StandUp for Kids – Orange County
Isaac is 23 years old and just started his career as a welder a few weeks ago. The job suits him quite well, not only because Isaac has a knack and a passion for welding, but because he is an expert at creating bonds. All his life, it seems that Isaac has managed to draw people together and form a team that supports one another. The bonds he forges may go through some periods of wear. However, Isaac does the necessary maintenance to keep them healthy and intact, much like the metal structures and machinery he welds at his job.
Isaac grew up in a good family with his older brother, mother, and father. Religious differences would eventually cause his older brother to split from the family, and Isaac would follow once he turned 18. Isaac and his brother lived together and supported one another for about five years. While they lived together, Isaac’s older brother ensured that Isaac continued school and pursued higher education. During this time, Isaac attended Orange Coast College while also working jobs at restaurants. Complications between Isaac and his brother led the two to become estranged, and Isaac spent about 2-3 months homeless. After they became estranged, adding more tragedy to his life, Isaac’s brother died.
While there were days that Isaac did feel a sense of hopelessness, these feelings were always temporary. It did not stop him from pushing forward in life and creating relationships with new people. While homeless, Isaac met two new friends, Jonathon and Trevor. Like him, they traveled from shelter to shelter for a place to stay and meals to eat. The three decided to stick together for safety and a sense of companionship, leading to them becoming good friends. Tragedy struck again for Isaac earlier this year as his friend Jonathon also passed away. Jonathon’s last piece of advice to Isaac was to contact StandUp for Kids. Isaac did just that and his life took a turn for the better.
Isaac contacted StandUp for Kids and met up with our Mentoring Program Manager Denisze Zermeno at a shopping center. Within three days, Denisze was able to place Isaac into a transitional housing program! She also gave Isaac a bus pass and clothes for a job interview. Denisze helped Isaac regain some forward momentum in his life and helped him create yet another strong bond through their mentorship. Likewise, Denisze’s guidance would also lead to Isaac meeting Ted who would become his mentor.
Ted is one of StandUp for Kids’ advisory board members. He also chairs our annual car show and helps teach our STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) program for school-aged youth. When talking about how they first met each other, Ted explained, “I think it was the start of a good thing because I felt you didn’t belong [in a homeless shelter]. You really should be independent and with a career that you want.” Ever since that day, Ted has been guiding Isaac toward the independence he deserves. Recently, Ted and Isaac’s family members helped Isaac get a car to get back and forth to work. Now Ted and Isaac are working with his case manager to enroll him in the StandUp for Kids’ rapid rehousing program. The goal is for Isaac to move out of transitional living into a permanent place of his own.
Isaac also recently took a semester of welding classes and found a passion for it. With a little help from an old friend, Isaac landed his current job as a welder! Isaac says he still has a lot to learn, but his skill set and strong work ethic have earned him high praise from his boss. Ted commented on this, stating that he always knew Isaac had great character, “… I just realized that if you were given a chance, you would do well. I knew it, it was like 100% certainty!”.
Isaac has made it clear to us that, “If I can do it, anyone can do it.” Isaac has a spark and is driven; he can light that spark within others with his own fiery ambition. Isaac makes sure to appreciate those who have made a difference in his life. Ted believes that Isaac is a very independent person and a self-starter. We agree! We have no doubt Isaac will be thriving in his new career with a place of his own.
You see, much like how Isaac brings together the metals he welds, he brings together the people he meets. Even when Isaac’s bonds face a bit of weathering, much like some of the machinery he tends to work on, Isaac finds a way to reinforce those bonds and strengthen them in the process. His family may have faced some separation
in the past. Still, Isaac has reconnected with his parents, and they often like to catch up over lunch. Isaac may have lost his brother, but he carries on their shared dream of traveling with friends and holds the same drive and ambition his older brother instilled in him. Isaac’s bonds never break; they simply undergo maintenance.
Together, Ted, Isaac, and Denisze have forged bonds as strong as steel. They have nothing but praise for one another. You can hear the genuine care they have for one another whenever they converse amongst themselves. All of them are linked together in support and are only one set of links in the massive support network that StandUp for Kids offers. There are so many more stories to be told and so many more bonds to be created.
If you would like to get involved with StandUp for Kids, please reach out to us via email at [email protected] today.