Anna was born in Mexico and brought to the United States by her parents when she was six-years-old. She has no other home, but is now seeing progress in her efforts toward recovery, helping others, and formalizing her U.S. citizenship.
“After my parents brought me, my brother and my sister here, we lived on the low-income side of town. I always did poorly in school, struggling with every subject. I started smoking weed at 12, and shortly after that I started drinking. Both of my parents worked constantly and never noticed. At 16, my drug use progressed, and after trying meth things went downhill fast. My parents kicked me out of the house.
“At that point I realized I needed to enter treatment for my addiction, and while at the facility I heard about StandUp For Kids. A mentor there told me StandUp was a great group that could help me get on my feet.
“I entered the mentoring program in November of 2017 and I told them I was here illegally and had nowhere to go. No one would hire me, but they found ways to help me. They sent me to immigration lawyers, and made sure that I knew what my options were.
“StandUp For Kids offered me housing so I didn’t have to be homeless, food so I didn’t go hungry, and emotional support. They’re a family away from my own.”
Today, Anna is one-year sober. She’s learning leadership skills and her work authorization was granted. Anna says she’s looking forward to volunteering once she’s fully on her own.
“In the future I see myself volunteering with StandUp For Kids, giving back, graduating from college, and working as a drug and alcohol counselor. If I hadn’t received the help and support from StandUp For Kids I’d probably be dead. Doing too many drugs—I was a lost cause. Everyone gave up on me except them.”
She added, “StandUp For Kids means stability, family, support, and whatever I may need as long as I show up and am willing to be helped.” She said it gave her the hope and strength to “want to live.” Anna said, “I think the mentors in StandUp For Kids really care a lot. They’re different from other agencies because they didn’t push me away when I said I was ‘illegal.’ They looked for resources to help me.”
What would Anna tell others about StandUp For Kids? “They’ll do everything in their power to make us successful adults. They never give up.”