KidWorks rocks–literally. Each Saturday, up to 14 mothers of KidWorks students gather at our Dan Donahue Center for our recently re-launched Zumba classes.

It’s a mix of fitness, fun and friendship that supports our goal to serve parents as well as students enrolled in our programs.

The moms have been gathering each Saturday at 8 a.m. since September for an hourlong fitness workout led by volunteer Hortencia Plascencia, who has led Zumba classes for eight years.

“The idea to offer Zumba classes came directly from the moms when we surveyed parents this summer about the workshops and activities they’d like to see,” says Patty Nava, our Family and Community Engagement Program Assistant. “We immediately started working on their request.”

One of the surprising—and welcome—benefits of the classes is how they’ve gotten word out about KidWorks within the central Santa Ana community.

“Moms who may not have heard about KidWorks now know about the opportunities we offer their sons and daughters,” says Sonia Rios-Guzman, our Family and Community Engagement Manager.

The moms are thrilled that KidWorks offers Zumba. 

“I started attending Zumba because I wanted to further improve my health,” says Veronica Catalan, whose 10thgrade daughter, Sophia, is enrolled in our programs. “I really enjoy Zumba and getting to meet other parents.”

Veronica adds, “It feels good to come on Saturdays and exercise. I feel good about myself. The ambiance is great and I can see moms that are happy and relieved from stress!”

“I like coming to Zumba because it’s relaxing, you get to build new friendships and the overall goal for all of us is to build a better, healthier lifestyle,” says Yadira Mora, mom to fifth grader, Amy, and ninth grader, Leslie, who are both enrolled in our programs.

Yadira adds, “I know change is not going to happen overnight but exercising and trying to make a change for the better good of my health is what keeps me going. Zumba gives me motivation and it makes me take things step by step.”

Each class is filled with music ranging from Selena Quintanilla’s cumbia songs (a Latin American genre) to Jennifer Lopez’s hip hop tunes. 

“There are a lot of spatial movements as well as jumping and hand movements,” Patty says. “Many participants have brought their moms, neighbors, daughters and sisters. When the class ends, the moms help put the room back in place so it’s ready for the students.”

Zumba is representative of how KidWorks engages parents in programs specifically designed to support their needs. Other examples are ways to help their children academically, accessing resources offered by the city and county, plus opportunities to volunteer at KidWorks and in community improvement and safety projects, to name just a few.

Moms interested in signing up for Zumba classes or finding out more about Zumba can call Patty Nava, Family & Community Engagement Program Assistant at (714) 834-9400, ext. 127 or email her at

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer