Variety hosts fifth annual Power of Youth bash

Young thesps eager for a brush with celebrity came away with something more at Variety’s fifth annual Power of Youth bash: a role model.

Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld spent the better part of three hours manning the Share Our Strength booth at Saturday afternoon’s event, posing for photos with fans while trying to get other young performers excited about the anti-hunger org.

Packing the Paramount backlot, the hot-ticket party brought together young stars from “Modern Family,” “The Hunger Games,” Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and the Hub, with those celebs dividing their time between activities and activism, such as packing toiletry bags for homeless kids and donating old shoes.

Steinfeld was just one of seven celebs honored for their activism, and each got a chance to spread the word onstage. For “Two and a Half Men” star Angus T. Jones, the distinction brought him full circle to Variety’s original Power of Youth fair four years ago, where he first discovered St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In that time, the events have raised $2.5 million for more than a dozen charities.

“We have to always give back,” Jones told the crowd, introducing a young cancer patient he met through St. Jude: “(These) kids define what bravery is and what it means to be a star.”

No less passionate about their causes were Bailee Madison (Alex’s Lemonade Stand), Hayden Panettiere (Whaleman Foundation), Chloe Moretz (Film Foundation) and Rico Rodriguez (Camp Ronald McDonald).

Acknowledging the positive contributions of his fellow honorees, Trevor Project champ Darren Criss took the opportunity “to dismantle a saying that I’ve always resented, that youth is truly not wasted on the young.”

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