KITS Origin Story
When Kids In The Spotlight Founder and CEO Tige Charity first visited an all-girls group home in 2007, she had no idea the size of the seed planted in her heart.
In May 2009, with no prior experience and only the help of family and friends. Charity created Kids In The Spotlight, Inc. (KITS). This unique and highly specialized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization provides a platform for youth impacted by foster care to tell their stories their way.
“We are teaching kids that they can re-write the end of their story.”
Using film as a vehicle, we are teaching underserved youth that they have the power and skills to rewrite the end of their story and do great things.
Since its inception, Kids In The Spotlight has produced over 95 short films. Some are award-winning short films screened at film festivals nationwide, including three consecutive years at the Washington West Film Festival, two successive years at the Micheaux Film Festival and Pan African Film Festival, and the 2016 South By South Lawn White House Film Festival, where our youth met President Obama.
The heart of KITS is our Script-to-Screen (S2S) program, an immersive experience that connects youth with entertainment industry mentors. Aimed at filmmakers aged 12-24, this 10-15 week program allows participants to tell their stories authentically. From script creation and acting principles to casting and hands-on filmmaking, youth explore their creativity in a supportive environment.
Under the guidance of industry mentors, participants work together in writers’ rooms, working collaboratively to refine their scripts while gaining invaluable career insights. Acting classes provide new communication tools, and auditions, both for themselves and professional actors, empower them with decision-making skills. On production day, professional directors and crews of up to 40 volunteers per film, partner with the youth to bring cinematic visions to life, offering shadowing opportunities and mentorship.
The program culminates with the KITS Film Awards, an Oscar-style celebration that recognizes achievements and premieres the films on the silver screen.
KITS is a catalyst for change by bringing the stories of youth impacted by foster care and other underserved communities to life and to a broader audience. System-impacted youth find a creative platform to share their stories, develop industry skills, pursue higher education, and enter the filmmaking industry.
For youth aged 18-24, KITS serves as a foster care-to-career pipeline, offering internships and job opportunities to earn as they learn. KITS Youth Services provide crucial support for system navigation, ensuring access to housing, education, counseling, and more.
For KITS, when the movie ends, the rest begins.
**Lifetime Direct Payments that have been made directly to KITS alums through paid work opportunities
Who We Are
our Vision & mission
KITS envisions a pipeline of Black and Brown entertainment industry leaders in positions of decision-making power. In this way, KITS contributes to building generational wealth in communities of color, strengthens and grows Black and Brown entrepreneurship, and pursues the full and equal agency and participation of Black and Brown Americans in economic life.
KITS helps youth impacted by foster care heal and grow from trauma through the power of storytelling and filmmaking.
KITS provides space, experiences, and tools that enable youth to write, cast, and star in their own short films.
Independence and resiliency are as important, if not more so, than hard skills gained through KITS programs. In the words of KITS alumna Aliah W., “Kids In The Spotlight showed me that my voice is powerful and gave me the confidence to connect with the rest of the world.” View our 2023 Impact Report, Ready & Able.