In many of my previous posts, I highlight the fact that the role of the university is to support students and empower their success. With this goal in mind, UCI promotes partnerships with many outside organizations and institutions to offer diverse pathways for our students to gain professional experience and insight into their areas of interest. Recently, I sat down with my friend Julie Hudash, CEO and Founder of Team Kids, to discuss the 20-year partnership between UCI and Team Kids and its incredibly positive impact.

As Julie explained, Team Kids is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering youth and showing them that they matter, are needed, and have the power to make a difference in the world. Team Kids runs an award-winning program called the Team Kids Challenge. This five-week, student-led program allows students to select a social issue they are passionate about and teaches them how to become philanthropists to support their chosen cause. During the program, kids work with Team Kids’ coaches and local public safety officers to learn about entrepreneurship, giving back, and how they can support their communities. The program ends in a Youth Charity Carnival where students unveil their businesses and raise money to donate to the cause they selected at the beginning of the program.

Throughout our partnership, over 200 UCI students have interned with Team Kids where they gained hands-on experience with teaching, mentorship, and other important skills. The impact of Team Kids’ programming is incredible, both for the student participants and the UCI interns who play a role in their development. According to Julie, the partnership between UCI and Team Kids is so valuable that it has become the scalable model that Team Kids uses to implement its mission across the country. 

To celebrate and introduce this partnership to other institutions who might be interested in working with Team Kids, I’m excited to announce that UCI will be hosting the University of California, Irvine & Team Kids Innovative Thinkers Forum IV on May 5th, 2023. This event will welcome leaders in education, public safety, and philanthropy from all over the country to learn how meaningful collaboration can create healthy environments for young people to thrive and succeed.

During this conference, Team Kids will highlight their partnership with UCI and explain how other colleges and universities can recreate this model to make a real difference for children as well as for their students and local communities. Additionally, Team Kids will share their latest research showing the success of their community-based approach. Together, through a collaborative, multi-sector collaboration, we can strengthen innovative strategies to address the most pressing issues facing young people today, including an unprecedented youth mental health crisis.

Visit the Innovative Thinkers Forum IV website to learn more and register for the event. To listen to my full conversation with Julie, check out the latest episode of my podcast Conversations with the Vice Provost below: