Actor Jason Frederick speaks to kids about media exposure during the Hollywood's Missing Link event sponsored by Identity Events at Portage High School in Portage, Ind., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
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Updated: November 26, 2012 6:56AM
On Saturday, Oct. 20, more than 120 kids enjoyed some fun and excitement while learning how to recognize the unhealthy influences popular media can have in their lives. The theme was “Hollywood’s Missing Link,” and Portage High School was decorated with movie posters, a red carpet and other Hollywood-related items.
Identity Events, a nonprofit organization created by parents, educators, college students and other concerned adults who want to influence kids in positive ways, hosted the two four-hour sessions. The sessions were split up by grade level: third- through sixth-graders attended an early one and seventh- through twelfth-grade attended the late one.
Both sessions included food — such as hot dogs, popcorn and pizza — a photo op on “the red carpet,” friendly competitions and presentations by guest speaker actor Jason Frederick and comedian Keith Deltano.
Frederick has been involved in movies such as “The Dark Knight,” “The Lake House,” “Flags of Our Fathers” and
“Your life is like a movie, and the really cool part is you are the director,” Frederick told the audience. “If you don’t like the way it’s going, you can yell, ‘Cut!’ ”
He used a discussion of the five top forms of media to help his audience realize how often they are bombarded with messages about sex, drugs and alcohol that might lead them to conclude that “it’s OK; everybody is doing that.”
Deltano calls himself a serious Christian comedian. His “Defy Conformity” routine encourages kids and adults to stand out from the crowd while getting them to laugh at themselves and at life.
Following Frederick’s talk, Stephanie and Kaitlyn Galey performed a dramatic dance to BarlowGirl’s song “Mirror.” The young women first performed the dance last year during a youth service at the Real Life Church. Their mother, Letitia Galey, is one of the two moving forces behind Identity Events.
Melissa Evans is the other force. Together, with help from their many sponsors, Galey and Evans seek to provide safe opportunities for young people to have fun while examining important issues and growing stronger in their bodies, minds and spirits.
Between the speakers, the young people played appropriate video games such as “Madden” and “Just Dance.” They ate popcorn and CiCi’s Pizza, talked with old friends and made some new friends.
“We want them to have fun doing the things they enjoy doing,” said D.J. Capron, youth minister at the Victory Christian Center.