StandUp for Kids - Orange County
This year, StandUp for Kids is celebrating its 30th anniversary. This local non-profit has been able to provide services for an often-overlooked demographic in the issue of homelessness, the youth. The StandUp for Kids - Orange County chapter has been up and running for over half of the organization’s trajectory. Since 2003, StandUp for Kids - OC has been a champion for leading homeless youth to an independent lifestyle and preventing at-risk youth from gang involvement, teen pregnancy, high school drop-out rates.
For the past 17 years in Orange County, StandUp for Kids has been able to do street outreach in order to provide resources for homeless and at-risk youth. In 2013, StandUp for Kids formed a partnership with the Illumination Foundation. Through this partnership, StandUp for Kids was able to provide support for the first time for the foundation’s youth since the Illumination Foundation’s focus was on addressing parental issues.
With the partnership between StandUp for Kids and the Illumination Foundation, the local non-profit was able to continue in its efforts to lead homeless youth and at-risk teens to a life of self-sufficiency.
At the grand opening of the Anaheim Outreach Center in September 2013, StandUp for Kids held a BBQ for its neighbors, youth, and volunteers. StandUp for Kids also provided free back-to-school haircuts for the youth.
The Anaheim Center was primarily formed for school-age youth with the goal of preventing teen pregnancy, gang involvement, school dropouts, and to provide a safe environment.
“It is a safe space for the youth to seek out help and tutoring,” says Justine Palmore, Executive Director of StandUp for Kids - OC.
Since its induction, the Anaheim Center has implemented many programs that are instrumental in the StandUp for Kids mission to serve homeless and at-risk youth. The Entrepreneur and STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) program are two programs that have been a beneficial addition to Anaheim.
The Entrepreneurship program was introduced as a tool for the youth who were not interested in colleges, trade schools, or higher education. It teaches them the tools they need in order to make a living and break the cycle of poverty.
The STEM program is a helpful program for the youth to have an opportunity to learn the value of subjects like Science and Math.
“The STEM program came about as a way to help our youth see beyond their situations,” says Justine.
While other youth may have the opportunity to dabble in STEM, the youth at StandUp for Kids may not. They might struggle with the STEM subjects and the program at the Anaheim Center serves to teach them their capability with the material.
In addition to the Entrepreneur and STEM programs, the Anaheim Center provides mentoring and after school tutoring for students. It also provides them with computer access. Youth have the opportunity to take home laptops and mifi’s if they have no internet access at home to help them complete homework.
The opportunities and programs in Anaheim are only a steppingstone to what comes next for the Orange County chapter.
“The next step would be for us to have our own center,” Justine says.
It would allow for the programming to be extended to four nights a week and grant the freedom and autonomy an organization needs when serving the youth.
Since opening, the Anaheim Center and StandUp for Kids - OC partnerships have allowed the organization to further serve their youth and lead them to a life of self-sufficiency away from gang involvement, teen pregnancy, and school dropouts.