Honoree Jamie DeVries (white shirt) and his student-run Kids Helping Kids crew

Paul Wellman

Honoree Jamie DeVries (white shirt) and his student-run Kids Helping Kids crew

Kids Helping Kids, at Home and Abroad

Economics Educator Honored for Teaching Charity

Starting out as a penny drive to raise $6,000 for a disabled kid in need of a high-tech wheelchair, San Marcos High School’s Kids Helping Kids has grown into a well-funded philanthropy program, drumming up more than $2.2 million over the past decade to help a spectrum of causes: new band equipment, counseling for at-risk youth, clean water in Honduras, and a preschool in Rwanda, among other notable projects. Throughout, the students’ efforts have been budgeted and accounted through hands-on lessons in Advanced Placement economics taught by Jamie DeVries. At first, the San Marcos kids were contributing to outreach headed up by Santa Barbara’s Unity Shoppe. Eventually, DeVries said, “We realized we could become our own 501(c)(3) [nonprofit]. And now, other schools are using us as an umbrella to start their own Kids Helping Kids.”

On October 6 at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, the San Marcos Royal Gala will honor DeVries and Goleta-based footwear company Deckers, which has been the program’s biggest financial supporter for the past 10 years. “I can think of about 1,000 other worthy candidates, but I’m honored nonetheless,” DeVries said. “I feel I’m just accepting it on behalf of all the kids I’ve been fortunate enough to serve alongside.”

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