I was about 15 or 16 years old when I first heard about StandUp For Kids. A few friends I was hanging out with introduced it to me. I’ve been coming to the StandUp For Kids Outreach Center for almost seven years now and they have helped me since day one. I wasn’t really doing much when I first started coming to the Center. I had dropped out of high school and was just hanging around. My mother and younger sister were living in a car outside my uncle’s house and I was just wandering around not doing anything. I told StandUp about my situation and they weren’t judgmental and did not make me feel worse. They encouraged me to go back to school and I eventually did.
They helped me with interview clothes when I had an interview with the City and gave me a day bus pass to get there. I got the job. I was super ecstatic. The job with the City of San Diego was my very first job. It was great experience. I worked in a recreation center with kids. But I was also getting good hours so I had to forget about school for awhile. I didn’t let that get to me though. I told myself I would go back and get my GED instead of the high school diploma.
After a few years of working with the City, I started getting less hours at work so in 2016 StandUp For Kids helped me get my GED. I passed all my tests on the first try. Everyone at StandUp was proud of me. So was I. I ended up quitting the City job.
After awhile, I applied to take classes at the community college because I want to further my education. I took a summer English class at City College in order to take English 101. StandUp helped with my books and bus pass. I passed the summer class and am now eligible for English 101. I am currently enrolled in the fall session and taking 3 classes at City college—Yoga, Math, and Personal Growth. StandUp continues to help me to this day. If I ever need anything, I can count on StandUp For Kids – San Diego to help me on my path. I recently got a job at Wal-Mart and work part-time.
My independent housing program ends next month. I am going to live with my mom and her husband and my younger sister in the next few weeks. My mom has stable housing now and she is working, so I will live with them until I can save enough money to afford my own apartment. Mom is proud of me, and I am proud of her.
I hope one day I can come back to StandUp For Kids as a volunteer. They have helped me so much. I want to help them and the kids that come through StandUp’s doors.