I was introduced to SUFK as a Public Relations Chair for a car club that hosts car shows to raise money for different charities each year. The event raised a large donation for StandUp For Kids Hampton Roads in Virginia. I was approached by the chapters leadership to utilize my connections as PR chair and join as their Director of Community Resource Development. I soon became involved at the ground level as provider of a meal once a month at our outreach center. My wife and I soon found ourselves as Leaders on the Outreach Center 2 nights a month. I am now the Executive Director working along side a core group of volunteers. All the volunteers wear many hats serving the needs of homeless and at risk youth in our community. Hampton Roads Chapter was the second or third chapter to be established. We would love to have you join our team if you are passionate about saving kids that others have looked past.
As a former kid and current volunteer, StandUp For Kids has changed my life in the best way possible. The love and care is real and you can feel it. Without StandUp I wouldn't have my job at Macy's, my drivers license or even my birth certificate. They helped me in more ways than just material goods, they give constant moral support and assure you that you can always count on them. If you do what the volunteers suggest, your life will be changed for the better. They are an all around amazing organization and I would send any kid to them that is need of help and a best friend to be there for them. I love everything about StandUp & wouldn't change a thing.
We love helping the youth of our city and we love that they love us helping them. I am inspired and energized by the people that continue to want to help the kids of our city and our organization. The passion that people bring to this is extraordinary and the support we get from our national office is wonderful. It's an excellent organization that does great things to help young people in need! Reid
As someone who has worked with youth and their families in the local public school system, I was looking for an organization who focuses upon one of the most noticeable, but least recognized needs in our community, namely "homeless youth". After some personal inquiries, and searches I came upon StandUp For Kids which I think addresses the beginnings of our homeless youth crisis. For my part, I wanted to make sure what I contributed whether monies or goods went to this issue and not bloated administrative costs. With being a volunteer organization, I am very comfortable that what I am doing will have some positive impact, knowing that this is not the beginning or end to the concerns I have for homeless youth.
I have been a volunteer in StandUp For Kids for 15 years and have always had the support, advise and encouragement from our National office of SUFK that I needed. It was eye-opening at first to discover the awful need out there, mostly invisible unless someone tells you about it. When I read of what is being accomplished around our country to help homeless/at-risk youth I am proud to be part of the solution.
I first found StandUp For Kids-San Antonio two years ago while looking for a charity to make a corporate donation to. My office arranged to do a hygein drive for them along with giving a monetary donation. When Janet Grigsby, Executive Director, came by to pick up the items and the check, we had a chance to spend some time talking about the organization. I was so impressed with her and their mission I immediately asked "How do I join?" In just a short period, I went from volunteer to Director of Apartment Support and when Janet stepped down as Executive Director in September, I became Co-Executive Director along with my daughter Madison. The determination and heart of everyone in our group is amazing. Everyday of every week throughout the year they are doing something to strive to accomplish our mission to help homeless and at-risk-youth on the streets of San Antonio, TX. I am proud to be affiliated with StandUp For Kids and to call everyone of the volunteers I serve with Friend.
I first heard of Standup for Kids/Tucson when Kim Sisson addressed our Outreach Ministry at Corpus Christi Catholic Church several years ago. Kim's passion and heart for the young people she helps was evident from moment one. Kim does so much with very limited resources. The need is great in order to reach the most vulnerable kids on the streets. Socks, emergency toiletry and food kits, warm clothing and money to purchase needed items - ways we can help ! I encourage you to support this non-profit in its' efforts to make a difference. You can make a difference in the life of a young person living on the streets, cold, hungry and needing someone to care about them. StandUp for Kids/Tucson cares!
StandUp for Kids in Tucson, AZ provides such a safety net for really vulnerable kids. We depend on them to guide youth in our community to safety and planning for themselves. They do this by being advocates and consistently caring people who are there to support them where they are, not where they think kids should be. When kids trust adults, they are doing something right!!
As the volunteer Executive Director in Washington, DC, I have met a lot of people who inspired me. The youth we work with have such a passion for life that even adverse circumstances cannot deter -- whether it's the young man who kept himself sane on the streets by creating documentaries of his experience, the young lady who sleeps in a shelter at night but does modern dance during the day, or the transgender young lady who always has a smile on her face despite the constant harassment she faces on the street, they all prove that young people on the streets are so much more than the label "homeless." I have also met dozens of community members who inspire me every day -- our organization is run entirely by a team of people who are dedicated, professional, and enthusiastic about our work despite coming to it after 12-hour workdays and on their weekends. I feel truly lucky to be a part of such an organization.
