SANTA MONICA—For 20 years, Keep a Child Alive, an organization that raises awareness and funds for pediatric AIDS care, presented its annual ‘Dream Halloween‘ on October 26 in Santa Monica at the Barker Hangar. This charity believes that “every person has the right to health care and deserves a future.” Funds from the charity go to supply nutritional food, clinical care, HIV treatment, and psychosocial support in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as worldwide.
Families, volunteers, talent, and children came together ”“ many in costume ”“ to celebrate the Halloween season by enjoying performances from “Disney’s Shake It Up” star, Zendaya, Handmade Song EP singer Tori Kelly, and “X-Factor’s” Rachel Crow. The CEO of Keep a Child Alive, Peter Twyman, and Founder of the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, Joe Cristina, and honoree Cristina Jade Pena, an HIV/AIDS activist, were in attendance to this family-oriented event. The event also featured a VIP section for sponsors to enjoy the Halloween season together. Pena was honored with the charity’s inaugural Joe Cristina Humanitarian Award.
Guests attending the event enjoyed face painting, playing games, doing Halloween-oriented arts and crafts, eating from different cuisines, and seeing the original Batmobile. Child performers from Le Petit Cirque have been performing at this event for the past four years.
Disney XD’s “Kickin’ It” star, Dylan Riley Syder, has been promoting the organization for the past three years, saying “I love coming here; [I enjoy] the event, seeing the kids all dressed up for Halloween. I love to help promote this “good cause” through photos and social media,” who has a Twitter account (@dylanrsyder).
Volunteers helped run the event by being greeters, doing arts and crafts with the children, helping with clean up, or being walk-around characters. Modela Kurzet of Long Beach, California, has been volunteering for the past eight years— she was introduced to the event by Marlee Matlin and Jamie Lee Curtis. “I come here because I care about children affected with AIDS who need health and medications, and for this year I want to thank my sign language interpreter, Rachel Braver, for interpreting which helps me communicate with people here.”