StandUp for Kids – Orange County
Hope and Opportunity: The Story of Ernie
Even amidst trying and unsettling times the mentors and volunteers that comprise StandUp for Kids are working tirelessly to provide support for students who now more than ever require guidance. It’s students like Ernie, a senior currently in high school, who StandUp for Kids work with weekly, mentoring them in all aspects of development.
Ernie was first introduced to StandUp for Kids when there was remodeling in his neighborhood area that left an open vacant building available. The vacant building would be filled by StandUp for Kids. Intrigued by the prospect of possible educational help, Ernie would accept a friend’s invitation to tag along on a trip to StandUp for Kids.
“They turned it into a bungalow where afterschool programs could go and StandUp for Kids was there. My friend lived right next to it. He had asked me if I wanted to come in with them and I said yes,” said Ernie.
It would be a decision that Ernie would have zero regrets over. From his arrival, Ernie has thoroughly enjoyed his time at StandUp for Kids finding it to be a rewarding experience.
Specifically, it’s the relationships formed that Ernie most appreciates about StandUp for Kids.
“One thing I like is the staff members. There’s a few that I’m pretty close with. They helped me through a lot of stuff like getting my head on straight from bad decisions I’ve made and giving me advice on things I need to be able to be successful.”
The conversations had with mentors and the advice shared is something that Ernie truly values. It’s what he looks forward to each time he visits.
“I like when we do our mentoring groups because we’re able to open up a bit to speak on things that we don’t normally speak on.”
Ultimately, Ernie is appreciative of StandUp for Kids because of the resources provided that he normally would not have because of his circumstances.
“We don’t have that much money so StandUp for Kids is a great resource to come to when I don’t have things at home.”
Outside of the classroom and StandUp for Kids, Ernie’s a typical teenager who enjoys spending his time at the skate park.
“I like to skateboard. I go to the skate park quite often. I’ve been skating for a few years probably three or four.”
Ernie has come from so far and recently graduated high school! Although he’s ever-focused on the present, he’s not afraid of thinking about the future. Ernie envisions himself in the role of an electrician and is planning to shape his academic career towards that path.
However his future unfolds, one thing is certain for Ernie. He knows that he can always count on his mentors at Standup for Kids for advice and mentorship.
“I can always come here knowing that they’ll have my back for whatever I need.”