Editor’s note:  In this occasional feature, we are proud to introduce you to our newest team members, along with staff who have been recently promoted. Each one looks forward to working with our wonderful partners and supporters, along with those we serve.

Program Assistant

Jesus Arroyo

“The most exciting part about being at KidWorks is the opportunity to give back to the community where I grew up. 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.

“As a Program Assistant my area of focus is working with students in kindergarten through fifth grade. 

“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.

“These same skills and experiences can definitely be applied at KidWorks given the variety of activities we offer, such as arts and crafts, sports, learning labs and more.

“I love photography. 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.

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

College & Career Program Assistant

Analisa (Ana) Camacho

“I’ll be focusing on college and career readiness, as well as the Mater Dei High School ‘Scholars Program.’ In addition, I’ll be planning fun events for our high school seniors.

“I especially look forward to the opportunity to make connections with KidWorks’ students and supporting them with their academic and professional goals. 

“Before joining KidWorks, I was a Human Resources Assistant at Claremont McKenna College.

“I grew up in San Francisco and moved to Southern California to attend high school. I have a passion for social justice, the arts, mental health, and wildlife conservation. I spend my free time with loved ones and participating in outdoor activities. I enjoy reading books written for Latinx readers and listening to my favorite podcast, ‘The Try Wives.’”

Program Assistant

Bryant Busto

“As someone who was enrolled in KidWorks’ program when I was younger, I’m really  looking forward to seeing how much I can contribute as a team member. Having once been a KidWorks student, I’m now seeing the other side of programs from a different perspective during the school year.

“I have prior experience working with children and youth. That includes taking care of kids when relatives visited our family home. I looked after and cared for their children.

“Before joining KidWorks, I worked at a place called Two Hands. I was a cashier/kitchen helper. I mainly helped in the kitchen preparing the food and assisting at the cash register.”

Program Assistant

Gus Marquez

“I’m ecstatic to return to KidWorks as a member of the team after having worked at the former Bishop Manor satellite center from 2015 to 2016. Now, I’m back as a program assistant at the Dan Donahue Center, where my main focus year-round will be implementing programmatic elements in tutoring, educational instruction and enrichment activities, specifically for kindergarten through 12th grades.

“At KidWorks, I’m able to give back to the community where grew up and that’s nothing short of exceptional.  

“Before returning to KidWorks, I was an assistant coach at Apex Volleyball Club in Seal Beach. I was in charge of instructing athletes in individual and team fundamentals and strategy, plus any physical training necessary to succeed as individual and as a team. I also coordinated logistics for events, including trips, tournaments, meetings, lodging, transportation and food.

“I’m also a collegiate athlete for men’s volleyball team at Westcliff University. I play middle blocker. I’ve been playing volleyball for five years and it’s been a great experience.”

Fund Development Assistant

Kim Sabbag

“It was by pure chance that I ended up at KidWorks. I had been working for the same person for over 25 years when she was nearing retirement. What an incredible blessing it was that she knew Lisa Gels, KidWorks’ Associate Director of Development, and was told that KidWorks was looking to add a new member to their fund development team.

“I can’t even begin to say how glad I am to be working with such an amazing group of people doing even more amazing things for the children in Santa Ana.

“Even though I am a remote worker and started during the pandemic, I get to interact daily with some individuals that I have grown to care about very much. I made a trip to California in January. I cannot wait to make another trip next week for the Festival of Orange County Chefs!

“Although raised in the Midwest, I have now lived in Texas for four years with my husband, Peter; dog, Penny and cat, Hugo.

“It was easy leaving the cold and wind and hard to leave my beloved Chicago Cubs, but we love it in Austin. I have two children who are now young adults and starting to make a way of their own in this life and it is very fulfilling to watch them continue to grow.”

Marketing & Communications Associate

Ryann Smith

“I fell in love with KidWorks during the job interview process and learned that it was a huge part of my friend’s life growing up! It was neat to hear it from an alumni’s perspective and someone my age who was greatly and positively impacted by this organization.

“I am most excited about telling KidWorks’ story. With our 30th anniversary coming up, I’ll have a lot of opportunities to look back on everything God has done the last 30 years at KidWorks and communicate the vision we have for the next 30.

“I will be working with the Fund Development team on telling KidWorks’ story, events, campaign management, content creation and working with the Young Professionals for KidWorks Committee.

“Before joining KidWorks, I served as Communications Director at Grace Fellowship Church in Costa Mesa. I started working in children’s ministry, but at the beginning of the pandemic there was a need for someone to communicate with the congregation while doing church at home, so I’ve spent my last two years managing those responsibilities.

“I moved to California five years ago from my hometown Kansas City, Missouri after I rode my bike 500 miles down the coast of California with two nonprofits, Love Does and Venture to fight against human trafficking.”

College & Career Readiness Coordinator

Clarisa Vargas

“I’m so excited to use my educational experience as motivation for our students. Coming from a low-income Hispanic home, my parents pushed me to get an education and see the value of what it can offer. I was able to earn my degrees while traveling all around the world. My hope is that I can inspire our students that no matter where you come from, the future can be bright. I am excited to build those connections with the students and be their cheerleader.

“In my role, I work with our high school students, supporting them to become college bound and prepared to have success through the college application and acceptance process. I lead our College Apps Academy program for high school seniors at KidWorks and in the community, supporting them through college applications, financial aid applications and college decisions. I also lead College Chats for our junior high and high school students to focus on college and career readiness, life-skills and personal development. I also organize Campus Crash for grades six through 12, where we take our students to visit college campuses and start to envision what life could be like for them as college students.

“I love traveling and have been to 20 countries and 32 states.  I also love national parks and have visited over 20; my favorites are Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and Glacier National Park in Montana. I am also a big Disney fan!”

Congratulations to our recently promoted colleagues
Please join us in congratulating these KidWorks team member on their recent promotions:

Jacky Hernandez, Program Administration Lead
Sonia Rios-Guzman, Family & Community Engagement Manager
Daisy Rojas, Enrichment Coordinator