I have been with the Cleveland Chapter for about 5 years as the Director of Outreach. My most memorable experience happened the summer of 2011. We received a call from 2 homeless youth passing through Cleveland. They were in need of food and clothing. I arranged to meet them at a safe location and brought them the needed items. It was the day before Father's Day so I asked them if they wanted to call their dads with a Father's day wish. They did and I gave them our cell phone to call home. They were very appreciative of the food, clothing and calls. After the calls they felt very comfortable around me and began to talk about their lives. They told me that the first thing they did when they came into a town that had a StandUp or Kids Chapter was to call for assistance and were never turned down. We stand ready to help any homeless youth in need without passing judgement on their lifestyle or living conditions. When kids tell you they trust StandUp For Kids, you know you must be doing things right. I am proud to be a part of this organization.
I have been the volunteer Executive Director of the Chicago program for 3 1/2 years. In June of 2009 three of us began street outreach one evening each week. Today we have 35 volunteers, ranging from high school seniors to grandparents. We recently opened our own center for drop-in hours three evenings each week, yet we continue our street outreach efforts two evenings each week as well. In our center we offer a safe and warm environment where homeless youth can have a hot meal, watch a movie, play cards, sleep or just chill. We also provide apparel basics (socks, underwear, t-shirts, mittens, hats and sweatshirts) to those who need them. After a successful drive through which we received over 500 coats, we now can make sure that all our kids will have a warm coat for the winter. In spite of our growth, we continue to need additional volunteers and contributions of food and clothing. Please contact us us if you can help. Thanks so much
I have been the Executive Director of StandUp For Kids Houston for almost two years. It has been such a rewarding time for me. The kids we help are great and so thankful for everything. SUFK is such a great organization. We always hear from "our" kids how much they appreciate the help and support. It is a great feeling when you help others. To me its the most important job we have in life.
I have been part of the Silicon Valley chapter for almost a year, and I can honestly say that this organization is extremely dedicated and passionate about helping at risk youth – one kid at a time. The mentors build deep and meaningful relationships with their children while the support staff works hard to provide organizational structure, funds development, and awareness. StandUp For Kids continues standing up for their kids.
As a volunteer at StandUp for Kids Phoenix I am proud to have the opportunity to be a mentor, role model, and backbone to many homeless and at risk youth. With an amazing team of volunteers we have been able to produce results and change lives permanently. We teach youth the value of life, make them feel important, and most importantly help them believe in themselves. When our youth are confident they are able to pursue and land jobs leading to getting their feet on the ground and being able to establish a stable homed life. It's not only the bigger ultimate goals that make a difference but the little ones as well. From being able to give a meal to one of our youth who hasn't eaten in two days or giving them a shower and clean clothes to something as simple as a bottle of water or a hug is a small start to big change...letting them know we are there to help is incentive to nurture their growth as youth and as individuals. I couldn't describe a more rewarding experience and getting involved is the key to continued support in our youth, community, and ourselves as individuals.
They provide so much help to homeless children. They have huge hearts full of live. They help kids and change their life.
I retired 12 years ago and found Standup For Kids on a volunteer website. Within a few months I was on the Board of Directors. Like most people, I had no idea of the depth and breadth of the homeless children problem. Without judgement or conditions, we go to the streets with a simple goal: show these kids that there is someone in the world that cares about you...me. Sure, we bring them food. And warm clothing, but if we can gain their trust, we have a chance to get them off the street. Standup gives love and support to these kids, all across the country, when no one else will.
I have been volunteering with StandUp For Kids - Worcester Program since 2009. I started as a volunteer helping out with a little of everything, before the end of the first year, the ED stepped down and I moved into the Volunteer ED position. I have met many wonderful volunteers and wonderful youths and young adults that we have assisted. I have witness the building of self esteem of 2 homeless young adults that were addicted to heroin and prostituting to support their $600 a day habit. After months of giving food, hugs and providing other survival items, along with a lot of positive reinforcement, they finally did go back into rehab and wanted to improve their lives. We helped a 17 yo get into HS, he earned his diploma and is now applying to go to college for premed. The volunteers really care for the kids and show it. We assist kids on the streets. We provide food for weekends and vacation weeks for anonymously identified kids in one of the local schools. We have a few kids that are financially or emotional struggling in apartments, that we are giving giving emotional support and food support to keep them in the apartments. This has been a very rewarding volunteer experience, being able to give so much to the youths, and working with the generous donors, providing us with materials to give. It has changed my life forever.
As a volunteer in the Marketing and PR team at StandUp For Kids Silicon Valley, I highly appreciate the great team work and the close relationship among all volunteers. Each and everyone of us in his or her own way is deeply devoted to change a kid's life - one at a time. Working with these colleagues really gives me the feeling to be able to make a change!
