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KidWorks Volunteer Of The Month: Stephen Ruvalcaba

How many volunteer hours would it take to fully sample every single one of KidWorks’ life-affirming programs?  For Stephen Ruvalcaba—our January “Volunteer of the Month”—the answer would be 750 hours. 

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That’s because Stephen completely dedicates himself to whomever and to whatever he has made a commitment.  The remarkable tally of 750 hours was logged between when he first began volunteering in June 2016 until the end of 2017.

“Stephen has been such a great volunteer, being a part of programs that include preschool, after school tutoring and even special events,” says Tiffany San, Volunteer Coordinator & Development Assistant.  “He’s always so willing to help with whatever task needs to be done.  Stephen is deeply appreciated by all of the staff, volunteers and students.” 

Stephen has also been a hands-on volunteer with our summer program, student campus visits and field trips, golf classic and Foundation for Success luncheon.

 He recalls a particularly poignant moment with one of our high school students, in whom he recognized God-given artistic talent.

 “She said her drawings represent how she feels,” Stephen says.  “I urged her to make a comic book out of her drawings and to tell a story through her artwork.  I mentioned that there are wonderful careers that her talent could one day make possible, such as an illustrator, author or movie producer.  She began work on the comic book project and it made me so happy to see her start to pursue her passion.” 

Stephen has seen first-hand how the partnership between our staff, volunteers and donors makes a lasting positive impact on our students.

 “I have seen kids struggling to read, who pick up a book and read to me,” he says.  “I’ve witnessed students having trouble with math who eventually gain the confidence to help teach other kids how to work out a problem.  I have seen so many talented students thrive when they receive encouragement to overcome their fears of social norms and to stand out.”

 Even as he dedicated all those hours to our students, Stephen kept a focused eye on his own education.  He graduated this month from West Coast University with a bachelor of science degree in nursing.   

“My goal is to become an intensive care unit or emergency room nurse,” Stephen says.

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When not helping to encourage young minds at KidWorks or pursuing his career goals, Stephen enjoys Malaya, his family’s Siberian Huskie.  He’s also coached and played football.

We are very grateful for each of Stephen’s hundreds of volunteer hours—and we are even more grateful for him!  Congratulations on being named January “Volunteer of the Month,” Stephen.

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer

What do a Philanthropist, Navy Seal, and College Student all have in Common?

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One has helped countless students earn credentials in order to fulfill their career dreams.  Another has risked his life to keep our country safe and preserve freedom.  A third was inspired by KidWorks to pursue a fit and healthy lifestyle—and then share his passion with others.

You’ll have a chance to be uplifted as you hear from each of these three at KidWorks’ 11th annual Foundation for Success Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Santa Ana.

David A. Pyle, is a philanthropist, Founder/Chief Executive Officer of American Career College and shareholder of West Coast University.  At the luncheon, he will be honored with our prestigious 2017 Dan Donahue Leadership Award. 

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“This very special award recognizes David’s fervent support for KidWorks’ youth and families,” said David Benavides, KidWorks’ Executive Director.  “For decades, David has been a leader and innovator in the private, postsecondary education community, and he is as passionate about the community as he is about supporting health care and educational programs that aid underserved children and families.”

“I have been a supporter of KidWorks because these young men and woman are being developed as our future leaders and will be making a difference in our communities,” David Pyle said.  “Seeing firsthand the interaction of the kids, family members, staff and volunteers as they grow is inspiring and something I am proud to be a part of.”

Chad Williams is our keynote speaker.  He is author of the bestselling book, “SEAL of God.” He shares his journey through the grueling Naval Ops training, illustrating the SEAL mindset and ethos that revolve around leadership, teamwork, integrity, safety, mental toughness, discipline, overcoming adversity and grit. 

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Chad entered the military's most difficult and grueling training known as BUD/S. As one of 13 out of a class of 173 trainees, Chad climbed the mountain and earned his Trident, which signifies he had become a Navy SEAL.

According to his website, “Serving his country proudly through multiple deployments on SEAL Teams One and Seven, Chad continued to hone the technical skill, tactical proficiency and attention to detail that our nation's best warriors adhere to.  In an ironic final operation in Iraq, Chad's shares the story of how his SEAL Team was set up on a premeditated ambush similar to the location and scenario that took the life of his mentor Scott Helvenston.  But on that occasion Chad and his Team were victorious, overcoming the enemy and odds set against them.”

Alfredo Padilla is one of KidWorks many amazing student success stories.  He is a recent California State University, Northridge graduate, where he earned his degree in kinesiology. 

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Alfredo was part of KidWorks programs from age 11 through high school, and credits our team with helping him to learn healthy eating and exercise habits.  Alfredo turned this passion towards helping others, including serving on the KidWorks’ staff during high school and college.

He organized KidWorks-sponsored fitness and Zumba classes for the moms in the community, managed our gym, led weight training classes for the youth, coached our baseball team and helped manage and train the KidWorks running club for youth and parents. 

This event sells out every year so purchase your ticket early so you don't miss out!