Up to date information about children's entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

The KIDS FIRST! Journey And Surprises Along the Way

Today, one week into our annual year-end fundraising campaign, we’ve reached 20% of our goal, thanks to generous people like you! Please help us reach 100% so we can continue our important work in children’s media, which often changes lives one person at a time.

As we begin our 33rd year, I’ve been reflecting on our journey and our vision for the future. When I co-founded KIDS FIRST! in September 1991, little did I know that it would evolve into my life’s most defining work. A casual conversation with my colleague, Paula Miller, marked a turning point in my life. We, along with a few others from the children’s media industry, had been toying with the idea of creating a service that would help parents choose quality programming for their children. Paula, having recently been laid off, posed a question that forced me to confront my own commitment to this idea. She asked, “Are you serious about doing this?” Her question was a wake-up call. It was time to either fully commit to this idea or let it go.

By the end of our first meeting, we had developed a business plan to start a nonprofit and created a list of potential board members. As she drove away, we literally tore that list in half and began making phone calls. I still remember calling Peggy Charren (Founder, Action for Children’s Television), who grilled me like I was on the witness stand before saying, “Oh sure, you’re fun to talk with. I’m in!” After that, things began to flow pretty smoothly, though we definitely had our ups and downs. We launched the concept at VSDA (some of you remember that conference), where Bruce Apar, Editor of Video Business, approached me and said, “You need me on your board.” We did! Many other critical people joined us along the way and I’ll share some of those stories at a later time.

What I did not know at the beginning is how this organization would grow and become so much more than meets the eye. On the surface, we teach media literacy in action to our team of 65 tween and teen reporters who review the latest films and interview the cast and crew. But KIDS FIRST! is so much more. We have created a community where these young people can engage with media professionals in a dialogue that makes children’s media relevant. We build lifelong friendships for young people with a shared interest in storytelling, filmmaking, and investing in their future. We help them find their purpose and become leaders who impact the lives of others in a meaningful way.

Please help us meet our end of year goal by making a contribution yourself and sharing our story with friends, family and colleagues. Every little bit helps, whether it is $5 or $1500.

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