If you visited KidWorks this summer you probably noticed the Lego Construction theme woven throughout our center. It served as a visual reminder of the coming expansion of the KidWorks Dan Donahue center but also how our students are building on the four pillars of success they learn throughout the school year.
“Four Pillars of Success” guide every step we take in support of our wonderful students. With your help during our summer programs, we built upon those pillars in the areas of Academics and Arts, Health and Fitness, College and Career Readiness, and Leadership and Spiritual Development once again. Summer activities were held at our main KidWorks Dan Donahue Center, as well as our Cedar Evergreen and Bishop Manor satellite centers. Over 200 students participated throughout the summer.
We are deeply grateful for the many individuals, families, churches, companies and others who generously partnered alongside us to help fund our summer programs. We are equally thankful for the dozens of volunteers who supported the many activities our children and youth enjoyed over the summer.
“Summer is very special since we open our doors to the community—both to families registered in our programs and those not registered,” says Noemi Juarez, Director of After School Programs. “This was all at no cost to them, which is such a blessing and a benefit because many families face real economic challenges.”
Here’s how summertime at KidWorks embraced each of our four Pillars of Success. A big “thank you!” to key sponsors for each category:
Academics & Arts:
Youth in our ELV8 Leadership Academy attended the Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp, where they learned invaluable life skills. Students also attended Forest Home Christian camp in the San Bernardino National Forest. ELV8 students spent time at the Santa Ana Art Bar, where they experimented with a variety of creative mediums. Younger students were treated to a full day of fun, games, rides and snacks at the Orange County Fair thanks to our friends at the OC Fairgrounds.
Health & Fitness:
Students received surfing lessons at Huntington Beach and experienced the Incredible Edible Farm, picking vegetables and learning about farm-to-table dining. And each day at our centers included plenty of time to kick around a soccer ball, shoot baskets and play other outdoor games
College & Career Readiness:
“Intern Day” provided an educational opportunity for our recent high school graduates who got an insider’s view of various career opportunities from interns serving at Donahue Schriber Realty Group, Edwards Lifesciences, KPMG, Opus Bank, PAAMCO and Taco Bell. Over 40 interns were paired up with a KidWorks student to provide our youth insight about what its like preparing for their career.
Katie Ellis, Executive Director of the Opus Community Foundation thought the experience was invaluable for both the students and interns. “Our interns enjoyed their time with the KidWorks students so much they didn’t even realize it was considered ‘volunteering.’ They said it was valuable, meaningful and a mutually beneficial hands-on experience for everyone. They shared common life goals and learned from one another, all the while having a great time! One of our interns was so hooked, she signed on for a long term volunteer position and plans to bring her college program for a visit.”
Leadership & Spiritual Development:
St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach—a tremendous yearlong KidWorks champion—once again partnered with us this summer. Our youth served at St. Andrews’ “Royal Family Kids Camp,” which supports foster children. Our youth volunteered alongside St. Andrews volunteers at the weeklong camp, growing both spiritually and in leadership skills. Also, Bible study was part of the daily program at our centers.
The wonderful summer our supporters and volunteers made possible means that hundreds of our students are ready to begin the new school year with an even stronger foundation in academics & arts, health & fitness, college & career readiness and leadership & spiritual development. Thank you to all who helped build on the success of summer!
By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer