Founders Blog

Meet the Founder

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Julie Hudash is the founder and CEO of Team Kids. Julie’s interest lies in securing systemic community change for youth, through harnessing innovative partnerships to inspire our youngest citizens.

Julie is a Graduate of University of Southern California, where she majored in Communications. She also attended graduate school at University of Missouri St. Louis as a Masters student in Educational Counseling. As captain of her USC Track team, it was through the power of teamwork and community service that Julie first discovered the joy in helping others.

Julie is also a writer who tackles difficult issues on behalf of children. She’s had several pieces published in The Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register. Her focus is on youth advocacy issues, such as youth development, child safety, and the importance of youth-led activities to help kids thrive.

Julie and her husband Ray live in Irvine, CA, and are the proud parents of five great kids. Her children served as the inspiration for the founding of Team Kids. All five kids continue to play a key role in the success and expansion of the organization!
Connect with Julie on LinkedIn

Oakley Hosts Night of Innovation and Inspiration for Team Kids!

Oakley Hosts Night of Innovation and Inspiration for Team Kids!

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Read the Full Length First Volume of The Team Kids Times Here!

The third annual “Team Kids Innovative Thinkers Forum,” held on October 22 at Oakley’s iconic Headquarters, broke Team Kids’ all-time fundraising records and created the buzz of a Hollywood movie premiere. Fueled by high-profile executives from NASA, Oakley and Ekso Bionics and two-time Academy Award nominated actor/producer Jeremy Renner, Team Kids welcomed 400 guests and raised more than $160,000 in funds to support its mission to empower children to change the world.

“Tonight was about bringing heroes together: our police, firefighters, The Avengers’ Hawkeye, and some of the most brilliant minds in the universe,” says Team Kids’ Founder and CEO Julie Hudash. “But the adults were also incredibly inspired by our kids, who reminded us that they too are heroes, and also the most powerful and renewable resource in the world!”

If you weren’t able to join us for ITF III stay tuned for a video link to the event forum discussion. The four panelists discussed their respective paths to innovation and answered personal questions, including their pivotal moments in life and greatest failures, and left the audience with the gift of their pearls of wisdom. “The panel of global innovators and the kids shared a similar message; be fearless, courageous and work hard” remarked Team Kids Board Member and Event Chair, Joe Burke.

Click Here for event story in the OC Register

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Innovative Thinkers Forum III: Why Creativity is Critcal

Innovative Thinkers Forum III: Why Creativity is Critcal

ITF IIIEveryone knows our kids are our future.

Philanthropists, educators, child advocates and the government funnel a great deal of time, energy and dollar bills to our kids. Yet there remains some rising crises facing the kids in our country and one in particular really gets me: The “Creativity Crisis.” So dubbed in 2011 after Kyung Hee Kim’s disturbing empirical research detailing the rise and fall of our kids’ creative cognitive abilities took the world by storm. Kim writes: “children have become less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle.”

The Bad News

This reality is particularly worrisome in light of the fact that creativity in our children will be absolutely required to address the issues we will all be faced with in the coming years. We live in a rapidly evolving world and we will need a generation of cutting edge critical thinkers to think our way out of the myriad of messes we’ve created. Without the cognitive abilities Kim details above, how are we going to get at the complexities of our most pressing problems?

The Good News

This is all rather simple. We are not supporting the creativity that already exists within each and every child. In fact, the opposite is often true – their imaginative nature is being stifled by overly structured days, excessive performance pressure, and technological inundation. BUT all we as adults need to do is give children the space, time and opportunities for their innate creativity to flourish.

The Great News (And Where You Come In)

Thankfully, there are people out there doing just this. And there happens to be a one-of-a-kind event in Orange County, CA on the evening of October 22 that gives us all a chance to support it: Team Kids Innovative Thinkers Forum III, hosted at Oakely‘s iconic headquarters in Foothill Ranch, is bringing together Hollywood Avenger Jeremy Renner and leading global innovators from NASA, Oakley and Ekso Bionics to speak in an intimate panel about their respective paths to innovation and how to inspire ingenuity in our youngest leaders. An impressive group of these young leaders will be present, showcasing international prize winning science fair projects and asking Jeremy Renner questions about innovation. They will also be joined by leading entrepreneurial students from UC Irvine, who will demonstrate their brilliant products designed to improve our future.

Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of The Baden Family, who has underwritten the entire cost of this incredible event, 100% of the ticket proceeds will support Team Kids’ award-winning programs which are themselves innovative and designed to empower our children to change the world. Everything about this experience will celebrate and support innovation. You won’t want to miss an opportunity to be a part of it, especially if the issue of creativity and our collective future is near and dear to your heart. We look forward to seeing you there!

