We were lucky to catch up with Kema Charles recently and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Kema, thanks for joining us today. What did your parents do right and how has that impacted you in your life and career?
My parents taught me the importance of community. My parents were very big in our community growing up. And showing me that at an early age, I feel that I bring that to the mission and vision of my nonprofit daily.
Kema, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
Lights Camera Discover is a community of people who believe in the creative ability and future potential of youth who are sometimes overlooked. We are empowering creativity and individuality from concept to completion through mentorship and education in arts technology.
We are currently in Phoenix, AZ and Chicago, IL.
Our goal is to have campuses, programs and workshops available all over the United States.
We provide an audience for youth to work with and through their challenges. We are a support system to help them safely overcome.
We pay attention and offer opportunities to youth of all backgrounds and situations. We inform and educate, teaching both the art and science of stage and screen.
Our front-row celebration inspires and encourages our youth to grab the spotlight and move to center stage in their own lives.
From concept to completion, we set the stage for youth to learn all aspects of video production – from the tools to the techniques.
We pull back the curtain and expose them to the many opportunities both behind and in front of the camera so they can take action in pursuing their passions.
We applaud their successes as they write the script for their futures, and we are proud to present their progress.
We teach the fundamentals and help youth find their way around stage and studio. We guide them to perform—both on the stage and off.
We provide big picture, wide views to offer new perspectives. Open minds and spaces offer the opportunity to explore and uncover passion, talent, and inspiration.
We want you to go where inspiration takes you! Improvisation is a necessity on stage and screen, just as it is in life. We go with the flow, wherever we may be pulled.
Can you talk to us about how your funded your business?
For the first 5 years of my business I worked a 9-5 to fund my passion. I worked to pay bills and the rest was to fund my vision. Was it hard yes, Did I sacrifice a lot to make this happen? Yes. to me it was more important to make my vision a reality, than it was to have 3 meals a day and travel.
How’d you build such a strong reputation within your market?
Being truthful. If I stated what I wanted to do with the program I did it. No matter what I made sure what I promised to deliver I did. My work and my word is everything, and that is what people appreciate with me and my product.