Allison Wong, our February 2021 “Volunteer of the Month” 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.
Now a sophomore at Orange County School of the Arts, Allison has volunteered at KidWorks for almost two years, tutoring elementary school students and developing their creativity through art-related KidWorks University workshops.
Allison is majoring in creative writing, and she brings this passion to KidWorks University, which offers a curriculum of volunteer-led workshops focused on art, science, music, dance, creative writing and more.
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.
“With a bullet journal, the students can draw calendars, set agendas and establish personal goals,” Allison says. “There is endless room for creativity and imagination in terms of structure and decoration.”
Allison is always thrilled to share her love of creative pursuits with our students.
“I’ve always loved art and have used it to express myself and tell stories through painting, drawing and creative writing,” she says. “During my workshops, it’s so gratifying to see the excitement expressed by the students. I provide markers, stickers and colorful tape for them to use as a way of decorating their bullet journals. This makes them want to continue journaling and they often return a week later with new journal pages they created on their own time.”
“I admire Allison’s patience and kind spirit,” says Rachel Cervantes, Program Leader at our Dan Donahue Center, who also oversees KidWorks University workshops. “She always makes sure that everyone is up to speed and provides students with the resources needed, even if that comes at her own expense. Allison goes above and beyond the role of a KidWorks volunteer.”
Allison has been able to quickly adapt when the workshops and tutoring moved to an on-line format due to the pandemic.
“Allison is consistently a ray of sunshine on Zoom sessions,” says Jacky Hernandez, Program Assist/Program Leader at our Donahue Center. “She dives right in, even willing to talk about difficult topics with our students. She also joins in on the fun with our students during recreation times.”
Our February “Volunteer of the Month” shares her creativity with KidWorks in other meaningful ways. She formed a service-oriented club at college whose goal is help underserved women and girls by providing them with essentials, such as sanitary pads, hand sanitizers, deodorants, combs, soap, lip balms and more.
“The club’s name is womxnwurld,” Allison explains. “The word ‘womxn’ is a term that’s now often being used to be inclusive of all women and distinguishes them from men, showing that we can be strong on our own merit.”
The club now has 11 members who are focused on generating donations, increasing awareness and seeking opportunities to give back.
Like its founder, womxnwurld also has a strong creative side. Their specialty is hand-made jewelry, particularly butterfly charms.
“Our logo is a butterfly flying around the earth,” Allison explains. “The butterfly symbolizes growth, change, strength and beauty, much like those we are striving to empower. These are great gifts for the girls at KidWorks. They deserve it!”
“In addition to the hygiene items that are increasingly vital during the pandemic, the jewelry adds the gift of cute accessories that really brighten a girl’s day,” Allison says.
Along with time spent at school and volunteering at KidWorks, Allison is also employed as a content editor for a start-up company.
As for her time volunteering at KidWorks, Allison says that she “enjoys every minute of it!” The entire team at KidWorks and all those we serve feel exactly the same about you, too, Allison.
By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer