Former Youth Stories

Aileen

StandUp and the amazing crew, had helped me in so many ways..

I started going to stand up in 2010. They fed me and clothed me. Helped me find a job and a place to Live.. they have supported me and lifted me up. Some of the personnel even went outta they're way to make sure I was OK, they took they're personal time to be there for me. Words aren't enough to describe the wonderful things they have done for me and many others. I'm so thankful for them. Kim and Jackie were like a mom to me.. if I had a problem and didn't know what to do I always had them to talk to and give me feedback.. I loved going to standup, it allowed me to take a break from the cruel situation I was in.. I can honestly say that if it wasn't for them I would starved to death and I probably wouldn't still be breathing to tell this story now..

StandUp didn't just help me and take care of me,  but they also took care of my dogs by providing food for them. To this day, I still don't know of any other program who would help the person and their dog at the same time.. I think of them like a strong light in a dark tunnel, if it wasn't for that light I wouldn't be able to find the way out of that dark tunnel.. going there felt like a family..

Liz

I was a homeless teenager from 15-19 by choice because I felt safer and more comfortable then at either of my parents houses. My dad would hit me if I wasn't home before the sun set. He also flushed my birth control thinking it would stop me from being sexually active. I got the shot instead. My parents split up when I was 15. My mom moved out of state for awhile and when she moved back, i was already comfortable with living on the streets. She got a place and said I could go there when I wanted. My bed there consisted of a piece of plywood and a sleeping bag in a little room shared with my mom and sister.  When I found out about StandUp, I thought it was the best place ever. I always felt safe. They had clothes you could have. They let you spend time there in the evening. I remember every Christmas I spent there and I actually felt like a kid getting gifts that I could actually use. I went there for years. As I got older I started to do different drugs but they never asked or judged. When I was 19 they helped me find a place that helped with resumes and job skills, I got an internship at the Boys and Girls Club. My day life seemed normal, I went to school, which they helped me find after I didn't pass the California proficiency exam (which they had paid for). The nights were hard trying to get enough money to get a hotel or campsite. I started to do meth as everyone I knew was doing it. At 19 years old on February 24th,  after doing some meth, I found out I was 3 months pregnant. That was the day I quit meth. My boyfriend went to jail when I was 7 months pregnant. StandUp was always there for me. I decided to live with my mom instead of being super pregnant on the streets alone. I wanted a place of our own for when my daughter was born. I started to work at Ralph’s and i saved money. StandUp helped me by taking me to the grocery store and showing me how to budget and buy meals that are cheap and last. I had saved enough money to get an apartment but I had no money to buy anything to put in it. StandUp was moving to a new building. They said I could have anything in the old building and they donated items. They got me a bed, TV, a couch and even a house phone. Movies and a VCR. They donated silverware, dishes, cups and pots and pans. I had our place one day before my bf got out of jail. One month later my daughter was born. After a couple months I was no longer allowed to go StandUp because I was no longer at risk. Now my daughter is 9 years old in gymnastics, choir and girl scouts. Her dad and I are still together.  He is a plumber and owns his own business and I am a supervisor at Vons. We are 10 years clean from meth. Without StandUp, I  don’t think I would have ever been able to make the transition to a better life. I'm forever grateful for all the volunteers.

