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[September 2020] Kid City Hope Place

By Vicky Leon

Today is June 14, 2020, and I just attended Kid City Hope Place’s virtual graduation. On hand to celebrate were the graduates, their parents, Kid City alumni, staff, supporters, and fellow mentors. I tuned in to see my mentee, Emily Esquivel, who was one of the three commencement speakers.

Kid City has always had a special place in the hearts of our Centenary family members. It began in 2015, when Centenary gave care packages to Kid City kids for Valentine’s Day. Since then, Centenary has given Back to School and Spring care packages to Kid City high school and college students each year. Centenary hosted the Kid City College and Career Conference in 2018 and Kid City’s Leader Summit - Creating Your Journey Conference in 2019.

When I retired as a teacher from the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2018, I tried to figure out what God wanted me to do with my newfound extra time. I decided to become a mentor in Kid City’s Mentor Program. I was able to see firsthand how Kid City Hope Place becomes a second home to so many students living in Los Angeles’ inner city.

(Photo above: Vicky with Mary Michelle Noble at Centenary during Kid City’s Leader Summit - Creating Your Journey Conference.)

My first mentee was Mary Michelle Noble who has just completed her freshman year at Cal State L.A. and is majoring in Exercise Science. This year, I worked with Emily Esquivel who will be attending U.C. Santa Cruz and majoring in Environmental Studies/Earth Science.

The Kid City Mentor Program begins in August as mentors and mentees gather in a Speed Meeting Session to pair potential mentors and mentees. The mentors then work with the mentees once a week to help write their college entrance essays and complete college applications. The second half of the Mentor Program is used to apply for the much-needed scholarships. The best part of being a mentor is when I get to celebrate with my mentees as they make their big decision on which college they will attend and to see them start their journeys. Mary and Emily will always be a part of my life and I can’t wait to see what their future brings.

(Photo above: Vicky with Emily Esquivel at Kid City Hope Place)

Do you want to make a difference one student at a time? You may want to be a mentor at Kid City Hope Place and use the spiritual gifts that God has given you to help these college-bound students reach their potential. For more information, call Salvador Sanchez, Kid City’s Program Director at (213) 749-7371 or email him at

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