The Sony backlot was transformed into a festive and interactive spring break soiree on Saturday night as City Year Los Angeles celebrated its fifth annual Spring Break: Destination Education event.
The org, which works to help young students succeed in high school and stay on track to graduate, raised $1.5 million thanks to the help of supporters including host Octavia Spencer and 20th Century Fox co-chair Stacey Snider.
Spencer explained that Snider was the one who first introduced her to City Year L.A. and the org’s mission continues to resonate with her on a very personal level.
“This organization spoke to me because education was my own way out of poverty. My mom pushed me to do well in school, but many kids need a role model — not to mention academic support — to help them succeed in school and beyond,” Spencer said. “City Year offers students on the brink of dropping out that extra care and support. It’s a model that works and is turning around thousands of young students’ lives, which is why I am proud to call myself a City Year supporter today.”
As guests entered the party space, they were greeted by the enthusiastic cheers and chants of the City Year corps members, clad in yellow and red jackets, who kept up the high-energy vibe throughout the night. Corps member Kevin Crouch also took the stage later in the evening to share his touching story of working closely with a troubled student at Normandie Avenue Elementary in South L.A. and how he’d helped him to achieve academic success.
Following Crouch’s testimonial, City Year L.A. co-founder and board chair Andrew Hauptman emphasized the importance of the event and noted the tremendous progress the org has made over the past several years.
“The bottom line is that we’ve helped thousands of students who have fallen off track get back on the path to graduate,” Hauptman told the audience. “Every kid, regardless of circumstance or background, has the potential for greatness, and corps members just like Kevin have the key to unlocking that potential.”
Partygoers had plenty of fun to discover at each of the booths set up on the commissary lawn, including basketball and skee ball games, hairstyling and makeup tutorials, an L.A. Galaxy soccer challenge and the chance to snap photos with the minions of “Despicable Me.”
The night’s musical guests got the crowd on its feet as Jasmine Villegas opened for Carly Rae Jepsen, who welcomed young fans to join her onstage during the performance of her hit song “Call Me Maybe” and closed out her set with her new single “I Really Like You.”
Among the slew of stars who made their way through the event were Nick Jonas and Olivia Culpo, who stopped by the photo booth after arriving straight from the Radio Disney Music Awards; Liam Hemsworth, who spent time catching up with Spencer; and “Gossip Girl” alums Chace Crawford and Ed Westwick.
Other guests who turned out to show their support included Aaron and Lauren Paul, “Jane the Virgin” actor Justin Baldoni, Sean Hayes, Russell Simmons, Jason Ritter and Kiernan Shipka.