StandUp for Kids – Orange County
A California native from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, she attended Cal State Fullerton as a psychology major. Kaitlin’s passions growing up as a kid and now as a young adult coincide with her work at StandUp for Kids. She enjoys public service by working with people and specifically supporting students. Though she did have a desire to teach for a bit, her work at StandUp for Kids allows her to fill a need through her love of supporting others and working with the youth.
In her free time, Kaitlin enjoys making short films, acting, and enjoying the beautiful outdoors through hiking or traveling to national parks. However, her work life has a big part in her personal life. Being involved with charitable causes stemmed from high school when she volunteered to pack and give out duffle bags to those experiencing homelessness in LA. This experience sparked thought-provoking questions such as, “Why do certain individuals experience homelessness? And how come nothing changed for them over the years?” This inspired Kaitlin to be a catalyst for change and to work for those in need. Doing some research, she came across StandUp for Kids and landed a spot as an intern doing house navigating and mentoring. One challenge she faced as an intern was connecting with the youth she was paired with. Recalling her experience, she said, “One day, it just clicked!” From there, the youth was able to open up and comfortably share their story. As time went on, they both became very engaged in the conversations they were having as communication became easier. This was an exciting moment for Kailin because the “youth felt safe where they were.”
After seeing her challenging work and passion for the job as an intern, we wanted to have her on the team full-time. She currently works as a case manager and for outreach coordination. Her work entails a contract with the OC Department of Education to help students to graduate high school and, over the year, she will have up to 40 youths that she oversees. Her position at StandUp for Kids has driven her professionally and personally. She says that her work has changed her as a person because she can see the world through a different lens. She also notes that she “has become more aware and in touch with others and what they could potentially be going through.”
Something she appreciates about StandUp for Kids is the tight knit community she is a part of. Through the different work we do for the youth, everyone can get involved in different projects. She also loves the support we provide for those that come through our programs because we pursue a holistic approach. The change Kaitlin would like to see would be the presence of StandUp for Kids around Orange County through on-site outreach at college campuses as well as high schools. To best improve or transform the issue of youth experiencing homelessness, Kaitlin believes that there should be more education and awareness. Though people do not expect OC to be a place for homelessness, many students experience it. Finally, the most rewarding part of Kaitlin’s job is being able to connect with the youth. Seeing their trust and resilience build up over time is encouraging to her work as a case manager knowing that she is making a positive change in their lives.