Thanks to our supporters, in 2016 the ISF Youth program was able to award our first grant to benefit kids and teens. ISF has an established and impactful Grants Program including our Emergency Medical Grants for Animals as well as giving several individual grants for creature and environmental welfare throughout the years. Spouses Ian Somerhalder, our Founder, and Nikki Reed, our Vice President, have a combined passion to develop a love for the creative and performing arts in youth and because of their passion and our mission to positively impact the planet and underserved youth, we discovered Kids in the Spotlight.
Kids in the Spotlight, Inc. (KITS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in May 2009. The program trains youth ages 11-18 in the foster care system, to create, write, cast, and star in their own short films. This training culminates in an annual film festival and awards celebration where they present “Movies By Kids, For Kids.”
The IS Foundation gave a $10,000 grant to cover a 10-week workshop for 15 girls in foster care to write, produce and act in 3 short films at the David & Margaret Foster Care Agency in La Verne, CA.. This program included 5 amazing weeks of: screenwriting, 3 weeks of acting, 1 week of casting, 1 day of budgeting and 1 twelve-hour day of production which included a full film crew, equipment, props, wardrobe, makeup and craft services. It also included the editing, sourcing and final duplication of the films and DVD packaging.
“We are extremely grateful and honored that the IS Foundation chose Kids in the Spotlight as their first youth organization to support. Because of the IS Foundation, Kids in the Spotlight is able to provide our program to 15 additional foster care youth this year, producing 3 more short films. Thank you Ian Somerhalder Foundation for helping Kids in the Spotlight to empower the lives of foster care youth one film at a time.” Tige Charity, Executive Director Kids in the Spotlight
At the end of 2016, the films debuted at the 7th annual “Movies By Kids, For Kids,” a star-studded red carpet screening and awards ceremony at Fox Studios in Los Angeles, California. The youths in the program chose formal wear, were given professional hair and makeup services and arrived to the event by first class transportation in a limousine.
“Because of Kids in the Spotlight, it open my eyes to other entertainment options. I had the opportunity to film, help direct and act and to be honest I never thought I can do that. Like I never thought I can act. I never thought I could write a movie and I did! It opened my mind and gave me options of being in the entertainment industry on a lot of levels. I want to thank you guys for even donating to this program and thank u Tige for helping me increase my goals of being who I want to be." Martinae, Youth involved in the workshop
Because of our grant, KITS was able to expand their program to a new agency! David & Margaret Youth and Family Services empowers children, youth, and families through culturally diverse services that foster emotional, educational, spiritual, and identity development.
Excitedly, the ISF Team visited the David & Margaret Foster Care Agency, met the teens and engaged in the activities during a workshop day that was possible because of our grant. On the day we visited, the group learned and practiced acting skills using the screenplays they had previously written together based on their life experiences.
“Being able to actually experience this program WITH the youth whose lives we were collaboratively impacting was a life fulfilling moment. This program is so beautiful, so healing, and targets crucial life experiences and emotions like confidence, trust, forgiveness and empowerment.They hit tough topics - bullying, abuse, neglect, anger - and worked through them together using art. One of the coolest parts is it taught them professional skills in an area they were interested in, so now they can use this experience on their college and job applications and impact their futures! I know this experience will be another catapult for each of them to pursue their passions and a life of happiness - because they undoubtedly deserve it.” Jules Trace, Director of Youth Ian Somerhalder Foundation
THANK YOU to the youth who participated in our workshop! We hope you continue to pursue your passions and positively impact our planet, its creatures and yourselves.
Khammil Ronee Jayla Samantha Jennifer
Victoria Briana Yenifer Tiara Martinae
Heavenleigh Samantha Jayohzana Christina Reanna
“Writing and sharing a personal story can be a profound experience for the storyteller as well as for those viewing the film. Stories about our personal experiences can awaken our awareness, stretch our hearts, and help us to heal. Sharing these emotional stories allowed us to see the common threads of our experiences. By summoning the strength to reveal ourselves and our struggles, we provide comfort to others facing similar challenges while simultaneously reducing our own sense of isolation.”
Report from the Youth involved in the workshop
Thank you to our supporters who made it possible for ISF to give this grant. With your continued support, we hope to give more grants in the future toward youth empowering initiatives. To give to IS Foundation, please donate HERE.
The 3 short films created from the ISF grant
Written By: Jules Trace
Edited by Bob Stone
ISF depends on your support to provide grants in support of Creatures, the Environment and Youth. Please consider donating today.