When Emelyn Avalos was in third grade, she began attending our programs. She instantly fell in love with KidWorks. Now, as an education professional, she’s returned to help teach the youngest scholars enrolled in our state-licensed preschool.

“From the moment I started at KidWorks in elementary school, the staff was always welcoming to my family and me,” Emelyn says. “When attending KidWorks I always felt safe.”

She adds, “Through KidWorks, I’ve made friendships I still have to this day. I’ve also had so many wonderful first-time experiences, like summer camps, rock climbing and sailing. The memories I made with classmates and staff are ones I will cherish forever.”

Emelyn’s journey has not always been easy. Her father passed when she was only six years old.

“As a single parent, my mom has always worked her hardest to support both my brother and me,” Emelyn says.

She adds, “That’s why she is the person I most admire. Also, KidWorks has always been a place my mother knew she could turn to for help and support when we faced challenges while I was growing up.”

Emelyn’s mom was an active member of our Parent Advisory Council through her daughter’s senior year in high school.

As a preschool teacher assistant, this month’s “Meet the Teacher” team member knows that she is helping to guide preschoolers on their first steps towards graduating high school, attending a college/university and beginning meaningful careers.

Emelyn was in the first group of KidWorks students to enroll in and complete in our College Success Initiative™ (CSI). The initiative prepares first generation college students for higher education beyond high school and includes our College Apps Academy, Campus Crash (visits to colleges and universities), guidance from our staff, care packages for our college students and more.

Emelyn earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Vanguard University in December 2021. Prior to joining KidWorks, Emelyn was employed at a child development center in Irvine.

Reflecting on her own academic journey, Emelyn says, “KidWorks was always by my side, helping me and giving me resources during my college applications process. They always made sure to provide us with the resources we needed, like federal student aid assistance, college essay workshops and SAT prep classes and more.”

As a preschool teacher assistant, Emelyn has become fast friends with our little ones since she joined our team in August.

“The children love having her in the classroom,” says Idalia Galdamez, our Preschool Director. “Emelyn engages with the children while they are learning.”

She adds, “Her teaching style is impactful due to her caring, patient, respectful and proactive personality. Emelyn brings a passionate heart and eagerness to learn and serve not only the children and their families, but also to make a positive impact in her community.”

Says Minda Barrera-Vargas, Preschool Teacher, “Emelyn sees the whole classroom and has gotten to know the students. They feel they can go to her for any needs they may have. Her attitude and willingness and openness to learning shows that she is meant for a career in early education.”

When not at work, Emelyn enjoys spending time with friends and family, going to the beach and hiking.

We are grateful that Emelyn is bringing laughter, learning and a focus on future college success to preschoolers just beginning to master colors, shapes, numbers and the alphabet.

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer

Would you like to personally say “thanks” to Emelyn for the way she is developing our youngest scholars, please email her at: emelyn.avalos@kidworksoc.org