Food and beverages by Haven Gastropub, The Bruery and Portola Coffee Lab!
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Purchase Tickets Here!

Join sponsors Oakley, United Exchange Corporation, UCI’s ANTrepreneur Center, Wells Fargo, California Republic Bank, Cox Cares, Edwards Lifesciences and GeoMedia Digital!

Click Here For Sponsorship Opportunities

ITF III Sponsors

Letters From Home

Letters From Home

Team Kids will be kicking off our letter writing campaign to our deployed troops at our Imagine Celebration on Sunday, April 19th!

Join us in our national “Letters From Home” campaign April 19th-May 18th where kids and adults will be writing letters to our deployed troops in attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for “most letters written to military personnel in 1 month!”

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Make sure your letter meets the Guinness Guidelines before downloading the letter writing template below!

Letter Guidelines
Download Letter Template 

If you plan on having a letter writing party with more than 50 letters, please fill out this statement for every 50 letters!
Guinness World Records Attempt Statement 

Mailing Address:
Team Kids
15375 Barranca Pkwy, E-103
Irvine CA, 92618

Serv-a-thon or Soak-a-thon?

Serv-a-thon or Soak-a-thon?

Building off of the momentum in Long Beach from our first pilot school last month the Team Kids Youth Council (TKYC) decided to plan their 4 day Servathon serving Long Beach County. You can stop looking, the word Servathon is not in the dictionary…It is a word unique to Team Kids and defined by the passionate hearts of a group of highschoolers who love serving others! Every year the TKYC spend part of their summer trying to make this world a better place through serving communities for 3-5 days straight! There were some amazing service projects this year, if you have a moment watch the full slideshow by clicking here and see photos below:

IMG_1653This group got to lead a pet rocks craft in the oncology/hemotology unit at Miller Children’s Hospital, ROCK ON!

Spontaneous stop at a local flower shop in Long Beach

Spontaneous stop at a local flower shop to hand out friendly flowers to anyone in sight to bring a splash of sunshine into the lives of the LB community!

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The owners of the flower shop joined in on the fun and stayed open extra late to help us individually wrap each flower.

IMG_1169I’ll never forget this amazing Vietnam Veteran. Our interaction started with him saying “could you get out of my way?” And after we learned about his service, injuries and thanked him for all his sacrifices, he had tears rolling down his face. Our TKYC kids brought him a beautiful poster/card written by TK kids at Lafayette and he felt so appreciated. We asked if there was anything we could do to help him, and he said , with a smile, we had done enough. That’s the TK Serb-A-thon magic!

IMG_1596 Who is this mystery man beneath the icy waterfall? Someone very special to the founding of Team Kids, retired Irvine Police Chief Dave Mihalik. He met us at one of our service projects in Long Beach to complete the ice bucket challenge in honor of the Fallen Officer Foundation. IMG_1324 These kids were peanut butter and jelly making machines! The kids made hundreds of sandwiches and distributed them to the homeless at Lincoln Park in Long Beach. IMG_1306 SO PROUD of the murals the TKYC spent hours and hours painting at our pilot Long Beach School Lafayette Elementary. This is just one of the 5 murals that were painted in this school’s “Laffe Cafe”! Principal Wendy Thompson’s daughter created the designs and sharpied them onto the walls, so talented! P.S. Do you see the oversized fork skewering Seamus’ head, yikes!

IMG_1887 Drawing inspiration from this video, the youth council each brought 2-3 used backpacks filled with everyday essentials like socks, hygiene supplies, sweatshirts etc and found people in need of these backpacks around Long Beach. IMG_1472I kid you not, we spent 2 hours “light-painting” on the last night of the Serv-a-Thon. Light-painting is not a joke, it requires abnormal arm strength, high range of motion, rainbow glow-sticks and 4 very delirious chaperones!

 

Team Kids New Year!

Team Kids New Year!

Happy Team Kids New Year! 

Celebrating a long history of powerful and passionate Board Leadership! 

Today marks the first day of Team Kids new Fiscal Year, and every two years we celebrate the changing of Team Kids Board President.  Its an honor to recognize our 5th President, Craig Elliott, as he completes his second year in this capacity.  Prior to serving as President, Craig completed six years as Board Treasurer.   Under Craig’s leadership, guidance and support, Team Kids broke every record this past year.   Craig, THANK YOU for helping launch our first national replication in Arlington, VA, for 100% program growth this year, and for never, EVER letting us forget the power of the Team Kids mission! Your shared vision to make Team Kids a national model enabled us all to believe and to invest the resources and capacity to make it happen.  Team Kids is a stronger, more sustainable organization as a result of your investment.

