KidWorks Preschool

KidWorks Preschool Students Visit La Habra Museum

Our KidWorks Preschool students had a very special President’s Day. Over 40 of our kids spent the day at the La Habra Children’s Museum.


We are so greatful to Kevin Watson, owner of JFK Transportation, for so generously donating the transportation for our fun day at the museum.  There were about 6 rooms to explore in the museum. 


The children had an amazing time exploring a room with a variety of animal fossils, “you could tell they were amazed to see the following a lion, a grizzly bear, and a hyena, which was perfect since we just learned about hibernation in class,” said Idalia Galdamez, KidWorks Preschool Director.


Following the animal fossils, students explored a room with a grand theater and saw different costumes from fireman gear to singers and ballerinas.


Next, students visited a room that had a market and an old OCTA bus.  Students were more than glad to pretend to be bus drivers.


Lastly, there was a room decorated like the Old Stone Age.  Students were able to pretend to live in that era.  Some of them got to climb on top of mammoths, wear pretend skin clothes, and many of our kids took pictures.


We had the best day! Thank you, La Habra Children’s Museum

Women of KidWorks: Alma Magana

Editor’s note:  This is the latest installment of our blog series, “The Women of KidWorks.”  This week, we highlight another very special mom!

Alma Magana, a KidWorks preschool teacher, has a special message for parents who attend graduation ceremonies for their four-year-olds.

“Please remember to invite me to your child’s high school and college graduation,” she tells them.  “I’ll go.”

While high school and college seems many years off for these parents and their young students, Alma is a person of her word.

Just ask Isaias Cambron, who recently graduated high school.  He attended KidWorks programs from preschool through his sophomore year in high school.

“You came!” Isaias said as she congratulated the cap-and-gown clad graduate. 

“I told you I would,” she says, recalling her promise of so many years ago.

Alma has been part of the KidWorks’ team since 1999, when she started as an after school volunteer at what was then our Myrtle Street center in Central Santa Ana.  She eventually moved to our Dan Donahue Center when it opened in 2005.  She’s taught at our accredited preschool since then—and is in fact our longest-term employee.

What’s it like to spend 175 days a year helping four year olds to learn the alphabet, recognize the primary colors and explore their artistic skills?

“I confess that sometimes I forget to leave the preschool teacher at the door when I go home for the day,” she laughs.   “I sometimes say to my daughters, Betty, 23, and Debbie, 19, ‘Did you wash your hands,’ and ‘Don’t forget to say hello when you meet someone.’”

There are more dimensions to Alma than many people who meet this soft-spoken woman may not fully realize.

She, her husband, Joel, and Joel’s father, Adolfo (both ordained ministers) and sister, Mirvella, oversee 13 churches the three of them have founded throughout the U.S., Mexico and Nicaragua.

Alma has also run 16 half marathons, many with her daughters.  She also sews (pillow cases, handbags and quilts), giving some of her creations to her students and their families.

Alma says that her deep faith in Jesus means that service in His name goes beyond preaching the gospel.

“To me, it’s important that I also give of my time, visiting with students and their families at their homes after work,” she says.  “KidWorks is like a seed we plant in a child’s life.  That seed grows there forever.”


By Glenn Leibowitz, Volunteer Content Writer

KidWorks Preschool Class of 2016

On June 22, 2016 our KidWorks Preschool Class of 2016 graduated. We are proud to announce that 100% of our preschool class (that met state age requirements) were assessed as kindergarten-ready. This group of kids will go on to do great things and many of them will remain in our programs for the long haul. 

Congratulations to our preschool students, parents, teachers, volunteers, and all the helpers that made this day possible!  

Our preschool students getting ready for graduation and singing some songs! 
Our parents could barely contain their excitement as the KidWorks Preschool Class of 2016 entered the auditorium. 

The Women of KidWorks: Monica Contreras

Editor’s note: We are proud to introduce our latest blog series, “The Women of KidWorks.” We celebrate the tireless women who generously serve at our centers each week. Some of these women also happen to be the mothers of our students! Their humility, perseverance and love touch our students, staff and volunteers each day. This week, we highlight one very special mom!

Over a decade ago, Monica Contreras looked out the living room window of her Santa Ana house and asked herself, “I wonder what they are building across the street where the old tortilla and taco shell factory used to be?”

Soon, she learned that all the hammering and painting would lead up to the opening of KidWorks' main hub, the Dan Donahue Center.

When KidWorks held an open house, Monica stopped by to see what services were being offered.

She soon enrolled her then four-year-old son, Miguel, into the KidWorks preschool program.

Since that first introduction to KidWorks, Monica has been one of our most dedicated and steadfast volunteers. She didn't just enroll her children, she became part of the family, and has worked hard to make her community better from the inside out. 

She began her volunteer duties at our preschool, washing dirty dishes, picking up stray toys, helping the teachers put together learning packets and raising her hand to volunteer for anything else that was asked of her.

Eventually, all of her children enrolled in our preschool program and now continue with our after school program.  That includes, Maria, now in ninth grade, Miguel, sixth grade, and Jimena, first grade.

“At the KidWorks preschool, I really enjoy reading to the kids and helping out with field trips,” Monica says.  “Me, my husband and our kids have received so much from KidWorks, that volunteering for me is a way for me to give back at least as much as we’ve received.”

Monica also serves on our Parent Advisory Council, which is a way the KidWorks’ team receives valuable feedback and ideas about how to continuously improve our programs and services.

She’s also become a resource to other parents seeking advice about raising their children and helping to direct them to available community resources.

“I often say to them, ‘Now that your kids are involved with KidWorks, why not get involved yourselves as volunteers?’” Monica says.

You’d think that all this volunteering would tire a person out.  Not Monica.  She’s also been a longtime member of the KidWorks running club, and now has 16 half marathons to her credit.

Sonia Rios-Guzman, our Parent Engagement Coordinator, says Monica has the perfect temperament to work with the kids and provide leadership on the parent council.

“She’s so good at making others feel comfortable,” Sonia says.  “We love her sense of humor.  During Monica’s more than 10 years as a KidWorks volunteer, she has been able to win many hearts.  She’s definitely a top mom!”

By Glenn Leibowitz, Volunteer Content Writer