Young Professionals for KidWorks, established in late 2019, plans to increase their current 20-person membership level by at least eight to 10 for 2023, says Melissa Ley, Co-Chair of the group along with Jacob Miknuk, Senior Associate Consultant – Data Analytics at phData.

Melissa is First Vice President, Capital Markets at CBRE, the global leader in commercial real estate services and investments. She is located in their Newport Beach office.

“Young professionals who join our KidWorks group have the opportunity to give back to the local community while forming important career connections and long-term friendships with other professionals in Orange County,” Melissa says.

They held a mixer on Oct. 27 attended by 20 professionals, 12 of whom were new to the group.

One of the 12 decided to become a mentor as part of KidWorks College Success Initiative™ (CSI), which prepares first generation college students for higher education beyond high school and includes our College Apps Academy, Campus Crash (visits to colleges and universities), guidance from our staff, care packages for our college students and more. Ten other attendees signed up to volunteer at the Christmas party for the preschoolers in December, making the mixer a success.

“For the past four years, the Young Professionals for KidWorks have teamed up with CBRE to host a Christmas party for the KidWorks preschoolers,” Melissa says.

“We create eight to ten activity stations for the kids, including a bounce house, arts and crafts, obstacle course and more,” Melissa says. “At the end of the party, Santa delivers presents to each of the students. Safe to say there are big smiles all around!”

On Nov. 22 and again in 2023, the main fundraising event for Young Professionals for KidWorks is Giving Tuesday, the global day of giving that supports many non-profits.

“We raise money during this event through our networks and promote awareness on social media,” says Melissa.

She adds, “We have big plans for 2023 and would welcome those from a variety of backgrounds and professions to add to what is already a talented group of individuals.”  

Overall, the groups 2023 goals include:

In addition to encouraging young professionals to join the group, KidWorks also invites companies and organizations to let their teams know about the opportunity to join Young Professionals for KidWorks.

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer