Terry Donahue doesn't want to argue about it

"And the center has Dan's name on it."

The Donahue Center's staff now targets gang neighborhoods with the intent of keeping youngsters engaged and out of prison.

Ava Steaffens, better known as Mother Teresa to Donahue, now has the center working with 800 kids every week.

"Look at these preschoolers," Steaffens says on a tour of the center. "They're here from gang neighborhoods; we believe in putting kids on the university track from the very start."

Before the center, KidWorks was doing its work out of a two-bedroom apartment in the middle of the Santa Ana barrio.

"A line of kids would extend from the door to the street waiting for their chance to be tutored," says Terry.

Some kids can't visit the Donahue Center because it would mean crossing into another gang's territory. So KidWorks has established a satellite center for their safety.

"Tough, tough neighborhood," Donahue says while warning me not to visit the satellite site alone.

The Donahue Center is beyond impressive, also doing work with Mater Dei, one of the premier high schools in Orange County. Mater Dei offers half-scholarships to KidWorks' youngsters, KidWorks picking up the remaining cost.

Six children graduated last year from Mater Dei, six more currently in school.

"If Dan were here he'd be humbled to see his name on the center," Donahue says. "Then he would want to know why the sign couldn't be a little bigger."

Terry will be working the Stanford-UCLA game in two weeks as a Dial Global broadcaster, and spends much of his time now trying to help even more kids.

Calling it "California Showcase," Donahue will try to bring high school seniors and small-college coaches together at no charge, hoping some kids will land football scholarships.

"KidWorks showed me you can make a difference," he says.

There's a wonderful picture on cashowcase.org promoting the Feb. 23 football event at the Home Depot Center. It's Donahue being carried off the field after beating USC in his last regular-season game.

The big guy doing the heavy lifting in the photo and wearing the UCLA hat that's too small for his head is Dan.

And now with Dan in mind, Terry, brother Pat and their friends remain committed to helping KidWorks. Thursday there will be a fund-raising luncheon at the Doubletree Hotel in Santa Ana featuring Donahue and Robinson. (Tickets available via lisa@kidworksonline.org.)

I wonder what Donahue and Robinson might discuss?

Kiffin? "I'm in the minority; I like Kiffin," Terry says. "I watch him and I think he's developing as a coach."

Mora? "He's done a great job. He brought in his own culture, tightened the program and inherited some good players from Rick Neuheisel."

And we're arguing again, Terry laughing and saying, "Could see you and Dan having some beers together and getting along just great. And both of you thinking you were right on everything."

Anyways, I tell him, just happy I could learn about your brother. And straighten you out after all this time.

"Don't you write that," Donahue says.

Of course not.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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