StandUp for Kids – Orange County
By Courtney Lopez, Communications Intern
From the day that a youth agrees to our program to the day they become self-sufficient; StandUp for Kids tracks the amount of time it takes. As a nonprofit, these numbers show what’s working and what’s not, and help to make sure resources are being used well. Learning as a new marketing intern during my orientation, all of this made sense. But the impressive part was hearing the goal itself: to transition a youth from crisis to self-sufficiency in just 90 days!
That’s 90 days to get that youth off the street (or someone’s couch) and into a housing situation; then working on a resume and interview prep to find a job; and finally paying their own rent. Not to mention if they need an ID card or a bank account, or if substance abuse is in the picture.
All in 90 days! I couldn’t believe it – I thought they must have set a high goal, hoping to one day get close to achieving it.
Well, I was wrong.
Earlier this year I spoke with Denise, StandUp for Kids – Orange County’s Mentoring Program Manager. A girl named Kat had joined the program four weeks prior. For Kat and many youths in our program we reach out to our local housing partners and find shelter and safety almost immediately. As long as the youth are progressing through our Journey to Self-Sufficiency program and are attending weekly meetings, they will pay their rent. In the span of those four weeks, Denise also showed Kat how to take the bus to Main Place Mall in Santa Ana, instructing her to ask each store whether or not they were hiring. The evening we met, Denise was helping Kat with her resume and speaking points for an interview set for the following day. They even made a trip to Walmart later that night to purchase clothes for the interview.
The following week I visited the Huntington Beach center and received good news – Kat got the job!
Kat (left) and her mentor Denise at our Huntington Beach location
She was at the center completing her food handling certification; and despite the stress of all that needed to be done, her excitement in getting the job showed.
Shortly thereafter Kat had been scheduled to work 25 hours a week and has been continuing to move forward. All told in Kat’s case this happened in 47 days. Kat’s not done with the program yet, and of course, every story is different. But, 47 days? Wow!
StandUp for Kids is here to support you if you need it. If you or someone you know needs help, contact us at 714-356-KIDS or [email protected].
No matter the situation, they will try to help. And they don’t make promises they can’t keep.