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.
Our dedicated volunteers come from near and far—but June “Volunteer of the Month” Nicolei Gupit may outdistance everyone. Over the several years she’s been a volunteer, Nicolei has lived in the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan (where she’s now resides, teaching elementary, middle and high school students) while she still volunteers for KidWorks.
In golf scores, it’s never good to be “over.” But for our sixth annual KidWorks Classic Golf Tournament held in May at the Pelican Hill Golf Course in Newport Beach, we were “over” all expectations in terms of fundraising for our proggrams, setting a new record of $270,000 net raised to support our College Success Initiative.
KidWorks May “Volunteer of the Month” Areli Pelaxtla clearly has boundless energy. Anyone who works with preschoolers—as Areli has been doing since last summer—knows that first hand. on top of keeping up with our ever-curious and perpetually in-motion youngest students as an intern and volunteer in our state-licensed preschool, Areli also holds down two part-time jobs (one at a bank and the other at a department store) while attending California State University, Dominguez Hills as a junior majoring in Human Services.
Hello, KidWorks supporter! It’s still a couple of months away, but KidWorks is busy planning a fabulous summer 2018 for the thousands of students you help us serve. Oscar Mateo’s story is one of many we are delighted to share over the coming weeks. At the end of this story, you can learn how YOU can make summer 2018 shine bright for students like Oscar.
Who would have thought a fun day at the beach would help me decide on a career!
But that’s exactly what happened last year when KidWorks treated me and a few dozen other youth to a day of learning and fun on the sand at the beach. We did all the things you’d expect—made sand castles, took surfing lessons and tossed around a Frisbee.
But while exploring the tide pools, we also got a lesson about the importance of protecting our oceans and the life within. That’s when I began thinking to myself, “I might want to become a marine biologist.” Now I am passionate about everything related to the ocean.
You probably don't realize the impact that KidWorks summer has on my life. As a high school student, KidWorks’ summer programs have really made those months when school is out more meaningful for me than ever before. Instead of sitting around the house watching TV, my summer is packed with three months of keeping on track academically, making new friends, career field trips, and fun. Trying new things has helped me build confidence with both my peers and adults.
But KidWorks can’t make summer programs possible without financial support from friends like you. I know it’s only April, but your gift now will let me and hundreds of other children and youth attend KidWorks summer programs and camp.
Were you one of KidWorks first students when we first began our mission in a small, one-room central Santa Ana apartment on Townsend Street in 1993? Or did you graduate from high school this past June?
In either case—and for all the years in between—we’d like to reconnect with all our wonderful KidWorks alumni.
As a KidWorks volunteer tutor, you know you’re making a big impact when a sixth grade student can’t wait to rush up to you to show off her report card.
A few weeks ago, that’s exactly what brought a big smile to the face of Camille Strader, our April “Volunteer of the Month.” Camille has a volunteer at KidWorks since 2016 and has impacted the lives of countless students!
Michael Harrah, President & Chief Executive Officer of Caribou Industries, is the official “Title Sponsor” for our 2018 KidWorks Classic Golf Tournament. We have a few other “titles” for Mike, too: Generous supporter. Champion of children and youth. Inspiration.
This is the second year in a row that Mike and his company have been the Title Sponsor, which is the highest level of support for the tournament. Caribou “operates 45 world class companies known for premier real estate, executive aviation, five-star restaurants, hotel resorts and entertainment venues in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada.”
"Summer at KidWorks has changed my life. If it weren't for KidWorks, I wouldn't have anything to do all summer" KidWorks summer programs have had a tremendous impact on Samantha A., high school junior. "The fun stuff that happens during the summer at KidWorks helped me to come out of my shell and make new friends, and I’m still in touch with a lot of them years later. I can definitely say that by opening up more to others I’ve learned that many of us have had the same experiences and challenges."
Students in KidWorks’ state-licensed preschool had an important decision to make earlier this month. Would they rather spend time chatting with the Cat in the Hat, or meet with police officers, fire fighters, bankers, actors and others in professions they might one day like to enter?
The good news is that they didn’t have to pick at all. They enjoyed all of these choices and more during a national reading week event that celebrated the wonderful books written by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel).
“Each year, the KidWorks preschool team puts together a special program to celebrate National Reading Month,” says teacher Minda Barrera-Vargas. “While we concentrate on reading throughout the year, that week we focus on Dr. Seuss. He is special because of the uniqueness and creativity of his beloved books.”
“I was born and raised in Orange County, yet until I became involved with KidWorks, I had no idea that there was so much need just a 15-minute drive away from where I grew up in Irvine.”
With those poignant words, Melissa Ley—KidWorks March “Volunteer of the Month”—describes how her heart was touched to “jump right in to see where I could help improve the lives of children and young adults.”
Summer at KidWorks is vital for so many reasons. Our goal is to create a safe, wholesome place for our students to spend their time. Just as importantly, we want to offset what educators call the “summer slide.” That’s where students of any age level can slip academically when they are away from the classroom.
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.