Title: Program Assistant
Center: Dan Donahue
Ages: Kindergarten, 11th & 12th grade
Hobbies: Jiu-jitsu and photography
Favorite after school snack: PB&J

(Editor’s note: KidWorks confidently believes that we have some of the most talented and caring teachers ever to lead a classroom of eager students. Here, we begin a new monthly feature called “Meet the Teacher,” where readers have the chance to know each of our dedicated educators a little better.)

As a newcomer to the teaching profession, Jesus says he’s quickly learned that students, especially those in high school, appreciate a chance to offer an opinion or point of view.

“From the perspective of a new teacher, in these past weeks since programs started, I’ve seen that students are greatly motivated when given the chance to have a say in the classroom,” Jesus says.

He adds, “Having a voice that has power creates a feeling of confidence that can easily transfer to their school life as well as prepare them for their future careers.”

Jesus is quick to acknowledge that “navigating the classroom is sometimes a challenging experience.”

He credits a recent seminar made available to he and other KidWorks teachers on what he describes as “how to better unleash the potential of our youth and to help them reach their goals.”

While homework can be serious business for both students and teachers, Jesus sees that KidWorks is much more, since we are focused on developing “the whole person” spiritually, creatively, emotionally, as leaders and people who give back to society.

“One of my favorite KidWorks memory is Star Rock Ministries Camp,” Jesus says.

“During camp, students and staff were challenged to try new things and participate in a whole variety of activities such as rock climbing, archery and discovering nature,” Jesus says.

He adds, “We also had the opportunity to hear wonderful messages from different pastors and to worship God in the evenings. At the end of camp, students and staff gained character development but more importantly, spiritual growth.”

Jesus is a Santa Ana native and is fully committed to doing his part to give back and inspire his students to do so as well.

“The most exciting part about being at KidWorks is the opportunity to contribute to the community where I grew up,” Jesus says. “I was enrolled in KidWorks’ after school programs when I has in middle and high school, so I want to give my students the best experience possible as well as provide them with the best learning environment.”

He adds, “Before KidWorks, I worked in the food industry. I had all the roles that one can imagine, including dishwasher, server, cashier, prep, barista and manager.”

“I feel blessed to have learned patience and multi-tasking from those roles, given that I applied them quite often in my years attending university, whether it was on projects, assignments or exams.”

Jesus says he applies these same skills and experiences in his role at KidWorks because of the variety of activities offered, such as arts and crafts, sports, learning labs and more.

Jesus has many dreams for himself as well as for our students.

“I love photography,” he says. “In high school I took a Regional Occupational Program class and was able to become a certified digital photographer. I graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and aspire to one day become a college professor.”

He adds, “Jiu-jitsu is one of my favorite hobbies and I’m an active competitor with the hopes of becoming a professional.”

KidWorks sees Jesus’ positive impact on our students each day he welcomes them into our classrooms. He’s truly a role model who inspires, motivates and encourages at every opportunity.

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer

Would you like to personally welcome Jesus to KidWorks and thank him for helping to mold young minds? You can email him at: jesus.arroyo@kidworksoc.org