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Kids In The Spotlight

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Kids In The Spotlight

52ANDCHANGE WILL MATCH ALL $1 - $10 DONATIONS (click bar above), UP TO $500!


We all know that "it takes a village," but often we don't think about overlooked youth who lack a consistent, stable village to help them through life. Kids in the Spotlight provides just such a village to help foster youth overcome traumatizing experiences such as poverty, abuse, neglect, and rejection. KITS provides a platform for them to heal and shine in a safe environment where filmmaking is used to teach teamwork, creativity, respect, commitment, and the discipline needed to improve their social capital.

Since 2009, Kids In The Spotlight (KITS) has created more than 80 films with more than 750 youth from foster care where they are given full agency to tell their stories by writing, casting, and starring in their own short films.

Each year culminates in our annual KITS Film Awards, celebrating their films and accomplishments in our version of the Academy Awards.

Your microgifts, joined with others, will help support this work and make a difference!


Using film as a vehicle, Kids In The Spotlight's Script-to-Screen program provides a safe space for foster youth to face their pain and find their power. Film is the vehicle, but the destination is a better life. 

KITS' flagship Script-to-Screen program gives 12- to 22-year-old foster and underserved youth agency and decision-making power over the stories they tell as they write, cast, and star in their own short films.

Our youth receive hands-on job training, preparing them for careers in the entertainment industry.
From learning screenwriting software, to collaborating on a script in a writers' room, to filming with industry-standard equipment on set, KITS provides exposure to the experiences that future employers require.

Our program year culminates with the KITS Film Awards, where our youth take center stage in the spotlight, receiving the Academy Award-worthy treatment they deserve.
From hair, makeup, and wardrobe to limousine rides arriving at a red-carpet experience, this film premiere with celebrity guests recognizes KITS Youth with awards for best actors, screenplays, and films. Screenwriting gives KITS youth a voice, acting gives them an emotional outlet, and the awards show gives them a platform where their experiences and stories are validated and celebrated.

Through KITS Script-to-Screen, foster youth are equipped with workforce skills, empowered to achieve their goals, and emboldened to become leaders in their communities


The foster care system is a pipeline feeding the prison system, homeless population, unemployment, and our country's mental health epidemic, leaving many foster youth without the safety net or support needed to overcome these outcomes as they age out of the child welfare system.

In its first few years, as Kids In The Spotlight worked with foster youth in residential homes, we saw firsthand the uncertainty and instability of the system. With every upheaval of a new placement, it was clear: foster youth need real opportunities to not just prepare for aging out, but to be empowered to be self-sufficient.

KITS meets this unique need to help foster youth change the current trajectory they face
 — aging out of the child welfare system without support or necessary skills — by increasing their career readiness, social capital, and personal wellness.

KITS uses industry partnerships
to access industry-standard crews and equipment, paid internships, scholarships to screenwriting programs, and production jobs beyond the flagship Script-to-Screen program, disrupting the foster-care-to-homelessness-and-prison-pipeline.

Makeup on the set.


In 2007, when Kids In The Spotlight Founder and Executive Director Tige Charity first visited an all-girls' group home, she had no idea the seed that had been planted in her heart.

Two years later, after wrestling with the idea of purpose and leaving the corporate world of insurance, Tige was reminded of the youth who had been acting out at the group home, and how they really just wanted attention. KITS was downloaded into her spirit, Tige says, to "give them something you love, give them the arts..."

In May 2009, with no prior experience and only the help of family and friends, Tige founded KITS as a pathway for healing and growth through the arts.

After 12 years of seeing the process of KITS youth aging out, a need for viable employment opportunities became clear.

Today, KITS is designing the first-of-its-kind Production Studio for a Cause, operating as a social enterprise, where the entertainment industry can be leveraged to provide racial and economic justice
to L.A.’s most underserved youth through workplace training in – and the continued artistic outlet of – filmmaking and media arts.


KITS wants young people to THRIVE. Our community's most vulnerable youth, who include foster youth, are not afforded many opportunities to thrive.

