StandUp for Kids - Orange County
Living in Orange County can be challenging: from finding affordable housing to buying expensive furniture, it can be a nightmare to do everything yourself. So, when Marquis Bowen and his daughter needed help moving into his apartment, three worlds collided. Volunteers across Orange County stepped up to lend a hand.
Marquis is a former homeless youth who is now a mentor at StandUp for Kids. Through hardship and perseverance, he has come a long way to finally finding a place to call home.
As is the norm when a new youth becomes housed, Executive Director Justine Palmore put out a call for support to the StandUp for Kids family, looking for home furnishings. Ultimately this brought Storm, Geri, and Marquis together. Geri, a volunteer, and donor who came on board this year, was moving. Thus, the timing was perfect for her to make the substantial gift of many pieces of furniture. Like a puzzle, all the parts connected. Storm, a former youth in the StandUp for Kids program, responded to Justine's call and provided the truck to transport Geri's furniture to Marquis' new place.
"I think I've always been a community service-oriented person by nature," says Geri. "I think I recognize how much people need things – help, money, food, and basics that we might take for granted."
Geri Cornell with husband Scott
From donating furniture, mentoring, and teaching, Geri is no stranger to rolling up her sleeves. She's helped countless people all across the U.S. She recounts how she took her nursing students to New Orleans every year, where she received donations and then created a warehouse for veterans. "We polished the silver, dusted, and organized in such a way that the veterans felt like it was an actual store. It was to help veterans when they came home from overseas to furnish their apartments."
On move-in day, Storm came right on time and helped move the big pieces onto his truck with Geri's husband, Scott. But it wasn't entirely smooth sailing. Like playing Tetris, everyone was trying to figure out how best to fit the furniture. Thankfully, Storm saved the day, as Geri explains. "We had the taller dresser standing up in the back of his truck in my garage, and Storm pointed out that he wouldn't be able to clear that. We would have destroyed the dresser ourselves had we not thought about that. So, we laid the dresser down and relatched everything." Storm safely delivered and placed all the furniture into Marquis' apartment. Job well done!
Storm with a full load in his truck
After delivery of the furniture, Marquis reflected on what happened and his new lease on life. "I'm very grateful to Geri & Scott for donating furniture for my daughter and me. I'm very grateful to Storm for the delivery. I'm very grateful to StandUp for Kids and blessed to have a roof over my head. I feel very blessed and grateful."
Marquis getting some much-needed rest on his new couch with his daughter
An effortless interaction between Justine, Geri, Storm, and Marquis reinforces that we're all in this together. Helping those that need a nudge from time to time is a gratifying experience that does change lives and life trajectories one small step at a time. A big thank you to all of our donors and volunteers for doing small and big things every day that ultimately change and save lives.