×

Jake T. Austin for Ronald McDonald House New York: Variety Power of Youth Honoree

'Wizards,' 'Fosters' thesp aims to help kids get involved and get educated about cancer

Acting since he was just 7, Jake T. Austin says he grew up doing funny voices and constantly trying to entertain.

The actor made a name for himself in Disney’s hit series “Wizards of Waverly Place” as the youngest sibling of Selena Gomez’s character. In addition to appearing in the new ABC Family series “The Fosters” and such movies as “Hotel for Dogs,” he has also parlayed his love of inventing characters into a thriving voiceover career. (Listen for him in “Rio,” its sequel and Nickelodeon’s “Go, Diego, Go!”)

For the native New Yorker, his affiliation with Ronald McDonald House has been important both personally and professionally: “The fact that my mom’s an oncology nurse means I’ve been very close to the world of cancer, and it’s not something to tiptoe away from,” he says. “So I’m using my position as a platform to bring a message to kids: to get involved, whether it be donating or educating themselves about the cause.”

SEE MORE: Variety Power of Youth Party Amps Kid Champs

Austin, who’s been an official youth ambassador for the org for two years, reports that he wanted to attach himself to Ronald McDonald House “because it spoke to my personality and my roots. We had a close family friend who just passed away from cancer, and I was in awe watching the courage and strength some of these patients have.”

SEE MORE: Hollywood Kids: How Do Young Actors Deal With Sexy, Violent Roles?

Austin’s involvement includes the cause’s annual Charity House Gala in New York and several fairs and carnivals held to raise donations and awareness. “And I make it a point to visit the House and reconnect with a lot of kids whenever I can,” he says.

SEE MORE: Variety’s Power of Youth Honorees:

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Can Get a Fair Trial in Manhattan, Says D.A.

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s office argued on Friday that Harvey Weinstein can get a fair trial in Manhattan, and blamed the producer’s defense team for much of the pre-trial publicity in the case. Weinstein’s attorneys have asked an appellate court to transfer the case — which is set to begin on Sept. 9 — to [...]

  • Leonardo DiCaprio Madonna

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna Call for Action on Amazon Wildfires

    As wildfires rage at an alarming rate in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, celebrities are using their platforms to bring awareness to the deforestation’s impact and to call for action. In the past week, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Cara Delevingne and Ariana Grande have taken to Instagram to express their frustration with the lack of [...]

  • 'The Durrells' TV Show

    Greece Sweetens Production Incentives as Struggling Country's Economy Rebounds

    It’s taken the better part of a decade for Greece to show signs of recovery from the crippling crisis that almost pushed it out of the Eurozone. Now, with the economy slowly on the mend, the government is doubling down on efforts to jump-start the local film industry, giving a dramatic overhaul to the incentive [...]

  • Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group announced it has entered a partnership with the music streaming and discovery service Audiomack, marking the platform’s first licensing deal with a major label. According to the announcement, the two companies will work together on content concepts and explore ways to break emerging artists, connecting music fans with rising talent before they [...]

  • Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on

    Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on ‘Brilliant’ Album and Campaign

    Two days after Taylor Swift fired off the latest salvo in her battle with Scooter Braun, the manager congratulated the singer on the campaign around her “brilliant” new album, “Lover,” which arrived last night. The message came after Swift said she will be re-recording songs from her first six albums, which are now owned by [...]

  • David Koch Obit

    David Koch, Libertarian Activist and Billionaire Philanthropist, Dies at 79

    David Koch, brother of Charles Koch and one of the owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., has died at 79. According to the New York Times, Charles Koch announced the news of his brother’s death in a statement. Though he did not attribute to David’s death to a particular cause, [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content