I have been volunteering with StandUp Orange County CA since August 2006 when I started as an intern. In 2008, I took over as the Executive Director in OC and in 2011 I became the Interim National Executive Director and a board member. This has been such a rewarding experience, and time of personal growth. This expereince has allowed me to use my education in Human Services to counsel clients, create programs, write grants, access community resources and create coalltions. I am proud to be a part of an organization that tirelessly works to help homeless and street kids, while asking for nothing in return. I am proud to be part of an organization has done such great work for so long, on an all volunteer run basis. The dedication of the volunteers across the US is amazing and their love for the kids admirable.
StandUp For Kids. My first introduction to this organization coincided with my first attempt to raise a large amount of money for a cause that is near and dear to my heart – homeless kids. Creatively named by StandUp For Kids as the SOS2009 Tour (Segway Off ‘the’ Streets), it was important that I perform due diligence for my intended beneficiary a little more than typical online research. Two trips to the Atlanta National Headquarters and one to Chicago cemented my commitment to StandUp For Kids. On the trips to the Georgia headquarters, I met staff, some members of the Board of Directors (including a surprise – one of them was a good friend from Minnesota) and of course, many volunteers. Being face to face with leaders and staff was amazing, I have to say. But it was my trip to Chicago that really created a bond. It was here, at a two day training session for new volunteers to the Chicago Program, that I saw with my own eyes, heard with my own ears and felt with my own heart what StandUp For Kids is all about. This nationwide organization is made up of nearly all volunteers. But it’s what I saw and heard from these volunteers-in-training that, to this very day, creates a little mist (or something) in my eyes. Dedication and a burning desire to positively change the lives of homeless kids isn’t something a person can fake. And here, right before me, I was in the middle of a room full of promise. Right before me, there were 15 people of all ages ready to learn about homelessness – ready to take the fight to the streets of Chicago in order to make a difference. And this is why Responsible Referrals has designated StandUp For Kids as our 2013 Charity of the Year. This is why we plan to pour all of our efforts into raising money for this organization. This is why I am so very thankful that in 2009, I made a phone call, did the research and became a life-long advocate for this organization.
I have been volunteering with StandUp in Seattle since October 2008. I was part of the leadership team that revived the chapter and took over as ED in June 2009. Being a part of a non profit has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. I am proud to be a part of an organization that tirelessly works to help homeless and street kids, while asking for nothing in return. I am amazed that this organization has done such great work for so long, on an ALL VOLUNTEER run basis! It shows the true dedication of the volunteers across the US that have passion for the kids they serve.
Review from CharityNavigator
I have been a volunteer with StandUp For Kids in Washington State since 2008 and am currently Co-Executive Director in Olympia. Being part of this organization has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Every single person I’ve worked with has always conducted themselves with dignity and integrity. Our goal is to let homeless kids know we care about them, are there for them and believe in them. We see the pain and fear in their eyes every day and when we see that pain and fear subside, even if only for a few hours while we’re sharing a meal and playing games, or a few minutes when we hand them a sleeping bag, we know we’re doing wonderful work, work that is needed. I am proud of StandUp For Kids, I’m proud of the staff members that keep the program going, I’m proud of the volunteers who give so generously of themselves, and I’m proud of our kids who are braver than most of us will ever need to be.
Review from CharityNavigator
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!
Volunteers, please be warned! I worked with StandUp for Kids virtually for a project as a graphic designer. What they intentionally neglected to mention was that the project was being passed around to a group of individuals, so that I and others were unknowingly competing against one another to make a product. This is both an unprofessional and reprehensible practice as it represents an intentional exploitation of labor from people kind enough to volunteer their services. I do not recommend volunteering any service for this organization. Furthermore, the organization's founder has recently been arrested on multiple charges of sexual assault against a child. The article can be found on ABC New's site at the following address: http://abcnews.go.com/US/standup-kids-founder-arrested-child-sex-assault/story?id=17263199#.UGJBdVGTUit
As a Co-Ed and volunteer for Stand Up for Kids in Tampa, FL, I have found an organization that offers much needed resources and support to a demographic that is virtually unrecognized in FL. Stand Up is an invaluable resource for displaced and homeless youths and without these services these kids would be virtually overlooked.
StandUp for Kids is an outstanding organization dedicated to the needs of homeless and at-risk youth. As the Co-Executive Director of the San Antonio Chapter, I have a very dedicated team of volunteers who in addition to doing street outreach, help homeless youth with education and job assistance, residential, medical, legal and counseling referrals and assistance to get back home. It's my honor to contribute to the success of the mission of this organization.
Working with StandUp For Kids has given me the opportunity to step into a world that I fortunately never have had to live in but unfortunately I, like most others, also never took the time to understand. Learning what so many of our children have to endure, that they are so utterly alone, forgotten and disrespected is more than enough, actually too much inspiration to keep me involved with StandUp. Working with StandUp For Kids I have learned about the entire homeless community. I have learned how immensely important it is just to acknowledge those who you encounter in your day to day life. I have learned to be smart, stay safe but not to judge someone simply by how they look, smell or how "scary" they appear. The most important thing I have learned is that by just smiling at someone and saying hello I have the power to make a huge positive impact on a strangers life. The hardest thing that I have come to realize while working with StandUp For Kids is that while we strive to do everything that we can to help rehabilitate a damaged kids life, the many small advances that we make very possibly will never "fix" the destruction that has previously occurred. I have to focus on what I as an individual working for the StandUp For Kids program can do to help within my means. I can only do my part and educate and advocate to as many others as I can in hopes that they will step up to be part of the solution as well. One of the most important aspects of StandUp For Kids is that it is an all-volunteer program. It is the sacrifice and dedication of everyday people all across the country that care enough to make a difference in the lives of kids whose parents, family, government and all other sources of love and support have abandoned them. Thank you to all of the wonderful volunteers - past, present, ongoing and periodic who care enough to make a difference.
This organization was researched a couple of different times for the purpose of finding a worthy fit for several philanthropist wishing to donate significant funding. Some of our staff went through the volunteer process anonymously. Our belief was that although this organization has been around for almost 20 years now, it seems to struggle continuously with the same issues. Poor management, lack of proper training for its volunteers, lack of funding, poor internal controls (based on 990's listed on their website), poor communications , and lack of real assistance for the homeless youth culture. Poor management based on several factors: 2007 990's reflect major theft revealing lack of supervision and internal controls, no 990 listed for 2008 as of yet, lack of control of volunteers actions and chapters being so autonomous, national office located in 3 different cities in the past 4 years, website reflects 2 different cities currently as national office on different pages, no current staff member has over 2 years tenure - all points to chapters having very little effect on homeless youth population. Our volunteers were subjected to one weekend trainings (Fri Night - 3 hours, Saturday - 7 hours, Sunday - 6 hours) with the CEO performing the training in one of the cases ( our staff reported a very harsh, demeaning and sometimes downright rude presentation). A volunteer leader with only 6 months experience with the organization presented the training in another case. It was our conclusion that a major lack of training exist in this organization's structure. Homeless youth have immense needs, and if this organization's goal is to feed them with packaged meals, then we felt no funding was needed and if it's their intention to meet any of the other needs a myriad of issues have gone neglected in it's preparation.
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.
StandUp For Kids is real. It's about helping homeless kids and at risk street youth, and building relationships with kids who have no one else, or have been let down. The volunteers are caring, dedicated and passionate. I am proud to be apart of such a motivated organization that makes its dream a reality by helping one kid at a time and never giving up. When I joined StandUp For Kids this year, I never thought I would get so much out of it. I have met great people, learned new things about this growing problem and ways to address it, as well as a desire to continue helping as much as I can. I had the opportunity to meet Rick Koca at a training, and he truly inspired me to take action. As he says "I didn't have the right to be mad about this problem, if i'm not going to do anything about it". He is exactly right. Those are words to live by.
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!!
StandUp for Kids in Downtown San Diego helped me out when I definitely couldn't help myself. I was homeless due to drug addiction in my late teens, and StandUp didn't ask me questions when I stumbled into their building. They gave me food when I was hungry, and clothes and showers when I was dirty. The counselors there seriously wanted to help us, and they weren't far off in age. They would listen if someone wanted to talk, and their sincerity let us be something other than homeless, drug addicted teenagers for a few hours a night. They let us be normal kids. We'd sit around in the mock living room in the center, eat homemade food, and even do chores. That sense of normalcy was priceless. I didn't think about what I'd do after the Center closed, I was just happy to be there, right then. They reminded me of the life I left behind and eventually I missed my old life, got clean, and went back to it. But honestly, if it weren't for the meals, clothes, support and sense of normalcy StandUp for Kids gave me 5 years ago, I don't know what would have happened to me. I would have been forced to do comitt crimes everytime I needed food and clothes, and I would have probably ended up in jail. Now none of my friends would even guess I lived that life years ago. I have a Bachelor's Degree, a good job, and a good life. I definitely appreciate everything StandUp did for me, and if I had a million dollars to give to charity, it would definitely be to StandUp. Rick Koka, the CEO is an amazing man with a huge heart and the world definitely needs more people like him, who are so committed to making positive change in this world.
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