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Kids strike a pose to help the homeless

CARLSBAD — Wanting to give back to the community, Kidville Carlsbad hosted a clothing drive, fundraiser and fashion show to benefit StandUp for Kids, an organization that helps rescue homeless and at-risk youth.
During the week of Aug. 14, Kidville collected new and used clothing and donated a percentage of the proceeds from its open play space and boutique sales to the organization.
The week-long fundraiser culminated Aug. 20 when the Kidville parking lot in Plaza Paseo Real, 6955 El Camino Real, was transformed into a fashion-show runway with about 20 trendy tots showcasing the clothing lines available in the store’s boutique.
Retired U.S. Navy officer Richard L. Koca founded StandUp for Kids in 1990 after watching a news show that documented street kids in San Diego. When the Navy sent him to the area Koca began walking the streets to find homeless teens and get them into shelters.
An estimated 1.5 million children, teens and young adults are trying to survive on the streets in the United States. Children make up about 27 percent of this country’s homeless population.
StandUp for Kids is a nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers who “shall tell kids they care about them and then, at every turn, prove it,” according to the group’s mission statement. It recently reopened in Oceanside at a new center at 1905 Apple St.
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Open since late-April, Kidville Carlsbad is a “one-stop shop for kids,” owner Rup Malhotra said.
“We have art, a gym, music, dance, enrichment, a play area, a boutique and date nights so parents can go out,” Malhotra said.
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