Brandon Kaufman, CBI Tustin, 10th Grade
HOFW: What is the name of the organization you are involved with? What’s their mission?
Brandon: The organization I work with is called Team Kids. It’s an organization that empowers kids that believe they are not old enough to make a difference and teaches them that they can and the incredible benefit that comes with it.
HOFW: How long have you been involved with Team Kids?
Brandon: I’ve been involved with them since I was in 3rd grade because my sister was working with them and she got me started. Gradually I just really started to fall in love with all the work they do and I’ve been working with them ever since.
HOFW: What is your positions with this organization/ what sort of things do you do?
Brandon: I am currently on the executive board for Team Kids. I love the feeling you get when you can see, right in front of you, the result of your hard work. We try and do a lot of hands on projects so we can really see the difference we are making. My main goal as a leader in this organization is to make kids enjoy the projects we do and for them to want to come back. I think it’s awesome to get kids to want to help people.
HOFW: How can USYers help spread the word or get involved?
Brandon: We do a lot of projects that really anybody could do, such as serving a thanksgiving dinner for people in need, karaoke night at a senior home, serve-a-thon (different community service projects every day), and so much more. Actually the SATO program at the SATO Hechal kinnus was based off a project I did with Team Kids where we packed hygiene packs for the homeless and stuffed backpacks with school supplies for underprivileged kids. How to help would be to start a branch of the youth council in your area and start doing projects that you want to do for a cause you believe in. For example, if you want to work on an environmental project then plan a beach clean up.
HOFW: Any specific stories you want to share?
Brandon: One year at our serve-a-thon, one of the last days we all went to Santa Monica and we went out and bought peanut butter, jelly, and bread and wanted to make sandwiches and bring them to a soup kitchen. That didn’t end up working out so instead we just went to benches and made over 200 sandwiches and just passed them out to a bunch of homeless people and if some of them were asleep we just left them sandwiches!
Another thing we did was we went to a school for the Team Kids Challenge and at this school about 80 percent of kids rely on the free meals, breakfast and lunch, that the school gives them. But the room they all ate in was really blank and kind of depressing, so we painted the room with their school mascot and got it all decorated and fun and colorful. When they walked in at the beginning of the school year and saw all the decorations they all smiled so big and it really brightened up their school days!
HOFW: Any other interesting comments you would like to share?
Brandon: Team Kids has been such a big part of my life and I think one of the main things it has done for me is to make me see just how privileged I am. And with each project I get to meet people that I would never usually meet, and get to hear their stories, hopes, and dreams, and it just lets me get out and see things outside of my little “Irvine bubble” I live in. I guess doing things for the less fortunate has really put things into perspective for me.
Interested in getting involved with Team Kids? Contact Brandon Kaufman or visit their website here to learn more.