We also celebrate and welcome our incoming Board President Susan Holt.  Susan is one of our four Founding Team Kids Board Members and has served as a Board Member every year since our incorporation.  Susan is the Director of the IUSD Family Resource Center and is a tireless advocate for our youth and their families.  She continues to bring tremendous expertise on the power and research behind Team Kids Mission.  Susan, thank you for serving as Program Chair, Vice President and for now for stepping up as  President of the Team Kids Board of Directors.  Your passion and commitment to Team Kids drove success for our programs at our inception, and your partnership in presenting our three day Asset/Team Kids trainings in Arlington opened the door for our successful replication.   You have helped create the Team Kids “magic,” and we are blessed to have you sitting shotgun on the TK Bus as we expand our mission to countless new communities.

As Founder and CEO at Team Kids, I continue to be humbled by the amazing, talented and passionate people who step up help develop our strategic plan, invest tremendous hours of leadership, while also tirelessly supporting our staff.  It is though a shared partnership with our passionate Board of Directors, Advisory Council, Partners and Staff that creates, as Susan says, “the win, win, win, win for KIDS!”

Celebrating a long history of powerful Team Kids Board Presidents!

 

The BUS and its BUSY day!

The BUS and its BUSY day!

The bus made an appearance at 2 great city events today! First stop… the Tustin Police Department Open House where the city gathered together to celebrate their local heroes at Tustin PD. Last stop… Irvine DARE Movie Night where the kids in Irvine come to thank their DARE officers and to celebrate the year with a movie on the lawn. This year’s movie choice… Frozen! At both events, our bus served as a station for kids to come and write letters of thanks to their local public safety heroes. Fun day indeed!

Tustin PD Open House:

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Tustin Police Chief, Charlie Celano and Tustin Mayor, Al Murray with Haylee and me at the TPD Open House

Tustin Police Chief, Charlie Celano and Tustin Mayor, Al Murray with Haylee and me at the TPD Open House

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Irvine DARE Movie Night:

DARE Officer Aragon excited to GET ON THE BUS!

DARE Officer Aragon excited to GET ON THE BUS!

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Tustin TK Update

Tustin TK Update

Tustin TK Update: Excited to share that the Team Kids Leadership Team from Robert P Heideman Elementary School were invited to join Team Kids in a presentation at the June 3 Tustin, California City Council Meeting! The Roadrunners were amazing during their first ever Team Kids Challenge and also helped break the world record with Letters from Home! Thanks to our great partners from Tustin Police Department for helping shine a powerful and deserving spotlight on these incredible young leaders!

Captain Strain and Officer Hedges from the Tustin Police Department inviting the Heideman Leadership Team to share what they learned at the Tustin City Council Meeting

Captain Strain and Officer Hedges from the Tustin Police Department inviting the Heideman Leadership Team to share what they learned at the Tustin City Council Meeting

Heideman Kids with their Principal, Eric Kilian in front of Tustin City Hall before they present their Team Kids Challenge successes to their city leaders! Incredible turnout of kids and their families!

Heideman Kids with their Principal, Eric Kilian in front of Tustin City Hall before they present their Team Kids Challenge successes to their city leaders! Incredible turnout of kids and their families!

Also be sure to check out this Orange County Register article on Heidemans’ pilot Team Kids Challenge program!

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Trabuco Mesa Team Kids!

Trabuco Mesa Team Kids!

Quick shout out to the Trabuco Mesa Bulldogs in Rancho Santa Margherita for almost DOUBLING their first 2 challenge goals! These amazing leaders are off to a great start!

Kids stuffed 39 "Jam Packed" Backpacks with school supplies nearly doubling their goal of 20!!

Kids stuffed 39 “Jam Packed” Backpacks with school supplies nearly doubling their goal of 20!!

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This is their 2nd jug of money for their “Change for a Cure” challenge to honor their longtime (and beloved) Campus Supervisor Fran Lyskosky!

IUSD Blog – Guinness World Record

CBS on Breaking the World Record!

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Today in Orange County, most of the work being done in health and human services focuses, appropriately, on the immediate needs of the disadvantaged. Team Kids takes a different approach, directing their energies toward our youth, teaching them the value and power of working together to solve community issues. In so doing, they are developing the philanthropists of the future and creating systematic change in our community.”

OC United Way, CEO Max Gardner

Team Kids is addressing critical child and community needs today, while also building our next generation of problem solvers.”

Dan Lubeck, Team Kids Board Member

I became a Founding Team Kids Board Member in 2004, after witnessing the leadership and compassion being developed in the students participating in the Team Kids Challenge Program. Team Kids engenders a culture where it is everyone’s right, regardless of age, to be a powerful agent for change.”

Bethany LaFlam, Team Kids Board Member

Team Kids, to me, is an antidote to entitlement and one great way to create the responsible citizens we all want as future leaders.”

Mike Cupps, Team Kids Board Member; Private Investor

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