In the 15 months since they officially formed, the KidWorks Women (KWW) auxiliary group of dedicated friends have provided remarkable ongoing support to our students.

Their focus is: Fun. Faith. Philanthropy.

KWW’s generosity was exemplified once again in October when the committee assembled 60 care packages for students who graduated from our programs and are now enrolled in colleges and universities.

“The kits included a variety of items, including gift cards from Amazon, Starbucks and Chipotle (the restaurant donated their gift cards), along with school supplies, an insulated mug, healthy snacks and hygiene items such as lip balm and hand sanitizers,” says Stephanie Peleuses, who serves with Camille Strader as philanthropy chairs of KWW. “The number of care packages has grown every year since we first launched the project four years ago.”

Each package also includes a personalized prayer and inspirational message.

Joining Camille and Stephanie on the project are KWW members Susan Graham, Ginny Koury, Monica Mendoza and Mel Murray.

The women fundraised and purchased all items themselves, and then assembled the packages at KidWorks on October 16. They also covered shipping costs.

“It’s fun to imagine the joy and smiles on our students’ faces when they receive and open a care package from KWW,” says Brenda Trujillo Sanchez, our Senior College and Career Manager. “Whether a student is attending a local college or living miles away in a dorm, the care package lets them know we continue walk alongside them on their academic journey and in life.”

“We time the packages to arrive during the first semester/quarter, just before finals begin,” Camille says. “Those of us who remember the stress of finals will appreciate the strategic timing!”

Adds Camille, “Almost all of our KidWorks college students are the first generation in their families to go to college. It’s an experience that is exciting and maybe a little challenging. We hope these boxes encourage them to continue to pursue their dreams, to work hard and to know that there are lots of people supporting them and cheering for them back home.”

Both Camille and Stephanie recall their college days and how support from home was so vital and appreciated.

Says Camille, “My message to the students is, ‘I hope the care packages brighten your day and that you know we are cheering for you. You’ve got this and we know God has big plans for you. Keep up the hard work!  We are so proud of you!’”

“Each of our students is taking a brave and important step for themselves and the future of their families,” Stephanie says. “We want them to know they have an abundance of love, support and prayers behind them.”

She adds, “KidWorks Women support you and pray for you and we are proud of you. As the first female in my family  to attend college, I appreciate what a big step this is for our students.”

KidWorks is deeply appreciative of the many ways KWW is making a profound positive difference in the lives of our students. And they’ve only just begun.

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer