Kids Helping Kids, a nonprofit student-run organization at San Marcos High School, is holding its annual Benefit Gala Concert to raise funds for children in need

Photo Courtesy of Kids Helping Kids

In addition to raising money for Kids Helping Kids and the causes they support, members of the organization will also learn valuable work skills from the concert. without fear of death. Photo Courtesy of Kids Helping Kids

Kids Helping Kids (KHK), a student organization at San Marcos High School, will host their annual Benefit Gala Concert at the Granada Theatre Saturday, an event that has raised millions of dollars for local and international children in need.

KHK, a nonprofit organization run entirely by high school students, raises money for youths in need through projects such as buying visual and hearing aids for students in Santa Barbara and financing safe houses for children in Nicaragua. Needtobreathe and Johnnyswim will both perform at the fundraiser this year.

Jack Palmer, chief executive officer of KHK and a senior at San Marcos High School, said this will be the group’s eighth year hosting the benefit concert.

“The reason why we do the Gala at the Granada is to show the growth of the organization,” Palmer said. “We’ve been having different bands and different artists every year since we started, and this year is actually the first year we’re doing a two-night concert.”

Palmer said the concert is where KHK makes a large portion of its money, additionally providing a “great experience” for KHK members and the community.

“At the beginning of every year, the organization decides how much they want to raise, and it has all accumulated to $2 million so far,” Palmer said. “This year, we are shooting for $350,000 as our goal — that’s why we’re really excited for the concert.”

Palmer said in addition to raising money for various causes, the organization also teaches students involved in organizing the concert valuable skills.

“For one thing, it’s raising that money that all goes out to helping so many people, making the maximum amount of impact we can to others,” Palmer said, “and then also, all the knowledge that comes from putting on the event is so crucial to the members of Kids Helping Kids.”

Successfully hosting the event means relying on all members of KHK, Palmer said, adding that students perform duties that are in line with their interests.

“People that are interested in theater are doing hands-on [jobs] and are actually designing the stage and scripts,” Palmer said. “Everyone gets a piece of the action, everyone gets experience with what their area of expertise is, and then having the experience of making something incredible happen, it really is something amazing.”

Carly Johnson, director of outreach at KHK and a senior at San Marcos High School, said she hopes the audience will enjoy the concert and also recognize the meaning of the benefit.

“I sincerely hope that we are able to create unforgettable moments and memories that not only allow us to improve the lives of kids less fortunate than us, but also challenges every heart in the theater to live for a better tomorrow,” Johnson said.

Olivia Jones, chief marketing officer at KHK and a senior at San Marcos, said she hopes the concert will give KHK the resources to make a big impact this year.

“Kids Helping Kids is a group that students are able to be a part of to not only change themselves, but . . . to help the most children possible,” Jones said.

“Everyone should look forward to an incredible concert and an amazing evening that truly showcases what we at Kids Helping Kids strive to achieve.”

A version of this story appeared on page 5 of the Thursday, January 7, 2015 print edition of the Daily Nexus.