San Marcos High students from Kids Helping Kids discuss plans at the Synergy Business & Technology Center.

Last year’s Kids Helping Kids sold-out concert featured Sara Bareilles and Tyrone Wells. The 2013 performers have recently been announced, including the progressive alternative rock band Switchfoot and local favorite Tyrone Wells from Los Angeles, said the group’s adviser Jamie Devries.

Since 2001, Kids Helping Kids has donated more than $400,000 to underprivileged youth throughout the local and global community. Students in the group have volunteered more than 10,000 hours of their time.

“My oldest son Erik is a past CEO of Kids helping Kids and all three of my sons have been involved in the program over the years,” said Michael Holliday, Synergy founder and a fellow with the American Institute of Architects. “Also, since I am on their founding board of directors and Synergy is helping to sponsor this year’s KHK event.”

Kids Helping Kids’ efforts started in December 2002, when the Advanced Placement Economics class at San Marcos High began a penny drive to raise money for the Unity Shoppe. The group grossed $15,000 and continued to expand its main event into a gala at the Granada.

Kids Helping Kids has held its main fundraiser at the 1,600-seat Granada Theater for the past three years. The group has raised more than $700,000 to help people in need locally and globally. Funds also are raised through corporate donations, events leading up to the concert, and by individual donations. Last year, $187,000 was grossed with the benefit concert, featuring Grammy Award nominee Bareilles.

“I could not be more proud of these youth leaders and of the Kids Helping Kids program in general,” Holliday said. “To see high school students step up and raise more than $150,000 year after year to give back to those in need is an amazing accomplishment. We are also excited to hear that other student leadership groups around the United States have expressed an interest in developing a Kids Helping Kids program in their own communities.”

Since becoming an official 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, Kids Helping Kids has directly supported individuals and families. The group covered the costs for a San Marcos High janitor’s arthritis surgery, as well as paid for an electric cart for a student with a rare skin disease. Last year, the group paid funeral costs for student Sergio Romero, who was killed on Milpas Street in a car collision.

This year, members of the student-run group said they hope to gross $220,000 and net $140,000 to reach more community members in need.


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