parents council

KidWorks Parent Council Gears Up For Even Bigger Dreams in 2018

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Vianey Quiroz and Maria Peña never set out to be role models when they joined the KidWorks’ Parent Advisory Council.  Yet, their hearts for their families, central Santa Ana and KidWorks has led them and 18 other parents to grow in ways they never imagined.

Vianey and Maria are members of our Parent Council, a group formed four years ago to strengthen the bond between KidWorks and the families we serve.

Now, the council is setting even higher goals for itself for 2018 and beyond.

“The council is expanding its focus to include not only KidWorks, but the community as a whole,” says Sonia Rios-Guzman, Parent Engagement Coordinator.

That has included everything from advocating for better street lighting, pushing sometimes reluctant landlords to make necessary apartment repairs and even addressing ways to improve traffic flow at our Dan Donahue Center during especially busy times.

“We really benefit from the leadership workshops where KidWorks has brought in outside speakers,” Vianey says.  “We have learned that to make meaningful change you have to understand how government works, make contacts with decision-makers and rally neighbors together because two, three and four is better than one when it comes to issues we all care about.”

Adds Maria, “I went from being an observer to now knowing that I want to be a part of making improvements at KidWorks and the community.  I want to give my time, effort and support.”

Like all members of the KidWorks Parent Council, Vianey and Maria have students enrolled in our programs.  For Vianey, that includes her son, Jared, a fifth grader; and Jair, a kindergartener.  For Maria it is her daughter, Stephanie, a ninth grader.  The 20 parents run their monthly council meetings like a well-managed business.

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“It’s so good to watch these parents work together as a strong team,” Sonia says.  “For each 90-minute monthly meeting, they come prepared with an agenda, prioritize goals and are now in the process to assigning responsibilities and deadlines.  They are a really hands-on group, lending invaluable support to events such as our annual resource fairs in the neighborhood.”

Maria says that one of the key lessons she has learned as part of the Parent Council is that meaningful changes rarely happen overnight.

“When a positive change happens, it’s worth all the time, effort and even occasional frustration that it takes,” Maria says.  “Because it means we’ve made life a little better for a child, a family and a community.”

Dedicated parents like Vianey and Maria, along with the other members of the KidWorks Parent Council, guarantee that Maria’s dreams for an even better Santa Ana are coming true.  

For more information about the KidWorks Parents Council including a calendar of events, click the button below. 

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer

Be Of Good Cheer: Volunteers & Donations Needed For KidWorks Christmas Store

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For many of the central Santa Ana families KidWorks serves, being able to purchase Christmas gifts is not always financially possible.  Their limited funds go to rent and groceries.  That’s why the KidWorks Christmas store has been such a blessing for hundreds of families for 15 years. 

“What makes the store so special to these parents is that it offers them a sense of being able to provide for their families,” says Sonia Rios-Guzman, KidWorks’ Parent Engagement Coordinator.  “They are able to buy gifts for their children to make the holidays brighter.  With the expansion of the Dan Donahue Center, we are enrolling even more students into our programs, and we hope the Christmas store will bless even more families this year.”

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This year, the store will be open to serve families on Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 8 a.m. to noon and on Tuesday, Dec. 19th from 8 a.m. to noon and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

You can make the holidays a time of joy for these families by helping in two important ways:

1) Donate Gifts & Gift Cards:  Please bring your new, unwrapped items to KidWorks no later than Dec. 14.

2) Volunteer at the KidWorks Christmas store:  Help wrap gifts for the parents, and assist those needing help loading gifts into their vehicle or cart.

Interested in knowing more?  Please contact the KidWorks’ volunteer department at:  714-834-9400, extension 115.

Your help will help continue our 15-year tradition of creating holiday smiles!