We had the good fortune of connecting with Kema Charles and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kema, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born in Chicago IL, and lived there until I was 16. My family moved to Florida (my mom’s home state) my Jr. year of High School. Growing up in Bellwood IL my parents kept us busy and involved in our community. My sisters and I were Girl Scouts. I played Volleyball and Basketball. I also started working my first job at 13. My parents taught my sisters and I the importance of community and just being good people. They are 100% the reason my focus is on community, diversity and being kind to people.

What should our readers know about your business?
Lights Camera Discover is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides underserved youth throughout Phoenix opportunities to develop confidence, build self-esteem, and learn teamwork by participating in a series of workshops that teach various aspects of performing and digital arts (digital filmmaking, photography, acting, screenwriting, website design, animation). Lights Camera Discover also provides students the opportunities to recognize entrepreneurship opportunities in the digital skills (graphic design, web design, filmmaking, game design). Lights Camera Discover (LCD) was built on a simple foundation; to effectively break the circle of generational poverty, you must equip the next generation with education in careers that are “in demand”. Our mission is to provide free, accessible and effective Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) programming leading to secondary education and then to STEAM careers where the goal is closing the circle in generational poverty. We develop in our students a sense of pride, self-worth, strength and appreciation of community commitment through performance and digital arts. Lights Camera Discover will be one of the catalysts to infuse a cooperative spirit that will bring forth the creativity of oneself. As part of our efforts to give youth a voice through the media arts, Lights Camera Discover offers an on-going program to train local youth in digital storytelling and animation productions. Lights Camera Discover is an award winning year-round program in which students learn filmmaking and animation basics alongside anti-bullying and social awareness. During our sessions, students get to create projects of their own. Founded in 2011, Lights Camera Discover offers youth an opportunity to work with a caring mentor to improve their ability to develop a positive attitude toward their future. The long-term goal of Lights Camera Discover is to empower young people to break the habits that are leading to trouble in school and in the streets. Lights Camera Discover has continuously run youth programs since the summer of 2012 and since 2014 LCD has continuously ran after school, weekend and summer programs for over 300 students. Awards • June 2018- NBC channel 12 non-profit spotlight • March 2019- SXSW 2019 Community Service Organization Honoree • October 2019- City of Phoenix Mayor Awards Innovative Arts Organization Finalist • February 2020- Phoenix Suns Golden Standard Award Winner

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate this shoutout to my foundation. My family has had to be strong for so many reasons. Mainly for the loss of my Dad, Mom and baby sister to cancer. They are the reason I fight to survive everyday. And for my surviving sister’s and family members to show them that we can overcome anything as long as we stay focused and determined.

Website: https://lightscameradiscover.org
Instagram: https://instagram.com/lcdprograms
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kema-charles-18392220/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/lcdprograms
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lcdprograms
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/lightscameradiscover

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