Youth troop makes altruism its priority

Variety's Power of Youth honorees bring fans to causes

Youth troop makes altruism its priority
Justin Bieber | Bow Wow | David Henrie | Shailene Woodley | Victoria Justice

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That’s the power of a young superstar, and that’s how fans responded to Variety’s 2010 Power of Youth honoree Justin Bieber when he tweeted about his involvement with the charity Pencils of Promise. On Oct. 24, nearly 250 young celebs, including Bieber, will gather at the Paramount backlot to give their fans a fun-filled afternoon.

Now in its fourth year, the Variety Power of Youth event connects cause-conscious young celebrities with kids from the charities and organizations they support, giving children involved with Pencils of Promise, Education Through Music-Los Angeles, the UN Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, LA’s BEST and All It Takes a unique opportunity to interact with young stars in a street fair environment that includes everything from face painting and pumpkin carving to a live performance by Dylan Minnette (recognized among the issue’s “Up Next” teens). Presenting sponsor The Hub, along with Electronic Arts, Chipotle, Pizza Hut, Coca Cola, Xbox Kinect, Netflix, Sprinkles, Dell and Radio Disney will all be on hand as well, with activities for the guests to enjoy.

“My experience with the organization over the past couple of years has shown me how capable and willing the youth entertainment community is not only to put in the effort to lend a helping hand, but to actually reach out and inspire their peers to do the same,” says 2009 honoree Corbin Bleu. “At the event, there are hundreds of young people, both industry and non-industry alike, who see and are touched by the possibilities of what they have the potential to go out and do.”

Last year’s event included performances by the cast of “Fame,” rock group Honor Society and dancers from “So You Think You Can Dance.” According to longtime Power of Youth supporter Bailee Madison, “Variety’s Power of Youth has encouraged me to take all the many blessings in my life and use them to make a difference. Through their work with organizations like The Starlight Children’s Foundation, it enables kids of all ages to give back.”

Unlike this Youth Impact Report, the Power of Youth initiative was not designed to pay tribute to celebrities’ success in their respective industries. Rather, the event encourages young stars to take the lead in raising awareness for humanitarian and philanthropic causes they are passionate about and asking their peers to do the same.

“It’s not about saying ‘Justin Bieber, lets pat you on the back, because you’re a star,'” explains Variety publisher Brian Gott. “It’s about, ‘Justin Bieber, what do you care about? You care about Pencils of Promise? Great! You’ve committed your energy and resources to helping support that cause? Great! We’re going to give you a platform where we can shine an even brighter spotlight on the amazing things that charity stands for!'”

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