Celebrities assemble at Valley for a good cause

One Child At A Time hosts a celebrity charity flag football game at Valley College.

By Kevin Buckles Jr., Editor in Chief

Who knew b-boy skills and growing up featured on the Disney Channel would translate to the football field? How about a 34 year-old actor with better ball-tracking skills than every Oakland Raiders football player? Ok, maybe that isn’t so hard to believe. What about a guy nicknamed ‘Smoove’ who is, lets just say, anything but smooth on the field?

Cameron Boyce, Arlen Escarpeta and J.B. Smoove were just a few Hollywood names that participated in One Child At A Time’s (OCAAT) Celebrity Flag Football Game recently at Monarch Stadium, benefitting Los Angeles County’s foster children and families.

Despite having to endure scattered drizzles throughout the day, the fifty shades of grey colors in the sky were not an accurate reflection of the mood generated by over 100 celebrities in attendance. Hundreds of pearly whites beamed throughout the crowd of nearly a thousand people, mostly foster families, as the event featured musical performances, free-giveaways, meet-and-greets and dance-offs.

The event began with each celebrity on Team Red and Team Blue participating in the game introducing themselves to the large crowd of fans one by one. Some of the most recognizable faces and names in attendance were: Disney Channel star Cameron Boyce, actor and comedian J.B. Smoove, Arlen Escarpeta, Edward James Olmos, and former Nickelodeon child-star Kel Mitchell, who hosted the event.

“It’s fun to come out here and do anything to support kids, and showing them that they can follow their dreams no matter their circumstances,” said Mitchell. “So when I was asked to host, I was all about it; I come from a kids network so it’s definitely a passion for me.”

The game itself looked exactly how one would expect a celebrity charity matchup to look — a competitive blooper real.

Between dropped passes, fumbles, illegal substitutions, and jokes-galore, the game was entertaining at the very least. Team Blue, featuring Boyce and Escarpeta, dominated Team Red led by Smoove, Khleo Thomas (Holes), and Brian Hooks (3 Strikes). The game was out of hand by the 2nd quarter when Team Blue took a 28-0 lead into halftime led by Cameron Sutter’s three touchdowns. The second half was more of the same as Boyce and Escarpeta used their impressive and deceptive elusiveness to score two long touchdowns late in the 4th quarter; Boyce’s touchdown came off of 65-yard catch while Escarpeta’s came when he intercepted a pass and returned it 70 yards.

“I was out here getting beat up,” joked Boyce. “But I’m glad we were out here having fun for a good cause.”

Escarpeta also joked that his main goal was to “not get hurt,” but was more then happy to be participating in the celebrity event for OCAAT.

“It’s less about the ‘celebrity’ and more about the giving back,” said Escarpeta. “Foster care is something that affects people around the world. A lot of times we’re so quick to reach out and help people further away than closer to home so things like this matters more to me because it is closer to home and theres so many kids need that support, and need that balance, so its our responsibility. They’re our children, so is a great opportunity to give back.”

That is a message that OCAAT co-founder and event coordinator Jackie Solomon sought to put into action in 2007 — when the organization was created. OCAAT has held celebrity basketball, golf, and ‘Foster Idol,’ since 2008, raising funds to be funneled to families for medical, dental, and other services that government funding cannot provide. OCAAT has also given out roughly 300 different scholarships for foster youth and helped countless families within L.A. County.

“[OCAAT] is something that I thought of and created because I was a DSFS (Department of Children and Family Services) social worker and I wanted to give back,” said Jackie Solomon, co-founder and event coordinator of OCAAT since its inception in 2007. “Valley [College] was a great place to host this event because it’s a beautiful stadium, and updated, so we are honored for that.”

For more information about OCAAT and their scheduled events, please visit: http://www.ocaatevents.com

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