Bunni and Rick Benaron, Founders

Bunni and Rick Benaron

Founders Bunni and Rick Benaron live by the motto “Learn, earn and return.”

For nearly 40 years, this husband and wife team built a successful home furnishing and products business. With over 150 employees operating heavy manufacturing machinery on a daily basis, safety and emergency preparedness was always a top priority for the Benarons. After selling their business, Bunni and Rick wanted to give back in a tangible way and felt inspired to honor the true heroes in our communities, the first responders. That’s when The Hero In You Foundation was born.

Both Bunni and Rick are native Californians. Having grown up in “earthquake country,” they know firsthand the importance of being prepared in the event of an emergency, natural or manmade. Bunni, whose energy lives up to her name, is a former school teacher in LAUSD and has always been dedicated to children’s wellbeing. It is the Benaron’s passionate commitment to promote safety and make the knowledge accessible to everyone, especially vulnerable children.

In addition to supporting their own foundation, Bunni and Rick serve, volunteer and contribute to causes and organizations like Eisenhower Hospital’s Residency Program, Loma Linda Hospital, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Crohn’s & Colitus Organization and Inner City Arts.

When this busy couple isn’t busy trying to save lives, they like to play golf and spoil their adorable dog Iggy.

James Lee Witt, Spokesperson & Advisor

From 1993-2001, James lee Witt served in the Clinton administration as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and worked directly with former President Bill Clinton. Under his leadership, FEMA helped the nation overcome more than 350 disasters, some of which were the most devastating in U.S. history. Later on, he continued his work with FEMA as a consultant to oversee reconstruction efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Witt recognizes the importance of teaching our youngest generations the importance of emergency preparedness and empowering them to become heroes. His experience in emergency management brings great value to the Rocket Rules program and helps grow its impact with youth and families everywhere.

Kellee McQuinn, Program Director

For over 16 years, Kellee has created award winning edutainment programs. Most recently she produced Mack & Moxy, an animated preschool series airing on PBS and Netflix. In 2002, Kellee founded KidTribe, an obesity prevention program and has positively impacted millions of children and educators all over the world. She won a Parent’s Choice Award for the kids’ fitness series Hoopersize. In partnership with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, she performed Hoopaplooza, the interactive hip-hop-hula-hoop concert the White House Easter Egg Roll from 2009 – 2016 as well as the Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play since 2006. She partnered with NASA to develop Space School Musical, the Telly Award winning STEAM education program. In 2012, Kellee received a Community Leadership Award from President Obama’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and was just honored with a 2017 Broken Glass Award by the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television for her contributions to children’s educational programming.

Gale Gorke, Ed.D., Education Consultant

With 40 years’ experience as an educator, Dr. Gale is an expert at brain based learning. She is an education consultant and inclusion specialist for governmental agencies, national and international youth centered organizations, Departments of Disabilities, statewide Departments of Education, and a multitude of school districts and afterschool programs. She wrote interdisciplinary curricula for PBS, NASA, Let’s Move!, and other renowned organizations, along with authoring the California Physical Activity and Inclusion Guidelines Afterschool. With a passion for teaching teachers how to teach, she is a featured presenter for state, national, and international education conferences, including China, South Africa, Dominican Republic, India, Peru, and Canada.

Candice Arancibia, Implementation Specialist

Candice is a first grade teacher in the South Bay Union School District. For the decade she has been serving diverse populations including English Language Learners she gives the gift of literacy and has developed numerous service learning projects that combine academics, critical thinking, and problem solving. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with a Bilingual Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at San Diego State University. She also studied Spanish and Cultural Literacy at the University of Havana, Cuba and traveled to Dominican Republic to teach social-emotional learning through collaboration.

Wonder Grove Media, Production Company

Founded by children’s entertainment veteran Terry Thoren, who was the CEO of the production company responsible for Nickelodeon shows like Rugrats, Wild Thornberries, and Rocket Power. As the creative producers behind the Rocket Rules videos and books, Wonder Grove Media specializes in producing high quality 3D animation and social emotional content that matters.

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