StandUp for Kids - Orange County
When people look into a mirror, some tend to feel a sense of doubt or focus on their flaws and imperfections. What if, however, there was a unique mirror of introspection which showed you as the person you dream of becoming, with all the glory within you which you could not see for yourself. Better yet, what if there was a person who grew not by looking at themselves in such a mirror, but rather by using it to show others their potential and helping them reach that beautiful reflection of themselves. One such wielder of the “mirror of introspection” is StandUp for Kids’ October Supporter of the Month: Martalinda Leiva.
While growing up, Marta’s family endured housing instability after losing their home due to financial issues. They moved from apartment to apartment, often renting with multiple families to save money, and at one point, even living in a motel room. They lived in lower-income communities plagued with gang activity and substance abuse. Faced with circumstances where others would find only despair, Marta found a dream. Her hardships inspired her to embark on a journey to build up others and provide for them what couldn’t be provided to her growing up.
Marta studied Child and Adolescent Development at California State University, Fullerton. Through an internship with StandUp for Kids, she found an opportunity to advance her career and help her achieve her dream. Although her internship has long been complete, she continues to volunteer, unable to leave before ensuring every youth she had the opportunity to mentor finds success. Marta equips the youth to create their success – handing them the tools of resume creation and job searching and letting their motivation take care of the rest. But more than that, she helps youth by guiding them through their personal struggles, serving as a positive role model to show them that they have the strength to make it through their hardships and prosper. One could argue that Marta isn’t just the wielder of the “mirror of introspection,” she is the mirror. She hopes all her youth know that “they are not alone. There are resources out there, and there are people who do want to help them and who do care for them.”
One youth Marta has spent a lot of time with is Fernanda, who frequents our Anaheim Outreach Center. “[Fernanda] stood out to me a lot because I guess I saw a lot of myself in her; a lot of things that I went through. We have had discussions on concerns she’s had on peer pressure, and I feel like that’s something that I went through. So, it’s been nice to see her grow up.”
Marta - Reflecting On Her Mentoring Role
Marta has spent a lot of time with Fernanda in front of her “mirror of introspection,” showing Fernanda the person she’s destined to become. Through Marta’s mentorship, Fernanda has learned to navigate through the obstacles she encounters in life and find lessons in those obstacles that will allow her to improve upon herself.
Marta & Fernanda, working in Anaheim and practicing social distancing
But Fernanda isn’t the only one growing. Marta made it clear to us that her time with Fernanda and the other youth has helped her grow, too. While Marta may wield the “mirror of introspection” for her youth, the youth are Marta’s mirror as well. She sees herself in every one of the kids she helps, and when they prosper, she prospers. The ability to improve oneself by helping others is a trait we admire at StandUp for Kids. For that, we are honored to have Marta working alongside us. If you have a heart for helping kids and have time and energy to offer, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org today!