By Vanity Robinson
The longevity of volunteers and staff allows StandUp For Kids to serve our youth with incomparable levels of trust in local communities across the country. Few organizations can compare with our track record of longevity.
At the 2018 StandUp For Kids Conference, hosted in Atlanta, Georgia, we present our most prestigious award to someone who served for a minimum of 15 years and enhances the reputation and prestige of StandUp For Kids through exceptional leadership and service to the organization and the greater community. This award is officially the “Terilyn Burg Lifetime Achievement Award,” so named by the Board after our longest standing volunteer, Ms. Teri Burg, Executive Director of StandUp For Kids – San Diego.
Awardee Brian Haslip with the award’s namesake, Terilyn Burg
This year’s awardee was Brian Haslip. One of his nominators wrote, “Brian Haslip is a success story like no other. He embodies everything we stand for. He is the goal by which we strive.”
Brian first came into contact with StandUp For Kids in 1994. His story is part of our national training materials and has been told hundreds of times over.
In his own words, he writes, “I grew up in a town of 2,000 people in Arkansas. It was the kind of town where if anything happened, I was the first person the cops would come to, because I had long hair. At 15, I’d had enough of it, and along with another friend and my girlfriend, hitchhiked to California…When I got there, I moved in with my mom and her male roommate. Unfortunately for me, her roommate turned out to be a crackhead who liked young boys. So, within a month, I was living on the streets.
“I really got lucky when I got to the streets, as the street kid community immediately took me in…But by now, most of my days consisted of waking up, getting high, going downtown to ‘spange’ [collect spare change] outside the mall, heading over to the park to hang out, and then heading down to a small gothic coffee shop called Old Vienna. It was outside of Old Vienna that I had my first contact with StandUp For Kids…
“Each evening at 5 o’clock, I would hop on the trolley and head down to their Outreach Center. It was great because it was someplace that I knew I could relax and not have to worry about anyone messing with me. If I hadn’t eaten all day, and was hungry, I would be able to eat when I got there. I could also just hang out and use the Internet, or play video games. It was really nice to know that, for at least three hours each day, I had a place that I could go where I would be totally safe…
“In between periods of being high, I had become a very suicidal person. I had also started cutting myself. The only time I ever really had people to talk to was each week when the StandUp For Kids volunteers would come out. Some of the volunteers and I had become very close. They were the people I could count on to give me positive reinforcement, and also the people that would kick my ass when I needed it.”
Brian’s story is OUR story. He received assistance with StandUp For Kids through 2001. He then started working for StandUp For Kids in 2002 as a trainer and volunteer outreach counselor when he moved from Texas to Tacoma, Washington. In 2003, he moved back to San Diego and worked in the National Office. He was the StandUp For Kids ambassador on the Vans Warped Tour in 2004. He moved to Tucson in 2005 and volunteered in their local program for a year. Back in Tacoma, he helped start their chapter and then helped launch the Seattle program. He stayed in the Northwest as a trainer and liaison between the National Office and the Tacoma and Seattle programs. Brian was on the road throughout 2009 and 2010 to support the national fundraiser with Northwestern University’s Dance Marathon.
From 2010 to 2011, Brian was our National Director of Training. From 2013 onward, he has been our tremendous Technology and Training Consultant. StandUp For Kids is so lucky to have in Brian Haslip a historian, a compass point, and a legacy of how the organization aspires to walk alongside youth who struggle, but who has the light of the world inside of them.
Teri Burg, who the award is named after, won the award in 2016. It was then given to Jo Clark of StandUp For Kids – Kitsap County in 2017.