in government, most recently with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, I am now an author and CEO of a national office that confronts workplace bullying. Visit me at: to learn more about my background.

How did you become involved with LilyPads Housing?

I read about Jen’s story, and how she formed this organization and named it after her and her husband’s miracle daughter – Lily.  Josipa and I were deeply moved.

Why did you become a host?

As noted in our brief stories above, Josipa and I have each overcome certain challenges to be where we are today.  We live in a large, beautiful home in the Glenmore community in Keswick.  We want to share our blessings with others who are in need of a helping hand – as we ourselves have been helped to get where we are today. 

Is there anything else that you would like your guests to know?

Josipa and I may live in a fancy, gated country club community but relax, we are not at all “snobs.”  Josipa and I are some of the most down to earth folks you will ever meet.  We are currently serving as host parents to our 15-year-old German daughter, via an international student exchange program (once again – giving back). Therefore, our availability to welcome LilyPads families may be limited to certain times of the year.  But rest assured, when you join us, we will do everything reasonably feasible to make your stay as pleasant and comfortable as possible. You will have absolute private guest quarters – private bedroom and full private adjoining bathroom.  If and when you wish to engage with us, we will be delighted to share your company. Likewise, we will give you as much mental, emotional and spiritual space as you prefer.

In short, you will be welcomed in our home! 

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