The beautiful Granada Theatre served as the venue Saturday for the annual Kids Helping Kids benefit concert, featuring rock band Switchfoot, opener Brad Corrigan of Dispatch, and San Marcos High School student performers Emily Libera and Jason Hahs. This year’s Kids Helping Kids group successfully raised approximately $176,800 for charitable purposes.
Established in 2002, Kids Helping Kids is a completely student-run nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for causes both locally and globally. Past beneficiaries from the event include Unity Shoppe, a local food bank and low-income resource center devoted to helping those in need achieve financial independence, and an orphanage in Rwanda that used funds to finance the building of a new preschool.
Kid Helping Kids is comprised of members of the AP Economics class at San Marcos High. The students do everything from organizing the fundraising events and writing the news releases, to marketing the program. Kids Helping Kids raises money in a variety of ways, from restaurant fundraisers to talent competitions to student dances, but the signature gala of the organization is the benefit concert held every year at The Granada and featuring such headlining artists as Toad the Wet Sprocket, Five for Fighting, Mat Kearney, Sara Bareilles, and this year’s artist, Switchfoot.
This year’s concert was sponsored by Deckers Outdoor Corp. and the theme was “Light Up a Life,” as denoted by the banner hanging above the entrance to the main seating area in the theater. A variety of techniques was used to highlight the night’s message. The concert’s lighting display included huge decorative trees with luminescent leaves of changing colors. Light bulb-shaped paddles served as instruments of the live auction at the concert, and the night’s opening ceremonies featured a procession of students carrying electric candles to set on the stage.
Preceding the event was a VIP dinner hosted by Arts & Letters Café, an occasion serving to thank recent major contributors to Kids Helping Kids. At the dinner, VIPs were waited on by San Marcos students, before being escorted to The Granada in a variety of vintage cars. San Marcos student “butlers” awaited them on the red carpet to escort them to their seats, and provide them with any refreshments they might require during the show. Concert goers were met with student greeters, all of whom were dressed in either elegant black dresses or tuxedos, and photographed by KHK paparazzi, to commemorate the event.
Once inside, attendees were presented with a myriad of fundraising options. Many purchased raffle tickets to win the prize Phantom X2 electric bicycle. Others bid on baskets of merchandise donated by local businesses at the silent auction, while still others bid with handmade paddles at the live auction on prizes ranging from Lasik surgery to trips to locales such as Mammoth and Hawaii. KHK students were quite thrilled with the resulting $176,800 raised by the end of the night.
The show itself proved quite a crowd pleaser. Audiences were held captive by winners of Royals Got Talent (a talent competition held by Kids Helping Kids) and student openers Jason Hahs and Emily Libera, and their rendition of “Barton Hollow.”
Corrigan further excited the crowd with original songs such as the “Prince of Spades” and “Love Light and Melody,” dedicated to Ileana, a 13-year-old girl living in the slums of Managua, Nicaragua, whom Corrigan met on a visit there. Love Light and Melody doubles as the name of the nonprofit organization that Corrigan founded and is a probable benefactor of this year’s KHK’s proceeds. Corrigan even invited members of Kids Helping Kids on stage as he improvised a song just for the concert.
Anticipation for the concert’s headliner built through the live auction and the raffle until Switchfoot finally graced the stage. Performing a variety of songs from the originals “Dare You to Move” featured in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian movie, and the rock song “Dark Horses,” Switchfoot rallied the crowd with both its music and message of finding hope wherever possible, as described by lead singer Tim Foreman. The band played a few covers as well and even collaborated with local surfer Tom Curren, as well as Corrigan. The audience demanded and received an encore, clearly displaying the night’s triumph.
— Kaitlyn Kuehn is head writer for Kids Helping Kids.