Throughout the history of StandUp for Kids there exist numerous stories of homeless youth overcoming the barrier to success with the help of guidance and mentorship. One of those stories is that of Grover’s who first came into contact with StandUp for Kids in 1999.
Life prior to reaching out to StandUp for Kids was cyclical for Grover. Each day was an exercise in futility with an emphasis on making it through the day in one piece.
“Panhandle most of the day away for food and alcohol. Find a doorway to sleep in or a bridge to sleep under. Wash, rinse, repeat.”
The moment of realization that a change was necessary for Grover came when he was arrested and placed into juvenile. It was an experience that Grover knew he never wanted to repeat again.
“Once I got arrested the first time for petty theft and instead of calling my father to pick me up, they took me to juvie. That’s when I first realized that maybe this wasn’t the best life path to have chosen.”
It was then that Grover knew that a change was necessary in his life. That change entailed acknowledging his faults and getting into contact with StandUp for Kids.
StandUp for Kids would provide Grover with something that he desperately yearned for, a place to call home.
“They gave me clothing and hygiene products so I could maintain a decent appearance. They gave me a hot dinner and a safe place to relax for the day. They allowed me to go to college for a semester and also helped me get a new ID when I lost mine. They helped me look for jobs and allowed me to shower on a regular basis. They gave me a caring person to listen to me when I needed to get stuff off my chest. They gave me some semblance of a home, when that’s the thing I needed most.”
It was the beginning of a different path for Grover. With StandUp for Kids, Grover was able to pursue opportunities previously unavailable.
“StandUp actually paid for me to take a computer course at City College for a semester because it would look good on my resume. They also allowed me to go see concerts at Soma on several occasions that I wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise.”
What struck Grover was the support that StandUp for Kids provided him emotionally. It was unlike anything Grover had received before.
“Life became a little more bearable. Every day didn’t seem as much like a struggle, and I finally felt like I had people that cared about my wellbeing and wanted to see me succeed.”
In particular, Grover fondly remembers his mentor Wendy who he says provided companionship in times of need and who he remains grateful for her reliable presence.
“She was always there when I needed someone. She went above and beyond to make sure that we were alright. She remains a great friend to me, and there is no end to the amount of appreciation I have for her.”
Grover’s time panhandling on the streets in search of a next meal is but a distant memory. It began with an acknowledgment of the necessity of change and a fateful meeting with StandUp for Kids.
With guidance and mentorship Grover was able to shape his life for the better.
“Thanks to Stand Up, I’m alive to be a husband and a father now. Not only have they given me the chance to live out this wonderful life with my girls, but they’ve given me hope that should I decide there’s another dream I want to pursue, I can do that.”
Grover isn’t one for speculation, but he does believe that without StandUp for Kids his life growing up would have played out much differently.
“Nobody knows where we would be if things had been different in any way. But I do know that my teenage years would have been a lot more difficult and possibly even unbearable if it hadn’t been for StandUp and everything they did for me. For that I am eternally grateful.”