When KidWorks’ after school programs resume again in August, you can count on Jennifer Gonzalez being there. Jennifer, our July “Volunteer of the Month,” has logged 210 hours helping in the classroom and with various other needs since March. Although she is taking a break during summer, she is excited to return to her volunteer role in our After School Programs.
Volunteers like Jennifer Gonzalez are crucial to guide our students as they work on their daily homework. And that includes much more than just completing the assigned tasks—it also includes instilling the trait of always doing one’s best that will carry on throughout their academic and career lives.
“Jennifer engages with the students with a smile and patience,” says Salma Galdamez, a Program Leader at our Dan Donahue Center. “She relates in a way that keeps the kids focused on their work while appreciating their individual personalities.”
The connections the students formed with Jennifer makes them enthusiastic about telling her all about what’s going on in their lives.
“Jennifer always arrives in the classroom with a big smile, a great attitude, full of kindness and a confidence that the kids also grow to have in themselves,” Salma says.
That assessment is echoed by Vanessa Sedano, our Volunteer Coordinator, who says, “We truly appreciate all of Jennifer’s hard work and dedication. Summer decor preparation and many other projects were successful thanks to her help.”
Jennifer recently graduated from the University of California, Irvine, earning a degree in psychology and social behavior. She plans to pursue a master’s degree.
Jennifer first connected with KidWorks as part of the university’s field study requirement.
We invite high school and college/university students to learn more about how KidWorks can provide you with opportunities to earn service hours, intern and volunteer.
“I enjoy helping children and am inspired that KidWorks seeks to restore at-risk neighborhoods by guiding children towards a positive life path and that's the reason I volunteer,” Jennifer says. “I like motivating children by encouraging them to do their best when tackling difficult tasks. I also encourage them to help each other so they learn the value of teamwork.”
She adds, “KidWorks programs guide students on the right path for school by creating a positive environment where they can complete their homework with the help of volunteers. KidWorks also teaches students about important character traits, such as respect, being prepared and having fun.”
In her spare time, Jennifer says she “enjoys making gemstone bracelets to sell at swap meets and going to anime conventions with my sister.”
We are grateful to Jennifer for being such an amazing volunteer and for being a positive role model for each student she inspires.
By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer