Who’s New: Welcoming our newest team members

Editor’s note:  We’re delighted to introduce you to our newest team members.  Each one looks forward to meeting our wonderful partners and supporters.

Donna Cassano, Foundation Relations & Grants
“The KidWorks family is so welcoming and supportive!  I’ll be developing relationships with private, family and corporate foundations.  I’ve worked in foundation relations and grants for 17 years, including SummerDance Santa Barbara, Goleta Valley Historical Society, Wildlife Care Network of Santa Barbara, Special Camp for Special Kids, Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano, Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley and the American Heart Association.  In high school I was a Virginia State Championship runner and basketball player.  On weekends you can find me swimming at the beach, biking or hiking local trails.”

Donna C.

Rolando De La Cruz, Program Leader--Bishop Manor Center
“I am really looking forward to working with the kids and youth at Bishop Manor, and making a positive impact in the community.  Most recently, I was an instructional aide at Paine Elementary School.  I’m a huge Angels and Philadelphia Eagles fan.  In the sixth grade I played the xylophone in the school band.”

Arabia Ruiz, Receptionist
I look forward to getting to know the students and parents who are part of KidWorks and to join an organization that helps improve the community by serving families and students.  In addition to my part-time job at KidWorks, I also work for the City of Santa Ana as a customer service clerk in the Treasury Division.  I’ve played soccer since age seven, and into high school and college.  I also played overseas in Germany, Greece and Spain.”


Erika Sanchez, Youth Engagement Coordinator
“I’ll be focused on developing and implementing programs for the youth involved in KidWorks’ 6th through 12th grade tutoring programs, as well as the Youth Empowerment Network.  I’m also a KidWorks student alumni.  Recently, I was the Director of Program Development with Banaba House Ministries, a grass roots non-profit, in Manila, Philippines, working with out-of-school youth.  I developed and implemented educational, discipleship and vocational programs.  I am trilingual and during my three years in the Philippines I was actually able to learn Tagalog and practice it every day!”

Betty Garcia, Program Leader--Dan Donahue Center

“In my new job, I’ll be focusing on establishing rapport with students and their families.  I’ll also be concentrating on Health and Wellness, one of KidWorks ‘Four Pillars of Success.’  I’m a KidWorks student alumni, and it’s exciting to return as a staff member.  I previously worked at Olive Crest Academy, assigned to an autistic classroom, engaged in behavior modification.” 


Beckie White, Manager--Marketing & Communications
My job is to tell the KidWorks story online, in print, and in person;  I want everyone to know how amazing KidWorks is. “There are so many things that excite me about my new opportunity at KidWorks. Most of all, it’s the the ability to work alongside an amazing team who are dedicated to making KidWorks an even better place.  Prior to KidWorks, I’d been working for the past year as a freelance writer for Remarkable Digital, and prior to that, I was the director of foundation relations for the Special Olympics.  Outside of work, I love everything food, fun and fitness.  I've competed in 10 1/2 marathons, four triathlons, three CrossFit competitions and a marathon.”