Karrine Steffans
August 20, 2013 1:00 pm

This past weekend, my 15-year-old son was invited to Pizza With An Icon, a program in which a group of young adults meet with a public figure to discuss that person’s charity or cause of choice and concern.

This time, the public figure was Katharine McPhee and the charities she supports are Malaria No More and The Power of One ($1). Read on to learn more about Katharine McPhee, these causes, and my kid’s take on what he took away from Pizza With an Icon.

Thank you to my friend Bonnie Abaunza for inviting my son to the event, which was filmed at Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Studios, in California.

Actress and Columbia recording artist Katharine McPhee spent the past two years shooting the highly anticipated Steven Spielberg/NBC TV series SMASH in New York City. Katharine is currently in the studio working on her next solo record, due out later this year. The album will feature McPhee’s collaborations with some of the industry’s top songwriters, including Linda Perry (Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Pink), Salaam Remi (Amy Winehouse, Fergie, Nas), Sia (Rihanna, Beyonce), The Dream (Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Rihanna) and Ryan Tedder (Maroon 5, Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Clarkson).

McPhee’s self-titled debut album exploded on the Billboard 200. It was also the best chart debut for a female artist during that period in two years. In addition to her acting and singing career, Katharine is a passionate philanthropist and currently is the celebrity ambassador for Malaria No More.

Katharine has co-starred in the hit Adam Sandler comedy movie House Bunny and co-starred in episodes of CSI-NY, Community and The Family Guy. Katharine was featured on two hit PBS specials – Foster and Friends and Chris Botti in Boston alongside STING, Andrea Bocelli and John Mayer.

Malaria No More is determined to end malaria deaths. We’re helping the world get it done by engaging global leaders, rallying the public, and delivering life-saving tools and education to families across Africa. Founded in 2006 by media executive Peter Chernin and UN Special Envoy for Malaria Ray Chambers, Malaria No More is working to create a world in which no one dies from a mosquito bite.

Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease that nonetheless remains one of the top three child-killing diseases in the world, taking the life of a child under age five every minute of the day in Africa. About 85% of malaria deaths occur in children under five, and over 90% occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

Malaria can be effectively prevented by the nightly use of an insecticide-treated bed net and targeted indoor spraying and can be rapidly diagnosed and treated with tools that together cost as little as $1 per child. Malaria used to be a top killer of children here in the U.S., and eradicating it was the reason for the founding of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which helped end American malaria deaths in 1951.

Malaria No More is headquartered in New York City, with 20 staff members; has a Policy & Advocacy office in Washington, D.C., with 5 staff; a Director of Entertainment Industry Relations based in Los Angeles; and program- matic staff based in Cameroon, Chad, Senegal and Tanzania. We also have affiliate organizations in Canada, the UK, the Netherlands and Japan.

My Teenager’s Take:

Meeting Katharine McPhee and talking about the issue of Malaria in Africa was a very interesting and informative experience. Hearing her story helped me and the other kids understand the depth of the situation and just how much it affects the African population. We got to see videos of her in Africa, with the people. We watched her go out there and give help to everyone who needed it. It was a great experience and it was great to learn that a problem like this, that can be easily solved by giving people access to mosquito nets, is being solved by Malaria No More and the help a regular girl from California.​

Being there was a great experience and I do plan to be a part of more Pizza With An Icon events. Getting to know the kids, meeting Katharine, having pizza with everyone, learning about important global issues like malaria, and being able to see Hans Zimmer’s studio was all really amazing and is something I would want to do again, very soon.

Malaria can be effectively prevented by the nightly use of an insecticide-treated bed net and targeted indoor spraying and can be rapidly diagnosed and treated with tools that together cost as little as $1 per child. Malaria used to be a top killer of children here in the U.S., and eradicating it was the reason for the founding of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which helped end American malaria deaths in 1951.

Malaria No More is headquartered in New York City, with 20 staff members; has a Policy & Advocacy office in Washington, D.C., with 5 staff; a Director of Entertainment Industry Relations based in Los Angeles; and program- matic staff based in Cameroon, Chad, Senegal and Tanzania. We also have affiliate organizations in Canada, the UK, the Netherlands and Japan.

Meeting Katharine McPhee and talking about the issue of Malaria in Africa was a very interesting and informative experience. Hearing her story helped me and the other kids understand the depth of the situation and just how much it affects the African population. We got to see videos of her in Africa, with the people. We watched her go out there and give help to everyone who needed it. It was a great experience and it was great to learn that a problem like this, that can be easily solved by giving people access to mosquito nets, is being solved by Malaria No More and the help a regular girl from California.​

Being there was a great experience and I do plan to be a part of more Pizza With An Icon events. Getting to know the kids, meeting Katharine, having pizza with everyone, learning about important global issues like malaria, and being able to see Hans Zimmer’s studio was all really amazing and is something I would want to do again, very soon.

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