They have interviewed President Barack Obama, actress Michelle Rodriguez, former Congressman Henry Waxman, former Mexican President Vicente Fox and soccer legend Mia Hamm, all while keeping up with their middle school homework. The reporters at KidScoop Media might be teenagers but through the efforts of Executive Director and Founder Michelle Mayans and a group of dedicated volunteers, these young kids are able to speak one-on-one with some of the world’s most well-known personalities.
“I was volunteering for a big fundraiser for the Ballona Institute and Mayor [Antonio] Villaraigosa, senators and other congress people were there; so I remember thinking how we were planning this event and how people attending already know what was going on,” Mayans said. “I thought that what we should be doing is engaging the people who don’t know such as young people and engage them in the conversation.”
With two Culver City Middle School students, Mayans took a camera and began recording the two young reporters as they engaged with the celebrities and local leaders in attendance at the Ritz-Carlton at the Marina.
“I noticed the reaction right then and there on how people start to simplify their cause because when you speak to a child, there is a change in the language,” Mayans said. “The end result is the same but it is the journey to that result that is more simplified that could also affect a lot of adults that might not understand what’s going on.”
From the experience during that first event, Mayans made the effort to expand on what the two students accomplished and reached out to people interested in volunteering. Since then and with the help of videographers, photographers and anyone committed to the KidScoop Media mission, Mayans and new young reporters have covered red carpet events, human rights campaigns galas and even the White House.
“People loved talking to the kids and I knew this had to keep going,” Mayans said. “For me it is about the reflection of a child’s curiosity which is why you see politicians; it’s why you see entertainers and philanthropists and why you see religious figures. You will see everybody because the beautiful thing about being a child is that curiosity.”
The group has also attended the Academy Awards, among other events, where the kids asked celebrities what foundations or causes they supported and how people could help instead of the mundane “what are you wearing?” question.
“You saw the actors light up and I began getting feedback about how nice the event was,” Mayans said. “This year we went back to the Human Rights’ Campaign where Vice President Biden was present, as was Kamala Harris, our attorney general. Then we got invited to the White House in November.”
The effort might be exhausting but well worth the effort for everyone involved.
“My passion is what drives me but without the volunteers and the people that have helped along the way, this cannot be done,” Mayans said. “It was like that story about stone soup: I started with some water and we began creating this beautiful thing and it is still burning at the fire because it is still growing.”
For more information persons interested can visit: www.kidscoopmedia.org.