This time of year makes us reflect on what has transpired throughout the year -- whose lives have touched us and, who we have touched; what challenges we have had to overcome. As the nation and world shut down during the 2020 pandemic, the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics miraculously not only persevered, but thrived. We quickly shifted from attending live events to attending online events -- screening films, interviewing talent, and attending virtual red carpets. As challenging as it was, our tween and teen reporters rose to the occasion and responded with unsurpassed kindness.
As life has returned to a new normal, our young reporters are returning to live red carpets, press junkets and press screenings again, but online events have claimed a space that works and makes sense. It levels the playing field for our reporters so that a child who lives outside of LA or New York City, where most live events occur, can still participate in a meaningful way. If you have followed KIDS FIRST! you have seen our reporters grow and thrive – before, during and after the pandemic. We give them a voice and an audience to share their insights about the media that surrounds them more and more every year. Most of them envision a future in the entertainment business and want to impact the types of media that emerge in the future. We are helping them realize their dreams. They are constantly coached by our writing and video editors. They are consistently offered opportunities to watch not just the sort of blockbuster films they might hear of but of thoughtful documentaries from filmmakers around the world and student filmmakers their own age.
As KIDS FIRST! celebrates its 31st anniversary, we are grateful to our supporters that help keep this program alive and relevant. We are grateful to our staff that trains and coaches our youth reporters, helping guide them to bring their best selves forward. We are grateful for the support of industry professionals who keep KIDS FIRST! on their radar screen and invite us to cover industry events throughout the year.
I recently had the privilege of meeting with several KIDS FIRST! alums, some of whom you might remember. For example, Gerry Orz, from Los Angeles, is now a senior at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and working for an animation company. Alejandra Garcia, from Miami, was recently hired as a reporter for NBC News in Manhattan. They both talked about how their experience with KIDS FIRST! helped guide them to where they are now.
Among our current reporters is Hanadie K., whose mom recently wrote me saying, “Thank you again for the life-changing opportunities you create for these children. You are a true gem, and your work is going to leave a legacy and imprint on the hearts of so many.”
We believe in these kids. They are the Future Creatives Of Tomorrow.
As we approach the end of 2022, we invite you to help us make an impact on the future of children’s entertainment by helping support these young people that we work with today. Contributions from individual donors like you help us meet our annual fundraising goals and provide critical funding that supports all the backend work at our office – our coaches and editors, our IT and promotion team, our podcast producer and our weekly e-zine editor.
At this time, we invite you to join millions around the world in supporting the causes they care about on #GivingTuesday and beyond.
KIDS FIRST! is a project of the national 501(c)(3) Coalition for Quality Children's Media. Your donation is tax-deductible to the degree allowed by law.
A donation of any amount is meaningful. Here are some ideas of what different amounts sponsor:
$ 20 Sponsors a youth filmmaker wanting to submit a film to our festival
$ 120 Sponsors one tween or teen at KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Boot Camp
$ 2000 Sponsors a mini film critics boot camp at a local film festival
$ 5000 Supports a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic for one year