MLK Day a success!

MLK Day a success!

 Team Kids urges volunteerism on King service day! (via OC Register)

Photo by OC Register Staff Photographer Michael Goulding


IRVINE – Since she was 4 years old, Brianna Kaufman knew she wanted to give back to her community.  It came from the time when Kaufman would accompany her grandmother, an avid volunteer, to Heritage Pointe, a senior living home in Mission Viejo, and help her paint some of the residents’ nails “to pamper them.”

“Obviously, I couldn’t paint their nails, but I would help my grandmother by picking a color or passing nail polish to her,” Kaufman said. “I just remember walking out and seeing the smile on their faces and although I was young, I felt like I did a huge service and in my own way gave back,” she said.

When she was in sixth grade, Kaufman learned about a nonprofit called Team Kids and has since become a member of its youth council, which helps create, plan and host events for good causes.
On Sunday, Kaufman, 18 and a senior at University High School in Irvine, and the rest of Team Kids hosted its ninth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event at the Great Park in Irvine to promote volunteerism.

On a warm, sunny day, children frolicked at a nearby grass field as parents walked around the farmers market and a corner of booths that housed Team Kids and their 12 nonprofit partners.
Artwork by elementary schoolchildren portrayed King, Mohandas Gandhi, Cesar Chavez and other civil and human rights leaders. The art adorned some of the booths.

A “LemonAid” stand raised money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. At another booth, children wrote letters to patients at Children’s Hospital of Orange County and the victims of Haiyan.

“This is all about community service and engagement and to inspire kids about MLK’s legacy of service,” said Marissa Camacho, a volunteer coordinator at Team Kids. “These civil and human rights leaders thought about the future,” Camacho added.

“This is important for kids today to know about that, and we want them to pay it forward to a new generation,” she said.

Julie Hudash, Team Kids founder and chief executive officer, said, “Our mission is to empower children to change the world.”

Ambriehl Dixon, a 17-year-old senior at Savanna High School, started volunteering at age 4 with her aunt, Jessie Allen, a volunteer coordinator at Southwest Community Center.

Sitting down in front of a picture of King that says, “Yesterday’s dream; Tomorrow’s reality,” Allen recalls Dixon would help roll up napkins at food shelters and hand them to people in line.
Since then, Dixon continues to accompany her aunt to volunteer at local events.

“I love seeing the faces light up when I help someone,” Dixon said. “I’ve learned to forget about myself and think about others in need.”

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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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