How many volunteer hours would it take to fully sample every single one of KidWorks’ life-affirming programs? For Stephen Ruvalcaba—our January “Volunteer of the Month”—the answer would be 750 hours.
That’s because Stephen completely dedicates himself to whomever and to whatever he has made a commitment. The remarkable tally of 750 hours was logged between when he first began volunteering in June 2016 until the end of 2017.
“Stephen has been such a great volunteer, being a part of programs that include preschool, after school tutoring and even special events,” says Tiffany San, Volunteer Coordinator & Development Assistant. “He’s always so willing to help with whatever task needs to be done. Stephen is deeply appreciated by all of the staff, volunteers and students.”
Stephen has also been a hands-on volunteer with our summer program, student campus visits and field trips, golf classic and Foundation for Success luncheon.
He recalls a particularly poignant moment with one of our high school students, in whom he recognized God-given artistic talent.
“She said her drawings represent how she feels,” Stephen says. “I urged her to make a comic book out of her drawings and to tell a story through her artwork. I mentioned that there are wonderful careers that her talent could one day make possible, such as an illustrator, author or movie producer. She began work on the comic book project and it made me so happy to see her start to pursue her passion.”
Stephen has seen first-hand how the partnership between our staff, volunteers and donors makes a lasting positive impact on our students.
“I have seen kids struggling to read, who pick up a book and read to me,” he says. “I’ve witnessed students having trouble with math who eventually gain the confidence to help teach other kids how to work out a problem. I have seen so many talented students thrive when they receive encouragement to overcome their fears of social norms and to stand out.”
Even as he dedicated all those hours to our students, Stephen kept a focused eye on his own education. He graduated this month from West Coast University with a bachelor of science degree in nursing.
“My goal is to become an intensive care unit or emergency room nurse,” Stephen says.
When not helping to encourage young minds at KidWorks or pursuing his career goals, Stephen enjoys Malaya, his family’s Siberian Huskie. He’s also coached and played football.
We are very grateful for each of Stephen’s hundreds of volunteer hours—and we are even more grateful for him! Congratulations on being named January “Volunteer of the Month,” Stephen.
By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer