There’s something that drives youth development professionals to spend their days working with kids. For Alma Gutierrez, it’s simple: She loves being around them!
Gutierrez works for our KidsCare division at Model Elementary School every afternoon. The journey to KidsCare started over the summer when she began working for Camp Koda, a summer program offered through KidsCare.
“I got to go on field trips, and it really is simple: I just love kids,” Gutierrez said.
She’s been a paraprofessional at the school for the past five years. After working with Camp Koda, she decided she wanted to keep the connection with the kids going. So, after a day of working at Model, she walks down the hall and makes sure they have a safe space to go after school.
“Instead of going home by themselves, we can offer them somewhere safe. I watched my siblings growing up while my mom worked first and second shift jobs,” she said.
Her connection to the school helps with the after-school program.
“I get to talk to their teachers every day, so I can ask them if there is something we should be focused on during our dedicated homework time,” Gutierrez said.
She works hard to establish connections with the kids in the program.
“I love that I can be someone they can talk to if they’re having issues. Just the trust we develop. Even when we have to give discipline, I still get hugs at the end of the day,” Gutierrez said.
She especially loves watching the creativity kids show during their fun time after school.
“There’s one kid who loves to make the craziest things out of brain flakes (interlocking plastic discs). I love the creative things they come up with,” she said. “We do art projects every Friday. I really look forward to that. I took seven art classes in high school, so I’m able to help them with their projects.”