'Modern Family' Star Ty Burrell Hosts Fundraiser for Youth to Create Short Films

Ty Burrell Getty H 2016
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Ty Burrell Getty H 2016

"These kids aren’t acting up, they’re just asking for attention," said casting director Tige Charity, who founded Kids in the Spotlight. "They just want someone to see them and to celebrate them."

Modern Family star Ty Burrell on Saturday hosted a cocktail party and silent auction for Kids in the Spotlight, a nonprofit that helps foster-care children and other underprivileged youth write, direct and produce their own short films. Lee Aronsohn, co-creator of Two and a Half Men, hosted the gathering at his home.

"The biggest [win] of the organization is giving voice to kids that are marginalized by society and don’t feel like they have a voice," Burrell, who teaches an acting class for foster children and invites them to the Modern Family set, told The Hollywood ReporterHe noted that his father, who worked as a family therapist in the foster-care system, showed him that a career in a challenging field could tangibly change the world.

Kids in the Spotlight was founded in 2009 by Tige Charity, a casting director, who said she was moved to start the nonprofit after watching her husband give an acting workshop at an all group home. “I found a group of girls sort of misbehaving or acting out, in a sense," she said. "In my moment of judgment, I had to correct myself and say these kids aren’t acting up: they’re just asking for attention. They just want someone to see them and to celebrate them."

KITS has put on multiple awards ceremonies to recognize the work done by the youth to whom they make their services available. Last year's event was attended by Modern Family's Julie Bowen, Rico Rodriguez and Nolan Gould, along with Dr. Dre.

“Maybe somebody out there will read this and will feel like it’s worth their while,” said Burrell. “I think the organization is absolutely well worth it.”

Saturday’s event, which auctioned off art from the kids and movie collectibles, also drew Mo McRae (Empire), Malcolm-Jamal Warner (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) and Aisha Hinds (True Blood).

Burrell also was the grand prize in a “Dad for a Day” contest last year benefiting KITS, in which the highest bidder toward the organization won 24 hours of fatherly-related activities with Modern Family’s mainstay dad.

The DVD of Modern Family season 7, released Sept. 20, includes a featurette on the KITS charity and film festival.