What We Do
We serve unaccompanied homeless and at risk youth – and young parents with children of their own – up to their 25th birthday. Our ongoing mission is to end the cycle of youth homelessness. To do this, we have built four core programs in many of the cities where we operate in volunteer teams: Street Outreach, Outreach Centers, Mentoring, and Apartment Support. We are quite proud of the fact that our volunteer teams build trust and become a consistent resource to stabilize and otherwise help those youth that the rest of society ignored.
The StandUp for Kids Theory of Change
We work to end the cycle of youth homelessness by identifying and engaging homeless and at-risk youth. We then connect youth an array of our programs and outside community supports to address their whole-person needs. Blueprints for success guide youth toward sustainable and healthy outcomes. At every stage, we build healthy and trusting relationships, promote safety, and advocate with and for our youth.
What Makes Us Unique
Our organization is unlike any other out there for several key reasons:
- We have been a trusted entity for youth since 1990. We are approaching our third decade.
- We are not one-size-fits-all. Local programs respond to the needs of their communities and build services with a combination of support from national and local experts.
- We work not just with minors, but with youth through the age of 25. We recognize that there are few developmentally appropriate services to serve young people after 18 in the adult homeless system, so we don’t turn our backs like others do when youth ‘age out’ of most other programs.
- We have low-to-no barriers to accessing care, recognizing that sometimes the hardest thing a youth will do is recognize they need help. We are in no position to turn them away, regardless of what they’ve been through that year, that week, or that day.
- We celebrate differences, embracing all youth regardless of race, ethnicity, ancestry, skin color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, relationship status, personal appearance, family roles, political affiliation, or disability.
- Youth tell us what is most important to them and what they would like from us. Not the other way around. They set the goals and we meet them where they’re at.
- All of our volunteers are interviewed, thoroughly trained, and screened.
- Every local program was started by a core group of volunteers. Most of our programs are still run by people who offer their skills and leadership talents on a pro bono basis.
- Most of our donations come from individuals and organizations that have made an ongoing commitment to partner with us in a bold vision, freeing us up to do things the way they work best, not chase the next dollar.