This note is in response to a post by Mr. Kevin Dickerson who believes that I and the organization with which I work did him wrong in a recent business dealing. What is most concerning is that the business relationship started just one week ago and his public response to what actually transpired seems out of balance given that fact.
Since we don’t have much money for our mission, which is to help kids who are homeless and generally at-risk, over the years we often have asked a variety of volunteers with similar talents to help us with something. It’s never been a secret – many volunteer vendors have appreciated it since people get busy and the work can get pushed to the back burner. Therefore, to keep things moving, we ask around for help and sometimes several people go down similar paths in helping us come up with the right solution.
Mr. Dickerson kindly agreed to do some graphic design work on a specific project last week for our volunteer led organization. We have a variety of designers and asked a couple to help us. Apparently, this took Mr. Dickerson by surprise and angered him as did the fact his design was not chosen. I am apologetic that Mr. Dickerson feels that way – but we have never had a situation where a volunteer vendor was upset that others also were working on a task. We’ve always enjoyed a “One team – one fight” kind of spirit. Anyway, it’s about the kids, not whose work is chosen or why.
I’m fine with someone targeting me or my management style because I am far from perfect. But, to go after the organization seems vindictive and excessive. I offered Mr. Dickerson a letter on behalf of the organization to thank him and credit him for the hours spent on his design but, he declined.
Again, no harm was intended and I do think the response from him was disproportionate to the perceived lack of consideration -- especially since we did not even have time to develop a working relationship in just a week! Who knows what good Mr. Dickerson could have done the organization in the future had this first short experience not dissolved the way it has.
What this great nonprofit means to me: It’s not about having a place to call home or even a place to lay your head at night. It’s about knowing who you are and where you come from and which direction to take the next day. Its knowing you can turn your back when it’s too painful, but return knowing everything remains the way you left it. Being able to laugh and cry and know you’re loved regardless of your weaknesses or strengths. And knowing the people you call your friends and family love you unconditionally. That is your home. Thank you StandUp For Kids for being my home and home for all of Americas homeless youth!
This program is an incredible representation of community organizing to address the multisystemic, incredibly complex needs of homeless and runaway youth. And to think it's all done by volunteers who have kids, jobs that pay, and other demands...yet still get out on the streets, and into the shelters, and stay on kids that need guidance, and nurture those that have no other supports... that's an incredible testament to the culture of StandUp For Kids and the power of every community to address the needs of its most vulnerable population.
I've been involved in getting the New York City chapter up and running again. While the work has been tough and some of the work difficult, knowing that the mission of Stand Up For Kids is to help fight youth homelessness makes it very rewarding. Having such a large city to work in has made the challenge of getting the program up and running challenging and frustrating at times. But I am sure that no matter what the size of the city the issues of recruiting and maintaining volunteers, gaining resources, and helping kids is never easy. SUFK does a great job of providing training for the leadership team and volunteers. One of the great things about working with SUFK is that as a leader, I have the ability to develop the program in ways that are specific to NYC and that don't try to force a standard template on us. I would like to see the forum improved so that there is an easier way for leaders all across the country share their ideas that work and don't work.
Working at StandUp For Kids has been one of the most rewarding life experiences. I enjoy working with the people and the kids we help. They are like family.
I came to StandUp For Kids as a new employee looking for something more rewarding - BOY, DID I GET IT!!! There is nothing more gratifying than coming to work each day and interacting with the truly AMAZING volunteers that have each given so much of their time and hearts to fulfilling the mission of StandUp For Kids that is, except for being able to share in the lives of the youth our programs serve! Being the family that they would otherwise not have, listening and being a friend when things are bad, and celebrating with them in their accomplishments is an unbelievable feeling. Never did I think it was possible to love what I did for a living until I came to work here, and never did I think I'd actually LOVE the people I work with and for! StandUp For Kids is a unique organization with so much to offer each person that becomes involved - staff, volunteers, youth - and the experience definitely becomes a part of who you are for the rest of your life.
I found StandUp For Kids Years Ago (8-10 years ago)in searching for worthwhile, amazing charities I could get behind, support and volunteer for, and StandUp For Kids has been it! I have done everything from donating and collecting clothes and items for the homeless youth, helping out in our Local Center in San Diego, Ca and with various local events and activities, and fundraising for the charity. Founder Rick Koca has the biggest heart and has created a charity that just makes you feel Great when you get involved, and the difference you can make in the lives of our homeless youth! So join us volunteers and get involved!!
As the Founder & CEO of StandUp For Kids, I'm proud to say that we've been on the streets for almost 20 years, making a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of homeless and street kids and at-risk youth. All of this through the thousands of volunteers that have come to help in this effort to make the difference in the lives of kids who believe that no one cares about the. If there's one thing that StandUp For Kids could do for you today, what would that be? My sincere appreciation to the kids, the volunteers, and sponsors and supporters who have helped make an unbelievable difference in more than 43 communities. With Best Regards, Rick Koca Founder & CEO StandUp For Kids