At this year’s Gala, attendees were captivated by the inspiring story shared by Alexis, a young woman who, with the support of StandUp for Kids, navigated the challenges of housing uncertainty to create a brighter future for herself and her four-year-old daughter.
Alexis first connected with StandUp for Kids in her quest for housing assistance, and her journey took a transformative turn when Denisze Zermeno, the Director of Housing and Mentoring Programs, entered the scene. In June of 2022, Alexis was referred to Denisze through Santa Ana College’s Thrive Center, marking the beginning of a mentorship that would change her life. Through this connection, Alexis not only found a mentor but also a friend in Denisze, whose unwavering dedication played a pivotal role in Alexis’s personal growth.
Denisze’s persistent support included guiding Alexis through the process of applying for apartment rentals, ultimately securing a permanent home for Alexis and her family. Beyond this significant milestone, Denisze continued to provide ongoing support, checking in with Alexis twice a week. Furthermore, Denisze facilitated a connection between Alexis and a generous donor named Carolyn Zainer, who provided essential home appliances such as a bed and a refrigerator.
The achievements that Alexis has attained over the past year are a testament to her determination and commendable character. Denisze, reflecting on Alexis’s journey, spoke warmly about her mentee’s resilience: “Alexis is incredibly brave; she doesn’t rely on anyone to take care of her. When we were looking for a speaker for the Gala, she was the first person who came to mind. We have many success stories, but she stood out.” Alexis’s story exemplifies the positive impact that mentorship and support can have on an individual’s life.
Driven by her own passion and commitment, Alexis is currently in her second year pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at Santa Ana College. Her aspirations include establishing her own business as a Registered Dietitian, where she can assist clients in creating personalized meal and nutrition plans. The motivation that fuels Alexis’s journey is rooted in her deep love for her daughter and her unwavering desire for a better future.
Quoting Alexis from her heartfelt speech at the Gala held in September, she expressed gratitude and encouraged continued support for the work done at StandUp for Kids: “Without StandUp for Kids and Denisze’s mentorship, I am not sure what my life would look like. She was there, constantly checking on me. Please continue to support others who truly need the help.” In Alexis’s words, we find a powerful reminder of the meaningful impact that organizations like StandUp for Kids can have on the lives of individuals striving for a brighter tomorrow.