StandUp for Kids – Orange County
If someone were to hit shuffle on Natzumy’s music library they’d be equally as likely to land on a Disney show tune or a true crime podcast – but you’d never guess it on first meeting her! Fourteen-year-old Natzumy is shy, but not as shy as she used to be. Natzumy recalls that she was incredibly nervous for her very first after school meeting that she attended at StandUp for Kids because it was an unknown new place with new people, both of which make her anxious. But when her friend Michelle introduced her to the volunteers, this anxiety was replaced with comfort. “I felt safe with StandUp for Kids,” Natzumy reflects when thinking back on her first encounter with the staff in 7th grade. And as time has passed, this comfort has only increased – leading to new friendships and new confidence. Through Natzumy’s time at StandUp for Kids, she has gone from the shyest girl in the room to the one performing a song in front of her peers.
StandUp for Kids has not only inspired Natzumy to come out of her shell in the present; it has also inspired her to plan for the future. Natzumy’s parents instilled in her the values and drive to get good grades and achieve at the highest level possible. But since they primarily speak Spanish, it makes it harder for them to help her out with schoolwork. Through after-school programs and connections to a tutor, StandUp for Kids has come alongside Natzumy to encourage her in the same direction her parents are – but it’s also helped give her the tools to get there. “They motivated me to find a really good career.” Natzumy hopes to one day become a doctor or a veterinarian so she can carry her love for animals and for helping others into the future.
Natzumy holding a pumpkin at the Honda-ween event
As the start of school nears, Natzumy is looking forward to continuing to participate in StandUp for Kids’ after-school program which will be a hybrid system both in person on a limited basis and virtually over Zoom. Her school is currently still completely virtual. While online school is not an ideal situation, Natzumy is optimistic about how the year will turn out. She loves all the activities that she and the other students in the program take part in 3 days a week and can’t wait to get back to seeing her friends in person.
StandUp for Kids works with youth ages 12-24 to fulfill basic needs and to be a source of care, accountability, direction and love to all of our kids. Youth like Natzumy get the ongoing encouragement and support to increase their chances of future success and fulfillment. “They’re always there to help you with whatever you need – whenever you need anything…they prepare you for the future.”
Natzumy at our annual holiday party
If you would like to get involved and help nurture the youth who are our future, please reach out via email at [email protected] and we will find a meaningful role for you to invest your time in a cause greater than us all.