Before KidWorks came into my life, I hated my neighborhood. Every time I walked out my door I saw chaos and destruction. From afar, I have seen the face of someone who was dedicated to harm another. Helicopters often roam the sky above, police cars pass by every few hours. I have firsthand experience of a gunshot striking a glass bottle just mere feet away from where I was standing. What if that bottle had been me? I hated the uncertainty I felt each time I encountered anyone from my neighborhood. So when a new family was expected to live in the space available in the apartment complex in front of me, the only wish I had was that they would bring children into this place. Little did I know that I was about to encounter a whole load of them.
When KidWorks’ after school programs resume again in August, you can count on Jennifer Gonzalez being there. Jennifer, our July “Volunteer of the Month,” has logged 210 hours helping in the classroom and with various other needs since March. Although she is taking a break during summer, she is excited to return to her volunteer role in our After School Programs.
2018, the average U.S. national high school graduation rate was 84 percent (according to the latest available data from the government’s National Center for Education Statistics)—at KidWorks we have an impressive 100 percent high school graduation rate!
We are very proud that 17 “Class of 2019” high school seniors enrolled in our programs are graduating on time and 100 percent are enrolled in college/university this fall.
Karen G. recalls telling her mom, “I want to go to KidWorks!” as a three-year-old when she saw her big sister, Gilda, head off each weekday to our after-school programs. The persistence and tenacity that defines Karen’s personality to this very day meant she never let up until she convinced her mom to enroll her. Never mind that at three, Karen was still a year short of qualifying for KidWorks preschool programs.
Sonia Quijano is proof positive that it’s never too late to chase your dreams. This KidWorks mom was once a student at KidWorks almost twenty years ago and now her daughter Marilyn is a student in our preschool. Even though she is now busy raising her family, she is also pursuing her dream of becoming a high school guidance counselor.
Albert Einstein said, “Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.”
We think that’s the perfect way to describe the dedication found in all 19 of KidWorks’ amazing teachers.
Ask our students, and they’ll say our professional educators make learning delightful, challenging and fun. And their parents wholeheartedly concur.
That’s why we’re delighted to announce that May 13 – 17 will be Teacher Appreciation Week at KidWorks.
The KidWorks’ preschool has for many years given our youngest learners the solid foundation that they carry with them from kindergarten right through college or university, says Idalia Galdamez, Preschool Director. It’s not day care by any means; it’s a vibrant classroom where minds are stimulated and developed.
“At KidWorks, we believe learning is a lifelong, enjoyable and a challenging experience,” Idalia says. “Our preschool provides the children a well-balanced program on a daily basis. Each day the children are given opportunities to participate in music, literacy, science, math, art, reading time, inside free play, dramatic play and outside time.”
For the 2nd year in a row, KidWorks Spring Break Sensational Science camp was truly a success. Over the week of Spring Break, 170 students came to KidWorks for a week of hands-on STEM fun including 29 new students from the community.
Students got the opportunity to participate in hands-on science projects including designing a roller coaster, making play dough, race cars they built and designing a space suit thanks to our friends at PBS who provided the curriculum and materials for Science Camp.
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.
Dale has taught KidWorks University workshops since 2012, focusing on electronics, weather science, computer programing and woodworking. An electrical engineer by trade, with decades of professional experience, having designed automated test equipment for hydraulic components, industrial grade battery chargers and telecommunications equipment.
When KidWorks youth think spring break plans, it’s not a sunny vacation they are planning for. They are thinking about the long awaited “Campus Crash” week which is a key part of KidWorks College Success Initiative. Campus Crash is designed to expose students to a real – life college experience that instills in them the belief and motivation that college can be their reality.
Resolve. One definition of the word is to “decide firmly on a course of action.
Our resolve is stronger than ever to make 2019 the most beneficial experience possible for the hundreds of students and families we serve at KidWorks.
Another variation of the word resolve is resolution.
With 2019 now fully underway, we’d like to share our very own KidWorks’ 2019 New Year’s Resolutions:
When a tenth grade boy recently told university student and KidWorks volunteer Brianna Carter that his career goal in life was to become a fast food worker, she instantly knew God was asking her to intervene.
Our January 2019 Volunteer of the Month, Brianna Carter deeply values education and has clear career goals herself.
“I want to be an astrophysicist.” “I want to be a biomedical engineer.” “I want to be a gastroenterologist.” “I want to be a computer systems software developer.” “I want to be a mathematician.”
Those aren’t exactly the words you’re likely to hear from the young students enrolled in our state-licensed preschool, but we plant the seeds for meaningful careers at the earliest possible opportunity. And that focus continues as they walk with us through high school graduation and on to college.
Six years ago, professional musician Joe Cristina had a conversation with himself. He asked, “How does a Christian artist, musician and person of faith function in the secular world and make an impact and grow in their faith?”
Our December 2018 KidWorks “Volunteer of the Month” heard God’s answer, and he hasn’t slowed down since.