Imagine Dragons, Michael B. Jordan, Aaron Paul Raise Over $1M for Education

Patricia Seaton
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Hollywood made a powerful presence in support of education as stars flocked to Sony Studios for City Year LA's sixth annual Spring Break: Destination Education bash. 

Hosted by City Year board member Octavia Spencer with event co-chair Stacey Snider (20th Century Fox Co-Chair), the Sony Studios Commissary Lawn became a hotspot for celebs including Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Keegan-Michael Key, Allison Janney, Derek and Julianne Hough, Yara Shahidi, Sophia Bush, Aaron Paul and Mischa Barton. 

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The fundraiser proved to successful, raising a record $1.6 million for City Year while promoting the importance of education for tweens and teens. Angela Bassett was among the celebs who brought their kids to explore interactive booths for virtual graffiti, obstacle courses and sports games courtesy of sponsors Snapchat, Disney/ABC Television Group, DreamWorks Animation, Aramark and more.

The funds raised go towards City Year, which its participating AmeriCorps members around the country mentor close to 10,000 at-risk students to keep them on track for graduation. The organization continuously receives support from A-listers including Spencer who deeply resonated with the City Year’s message. The actress, who has now upped her dedication to the non-profit as a board member, has told THR in the past that education was her own way out of poverty.

The message also stuck with many of the celeb attendees including New Girl’s Max Greenfield who told THR that guiding his six-year-old daughter through her educational journey has become the main inspiration in his life. 

“Watching her you really start to go please don’t make the same mistakes I made please," said Greenfield. "It’s forcing me to really catch up on everything I missed when I was younger so when she comes home and starts to ask me questions I have some answers and don’t have to Wikipedia everything."

The annual event keeps Aaron Paul returning every year as a City Year supporter as well. 

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“There was never a part of me that wanted to give up on school,” said Paul. “I never saw that as an option. I always knew I had to finish school. There are a lot of kids out there that see it as an option to just walk away.”

The young adults who serve as the AmeriCorps of City Year donned their signature red and yellow jackets while pumping up guests, cheering them on as they entered the venue. City Year LA’s executive director Mary Jane Stevenson took the stage mid-event to stress that their influence in changing the lives of students who live only miles away from many of the night’s guests is crucial.

The party lasted into the night, featuring a closing acoustic performance from Imagine Dragons, proving that as Aaron Paul stressed, it’s cool to “stay in school.”

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