KidWorks’ summer programs began in a tiny, one-room apartment near Townsend Street as a safe haven for 100 children and youth in 1993. KidWorks CEO, David Benavides and Senior Director of Programs, Lori Ohls, were among the first college interns to serve at KidWorks.
"I would walk up and down the apartment-packed Townsend street with my fellow KidWorks interns, yelling ‘Kids’ Club’ at the top of our lungs to invite the neighborhood kids to join us. It was exciting to see the children come out of their apartments as we all walked together to the apartment courtyard mid-block where we would be holding the KidWorks Kids’ Club fun. The kids would call their friends as we all walked together the crowd of children grew bigger as we walked. It was like a fun pied piper image. " said David Benavides.
Lori Ohls, Director of Programs remembers, “Kids and youth of all ages would wander over from the local apartments and we’d play games, sing songs and teach Bible lessons while everyone sat in the courtyard on a plastic tarp in the hot sun. Now, KidWorks is a year-over-year experience for the families we serve—many who have now been with us across generations.”
The program was not just for children, the interns also connected with the youth. "We got together every Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm. By 6:30pm they were waiting outside our apartment door, eager for our ‘guys’ hand out time’ to start. We would work out together in the apartment garage, turned ‘make-shift gym’ with donated exercise equipment, then we would do a Bible lesson and discussion." said David. "This group of boys were faithful, committed, eager to learn and grow. They were accepting of me and the KidWorks interns and helpful to our team. I am still in touch with a number of them and their families today."
Today, KidWorks summer programs now impacts over 300 students and have expanded to include a leadership and career focus. To learn more about summer visit