Volunteer of the Month: Nancy Udave

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The same magic that happens each day at our main Dan Donahue Center also occurs at each of our three satellite centers.  These locations—Bishop Manor, Cedar Evergreen and Townsend—are strategically located in underserved neighborhoods.

While these satellite centers are smaller in square footage than our main center, they have just as significant a positive impact on our students.  Just ask Nancy Udave, our July “Volunteer of the Month.”

Nancy has been volunteering at our Bishop Manor center for two full school semesters and plans to continue when the new school year starts in the fall.  She makes time to help out while also attending California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Like us, Nancy recognizes the vital work that’s accomplished at each KidWorks satellite center.

“The Bishop Manor center is unique because you get to see how this community comes together to help one another,” she says.  “I enjoy volunteering at this center not only because it’s located around the area I grew up as a kid, but also because of how close-knit this community is.  These children see one another as family rather than just another classmate.”

She adds, “I’ve lived in Santa Ana my entire life, and I’m so grateful to finally being able to give back to my community, knowing that I’m helping children achieve a brighter future brings me happiness,” Nancy says. 

Nancy says, “I am filled with joy knowing that I am making a difference in a child’s life by simply helping him or her with homework or drawing outside with chalk.  Volunteering is much more than only an opportunity; we can each also make it a priority in our lives to make changes in our community to help the children in need.  There’s nothing more fulfilling than to see the children raising their hand in excitement to get help from a KidWorks volunteer.”

Brizzy Cruz, Bishop Manor’s site director, sees Nancy’s positive impact first hand. 

“Nancy has been a great assent to Bishop Manor,” Brizzy says.  “She takes the initiative in tutoring students and looks for ways to keep children focused on their work.  She is also the sweetest person and brought cupcakes for our students to enjoy at our end of the year party and Christmas party last year.  She also encourages students to try new games, plays board games and interacts during sports time.”

Nancy tells a story that perfectly illustrates how a few hours volunteering at KidWorks after school programs is so appreciated by our students:

“I was walking into the center and going straight to the fifth grade table to help with their homework.  I usually sit in the middle of the table to be able to help all the children around me. One student asked, ‘Ms. Nancy, what days are you here?’ I answered two days out of the week and his response was, ‘I wish you were here every day to help us.  I like you being here.’  I realized that I domake a difference in each of the children’s’ lives even if it’s just having someone there to talk to or saying ‘hi’ to them.”

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At the Cal State Dominguez Hills, Nancy is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Human Services.  “My career goal is to establish my myself in an agency as a social worker for neglected children,” she says.  “I also currently work at Smile Brands Inc. as a supervisor for patient financing.”

Nancy expresses what so many of our volunteers discover when she says, “KidWorks has been such a great fit for me.”

We feel the same way about you, Nancy!

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer