StandUp for Kids - Orange County
Women's history month celebrates the women who continue to create a better world through their sacrifice and dedication to foster equality, inclusivity, and humanitarianism.
Executive Director Justine Palmore exemplifies all of these traits, going above and beyond to ensure that our homeless and at-risk youth are looked after and that the staff and volunteers are supported as well, inspiring everyone she contacts along the way.
Sixteen years ago, Justine first began her journey with StandUp for Kids - Orange County as an intern on a small team of three conducting street outreach. Over the years, the team has grown to over 100 volunteers and nine staff members with her leadership.
A volunteer for 11 of those years, her compassion, commitment, and genuine concern for youth experiencing homelessness and at-risk youth shines through.
One of 13, as a child in New York, Justine recalls living in a dysfunctional household, witnessing the consequences of alcoholism, and having to take on adult roles while her mother worked.
When she left her home at 16, she never expected to end up in an unhealthy relationship. She later adopted her son's brother, sparking an underlying interest in helping youth.
Justine embarked on a career in accounting, volunteering at soup kitchens and church-based youth programs when she could.
After getting divorced, she returned to school for what she thought would be an associate's Degree but earned her Bachelor's in Human Services and became a certified recovery coach.
Her goal was to go back to school to find a way to leave a legacy and provide a safe place where youth experiencing homelessness could get off the street.
Interning with StandUp for Kids was the perfect opportunity.
Her work with the organization has reflected just that, working with the county as the housing provider for transition-age youth to providing school districts with on-site programming and preventive care.
With her leadership in 2021, StandUp for Kids provided more than 4,500 meals, 1,559 nights of shelter, and 474 youth were supported.
"I love that we get to grow and make our chapter tailored to what our community needs," she said. "I'm proud of my team."
Justine's tireless efforts have left her managing multiple priorities moving between reviewing reports, writing grants, consulting with donors and volunteers. She finds motivation in knowing her staff can count on her and that she is making a difference while she's at it.
"This by far has been the most challenging and rewarding thing I've ever done," she said.
In addition to her role as executive director, Justine owns her own accounting business. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother.
Revered by our youth, staff, and volunteers, Justine, is one of many inspiring women who have taken the initiative to advocate for what is right.