Thank you for making summer memorable for the students at KidWorks. We served over 225 students this summer, our largest enrollment ever!
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.
"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."
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.
If you visited KidWorks this summer you probably noticed the Lego Construction theme woven throughout our center. It served as a visual reminder of the coming expansion of the KidWorks Dan Donahue center but also how our students are building on the four pillars of success they learn throughout the school year.
KidWorks students expanded their faith and life experiences while attending Forest Home. Our students had plenty of time to enjoy the blessings of God’s creation. At the lake, they hiked, kayaked, tried out the water slides and swam. Soccer, basketball, tree climbing, obstacle course, pool, archery and slingshot swing were also on the menu.
If you happen to be a fourth grader, you’re probably very astute when it comes to evaluating field trips. So it’s definitely a ringing endorsement when our young students give such high marks to their recent complimentary visit to the Orange County Fair.
“This was the best field trip I’ve ever been on!” says Zuleima.
Added first grader Ashley, “My pizza was so good!”
In late July, 200 of our students in kindergarten through fifth grade spent the day at the fair, joined by staff and 22 volunteers, including several of our older students. Several of the older students served as a buddy to a younger students during the day.
For some of the kids, this was their first time going to a fair or amusement park so this outing was a special treat. The students also got to pet farm animals, dance to music, visit Centennial Farm, and learn through exhibits including a salute to the military at the Veterans. These and other similar experiences are some of the special features provided by our summer programs with support from our community partners.
“We are so grateful to the Orange County Fair officials for providing the tickets at no cost to our students and for giving each of them a $30 credit for games and food,” says Rachel Cervantes, a Program Leader at our KidWorks Dan Donahue Center. “Each child was also thrilled to receive a pass valid for three rides.”
Rachel says the kids’ day was packed with fun from start to finish.
“They rode a roller coaster and sky lift, won plush toys and cooled down in a water fountain--all while keeping their energy level up with pizza, and ice cream!” she says.
KidWorks extends a big “thank you!” to the Orange County Fair for making the day so special for our students.
By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer
Hundreds of children and youth had a tremendous summer at KidWorks. From July 5 through Aug. 12, students in grades kindergarten through 12 participated in “The Island”-themed activities that filled those long summer days while also keeping their minds stimulated so they were “ready to go” when school started again.
Our elementary and middle school students engaged in challenging games, faith-building bible lessons, creative craft making, field trips and other fun activities.
The high school students participated in our Leadership Academy, which for years has helped prepare them for higher education after high school and successful careers. These students experienced mentoring, company site visits to learn about the work world, character development and service opportunities.
We asked a few of your younger students to create crayon drawings so they can share their summer experience with you. We hope you enjoy their original artwork!
One of the most well-known and beloved verses in the bible is Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
This powerful message was brought to life this summer for our kindergarten through fifth grade students by Calvary Chapel’s Iglesia La Puerta Church.
Pastor Armando Reyes and 15 Iglesia La Puerta church members—including youth and adults—led the vacation bible study that took place the final week of our summer program. The church also hosted a fun day for neighborhood families on the Sunday following the conclusion of our summer program.
“Our youngsters absolutely loved the volunteers and the way they creatively made this bible verse relevant to their lives,” says Noemi Juarez, KidWorks’ Director of After School Programs. “The church volunteers told stories to the kids, helped then make crafts and even shared fun snacks that related to our ‘The Island’ summer theme.”
Noemi said that the students learned that treasurers are not just material items, but more importantly the people, faith and values that they hold dear in their hearts.
Noemi also thanked Teen Challenge for leading a similar bible study activity at our Bishop Manor satellite center and the Christ Before You Ministry organization for a fun beach day they hosted for students attending summer programs at our Cedar Evergreen Center.
By Glenn Leibowitz, Volunteer Content Writer
This week our KidWorks youth visited the Irvine Ranch Conservancy where they learned about rock formation, native/invasive plants (botany) and animals. They also learned all about national parks. They loved it! Here are some photos from our special time with the staff at the Irvine Ranch Conservancy.
On July 27th we took 11 KidWorks youth to BBVA Compass for our 2nd year of “Banker for a Day”! Our kids had a blast and many of them were inspired to learn more about a future in finance and banking. Here are some great photos from our time with BBVA Compass.