One of our most popular communications are our Volunteer of the Month stories. As the year wraps up, your KidWorks team is delighted to share some Christmas cheer by recapping—and celebrating once again–the 10 Volunteers of the Month recognized in 2021. For 2022, we’ll continue to highlight our wonderful volunteers, partners and supporters.


Delilah Vaca

Delilah enjoyed her KidWorks’ internship so much that she renewed it several times. She volunteered via Zoom during the pandemic and in-person when programs are held on-site. Delilah has been part of our afterschool programs at the Dan Donahue Center for kindergarten and first graders. Before the pandemic, she assisted with homework and helped improve students’ reading skills. Delilah has been such an inspiring role model for our youngest scholars. As a baker, she knows the perfect recipe for academic, leadership and spiritual success.


Allison Wong

Allison Wong was born to volunteer. She’s been doing exactly that since she was 11 years old. At that age she even wrote and self-published a novel and used the proceeds to buy toys for children at a local hospital. Allison’s workshops for our junior high school students are focused on bullet journaling, which Allison describes as “dotted journals similar to planners but which are totally customizable.” She’s been bullet journaling since middle school. Allison shares her creativity with KidWorks in other meaningful ways. She formed a service-oriented club at college whose goal is to help underserved women and girls by providing them with essentials, such as pads, hand sanitizers, deodorants, combs, soap, lip balms and more. 


Elise Schroeder

When Elise Schroeder was a first grader, she had no idea what a college or university was. Now, she never misses an opportunity to tell our first graders about the importance of a college/university education. She’s also helped at our summer break program during the year before the pandemic. Elise believes so strongly in education that she plans a career as an educator. Her goal is to become a high school history and psychology teacher. Her positive attitude and warm demeanor are such gifts to all who interact with her. Elise is always willing to step up and take on leadership opportunities and fill gaps where needed.


Zeke Pena

When Zeke Pena attended elementary school, he often did his homework in less-than-ideal circumstances at home because the family of five didn’t have extra space for his studies. Little did he know that decades later this challenge would inspire him to build desks for KidWorks students who often studied at home in similarly cramped spaces because of the pandemic. Zeke has been both an in-person and on-line volunteer, as well as being very active in Young Professionals for KidWorks volunteer group of almost two dozen individuals in their 20s and 30s who volunteer at our events, after school programs and more. 


Cynthia Espinoza

Cynthia is able to identify so well with students enrolled in our programs. That’s because this KidWorks’ alumni was enrolled in our programs from eighth grade until she graduated high school. Until her freshman year in high school, Cynthia attended our Cedar Evergreen Center. She’s also been a welcome presence at our Dan Donahue Center since her freshman year in high school when she joined our youth leadership programs and began serving as a volunteer. She also helped with prepping the Cedar Evergreen Center for summer activities, and  then led game and crafts sessions. Cynthia was also a speaker at KidWorks’ Noche de Estrellas event in 2020. 


Pilar Quezada

Pilar has been a vital and inspiring volunteer during our online programs for students during the pandemic. Pilar signed up as a KidWorks volunteer in January 2021 as part of a class research project; her timing was perfect as our programs for students were being conducted on a “virtual” basis. Pilar has supported KidWorks by making weekly phone calls to parents, volunteering at our Youth Nights and Campus Crash and was instrumental in the planning, creating and leading breakout rooms. During her time as a volunteer, Pilar has mentored grades 11 and 12 graders, plus middle school students during Campus Crash, which introduces high school students to college and universities, and the Youth Lock-in, a night of fun and fellowship.


Karina Torres

Instilling a passion for volunteering in her children is a top priority for Karina. And it’s worked.  Along with her own years-long dedication as a volunteer, all of her family have helped out at KidWorks in one way or another. It’s been Karina’s heart’s desire to be what she calls “an A-to-Z volunteer.” That’s included preparing classrooms for our teachers, being a mentor and leader as part of our Parent Advisory Council, assisting our staff with office work, translating documents for non-English speaking parents, helping with set up and clean up at many of our community events, assisting with our Thanksgiving and Christmas outreaches to families in need, advocating for KidWorks with government leaders in Santa Ana and Sacramento and assisting with our Love in Music program.


Jes Liu

Jes has been an invaluable volunteer at our KidWorks Golf Classic since the very first event, taking on more and more responsibilities with joy and enthusiasm. She’s served on the golf classic tournament committee and started out by handling the many logistics that go into making such a major event a success. Jes has been instrumental in helping with the pre and post tournament logistics, making sure everything runs smoothly.  That’s included helping with registration and on-course support. She’s also been active with Young Professionals for KidWorks.


Elizabeth Chavez

Elizabeth is truly a hands-on, jump right in type of volunteer. The recent California State University, Fullerton graduate helps out with in-person after school programs, offering homework help, tracking student attendance, distributing snacks, joining in during recreation time and sanitizing tables, chairs books and doorknobs in the classroom after a session. Elizabeth was worked with students in grades first, third, fifth and sixth. Elizabeth was among one of the first volunteers we had back onsite and in person for our summer programs. She has since been a tremendous help with our fall launch, helping in the classroom two to three days a week


Omar Salazar

A dozen years ago, Omar Salazar’s mother, Maria, learned about KidWorks from a family friend in their central Santa Ana neighborhood. Soon afterward, Omar was enrolled as a KidWorks preschool student. Fast-forward to 2021 and Omar—now a high school junior —arrives every Monday and Tuesday afternoon at our Dan Donahue Center to tutor students during after school programs. He also helps with clean up after each session. Omar has also assisted with KidWorks University, our volunteer-led workshops that focus on art, science, music, dance, creative writing and more. Omar has also provided childcare for our youngest students when parents are at the center attending meetings. 

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer

If your New Year’s resolution is to give-back, consider serving as a KidWorks Volunteer.