Our students have their homework out, their thinking caps on and pencils poised for our best school term ever. The KidWorks’ afterschool programs are now in full swing for grades kindergarten through high school at all four centers. Here’s a look at what’s new and improved:
Cheri Chan, our valued September 2018 “Volunteer of the Month” smiles each time she hears our teachers gently but firmly call our students to attention. Cheri—like many of our volunteers—just can’t get enough of KidWorks.
In fact, she doubles her fun by volunteering at not just one of our centers, but two: The Cedar Evergreen and Townsend satellite locations, which are embedded in locations where most of our students live just steps away from homework help.
For Hong Kong born Keng Go, the arrival of the Chinese Lunar New Year is always a time of great celebration with family and friends. Those friends now include second, third and fourth graders enrolled in our after school programs.
That’s because during the last occurrence of this holiday, our August “Volunteer of the Month” took time to explain the cultural significance to our students.
When you support KidWorks, you help develop the next generation of chief executive officers, doctors, engineers, teachers, scientists, bankers and entrepreneurs, just to name a few.
That’s because KidWorks programs are designed not only to promote sustained academic success, but also to develop the employees and leaders of tomorrow. We partner with businesses who help us understand the skills and training they are looking for once our students are ready to enter the work world.
The same magic that happens each day at our main Dan Donahue Center also occurs at each of our three satellite centers. These locations—Bishop Manor, Cedar Evergreen and Townsend—are strategically located in underserved neighborhoods.
While these satellite centers are smaller in square footage than our main center, they have just as significant a positive impact on our students. Just ask Nancy Udave, our July “Volunteer of the Month.”
Nancy has been volunteering at our Bishop Manor center for two full school semesters and plans to continue when the new school year starts in the fall. She makes time to help out while also attending California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Like us, Nancy recognizes the vital work that’s accomplished at each KidWorks satellite center.
“The Bishop Manor center is unique because you get to see how this community comes together to help one another,” she says. “I enjoy volunteering at this center not only because it’s located around the area I grew up as a kid, but also because of how close-knit this community is. These children see one another as family rather than just another classmate.”
She adds, “I’ve lived in Santa Ana my entire life, and I’m so grateful to finally being able to give back to my community, knowing that I’m helping children achieve a brighter future brings me happiness,” Nancy says.
Nancy says, “I am filled with joy knowing that I am making a difference in a child’s life by simply helping him or her with homework or drawing outside with chalk. Volunteering is much more than only an opportunity; we can each also make it a priority in our lives to make changes in our community to help the children in need. There’s nothing more fulfilling than to see the children raising their hand in excitement to get help from a KidWorks volunteer.”
Brizzy Cruz, Bishop Manor’s site director, sees Nancy’s positive impact first hand.
“Nancy has been a great assent to Bishop Manor,” Brizzy says. “She takes the initiative in tutoring students and looks for ways to keep children focused on their work. She is also the sweetest person and brought cupcakes for our students to enjoy at our end of the year party and Christmas party last year. She also encourages students to try new games, plays board games and interacts during sports time.”
Nancy tells a story that perfectly illustrates how a few hours volunteering at KidWorks after school programs is so appreciated by our students:
“I was walking into the center and going straight to the fifth grade table to help with their homework. I usually sit in the middle of the table to be able to help all the children around me. One student asked, ‘Ms. Nancy, what days are you here?’ I answered two days out of the week and his response was, ‘I wish you were here every day to help us. I like you being here.’ I realized that I domake a difference in each of the children’s’ lives even if it’s just having someone there to talk to or saying ‘hi’ to them.”
At the Cal State Dominguez Hills, Nancy is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Human Services. “My career goal is to establish my myself in an agency as a social worker for neglected children,” she says. “I also currently work at Smile Brands Inc. as a supervisor for patient financing.”
Nancy expresses what so many of our volunteers discover when she says, “KidWorks has been such a great fit for me.”
We feel the same way about you, Nancy!
By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer
Summer just wouldn’t be complete without a chance to attend a free music concert featuring the talented students in the KidWorks Avanti Music program.
“A Conversation with KidWorks” is Sunday, July 22, at 12:30 p.m., at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, located at 600 St. Andrews Road in Newport Beach immediately following the 11:11am service.
In addition to hearing our students perform, the program will feature touching stories shared by KidWorks youth, parents and volunteers.
“So many cities in Orange County are really just a short drive from KidWorks four centers in Santa Ana, and we hope the ‘Afternoon with KidWorks’ event will inspire not only St. Andrew’s members to consider volunteering at KidWorks, but anyone in the region who wants to lend a hand,” says Lisa Gels, our Manager of Partnerships & Donor Relations. “You, your family and friends will fit right in with our warm and welcoming families and team.”
Lisa adds that holding the concert at St. Andrew’s is part of the church’s long partnership with KidWorks, including holding “serve days” where church members help clean and refurbish our Dan Donahue Center, rummage sales and volunteering as tutors.
Greg Chao, a church member, has been volunteering at KidWorks since March. This most recent school term, he’s tutored a fifth grader in math and a high school student in physics.
“I see firsthand how valuable serving as a tutor is for these hard-working students,” Greg says. “One student told me she has no one else to turn to for homework help. The need is great, and I know church members would have a lot to contribute as volunteers at KidWorks.”
KidWorks Avanti Music was founded in 2012 by Joe Cristina, a professional musician with 38 years of experience in composition, arranging, orchestration and production.
“I know that ‘A Conversation with KidWorks’ is going to really impress everyone who attends when they see the level of talent and scholarship within the KidWorks Avanti students,” Joe says. “Our program is aboutusing art and music to express your inner feelings, faith and observations about your surroundings.”
No advance reservations are needed to attend “An Afternoon with KidWorks.” We warmly invite you to enjoy the music and learn more about KidWorks.
Our dedicated volunteers come from near and far—but June “Volunteer of the Month” Nicolei Gupit may outdistance everyone. Over the several years she’s been a volunteer, Nicolei has lived in the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan (where she’s now resides, teaching elementary, middle and high school students) while she still volunteers for KidWorks.
In golf scores, it’s never good to be “over.” But for our sixth annual KidWorks Classic Golf Tournament held in May at the Pelican Hill Golf Course in Newport Beach, we were “over” all expectations in terms of fundraising for our proggrams, setting a new record of $270,000 net raised to support our College Success Initiative.
KidWorks May “Volunteer of the Month” Areli Pelaxtla clearly has boundless energy. Anyone who works with preschoolers—as Areli has been doing since last summer—knows that first hand. on top of keeping up with our ever-curious and perpetually in-motion youngest students as an intern and volunteer in our state-licensed preschool, Areli also holds down two part-time jobs (one at a bank and the other at a department store) while attending California State University, Dominguez Hills as a junior majoring in Human Services.
Hello, KidWorks supporter! It’s still a couple of months away, but KidWorks is busy planning a fabulous summer 2018 for the thousands of students you help us serve. Oscar Mateo’s story is one of many we are delighted to share over the coming weeks. At the end of this story, you can learn how YOU can make summer 2018 shine bright for students like Oscar.
Who would have thought a fun day at the beach would help me decide on a career!
But that’s exactly what happened last year when KidWorks treated me and a few dozen other youth to a day of learning and fun on the sand at the beach. We did all the things you’d expect—made sand castles, took surfing lessons and tossed around a Frisbee.
But while exploring the tide pools, we also got a lesson about the importance of protecting our oceans and the life within. That’s when I began thinking to myself, “I might want to become a marine biologist.” Now I am passionate about everything related to the ocean.
You probably don't realize the impact that KidWorks summer has on my life. As a high school student, KidWorks’ summer programs have really made those months when school is out more meaningful for me than ever before. Instead of sitting around the house watching TV, my summer is packed with three months of keeping on track academically, making new friends, career field trips, and fun. Trying new things has helped me build confidence with both my peers and adults.
But KidWorks can’t make summer programs possible without financial support from friends like you. I know it’s only April, but your gift now will let me and hundreds of other children and youth attend KidWorks summer programs and camp.
Were you one of KidWorks first students when we first began our mission in a small, one-room central Santa Ana apartment on Townsend Street in 1993? Or did you graduate from high school this past June?
In either case—and for all the years in between—we’d like to reconnect with all our wonderful KidWorks alumni.