For the 17th time since 2006, hundreds of KidWorks supporters gathered in November at our Foundation for Success luncheon. Thanks to the generosity of event sponsors and attendees, over $500,000 was raised… Continue Reading
Vanessa Rosas, our October 2023 “Volunteer of the Month” is a multi-year, longtime volunteer, especially with children and youth.
This month’s honoree is a California State University, Fullerton senior who’s volunteered at KidWorks since 2018 and is no stranger to other volunteer experiences as well.
Working with children is Vanessa’s passion. And KidWorks helped confirm for her that it’s her life’s calling.
Vanessa is a psychology major with a minor in child and adolescent studies. Her career goal is to become a child life specialist (a health care professional who works with young patients and his or her family during medical experiences, some very challenging).
Vanessa is now both a KidWorks intern and volunteer, serving 11 hours each week, exclusively at our Townsend Street Center in central Santa Ana. She works with each of the kindergarten through eighth grade students enrolled at that center.
While at the Townsend, Vanessa helps with homework, passes out snacks and assists with clean up.
“Vanessa has given so much of her time to KidWorks as a volunteer since she was in high school and continues to serve while in college,” says Karina Flores, Townsend Site Supervisor. “She has so much potential and enjoys helping students succeed.”
Adds Karina, “Vanessa takes the initiative. She has such a tender, gentle approach with students. They reach out to her.”
Rachel Cervantes, Volunteer Coordinator, adds: “Vanessa has been consistent and dependable; her sweet, welcoming demeanor and heart for our students is exemplary.”
Vanessa says her experiences at KidWorks confirmed her desire to work with children.
“I knew I wanted to work with children for my career, but I didn’t know if that was true for me until I tried it out,” Vanessa says. “I’m glad it was with KidWorks; I discovered I have the patience for children and enjoy being around them.”
She adds, “What’s most rewarding about being involved with KidWorks is getting to experience different temperaments from the children and the experience I gain from that.”
And in case anyone thinks being a volunteer helping with homework and other needs is all serious business, Vanessa will tell you that there are plenty of lighthearted moments and lots of laughter.
“One Thursday, most of the children were doing worksheets or finishing homework when I noticed a quiet child who liked to draw,” Vanessa says. “I approached her because she drew a character from a movie I liked. I asked if it was okay if I drew with her.
“That’s when two other children noticed and wanted to join; a child asked if we wanted to challenge each other with our drawing skills and make it timed. Everyone was being silly and having a good time.”
In addition to being a volunteer, Vanessa is a KidWorks intern. Her internships began this past August and continues into the fall.
“We are actively inviting high school and college/university students to consider serving as a volunteer or intern,” Rachel says. “It’s a great way to satisfy service hour requirements and to gain experience no matter what a person’s career goals might be.”
KidWorks is currently recruiting and accepting internship applications. More information is available by emailing Vanessa Hernandez, our Volunteer Manager, at Vanessa@kidworksoc.org
Vanessa keeps a very busy schedule in addition to her studies and volunteer time at KidWorks.
“I work full-time as an assistant manager at a restaurant called Cafe Cultura and have a part-time job as a caregiver,” she says.
When there’s time, she enjoys painting, baking, listening to music, taking her three dogs to the beach or park and going to the movies.
“Volunteering at KidWorks is so rewarding and helpful as I plan a career working with children,” Vanessa says. “At KidWorks, I’m building my relationships and skills with children. I get to face children’s different temperaments and the challenges that may bring. It’s such an impactful experience to volunteer at KidWorks.”
We are grateful that our students benefit each day our October “Volunteer of the Month” is in the classroom. We are honored that her career got a start with us.
By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer
We invite high school and college/university students to learn more about how KidWorks can provide you with opportunities to earn service hours, intern and volunteer.