Octavia Spencer, Aloe Blacc Help Raise $1.5M for City Year

Nolan A. Sotillo and Octavia Spencer
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

It was a hopping Spring Break party on the Sony backlot Saturday night.

Dreamworks’ Stacey Snider and NBC’s Bob Greenblatt were just two of the more than 1,400 guests who helped raised $1.5 million at the 4th annual Spring Break: Destination Education soiree which benefits City Year, an org that strives to keep kids in high school until they graduate.

Snider expressed her gratitude to City Year Los Angeles co-founder Andrew Hauptman who introduced her to the org about six years ago. She said Saturday night’s fete was the most successful Spring Break event to date. “This event is huge because it closes the gap in our funding and it introduces the mission to new people … This event is a great showcase for the work that the corp members do,” she said.

Those corp members, including Tanya Shah — who shared a heart-warming story of a boy whom she helped raise his grades and not fall through the cracks — were at the event in force donning their yellow and red City Year jackets. As guests entered the event, dozens of corp members cheered in unison with guests dancing their way into the outdoor party zone.

Snider, observing all the hoopla, added, “This kind of energy is what greets students when they come to school at 7 o’clock in the morning. And for some, the little extra boost and little extra love is what keeps them on their path.”

“I love the idea of kids helping kids and these young ambassadors are saying, ‘Hey, look I’ve been through it, I made it through it, you can, too,'” said Octavia Spencer, who was introduced to the program through Snider. “I think it is a tragedy the number of kids that don’t make it to graduation.”

Spencer said she has visited some of the 22 schools that the program reaches in Los Angeles and loves the work they’re doing. “Education unlocks the keys to all of life’s doors. You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to be of a name, you just have to have that foundation. It’s all about giving kids that foundation,” she said.

The packed event featured plenty of games for kids and adults. “About a Boy’s” teen star Benjamin Stockham had fun entering the E! News booth contest trying to win the opportunity to introduce musical guest Aloe Blacc who performed later in the evening. Alas, Stockham did not win.

Others showing their support included: Aaron Paul, Betsy Brandt, Diego Boneta, Jason Bateman, Jenna Elfman, Minnie Driver, Sean Hayes, Timothy Olyphant and Usher.

(Pictured: Nolan A. Sotillo and Octavia Spencer with a City Year AmeriCorps member)



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