KidWorks Volunteers of the Year

KidWorks Volunteers of the Year

KidWorks is blessed to have 936 volunteers serve each year at our four centers contributing an impressive 14,936 hours of service. Volunteers serve in our classrooms, help with graphics and blog writing and even help us raise money. As part of National Volunteer Week 2019, we want to recognize two outstanding volunteers at KidWorks who were named co-volunteers of the year because of their outstanding service.

Giving Tuesday is coming to KidWorks

Giving Tuesday is coming to KidWorks

#GivingTuesday has been the global day of giving since 2012.  #GivingTuesday always occurs after Black Friday and Cyber Monday and this year its on November 27th. 

Everybody has something to give. Whether you come together with your family, your community, your company or your favorite non-profit, it’s an opportunity for you to find a way to give back and then share your ideas.

By joining “A Global Day of Giving,” you’re a part of something big!  

Volunteer of the Month: Julissa Velasco

Volunteer of the Month: Julissa Velasco

Julissa Velasco--our October 2018 “Volunteer of the Month—may still be finishing up college, but you’d think she has had decades of teaching experience when you see her skillfully tutoring students enrolled in our afterschool programs

That’s because Julissa has for years made it a point to volunteer with tutoring programs offered in Santa Ana, where she’s lived most of her life.  That includes the elementary school she attended as a child.

Volunteer of the Month: Keng Go

For Hong Kong born Keng Go, the arrival of the Chinese Lunar New Year is always a time of great celebration with family and friends.  Those friends now include second, third and fourth graders enrolled in our after school programs.

That’s because during the last occurrence of this holiday, our August “Volunteer of the Month” took time to explain the cultural significance to our students.

Volunteer of the Month: Nancy Udave


The same magic that happens each day at our main Dan Donahue Center also occurs at each of our three satellite centers.  These locations—Bishop Manor, Cedar Evergreen and Townsend—are strategically located in underserved neighborhoods.

While these satellite centers are smaller in square footage than our main center, they have just as significant a positive impact on our students.  Just ask Nancy Udave, our July “Volunteer of the Month.”

Nancy has been volunteering at our Bishop Manor center for two full school semesters and plans to continue when the new school year starts in the fall.  She makes time to help out while also attending California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Like us, Nancy recognizes the vital work that’s accomplished at each KidWorks satellite center.

“The Bishop Manor center is unique because you get to see how this community comes together to help one another,” she says.  “I enjoy volunteering at this center not only because it’s located around the area I grew up as a kid, but also because of how close-knit this community is.  These children see one another as family rather than just another classmate.”

She adds, “I’ve lived in Santa Ana my entire life, and I’m so grateful to finally being able to give back to my community, knowing that I’m helping children achieve a brighter future brings me happiness,” Nancy says. 

Nancy says, “I am filled with joy knowing that I am making a difference in a child’s life by simply helping him or her with homework or drawing outside with chalk.  Volunteering is much more than only an opportunity; we can each also make it a priority in our lives to make changes in our community to help the children in need.  There’s nothing more fulfilling than to see the children raising their hand in excitement to get help from a KidWorks volunteer.”

Brizzy Cruz, Bishop Manor’s site director, sees Nancy’s positive impact first hand. 

“Nancy has been a great assent to Bishop Manor,” Brizzy says.  “She takes the initiative in tutoring students and looks for ways to keep children focused on their work.  She is also the sweetest person and brought cupcakes for our students to enjoy at our end of the year party and Christmas party last year.  She also encourages students to try new games, plays board games and interacts during sports time.”

Nancy tells a story that perfectly illustrates how a few hours volunteering at KidWorks after school programs is so appreciated by our students:

“I was walking into the center and going straight to the fifth grade table to help with their homework.  I usually sit in the middle of the table to be able to help all the children around me. One student asked, ‘Ms. Nancy, what days are you here?’ I answered two days out of the week and his response was, ‘I wish you were here every day to help us.  I like you being here.’  I realized that I domake a difference in each of the children’s’ lives even if it’s just having someone there to talk to or saying ‘hi’ to them.”


At the Cal State Dominguez Hills, Nancy is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Human Services.  “My career goal is to establish my myself in an agency as a social worker for neglected children,” she says.  “I also currently work at Smile Brands Inc. as a supervisor for patient financing.”

Nancy expresses what so many of our volunteers discover when she says, “KidWorks has been such a great fit for me.”

We feel the same way about you, Nancy!

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer






KidWorks Volunteer of the Month: Nancy Mai


The Bible often refers to the importance of humble service, and that’s a good description of Nancy Mai, the KidWorks’ February “Volunteer of the Month.”

For the past four years, Nancy has provided administration services to our Volunteer Department, assisting with data entry and other needs.

“By working in the background, I may not always interact directly with the students, however it makes me happy to know that my administrative work is vital to helping KidWorks run smoothly so we create wonderful moments for the kids,” Nancy says.

It’s not that Nancy never gets to spend time with our students, however.  In the past, she’s volunteered in support of our summer and after school programs.

“Nancy is extremely dependable and one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet,” says Melissa Peralta, our Volunteer Resource Manager.  “We look forward to seeing her every Friday like clockwork.  The work she does is so instrumental to providing the very best volunteer experience possible.”

Nancy says she first learned about KidWorks when she attended a panel at the University of California, Irvine. 

“From the start, I believed in what KidWorks was doing and that made me decide to get involved,” she says.  “Since then, I’ve made new friends by interacting with other volunteers.  And when a student happens to drop by, that’s always fun because you never know what he or she will do or say next!” 

Nancy values education just like we do.  At UCI, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and prior she earned an Associate Degree in chemistry from Santa Ana College.  Her career goal is to become a physician’s assistant.  In pursuit of that objective, she’s doing volunteer work at a local hospital, serving in the emergency and nursing units.

For fun, Nancy says she enjoys reading and movies, plus arts and crafts (she’s made keychains, earrings and greeting cards).

Nancy is also best friends with her cat, Bear.

“I sometimes dress him up,” she confesses.  Bear declined to comment about how he feels about that activity!

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer


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


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.”

ChrsitmasStore 2017.jpg

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!


In just 10 short days, we’ll turn the calendar page and welcome 2017.  That means most of us are probably already jotting down our New Year’s resolutions.

At KidWorks, we believe that volunteering should be on everyone’s list.  As a KidWorks supporter, we appreciate all the ways you’ve lent a hand, and we look forward to our continued partnership in 2017.

Perhaps you know of a family member or friend looking for a way to add even more meaning to his or her life by volunteering and serving others. 

If you know someone like that, we’d be grateful if you could point them our way. They can find out more by visiting the volunteer page on our website: 

Click Here for information on volunteering! 

Thank you for helping us get the word out to potential volunteers!