Erin

My name is Erin Watson; I am 28 years old and married with two beautiful girls. I live in the best city in all, North County San Diego, Encinitas. Two years ago I joined the Mormon Church and try my best to be the best person I can be.  However, before StandUp came into my life, I was a much different person. My parents separated when I was two years old and I was left to live with my dad and sister.  My dad did the best he knew how, but lacked in knowing how to build our personal relationship. We grew very distant as years went by and I began to lash out as a result.  I started to drink, smoke pot, smoked cigarettes all by the age of 10. As I got older, I moved on to harder drugs and eventually ended up on meth and in a very abusive relationship. I stayed on the streets by choice, I couldn’t stand to be in the same house as my dad. I didn’t want to go to my mom’s,  she was strict and I wanted to be selfish and get high. I really didn’t care about family or the important things in life, I only cared about hanging out with my friends and getting faded. I remember my mom crying to me on numerous occasions, telling me I cared more about my friends than I did her and the rest of the family. When I found StandUp it really changed how I looked at my future and myself. I had a very low self-esteem and didn’t think I would ever have or even deserve a good and “normal” life. They showed me the love and support that I felt I needed. They provided me with clothes, shoes, hygiene products, food and so much more. It wasn’t easy for me to leave my abusive boyfriend, but I could always go there to get away from him. It was my safe haven. There had been a number of times that I ran there for physical safety from him, it was the only place I felt safe. I was too ashamed of myself and my choices to go back home to either one of my parents. I quickly stopped using meth and other hard drugs and got my first job at Henry’s Market Place, now known as Sprouts.  My abusive boyfriend had to move out of state with his family so I became (in my mind) a free person. I finally started gaining my self-respect back and moved back in with my dad. At the age of 19 I realized I needed to do something with myself. I couldn’t hold a job for more than a few months and had developed a drinking problem. I flew to Kansas and moved in with my older half-sister of seven years. I started working for her at Pizza Hut and started a relationship. I quickly moved out on my own, paid all my own bills and my boyfriend’s. Once I became pregnant with his daughter, he told me he wanted to brake-up and I moved back home. He had cheated on me for almost our entire relationship so it wasn’t a total surprise. I moved back home at 6 months pregnant. I was 107 lbs, extremely pale and had to be in a wheelchair because of how weak and unhealthy I was. During that time, I had to stay in Kansas, while pregnant I wasn’t being taking care of and I wasn’t able to work so I couldn’t take care of myself. I ended up depending on one of my friend’s free meals from work and bananas and peanut butter from WIC. By the end of my pregnancy I had gained a total of 42 lbs and my daughter was 10 days late.  She was 6 lbs. and 14oz and as healthy as could be.  When my daughter was 8 months old my husband and I started to date and within three days we were in love. We got married a little more than a year later and last April we had a beautiful baby girl. My life is now complete and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the amazing people at StandUp.  I have so many amazing memories with everyone, and I keep in contact the best I can with the staff and Kim. I love them all so much and thank them from the bottom of my heart!

MissE

As a young, troubled teen on the streets, StandUp for Kids provided me with a personal safe haven.  The volunteers quickly became mentors, friends and family, and the facility became HOME.  During one of the darkest periods of my life, where all hope had been abandoned, StandUp restored my faith.  From countless conversations to financial support that allowed me to put a roof over my head, StandUp ALWAYS stood up for every child and teenager who walked through their doors.  Seven years later, I still keep in touch with the volunteers who helped encourage and support me in changing my life.

These volunteers who are my angels, taught me to LOVE and STANDUP for myself.  I am now a mother, wife, home owner and a business woman who hopes to give back, what I was so freely given.  A HUGE thank you to Kim, Shelley, Alison, Fabi, Levi, Chris and Heather, the volunteers who loved me so unconditionally, I am eternally grateful.  Thank you for the talks, the hugs, the laughs, the tears……the clothes, the food, the showers, the car rides, the bus passes….everything you all so selflessly did for myself and every one of the kids…you saved our lives.

I love you all……

Joe

My name is Joe.  StandUp helped me in more ways than one.  When I was homeless, they gave me food, blankets, clothes, gift cards for supplies, etc.  But the main thing they gave me was reassurance.  Reassurance that there are people out there that give a “F…” about the smelly people!  StandUp never judged us or looked away.  StandUp helped me to get off the streets.  I had a place to go, had a job lined up in New York, but no way to get there, this was my chance to start my life over, the right way.  StandUp saved my life by buying me a ticket to New York.  I was off!  I spent 4 years there and really turned my life COMPLETELY around.  If it wasn't for StandUp, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to be the man and more importantly, the father I am today…so THANK YOU.