In just a few years, college student and KidWorks volunteer Isaias Castillejos is likely to be standing in front of a middle school classroom as a fully credentialed teacher.

He’ll have more than his university degree and teaching credentials to offer—our January “Volunteer of the Month” will also have many hours of experience working with several grade levels of KidWorks’ students.

Moreover, Isaias exhibits a trait that’s invaluable to any teacher: The ability to meaningfully connect to every young mind filling the seats in his classroom.

“I grew up in south central Los Angeles, so I feel I can relate to them; plus, it feels nice for kids to see volunteers of the same ethnicity as them who attend college or a university,” says the University of California, Irvine, senior. “Volunteering aligns so well with my major in education with a specialization in children learning development.”

Isaias has been volunteering at KidWorks for three months, and has worked with students in grades six, seven, 10 and 11.  He recently increased his volunteer sessions from once to twice a week. He first heard about KidWorks from one of his university professors, who recommended us for the volunteer service hour commitment required of students. 

Our Volunteer of the Month honoree is enthusiastic about the potential he sees in our students.

“I feel there is big hope for the kids,” Isaias says. “During my time at KidWorks, I see more interaction and more participation in activities than when I was in school. KidWorks students seem to be genuinely enjoying and participating in the experience; I see a bright future for the kids and KidWorks as well.”

Our students staff are very appreciative to have Isaias in their classroom and a part of their lives.

Diego Q., grade seven, says: “I like that Mr. Isaias comes and helps a lot. It’s good to know I have someone watching my back. Thank you for that, Mr. Isaias. Every time he comes, I’m grateful he’s here. What  I like most about Mr. Isaias is that we like the same sports, especially soccer.”

Diana C., grade 11, says: “I’m grateful for Mr. Isaias, because he has helped me with math, which helped improve my chances of getting  a good score on quizzes.”

Our staff is equally appreciative:

“Isaias is very relational and personable,” says Cynthia Gomez, Youth Lead “He’s built great rapport with the students because he’s easy to talk to and isn’t shy about engaging in conversation along with homework help.”

Adds Cynthia, “Isaias is a role model with his ‘can-do’ attitude. He supports our students in a variety of ways, including helping serve food, cleanups, décor, tutoring and outside recreation. He talks to our students about things they care about, including the different kinds of colleges they can attend.”

Maria Ruvalcaba, Youth Leadership Development Coordinator, says, “Isaias approaches and talks to the youth like he’s known them all his life. He is confident in his manner of talking to them and being able to relate to them. The boys really enjoy playing outside sports with him and talking about cars.”

Isaias has brought so much to our students in all the ways he volunteers. We know that he will just as big a blessing to the students in the classes he will one day lead during his teaching career.

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.