Kay Panabaker Joins the KIDS FIRST! Board

As we enter a new year, we at KIDS FIRST! are excited to announce a new board member who is joining our team. Actress Kay Panabaker (“Fame,” “Nancy Drew,” “Moondance Alexander,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” among others) has an intense interest in children and media.

CP: Please gives me a non-wikipedia view of how you see yourself and your goals.

KP: I see myself as a person who goes to the beat of my own drum. While most 18-year-olds are trying to appear more mature, I’m trying to hold onto my youth and innocence. Education, family, and hard work are often underrated in the media, but I hope that throughout my lifetime, I am able to impress upon people the significance of both of these in the lives of children. I hope to continue to work in jobs that I love and share that love with others.

CP: What made you want to be part of the KIDS FIRST! organization?

KP: As a 17-year-old UCLA graduate, education is clearly very important to me. Current pop culture has de-emphasized the value of education and family. The KIDS FIRST! organization has worked hard to celebrate children’s media that is both entertaining and instills good values in the audience. I think that with more support, they can create a safer and more child-friendly environment in the media. I continue to babysit, and I’m always looking for new movies and books to share with my charges that will encourage them to do great things in their lives.

CP: What do you feel you bring to board meetings and general function for KIDS FIRST!?

KP: I feel that my youth brings a new perspective to KIDS FIRST! adults who, while having more worldly experience, have to work harder in order to understand children trends and interests. I am constantly hanging out with kids and consider myself a big kid, so I think my experiences will help KIDS FIRST! I hope my familiarity with children and the things that they are interested in will help KIDS FIRST! find great children’s media.

CP: What was your impression of the board member you first met?

KP: While I haven’t met the rest of board, I have met Ranny Levy, and she has been so nice to me. We first met when she presented me with a KIDS FIRST! Film Award and I was immediately taken with how caring and kind she is. She is so very passionate about her cause, and I hope that I am able to help her in her endeavor to better the lives of children through media.

CP: Please tell us about an experience with children’s media that had a great impact on your life.

KP: I’ve always been a big of the Disney animated films. They are always so witty and funny and enjoyable for people of all ages. As a kid, and even as a teenager, I have looked at those films to help me figure myself out and investigate the world around me. I appreciate any book or movie that transports kids from their own lives to some other world.

CP: Do you plan to continue acting, pursue a teaching career? Both? Neither?

KP: I would like to continue acting as long as possible. The business is so finicky, however, that teaching is one of my backup plans. If I stop working as an actress, either by choice or lack of jobs, I will get my teaching credentials and hopefully teach elementary school. I actually just took and passed the CBEST, which allows me to substitute teach in California. I might try that and see how it goes.

CP: What changes would you like to see in children’s media in the future?

KP: I would love to see children’s media revert back to educational and family values. With the constant bombardment of media that has no value beyond entertainment, I want to see kid-safe media options that aren’t going to jeopardize their morals and their values. Adults need to understand that even the simplest things can have the biggest impact on children’s lives.

CP: Where you see KIDS FIRST!, as an organization, headed in the the future?

KP: I see KIDS FIRST! as becoming the measurement by which media judges its positive impact on children.

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