The Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence has nominated Lauren Woodworth, Kids Club program coordinator for Kyrene de la Sierra Elementary School, for this year’s Outstanding Afterschool Professional Award.

According to the press release, the 12th Annual 2013 Spotlight on Afterschool: Awards of Excellence Luncheon, will recognize after-school programs and staff members for their exemplary work in furthering the delivery of quality youth development programs in “out of school time” settings for Arizona’s children.

The Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence will honor 10 Arizona after-school leaders during the 2013 Arizona Statewide Afterschool Conference and Awards of Excellence Luncheon this Saturday, Nov. 2 at 12:30 p.m. in the Phoenix Convention Center Ballroom.

Winners will receive a $1,000 cash reward and an engraved trophy for their superseding work.

Woodworth is excited about becoming a finalist, saying it feels as if she has been nominated for an MTV Movie Award.

She began working at Sierra as program coordinator two years ago, but has been working with Kyrene Community Education Kids Club for more than six years.

Woodworth said she began working for Kyrene Kids Club as a lead teacher for one of the learning centers.

As the years progressed, Woodworth was given the opportunity to work as a specialist running the after-hour programs at Kyrene Centennial Middle School for a little over a year, and moved up the ranks to take over as coordinator for Sierra’s Kids Club.

Her love and desire for working with kids during after-school programs began when she received her bachelor’s in education at Arizona State, and was able to intern at the Kyrene School District.

The district seemed to be a perfect fit for Woodworth, being that she attended both Kyrene de la Mariposa Elementary and Kyrene Aprende Middle School.

“I just fell in love with the idea of after-school programs and after-school enrichment for students having a safe, loving, fun environment where kids can go and hang out until their parents come home,” Woodworth said. “It’s just been my passion ever since, and I can’t think of a time where I didn’t enjoy working with kids.”

During a daily work routine Woodworth overseas more than 70 to 90 kids a day, who are involved with different activity centers ranging from arts and crafts to outdoor activities.

“I feel very blessed to have wonderful families and to have great students behind me. I love my job and everything I do is for them… this is my passion and my life,” Woodworth said. “The fact that they think so highly of me just makes me feel better about what I do every day.”

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