StandUp for Kids – Orange County
Andrew is from the Southeast Florida city of Fort Lauderdale and had lived there for the first 15 years of his life. Andrew’s childhood was more difficult than most. Andrew lost his mother at the young age of 7 years old. Consequently, Andrew went to live with his father and step-mother after his mother’s passing. At the age of 15 Andrew and his family moved from Florida to California and at the age of 17 Andrew decided to leave home and live on his own.
He explained that his decision to leave home came with a high degree of challenges. With no job and no help from his family, Andrew faced his fair share of struggles with homelessness. However when he came across StandUp for Kids, things took a turn for him.
“Basically I was just couch hopping and I had a friend that was homeless as well, and he happened to run into Justine up in Huntington and he told me that…she helped him out and bought him food and toiletries. So I actually went up there and met them for the first time…that was about 10 years ago.”
He expressed how much StandUp helped him in finding a job and providing guidance. He explained how Justine Palmore, the Executive Director of StandUp for Kids – Orange County, was pivotal in his progress to finding stability as well as helping him through some troublesome times.
“The sources she has are amazing in helping you get a job or setting up some financial aid. Anything for us, she would do it.”
He talked about a memorable instance in which Justine was there for him when he was in significant need.
“I was stuck in Colorado at 21 years old.” Andrew explained. ”I had just got out of a marriage and she happened to just buy me a bus ticket to California…so I remember that specifically. She saved my butt.”
He then spoke on the issues of stereotypes of youth homelessness and the many scenarios that culminate and create the misfortune of homelessness.
“For my example, I was just stubborn and didn’t want to listen to my parents, I thought I could do it all myself, and I did but it was hard. But there’s also drugs and alcohol abuse in families, there are so many reasons.”
Speaking on this situation he wanted to let the public know that if people are in need of help and assistance that StandUp for Kids can provide that above and beyond.
“If people need help…I know they’re going to do their best to help…and put a positive image in your head.”
Andrew now has a family of his own and works in shipping and receiving at Packaging On Demand in San Clemente. He expressed immense gratitude to StandUp for Kids and encourages anyone in need to reach out.