June 2022 ‘Volunteer of the Month’: Floresita Sanchez-Garcia
When a person volunteers at KidWorks, his or her impact is deeply meaningful, whether they volunteer for a few days or several decades.
A perfect example is Floresita Sanchez-Garcia, our June 2022 “Volunteer of the Month.”
Floresita, 22-years-old, volunteered at KidWorks from March through June, as part of the University of California, Irvine’s service hours graduation requirement. (In June, Floresita earned two separate Bachelor of Arts degrees from UCI, one in education sciences and the other in psychological sciences.)
She’s the first in her family to graduate from a university.
While at KidWorks, Floresita was up for any and every task requested of her as she assisted in the Volunteer and College & Career departments.
The only reason Floresita is unable continue volunteering (something she says she grew to love) is that the drive is too far now that she’s working at her family-owned uniform clothing business in Pomona, where Floresita does embroidery and pressing.
“My time at KidWorks strengthened my decision to work with children,” Floresita says. “I wanted to be a teacher when I was younger but decided that it was going to be too difficult to work with kids.
“However, at KidWorks I saw the kids in a different light. I saw children that reminded me of my family and that made me realize that I would love to work with kids throughout my career.”
Floresita says that instead of feeling like “work,” her volunteering experience was quite the opposite.
“Once I started, I realized that being at KidWorks was actually a stress reliever,” Floresita says. “I’d walk through the front doors and leave everything about home and school behind.”
Adds Floresita, “I focused on the kids and the programs. I was determined to make sure my time was used well and to immerse in the programs.”
Floresita says her volunteer experience provided many opportunities for fun and laughter with our students.
“One of my favorite experiences was a Fun Friday, where students from all the centers joined together at the Dan Donahue Center,” Floresita remembers.
“I helped lead the hibiscus flower craft project where students glued a hibiscus flower to paper and painted it. The reason it was so touching to me was because this was the first time that I had the chance to really get to know students since the activity was so laid back.”
Adds Floresita, “I was super excited when a student who asked me name earlier in the day came back and called me by my name. I meant enough to her for her to remember my name!” The Volunteer and College & Career teams are some of Floresita’s biggest fans.
“Floresita is an encourager,” says Rachel Cervantes, our Volunteer Coordinator. “She is so selfless, hardworking, humble and caring.”
Rachel says Floresita supported the Volunteer Department with a variety of tasks.
“She helped make beautiful, informative flyers that we post on our Better Impact database for all volunteers to access,” Rachel says. “Floresita also supported us by planning and researching different outings for our student volunteers at the end of the year.”
Rachel also thanks Floresita for her Volunteer Appreciation Week support, decorating our entire Innovation Center for our multi-cultural youth night and her time as an after school programs volunteer with our younger students.
Clarisa Vargas, our College & Career Coordinator, says Floresita was a go-to star that the team could always count on.
“Floresita put her full effort and creativity behind all her work, making each experience meaningful for our students,” Clarisa says. “We could not have gotten everything done if it wasn’t for her.”
Floresita assisted with curriculum planning for the KidWorks University summer session and created a template for a life-size monopoly game to teach the middle school students about financial literacy.
“For our Noche de las Estrellas graduation event, Floresita translated our invitation into Spanish and helped decorate the center,” Clarisa says. “She also designed table tent cards on canvas for each graduating high school senior and their family and created over 20 KidWorks souvenir pins.”
Floresita also reached out to students getting ready to attend a college or a university, making sure they received their care packages.
Encouraged by her KidWorks experience and having earned to two Bachelors of Arts degrees, Floresita is now considering several potential career paths.
“My professional goal is to participate in bringing positive change,” Floresita says. “Some possibilities include a career as a social worker, youth counselor, teacher, or in the future, becoming a pediatrician.”
Floresita is very family oriented.
“My mom’s name is Maria Guadalupe (Lupe); my dad’s is Jose (Pepe or Apa),” Floresita says. “I am the youngest of seven kids, first, two boys and then five girls.”
In her spare time, Floresita loves time with family cooking for others and caring for a variety of family pets, including dogs, tortoises, a rabbit and budgies (parakeets).
Floresita doesn’t hesitate when asked whether she would encourage students to volunteer at KidWorks.
“Volunteering at KidWorks is such a fulfilling experience,” she says. “Students should definitely volunteer here if they are looking for a meaningful experience and an opportunity to not only create a community for students, but also to find one where you can find support from others.”
We are grateful that Floresita, our #1 Encourager, spent those meaningful months with us. She should know that she touched the lives of our staff, students, families and volunteers in truly remarkable ways.
By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer
We invite high school and college/university students to learn more about how KidWorks can provide you with opportunities to earn service hours, intern and volunteer