For more information about our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics program, please take a look at our deck here: http://slides.com/rannynm/deck-02802409-3352-462d-b30e-949e5ffba6c3

Here are comments by our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics’ parents.

Gerry (Los Angeles, age 13) began submitting his student films to KIDS FIRST! when he was 9 and joined the KIDS FIRST! team three years ago. Last spring, Gerry was invited to present some of his film ideas to Morgan Freeman’s production team after interviewing Freeman on the red carpet three times in six week’s time. Gerry’s feature length film on bullying has been picked up for distribution thanks to his KIDS FIRST! connections. He has completed over 100 reviews and is now working on reaching 200! Gerry’s mom recognized that the program’s benefits go beyond film critiquing. “Your program not only teaches kids how to be better communicators, more pleasant company and knowledgeable movie gurus, it gives them so much more. These kids will be able to socialize and speak properly, write great essays, participate intelligently in debates and become confident leaders.” Gerry is currently enrolled in a production workshop at YouTube Space LA, representing KIDS FIRST! as one of only 10 channels accepted.

KIDS FIRST! invited Keefer to attend a major red carpet and movie event. For four years Keefer would have jumped in the van, questions in hand, dressed in his tux and would represent KIDS FIRST! This time it was different.  Keefer started High School at the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana, California. A charter, college prep, arts academy. Accepted into the Film and TV academy, most afternoons he performs as the director, actor, editor, writer, cameraman or any other position required. On the date of the event Keefer was set to be the producer for a full length television production with six segments, commercials and intros.

Before KIDS FIRST! Keefer was a sweet, little boy with a lot of talent, a speech impediment and an insatiable desire to work in the entertainment field. Due to the training, encouragement and unbelievable opportunities Keefer’s been allotted he’s become a humble young man with an amazing work ethic, advanced skills in the movie industry and a mental maturity beyond his years.

After thanking KIDS FIRST! for the offer, Keefer sat me down and said, “Everything I’ve learned at KIDS FIRST! has brought me to what I’m doing right now. I couldn’t be running an entire show production in front and behind the camera, if I wasn’t in KIDS FIRST!. I truly miss the red carpets, the interviews and the videos for KIDS FIRST!, but I’m learning so much in school. I feel blessed by both,” The opportunity to work with KIDS FIRST! has broadened my understanding of my son. I know that he will find his way in the world. I can’t say that he wouldn’t have done just fine without KIDS FIRST!, but life certainly wouldn’t have been as exciting, awe-filling and memorable without KIDS FIRST! along for the journey.

Another child who started out shy but articulate, Gabriella (New York City, age 18), now a university student, interviewed Oprah and Steven Spielberg on the red carpet. She attributes her experience as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic to determining her course of study at Princeton where she is a sophomore. “I had so much fun interviewing celebrities, attending press screenings, watching new movies, speaking on the radio show and appearing on the red carpet where I stood among international press interviewing numerous celebrities! I have increased my critical viewing, my film vocabulary and improved upon my conversational and interviewing skills. My term as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic exceeded my expectations.”

Raven’s (Denver, age 18) mother shares this. “I have been involved with KIDS FIRST! for five years as a parent of a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic who reported from the red carpet for Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows. The organization consistently displays a high level of genuine commitment when it comes to children, children’s media, education and outreach. KIDS FIRST! is definitely a leader in this area and their dedication to what is best for children is present in everything they do. The guidance and direction they offered is unquestionably valuable. The resources, direct coaching and training provide support and encourage written and verbal expression of thought for children. My daughter’s experience with KIDS FIRST! has opened many doors for her, allowing her to develop excellence in her written and oral presentations and to always ask the deeper questions about messages in media. Her confidence in public speaking has greatly increased as well as her sense of self worth. Her involvement with KIDS FIRST! has contributed to her understanding that she is important as a person and her thoughts and opinions matter within the organization, within her school and within her role as a contributing member of society.”

Brianna (Orlando, age 15), comments, “Being a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic has provided me with skill sets that will last a lifetime.  Who knew from being a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, I would have one of my quotes on the back of the DVD, Mom’s Night Out, appear on a national syndicated TV show, The Daily Buzz and interview so many great celebrities.”

Camille (Santa Fe, age 9) served two years as a KIDS FIRST! reporter. One of the highlights of her term was being flown to San Jose, CA to attend the U.S. Olympic Gymnastic Trials and interview Jade Pettyjohn, the star of “An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars.” “That was a wonderful, empowering experience for her. That weekend was an unforgettable experience for both of us!”

Makai (Santa Fe, age 9) joined KIDS FIRST! when she was nine. Her mom comments, “Learning to review movies taught her to organize her thoughts and vocalize her opinions about media and trends. Speaking weekly on a radio show gave her confidence in her voice and helped her develop both listening and analytical skills.”

See the full parent testimonials here!

Here’s what the kids have to say: