Vicki Randall, our February 2022 “Volunteer of the Month,” recently retired from Delta Airlines after a 43-year career as a flight attendant. It’s probably no surprise, then, that she says her formula for success in working with our preschool students is “to be calm, patient and encouraging.”

Vicki is an absolute favorite with the young scholars who attend our state-licensed preschool.

Minda Barrera-Vargas, one of our preschool teachers, says she loves “how Vicki enjoys listening to the children’s stories and jokes.” Adds Minda,  “Vicki is a great listener. It’s very neat to see how she smiles or laughs with the children.”

If you ask Vicki, she’s actually the one having all the fun.

“These children are such fun, open, loving kids,” Vicki says. “It’s a pleasure to spend time with them. The children always enjoy some one-on-one time and attention. I think it makes them feel special, and who doesn’t love that! If you show an honest interest in them, the shy kids will open up to you.”

Vicki first heard about KidWorks from a neighbor who volunteers with us.

Idalia Galdamez, our Preschool Director is just as grateful as our preschoolers to see Vicki arrive at the center.

 “Vicki is very patient, sweet, caring and gets to the children’s eye level to connect with them,” Idalia says. “She’s very encouraging when she sees the children putting an effort to complete a task or even cleaning. Some preschoolers have a challenging time when it comes to cleaning, so just by staying on their side and motivating them can be a big accomplishment.”

Idalia says that Vicki is a very proactive volunteer.

“Since Day One, Vicki has always asked us to let her know whenever donations are needed for the program,” Idalia says. “She wants to make sure the children have what they need to make their learning experience a wonderful one.”

“At preschool I try to lighten the load for the teachers,” Vicki says. “They are such patient insightful women. If I can make their day go more smoothly, then I’ve done my job. I do whatever is needed. I put together homework packets, sanitize desks and toys etc. I spend most of my time helping with the children.”

Vicki also volunteers helping kindergarten students during our after-school programs. “In the after-school program I mostly help them with homework,” she says. “If they finish early, we read a book together. I focus on what they need at the moment.”

Adds Vicki, “Being around young children is such a positive aspect of my life. I love how honest and open they are. The smallest thing brings them joy. My hope for these students is that they learn the value of a good education. I feel their KidWorks experience will guide them into developing a sense of community and charity that stays with them into their entire adult life.”

“Vicki is so caring and makes every person and student feel so important and seen,” says Rachel Cervantes, Volunteer Coordinator (who prior to her new role with KidWorks was an After School Program Leader and most recently our Arts & Enrichment Coordinator). “When I was a first and fourth grade teacher, Vicki always asked me what I needed. She’s more than willing to sit with a student and stay past the end of a session.”

Adds Rachel, “Vicki always rises to the occasion and gives her whole attention to the task at hand. She always empowers students to think for themselves by gently guiding them with questions and lots of patience. I’m grateful to Vicki for her outpouring of support and love to myself and the students.”

Idalia also says that Vicki is a very proactive volunteer.

“Vicki is very thorough and hands-on when it comes to helping us with the cleaning and disinfecting in the classroom,” Idalia says. “She knows it’s important to have the children in a healthy and safe space, and  actively works towards that goal.”

Vicki sees the bigger picture about how preschool sets children on the right academic and life path.

“I love that the KidWorks programs start with preschool,” she says. “This gets these young children thinking about their futures and what an important role education will play in their lives.”

Vicki’s husband, Dee, also worked for Delta, as a pilot. Their daughter, Sam, recently graduated with honors from George Washington University.

Vicki has taken up the sport of pickleball and enjoys playing whenever she can.

“I’m grateful that I now have time to volunteer,” Vicki says. “Being at KidWorks is always such a positive experience. All of the staff and teachers are fabulous. Their positive energy is contagious and the kids always make me smile.”

And Vicki has a suggestion to share:  “If you are thinking about volunteering, think about KidWorks.”

We are deeply grateful that Vicki did exactly that!

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer