We had the good fortune of connecting with Julia Holland and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julia, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I am a creative, and so I am most happy when I am creating a song, a play or even a business. I started a nonprofit almost accidentally when all my life skills just came together synergistically. I brought together all the work I had done in music, theater, teaching and performing, and combined it with the things I believed in, which are children and the environment, and the Eco Hero Kids Foundation was born. I’ve always been concerned about the environment so I wrote and produced a kids album of pop songs sung by kids, put a group together of 9 to 12 year olds and took them on tour to festivals and events. That was 10 years ago and now that has morphed into an online curriculum and community that we are beginning to integrate into mainstream schools. I find myself in the nonprofit world as a way to truly give back.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I established the Eco Hero Kids Foundation which educates, inspires and empowers children – through music, art, theater and classroom activities – about their environmental responsibility. We focused on the middle childhood age, which is about 7 to 10 year olds. This age is very capable of taking on complex ideas. We have also found that using teens as mentors is very inspiring to the younger ones. I started the original group in 2010 having written and produced an album of kids pop songs. The kids were very successful traveling to events and performing and speaking at elementary school assemblies. I also carried the environmental message into all the theater productions I directed in the Los Angeles area. Teaching the idea of personal responsibility and action through the arts is important and effective. Now we are taking it a step further and have created a curriculum to reach main stream schools and, by focusing on art and expression, are creating a community of concerned individuals who are interested in preserving this beautiful planet. The generation is changing and now people are finally seeing that this shift needs to happen to address climate change. Using arts is the perfect way to inspire kids, implement these ideas and advocate for change. We are also appealing to parents by showcasing eco friendly lifestyles and honoring companies and innovators who are forward thinking with the environment in mind. Eco Hero Kids Foundation thrives to be a bridge between communities, nationally and internationally, to create more and more afterschool programs, hands-on camps where kids can just experience nature, and provide curriculum and an online community connecting children everywhere. We are always looking for partners to help us with this important movement.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am in Malibu, which is a destination place because there is so much natural beauty. I would take a visitor to the beach and to all the great hiking trails, but I also really love digging into the city because Los Angeles is so diverse. I love the different communities. Recently I visited the UCLA sculpture garden and then headed out to the Century City mall for shopping at Eately. Of course, being from the Westside, I spend more time in Venice and Santa Monica. I love to visit the promenade, spend time shopping at Crossroads and then hit up a yummy vegan restaurant in Venice. Before the pandemic, the Sunday farmers market on Main Street has always been so much fun, where you can get food and always hear some music. Oh, and of course, the Sunday Flea Market on Fairfax is a must. One of my favorite things to do is to go to the spas in Koreatown.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have had an incredible amount of support from many people since I have been on this journey – filmmakers, musicians, teachers, environmentalists -, including everyone who currently serves as an advisor or board member to the Eco Hero Kids Foundation. I would like to dedicate this Shoutout to my friend, Cheryl Rich. She, along with her late husband Marv, was the first person to believe in me and help jump-start the vision by giving a significant donation to the Eco Hero Kids Foundation. She is a true angel.
Instagram: @ecoherokids, @juliaaholland
Linkedin: Julia Holland
Facebook: @juliahollandvocalstudio, @ecoherokids