It’s inspiring and uplifting to hear the words Karina Flores uses to describe the impact she hopes to have in her newly promoted role as Site Coordinator for our Townsend Street Center:
“I hope that the students as well as the families see me as a person they can trust,” she says. “I hope to have a positive impact in their lives, whether it’s by helping students with homework or just having a conversation. I would like to be a positive impact in the students’ lives, in the same way that KidWorks made such a lasting impact in mine.”
And when she refers to the positive impact KidWorks has had on her life that speaks volumes.
Karina joined our programs as a sixth grader and continued through her high school years. She was also a member of the first-ever group of students who comprised Community Leaders of Santa Ana (CLOSA), our youth-led organization that helps improve the surrounding neighborhood with cleanups, sponsored events and other activities.
She didn’t know it at the time, but her immersion in KidWorks was the perfect preparation for her to join our staff in 2012 as an assistant within the after-school program. Since then, she’s had roles that have included assisting with KidWorks University workshops and a program leader at the Dan Donahue Center. For the past four years, Karina has also been a member of the leadership team responsible for the kindergarten through fifth grade summer program.
Karina is the perfect person to take on the Site Coordinator role from Jessica Ellis, who was recently promoted to Site Director for the Dan Donahue Center. That’s because Karina had been assisting Jessica at the Townsend Center in 2014.
“Karina is so caring and encouraging with each of the students,” Jessica says. “She’s always motivating them and willing to share her personal story about the many obstacles she too faced while growing up in the community. Karina sees the potential in each student and really tries to pull out the best in each one.”
Having grown up in Santa Ana, Karina is well suited to understanding the challenges and opportunities within the neighborhoods we serve.
In addition to the academic achievement she works to develop in each student, Karina also hopes to impart even more of what she’s gained through her KidWorks years: “I was able to grow both personally and spiritually. I came to know God at a deeper level and grow in my faith.”
Outside of work, Karina has a full range of interests and hobbies.
“I absolutely love to dance!” she says. “In high school I was part of the school’s performing dance team. It has always been a passion of mine ever since I was a little girl. I also enjoy doing arts and crafts, scrapbooking and painting.”
Please join us in congratulating this delightful member of the KidWorks team on her new role and in wishing Karina every success.
By Glenn Leibowitz, Volunteer Content Writer