StandUp for Kids – Orange County
I left home at the age of 17, looking for a better life than living with my mom and stepfather, who verbally and physically abused me. Life on my own was not as easy as I thought it would be, but I felt I had no other choice. Eventually, I went to one of the few youth shelters in the city. The youth shelter was faith-based, and for a young gay guy this was not a good fit. I was soon back on the street, with more attempts at finding work and an apartment – both with intermittent brief successes and failures, but eventually leading me back to another try at the youth shelter. Again, it did not work. After some more time on the street, I decided to use the money I was saving for an apartment on a hotel room for a few nights to figure out my next step.
It was during that difficult period that a street friend suggested I go with him to StandUp for Kids’ Outreach Center. I did. At StandUp for Kids, I met volunteer counselors who gave me a warm meal, clothes, an opportunity to see a nurse, do washes, and take a shower. They also listened to my situation, gave me some information on options, and a referral to a program they knew provided housing for gay youth. With the referral, and bus fare in hand, I went to the program the following day. I had to pay for a few more nights in the hotel, as I worked on getting into the program.
I have been in this program for about six months I now have a place to live, with roommates, in a 3-bedroom townhome in a nice community. I am able to stay here as long as I continue to take steps forward and follow the program’s rules. I am presently in my third semester at a technical college studying business management and fashion merchandising. My grades are all A’s and B’s. I am also involved in an internship applicable to my major. I am on my way to building the life I want. I still look forward to coming to StandUp for Kids for the guidance, encouragement, and the relationships I have built with counselors who care about me. They remind me that I am a good young man with lots of potential. They encourage me to do well in school, listen to me, and help me resolve various issues that come up in my life.