StandUp for Kids – Orange County
For youth in difficult circumstances, often it’s because of things they cannot control. But for UCLA freshman, Dilan, his circumstances did not hinder him from success. With help from several organizations, including StandUp for Kids, he was able to strive for a better life.
Born in Germany, Dilan arrived in America when he was five years old. With his four other siblings, mother and step-father, they lived in and out of hotel rooms. Growing up in such an unstable environment fostered Dilan’s want to be independent. Dilan’s mother kicked him out at the beginning of high school and he began couch surfing. Through the Illumination Foundation he became a Simon Scholar and was awarded a $16,000 scholarship, allowing Dilan to participate in college seminar courses and a mentorship program. He was also part of the Illumination Foundation’s International Baccalaureate program and part of their inaugural class. Succeeding in the rigorous program he is now recognized as an international student.
Despite, his success, Dilan was still struggling to find a home. The Illumination Foundation helped fund Dilan for a year, but he had to figure out something for the future. He was introduced to StandUp for Kids at a fundraiser and they helped pay for Dilan’s rent and set him up with a mentor. Dilan had the drive and the intelligence to go far in life but he needed the support of a family environment to help him succeed. StandUp for Kids is there for Dilan when he needs support, but also allows him the freedom to grow independently.
“Most programs are designed to help people in general but I’m glad that StandUp for Kids is designed specifically for us. Kids are kids and they need a different focus. They need help in creating a step by step process for everything. They need that guidance,” says Dilan.
Since being involved in StandUp for Kids Dilan has appreciated everything that has happened to him.
“StandUp for Kids will be an organization I definitely will stand up for.”
For now, the Political Science major can focus on school and his hopes of becoming a U.S. Senator to help others in the same way that people have helped him. To read more on Dilan’s story please check out the LA Times article here.