After months of preparation and much anticipation, the San Marcos High School Kids Helping Kids gala event on Saturday at The Granada was a success. The students far exceeded their goal of raising $150,000 - in fact, they raised $165,513.50.
The event was the culmination of an 18-week Advanced Placement economics course taught by Jamie Devries at San Marcos High School.The Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce recently presented Kids Helping Kids with the Youth Collaborator of the Year Award. This year, the 101 students founded their own nonprofit organization and learned the ins and outs of business and philanthropy as they journeyed to a place outside their own self-interest.
Kids Helping Kids received sponsorship from Deckers Outdoor Corp. and the Santa Barbara Independent, along with a multitude of smaller donors who were crucial to the success of the event.
The evening was hosted by San Marcos seniors Connor King and Ben McKenzie. The duo started off the show with performances by Heather Ehlen and Sierra Reeves, the winners of San Marcos High’s “Royals Got Talent” show. Tyrone Wells opened for the headlining artist followed by an intermission and silent auction. The evening resumed with a live auction and a performance by highly acclaimed recording artist Mat Kearney.
From its humble beginnings as a high school penny drive, Kids Helping Kids has grown into a community wide event providing students with a real-world opportunity to apply their knowledge while also giving back. As of 2010, Kids Helping Kids became an official nonprofit organization under the name San Marcos Kids Helping Kids Foundation. This new nonprofit title allows the students to explore the possibility of donating their funds to multiple charities, making a large impact.
Proceeds raised from the Kids Helping Kids benefit concert will be donated to the Unity Shoppe, the San Marcos Fund and other small charities. The Unity Shoppe assists local individuals and families in need by providing resources and basic necessities of life at no cost.
The San Marcos Fund was established this year to help low-income students defray the costs of standardized testing and college application fees. Kids Helping Kids also plans to donate a portion of the funds to several smaller charities whose names have not yet been released.