Erika Sanchez, one of KidWorks’ most accomplished alumni, was recently elected to serve on our Board of Directors. 

Erika was enrolled in KidWorks as a student from second grade until she graduated from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana.

In 2015, Erika earned her Master of Arts in Transformational Urban Leadership degree from Azusa Pacific University.

She also served on our staff for three years, with her final role being  College & Career Manager. In that role, Erika created the College & Career Success initiative, which is a keystone program of the organization today.

Erika is now Project Director of Hispanic Serving Institutions at Concordia University in Irvine, California. Prior to that she was Director of Hispanic Services at Biola University.

Erika also served in long-term missions in the Philippines where she worked at a non-profit to create scholarship opportunities for first generation college students. 

She has 10 years of experience in higher education access, scholarship development and first-generation support services. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Tagalog.

“Erika is a very strong addition to our board,” says David Benavides, KidWorks’ Chief Executive Officer. “Our board is comprised of a wide spectrum of talented individuals from various industries and walks of life. Our newest board member brings with her both the perspective of a former student and staff member.”

“I’m excited to contribute my insight and expertise as a community leader,” Erika says. “My experience as an alumnus and as a previous staff member will inform the decisions I make serving in this important leadership position. I continue to champion KidWorks’ students and families.”

Erika says she is excited by a board member’s duties, which include fiduciary responsibility, oversight of the organization’s budget and key decisions about the future.

Our newest board member says her leadership role at Concordia University is a perfect fit with her service on our board.

“At Concordia University, I oversee the institution’s first and largest federal $9 million grant, which funds the implementation of effective programming to support Hispanic student enrollment in higher education, retention and graduation.”

She adds, “Through my expertise in program development and expansive experience working with Hispanic first-generation students, I have been able to build a team of faculty, staff, students and partners to do this work in the Santa Ana community. 

“On the board, my goal is to provide a wide scope of knowledge and a bird’s eye view of the ever-changing landscape within higher education and its impact on KidWorks’ students. I hope to be a valuable partner with KidWorks, a vital Hispanic-serving non-profit.

“My expertise is in program development. I think of myself more closely to an engineer, creating and building something new. I enjoy building a team that is high in trust that is brave enough to be creative and willing to troubleshoot.”

She adds, “In my off hours I have fun with my dog, a two-year-old husky. I also enjoy gardening and hosting dinner parties/gatherings. It’s always a special treat to spend time with my nieces and nephews.”

We are grateful for the journey we’ve shared with Erika for so many years. We are thankful that this KidWorks’ star is now helping us chart the course for an even more impactful KidWorks future.

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer