Yosely Ocampo's earliest memories of KidWorks date back to when she was three years old. “My mom and I passed out snacks to the kids and cleaned the counters with wet paper towels,” Yosely recalls. Both mother and daughter soon fell in love with KidWorks—where they both help out to this day.
“Even then, I knew KidWorks was where I wanted to be,” Yosely says. Soon, she was enrolled in our preschool.
“I got to play with educational toys, sing songs and sit on the part of the carpet with the first letter of my name,” Yosely recalls with a laugh. “But a year later, at four years old, I was still too young to enroll in the KidWorks kindergarten program, so I got to do preschool twice!”
Yosely is now a sophomore in high school. In addition to her studies, she plays the cello in the school orchestra and is the goalie on the school’s junior varsity lacrosse team.
“Those lacrosse balls might be small, but they sure hurt when they hit you,” Yosely says. “But I kept practicing with the lacrosse sticks and now those balls don’t get past me nearly as often.”
Yosely attributes her deep—and growing—Christian faith to the seeds planted at KidWorks’ summer camps, where Bible studies are always part of the experience.
“I pray each day and feel the increasing presence of Jesus in my life,” she says. “My faith continues to mature.”
Yosely may be KidWorks’ biggest fan.
“I’m at the center six days a week,” she says.
During four of those days she attends KidWorks after school academic programs and on Fridays she participates in events and meetings, including serving on Community Leaders of Santa Ana (CLOSA), our youth-led group that helps improve the surrounding neighborhood with cleanup, sponsored events and other activities. They are currently raising funds to provide blankets, socks and sundries to the homeless.
Yosely has a deep love of music. She was part of our Love in Music offering for younger students. She then joined Avanti Music, a KidWorks program founded in 2012 by volunteer Joe Cristina, a professional musician with 38 years of experience in composition and arranging.
As a member of Avanti Music, she’s played in concerts at churches in Newport Beach, Anaheim and Los Angeles. Yosely also loves dance, and has taken lessons in ballet, jazz, Folklorico and hip hop.
“Yosely is definitely a great leader,” says Daniela Valenzuela, our College & Career Coordinator. “She is always up for trying new things that possibly her peers wouldn’t. She’s always so eager to learn.”
For the future, Yosely envisions a career in criminal justice and plans to major in criminology when she attends a university.
“In the past, I’ve had some pretty varied career goals,” she says with a grin. “At different times, I’ve wanted to be a teacher, veterinarian and U.S. Marine.”
Being an experienced multi-tasker, Yosely may very well do all three! And she continually inspires us each day. So, while she makes sure the opposing lacrosse team doesn’t score goals, she is always focused on the big goals she has set for herself in life.
By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer