Agoura High will be hosting two landmark events on Saturday, March 21, to raise money for several worthy causes. Beginning at 8 a.m., Kids Helping Kids Agoura will present a “Celebration of Hope” marathon, which will include a celebrity-filled event at the Performing Arts Education Center, emceed by actor/philanthropist Rainn Wilson (The Office, Backstrom). Running concurrently, from 4-9 p.m., will be the annual Munch Madness International Street Fair, organized by the International Baccalaureate Parents (IB) Parents Association.
Kids Helping Kids, which began in Santa Barbara, is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that was brought to the Agoura High School students in 2013 by history teacher Gerald Pickett. “From my personal experiences as a teacher for 20 years, I see a lot of issues that kids face, and there’s not enough being done for them,” said Pickett. “And I just love the idea that other kids are a lifeline to those in need.”
According to the group’s mission statement,
Being kids, we are a unique organization. We have no salaries or overhead. All funds gathered are funneled directly to kids in need. The focus is on making a direct and real difference in the lives of individuals that we see in our classes every day as well as around the nation and the world.
Run by a senior management team along with student volunteers, the organization identifies young people in need, raises money and is in charge of distributing those funds. The group’s efforts run the gamut from donating money to a student that couldn’t afford prom night to aiding a paralyzed teen that needed moving expenses to sending money to an orphanage in Uganda.
Senior Kyle Sparrman has been involved with the group since its inception. She joined because she said she always wanted to make a difference to those who needed it. “I just never knew how to do it on my own until this group came along,” said the 17-year-old who is now the KHK CEO.
Over spring break, Sparrman and several other students will accompany Pickett and members of the charitable organization Strong Villages to Belize to volunteer at a clinic and elementary school. “I’m just so excited to be a part of this,” said Sparrman. “I hope to be a teacher, and working with kids at an elementary school … learning about a different culture is a dream come true.”
In addition, the group has identified a house situated near the school that they hopes will be a KHK-run “Safe House” for troubled teens. “This has been a dream of mine for a long time,” said Picket. “Right now it’s in the planning stages, but we hope to make this a reality within the next year.”
Twelve charities will be the recipients of Saturday’s day-long activities, which begins in the high school gym and will include creating postcards filled with dollar bills, organizing clothing donations and grouping vitamin packets. Each hour of Saturday’s marathon will entail a different activity.
At 3 p.m., the volunteers will move to the school’s parking lot to help parents and students involved with the IB program set up for their 5th annual “Munch Madness” street fair, which traditionally has been held in the afternoon. “Since the ‘Celebration of Hope’ is going on that day, we decided to coincide our events,” said Susan Corti, event chair.
The street fair atmosphere will include music and entertainment, and this year’s food truck lineup will be India Jones, Cousins Main Lobster, Taimamite, Palazzolotruck, Grilled Cheese Truck, Baby’s Badass Burgers, Fry Fry Food Truck, the Ragin Cajun and Belly Bomz. Representatives from the various KHK charities will also be on-hand to discuss their programs.
The money raised for the street fair will go to the IB program to pay for teacher training, licensing fees, in-class learning materials and assessment exams. Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, these advanced courses prepare students for college with a rigorous curriculum.
At 7 p.m., participants will move into the PAEC for a two-hour show filled with music and comedy. Proceeds will go to KHK. One of the charitable organizations involved with the event is Lide, a program established by Rainn Wilson and his wife, Holiday Reinhorn, under the umbrella of the Mona Foundation with which they’ve been involved for the past six years.
“It’s a program based in Haiti in which we empower at-risk teenage girls through writing, drama and art,” Wilson said in an interview with CV Happening.
When Wilson was introduced to Pickett through a mutual friend, he was impressed by Pickett’s “spirit and devotion to kids” and decided to be involved in the evening’s festivities. “I’ll be emceeing, keeping things flowing, keeping up the positivity,” he said. The show’s performers include rocker Eddie Money; Money’s son, Dez; singer Austin Armstrong and comedian Moshe Kasher.
At the end of the night, Wilson will introduce a short film comprised of the entire day’s highlights, followed by a spectacular fireworks display outside the PAEC at 9 p.m. “If you’ve been wanting to make the world a better place but don’t know where to start; start with this event,” Wilson said. “You’ll be doing a lot of good.”
No monetary goal has been set for the fundraiser, but Sparrman does hope to raise a lot. “There are 20-30 homeless kids currently going to Agoura High,” she said. “I’d like to be able to raise enough to help all of them.”
For more information or to purchase tickets, go to: www.kidshelpingkidsagoura.org/