One participant, "Kathy," represents the impact KITS makes and the need for our work helping youth find their voice.

Sexually abused as a child, she found the courage to testify against her predator after being a part of our program.
Her attorney wrote, “It was during her 15-week sessions with Kids In The Spotlight that Kathy wrote her CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) story in the hopes of having it made into a short film. Kathy told me that she hoped to share her story so that others would not walk down the same path.”

The experiences bottled up inside of our youth are so powerful that they can help shape the world we live in
 — when we give them the space and the safety to be heard.


KITS' innovative flagship program has been described by foster youth and program partners as giving youth decision-making power they don't often experience as foster youth.

Being a Black-female-led, Black- and brown-youth-serving organization, KITS is well positioned to bridge the diversity, equity,
and inclusion gap in the entertainment industry and invest in the untapped resource of our local foster youth.

Prior to the pandemic, there were 57,000 business establishments in entertainment & digital media, but Black ownership was at just 2.4%. More alarming, Black-owned businesses have dropped 40% during the pandemic, more than those of any other racial group. Similarly, recent reports showed Hollywood’s anti-Black bias costs it $10 billion in lost revenue a year.

In response, KITS envisions leveraging our Production Studio for a Cause to develop a pipeline of BIPOC leaders in positions of decision-making power by providing them with the support they need to empower themselves and overcome adversity as well as supplying them with vocational training and industry mentors — retaining our alumni as part of that pipeline themselves.

Youth aging out of the foster care system have many unmet needs. KITS provides trauma-informed media arts education, wellness support, workforce training, and incomes to impact outcomes.


Discipline and creative expression - while learning social and emotional skills through KITS Script-to-Screen program - helps our youth prepare for an independent, self-sustaining adulthood.

Our measure of success is seeing KITS youth develop skills for planning, self-control, social awareness, focus, and adaptability.

Through KITS' Script-to-Screen program, filmmaking skills are tied to social and emotional learning.
Screenwriting helps youth learn to communicate, negotiate, collaborate and compromise. Acting lessons are used to help youth explore and present their emotions to others, while learning to identify and control their feelings. Like job interviewing, casting explores their communication skills and self-presentation, as they audition for each other, making decisions as a team. During filming, our youth get hands-on exposure to every aspect of filmmaking, with the mentorship of industry professionals.

Exit surveys have concluded 93% of youth learn to communicate in a positive way, 100% have learned teamwork and selflessness, 82% have found their confidence,
83% showed an improvement in attitude towards school, and 100% indicated, "I am confident that the skills I have now are enough to make me successful in life."


There are enough kids in the L.A. County foster care system alone to fill the Staples Center not once, but twice. More than 50% of California's foster youth will not be reunified with their families. This creates an urgent need for them to avoid the trajectory of homelessness, job and food insecurity, and incarceration. KITS provides the resources that foster youth need to transition into adulthood and find fulfilment, careers, and stability.

Filmmaking is a pathway to economic freedom in Los Angeles. As an education center linking transitional-aged foster youth (ages 18-25) to jobs in the entertainment industry (currently 586,000 production jobs), the KITS Production Studio for a Cause will set KITS youth on this path.

This social enterprise will allow industry professionals to “pay it forward” by utilizing our studio, hiring one to two KITS’ youth (identified as "Young Professionals") to work on their projects, gaining vocational skills needed to join a entertainment workforce that generates $43 billion in labor income annually.

Most importantly, the production studio will serve as a permanent home base where foster youth can belong, socialize, network, learn filmmaking, access mental health resources, and produce their own independent film projects.


  • From the beginning, we've been moved by this project and the stories of the kids it helps. We love how it brings to such deserving children the creative and fulfilling jobs that are typically furthest from vulnerable children's reach. 
  • We share the Kids In The Spotlight vision of the power of stories, and we also know that people with connections and resources are by no means the only people with good stories to tell. The program elevates these kids' stories with both technical and creative support, working on multiple levels to improve kids' lives and society as a whole. 
  • It's an organization that matches its good stories with transparent and responsible finances, and we heartily endorse both! 

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