So, she’s renewed her internship with KidWorks four times serving 160 hours over 18 months both in-person and via Zoom interactive platform.

While Delilah will be the first to tell you that KidWorks’ mission is serious, being part of the journey is lots of fun.

She shares that, “Volunteering at KidWorks is different than what I anticipated because I thought we had to be serious with the students. But we actually get to have fun, participating in games and activities, plus assisting with tutoring and their classroom projects.” 

Delilah’s internship is made possible through the Santa Ana Unified School District’s (SAUSD) Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. The district and KidWorks are longtime partners on behalf of central Santa Ana students and families.

“CTE is a program of study that involves a multi-year sequence of courses within multiple industry pathways that integrate core academic knowledge with technical and occupational knowledge to provide students with a pathway to postsecondary education and careers,”

Herman Mitchell
MPA, Professional Internship Instructor, Segerstrom High School–Career and Technical Education, Santa Ana Unified School District.

Mr. Mitchell says the relationship between SAUSD and KidWorks “is one that transcends the norm.”  He adds, “Over the past few years, the internship relationship with KidWorks has allowed our students to grow both academically and professionally, giving them the opportunity to be engaged in a program that serves the youth and the community. The staff at KidWorks far exceed other organizations in our area in that they serve as mentors to the next generation of teachers and educational leaders.”

Mr. Mitchell sees the strong character and heart for others that Delilah brings her internship responsibilities.

He states the following relative to this outstanding student:  “I have known Delilah over the course of the last year and find her to be an outstanding student, leader and mentor to those that seek her counsel,” he says. “As an intern she has exceeded expectations and embraced the responsibilities and challenges presented to her.  Her tenacity and focus when employing problem-solving techniques and strategies are noteworthy in overcoming obstacles in a challenging environment.”

Mr. Mitchell adds the following, “As Delilah goes forward at the end of the year in pursuit of her college degree, there is no doubt that she will succeed.  She possess integrity, empathy, character and a work ethic rarely seen among her peers. It is truly an honor to be a part of her journey.”   

 During her year and a half as a volunteer and intern, 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.  

After in-person learning became impossible due to COVID-19, Delilah jumped right in through Zoom on-line learning sessions.

“The challenge of online learning is not being able to be there physically because some students do have limited internet access and others have difficulties learning online,” Delilah says. “The rewards of the online after school program is still seeing the students smiling and happy to see us. Even though they are going through a pandemic along with everyone else,  they are still excited to learn, even if it’s online.” 

Delilah’s approach is “gentle, comforting and inviting,” says Rachel Cervantes, Program Leader at our Dan Donahue Center, who also oversees KidWorks University workshops. “She has a soft voice that really assures the students and makes them feel very confident.”

Adds Rachel, “When we had our college talk with the students, Delilah was so encouraging because she shared her high school experience and all of her dreams as she is getting ready to transition to her next adventure. I remember how the students’ little eyes grew so wide with awe and admiration because they couldn’t believe they had a volunteer who was in school like them and was almost finished!”

Gerardo Magaña, our Senior Director of Volunteer and Leadership Resources, describes Delilah as “a bright and mature young leader who has grown in her confidence during her time at KidWorks.”

After she completes her senior year at Segerstom High School, Delilah plans to attend Orange Coast College, pursuing a double major in baking/pastry arts and child development.

In her spare time, Delilah enjoys spending time baking creative and tasty deserts. In fact, this enterprising young person has even started a small baking business of her own. 

Whether it’s through on-line learning or in-person tutoring, KidWorks is deeply grateful for the way 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.

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer