Team Kids Supporting our Firefighters
Team Kids Youth Council supports OCFA Strike Team 1403C
Thanks to the generosity of Team Kids’ friends, the entire TK Youth Council, Il Fornaio’s Marcello Apollonio, and his staff of chefs, prep cooks, and servers, we were able to deliver a delicious meal to TK Board Member, Fire Captain Steve McHale, and his fellow Strike Team Members.
The TK Youth Council members mobilized themselves with numerous calls to each other's homes and cell phones. Each arrived at Il Fornaio, in their TKYC polos, ready to get to work.
We gathered the kids in the restaurant with Marcello (Managing Partner at Il Fornaio and TK Board Member) for a group photo next to the cart filled with trays of food and bread. Marcello called his chefs and staff to gather for a group picture. Through the viewfinder I see an incredible team, of children and adults rallied together with a single mission, to help feed, support, encourage, our weary friends, and partners, our firefighters.
The smiles of proud teenagers reflect their excitement of doing something important, are mixed with wide grins under big chef hats of folks sharing the same excitement. All the trays of delicious food, were decorated with words of encouragement and personal thank you messages, and decorated with the names of all the firefighters on the strike team.
We arrived to the VERY SMOKEY hotel to a room full of hungry firefighters along with their spouses, a few little children, and even grandchildren, who came to catch a few minutes with their loved ones before they jumped back onto the fire line. The firefighters looked very tired, but so did their loved ones fighting a different battle of anxiety, worry, and fear.
As the final dishes were stacked, the firefighters thanked all of us, as they surely moved up to rooms for much needed sleep.
The Council kids carried the leftovers out to their cars, then gathered for a quick photo on a fire engine. We drove home to stories from the kids of all the firefighters and how happy they seemed.
The irony of helping hands and karma, if you will, was that these kids who have been inspired and nurtured by our public safety partners, finally had the opportunity to help them. Each of these kids have been sitting at assemblies for years, watching the firefighters and police officers inspire them to help others when they are in need.
These public safety role models have supported the kids as they help the homeless, raise money for cancer research, and hurricane victims, and learn that it's ok to ask for help. Yet here tonight, the kids got to help some of the messengers of helping others, the firefighters themselves!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Kids honored for essays thanking firefighters
Proceeds from fundraiser going to Santiago Fire Relief Fund.
By ELYSSE JAMES
MIGUEL VASCONCELLOS, STAFF PHOTO
Emaan Harin, a student at Vista Verde School, was the winner in a Thanksgiving-themed essay contest thanking firefighters. He won over about 500 other Southern California entries. The fourth-grader will receive a $1,000 savings bond.
The contest was held in conjunction with Team Kids, a nonprofit group in Irvine. Proceeds from pizza sales at Stonefire Grill will be donated to the Santiago Fire Relief Fund.
In second place was sixth-grader Michelle Hayashida, of Saddleback Christian Academy. She received a $500 savings bond. Second-grader Tori Shute, of Santiago Hills Elementary School, won third place and a $250 savings bond.
Harin, Hayashida and Shute were presented with oversized checks from Stonefire Grill on Wednesday before they read their essays aloud to the families, firefighters and police officers gathered at the restaurant in Crossroads Center.
"I think firefighters are great role models," 11-year-old Hayashida read, "They are so selfless and brave."
Shute plans to use her money to adopt a family for Thanksgiving dinner, "because I want to be nice." She heard about the Families Forward Thanksgiving program from her mom.
Harin said he wrote his essay for the firefighters. He lives in Turtle Ridge and remembers seeing a fire near his home.
"I heard all the sirens," he said. "It was a great day and then I went outside and saw a fire and then another fire and then another fire. My mom and I were talking about how the firefighters don't get a break, they have to keep working."
The participants attended a pizza party at Stonefire Grill after the essay contest winners were announced. All the students got a Team Kids baseball shirt and a Stonefire dinner coupon.
"This age group represents the most compassionate human beings on the planet," said Julie Hudash, founder and CEO of Team Kids.
"We bring the police and firefighters and they talk about how proud they are to be on the kids' team and the kids sit up straighter," Hudash said. "When we ask kids to help, they learn about people in need and they fly over the bar every time."
Contact the writer: 949-553-2911 or firstname.lastname@example.org