Kerry: A Volunteer Making a Difference

Apr 6, 2023

StandUp for Kids – Silicon Valley 

StandUp for Kids – Silicon Valley is getting ready for their annual 48 Hours event at the end of April. As part of this campaign we interviewed Kerry about volunteering at StandUp for Kids – Silicon Valley, her views, stereotypes, hopes, and wishes on homeless youth.

Kerry is one of our newest, but truly dedicated and caring faces at StandUp She is not just diving head first into action, raising her hand right away when help is needed, but she is even in the same age bracket of StandUp for Kids’s vulnerable homeless youth population (age 12-24 years old). Since August last year she has been a consistent volunteer, determined to make a difference in her community.

Kerry, How did you find StandUp for Kids – Silicon Valley? Why do you want to volunteer in your community?

After finishing college in southern California I moved up North with my boyfriend and our cat. I was looking for a place to get more involved in the community and the social field, and found StandUp for Kids – Silicon Valley on VolunteerMatch.This organization seems to be a good way to get hands-on experience and it worked really well with my work schedule. So I reached out, applied – and here I’m.

I think the most personal connection is your very own community. I really like my job as a record specialist for a nonprofit high education institution, but I also want to work with target populations who have more barriers to overcome: that population who need the base level help in the first place to just get on their feet and that’s why I’m pivoting more into social work because I want to work with those populations who really need more advocacy and help. Volunteering for StandUp for Kids – Silicon Valley made that possible for me.

Tell us about some of your favorite moments while volunteering at StandUp . What are your hopes and wishes for homeless youth?

One of my favorite moments was working with Elian in our Outreach center “The Village”. I was helping him to look and apply for jobs, as well as running around and finding different resources for him. He is still learning English and I don’t speak Spanish very well, so we were using Google Translate. It was us trying to get to know each other, through typing and very limited speaking, but it was a lot of fun to get to know him through that and we had a really good connection, it felt very personal and special.

It also shows how well you can connect even with the language barrier. 

I also like Aly a lot because she has such a great attitude for the situation she is in.

She always asks me questions about myself and then we talk about what we want to do with our schooling, what we want to do with our jobs. She is super kind hearted and doesn’t ask for much. I’m really glad to get to know her as well.

My hopes for them are that they are able to get all of their survival necessities covered. That they can actually focus on what they want to do outside of that – other dreams and hopes and aspirations. That they don’t have to be always in survival mode, finding the next place to sleep or finding a temporary shelter to go to, or temporary housing, or the place where they get their next meal from. I just hope that they don’t have to worry about any of that. That they have the opportunity to actually focus on the career they wanna pursue, something they are passionate about and interests them, and not just money that goes into their bank account. I wish for them that they have the opportunity to grow within themself and who they actually want to be without worrying about all the basics and surviving in the first place.

Why do you think StandUp for Kids – Silicon Valley is a great nonprofit organization to volunteer for?

I feel StandUp is a special organization because it’s very hands-on and very personal, you get to know each one of the youth. It’s a very customized process, it’s not streamlined at all, it’s not like: “We are putting you in this system” or “You are going through these steps”.

Volunteering with StandUp is a really great opportunity to get involved with your community and form relationships and let people know that you are there – just for the sake of being there. We are here for you because we want to be. I think that is really important for any population but especially for the homeless youth we are supporting.  They deserve to have a solid foundation, they deserve to be taken out of the very dramatic situation before they reach adulthood. Even though they might think that their situation is already hopeless, they deserve to be advocated because they have so much more growing and discovering about themselves to do.

Thank you Kerry, for being who you are, not wasting any time, looking always for an opportunity to support vulnerable homeless youth. Congratulations for being one of our new street outreach leads, who are seeking homeless and at risk youth, canvassing the San Jose downtown area regularly. We are grateful for your commitment, compassion and dedication to fight youth homelessness in our community.