Felix Assivo


Child Claimed on Another Tax Return?

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Kids
Child Claimed on Another Tax Return?

Several times during tax season we electronically file a client’s tax return, only to learn that one of the client’s legal dependents was claimed falsely on another tax return. Sometimes this is due to identity theft, which will be discussed in another blog. More often this situation arises because an ex-spouse, a grandparent, or another ineligible family member has the child’s information and claims the child, even though they did not have the child for at least 6 months or provide 50% or more of the child’s support. Unfortunately, many tax preparers simply tell their clients that there is nothing that can be done since the child has already been claimed. Such a statement is wrong and misleading, because there are procedures that can be followed to get you the child exemption you deserve and qualify for.

How can you get the exemption for your qualified child? When the taxpayer enters our office with this problem we discuss with them how the problem can be fixed. We suggest the taxpayer gather documents that support their claiming the child. Once these documents are gathered, we attach the documents to the prepared tax return. We have the taxpayer then mail the tax return to the proper IRS office.

In about 6 to 8 weeks the taxpayer receives their refund from the IRS. Occasionally, the IRS may request additional documents to support your claiming the child. The IRS then will allow your claiming the child and give you the exemption. Then the IRS will contact the taxpayer who falsely claimed the child and request payment back of any tax benefits received from claiming a child they were not eligible to claim.

There is no race to see who can claim the child first. The tax law plainly states that the qualified taxpayer is the party that can properly and legally claim a child on a tax return.

We specialized in helping our clients to resolve such issues and get the maximum refund they deserve.  Listen to my podcast, “Who is my dependent?” for more information.

Movie Review: Gigantosaurus Season 1, Volume 2 * Tons of Entertainment for Young Dino-Lovers

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Movie Review: Gigantosaurus Season 1, Volume 2 * Tons of Entertainment for Young Dino-Lovers

Life is an adventure for four dinosaurs – new volcanoes are popping up all the time, long-necked brachiosauruses and enormous triceratopses roam free, meteor showers light up the night sky and the big bad Gigantosaurus reigns over it all! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 will bring much entertainment to young dino-lovers. The animation is colorful, the storyline is full of adventures and the message is always positive. There are many positive messages throughout this DVD, including the benefit of helping others and having patience, learning from trying new things and, of course, the power of teamwork and friendship.” Avalon N. adds, “This DVD is amazing. This show has truly fascinating characters and storyline. All the voice actors are really terrific. They are all adult actors yet, in the show, they sound like kids. If you listen to them and then see what they look like in person, you would be surprised. This show has lots of cool animation. It is very clear and cool looking. The background scenes are like nothing I have seen before.” Tor F., wraps it up with, “Young children will enjoy this because of the fun, different-looking dinosaurs that are also spunky and likable. Of course, the adventures are fun and definitely relatable. Most importantly, various life lessons are woven into their dialogue, making it easy for kids to grasp. Each episode flows well and certainly makes sense.” See their full reviews below.

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 will bring much entertainment to young dino-lovers. The animation is colorful, the storyline is full of adventures and the message is always positive.

This DVD follows the travels of four young dinosaurs named Rocky (Dylan Schombing), Bill (Nicholas Holmes), Tiny (Aine Sunderland) and Mazu (Nahanni Mitchell), who live in the Cretaceous period. Episodes include The Floating Stone, Racing Giganto, A Tiny Favor, Crying Wolfasurus, and How Giganto Got His Roar. This DVD has four hours of fun with 26 episodes. I found the animation very appealing and really unique. It has vibrant backgrounds and a distinctive style that looks like the characters are hand drawn, but also look 3D. The voice work is very well executed. Mazu, voiced by Nahanni Mitchell, is a clever Ankylosaurus that always has a plan. Rocky, voiced by Dylan Schombing, however, just goes for it. Even his voice sounds adventurous. Aine Sunderland has a peppy and bubbly voice that fits Tiny’s character perfectly. Bill, who is a shy Brachiosaurus, is voiced wonderfully by Nicholas Holmes. My favorite character is Tiny, the playful Triceratops, because she has a fun personality and I think I would be most like if I was a dinosaur in the Cretaceous period. My favorite episode is An Artist is Born, which is about Tiny’s older brother finding a new passion. The award-winning series is produced by Cyber Group Studios in France and directed by Olivier Lelardoux. You can watch our interview with him here.

There are many positive messages throughout this DVD, including the benefit of helping others and having patience, learning from trying new things and, of course, the power of teamwork and friendship.  

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 3 to 8. Dinosaur-lovers will really enjoy is. This DVD is available now, so look for it!

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Age 12

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 is a very unique DVD, based on the TV show. It has four main characters, plus Gigantosaurus, who does not speak.

This showis about four little dinos, Rocky (Dylan Schombing), Tiny (Áine Sunderland), Bill (Nicholas Holmes) and Mazu(Nahanni Mitchell) who go on all sorts of adventures together such as frozen party and finding a flower. Gigantosarus is a dino that does not talk; he only growls and roars and is generally seen as a big, mean, scary and green dino. Once you get to know him he is not such a bad guy, but he often gets blamed for things he didn’t do.

This DVD is amazing. This show has truly fascinating characters and storyline. All the voice actors are really terrific. They are all adult actors yet, in the show, they sound like kids. If you listen to them and then see what they look like in person, you would be surprised. This show has lots of cool animation. It is very clear and cool looking. The background scenes are like nothing I have seen before. All are unique to this show and include scenes that show us jungle where the dinosaurs live. The growls and roars made by the dinosaurs are really amazing. They sound like a real dinosaur made them.


The message of this show is that friendship is what matters. In the end, friends will always prevail and you can count on them for anything. If you can’t, they are not real friends. You should always be able to trust your friends and rely on them.

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 2 to 8. The DVD is available now, so look for it. This could also be a fun family show to watch with younger kids.

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Vol.2 By Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Vol.2 is such an upbeat and fun series and has the most delightful and beautiful color palette. The friendship between the dinosaurs seems very genuine.

The storyline follows a group of dinosaurs that take off on adventures and deal with struggles such as planning parties and combating seasonal allergies. These dinos have fun together and their friendship is exceedingly strong. Some of the other dinosaurs claim that Gigantosaurus is the biggest and baddest of them all, but through their adventures together they realize that Giganto is not so bad after all.

Young children will enjoy this because of the fun, different-looking dinosaurs that are also spunky and likable. Of course, the adventures are fun and definitely relatable. Most importantly, various life lessons are woven into their dialogue, making it easy for kids to grasp. Each episode flows well and certainly makes sense. The structure goes as follows: the dinosaurs encounter a problem (whether it is losing an hour of daytime or dealing with the sniffles), then the group faces obstacles, but ultimately Giganto helps them solve their problem. The material and vocabulary are suitable for the intended age group. For example, instead of using the word allergies, they call it the sniffles, since children can grasp the action of sniffling and sneezing better than the word allergies. The animation is great. The color scheme is always vibrant – light blue, green and yellow, which is also calming. The DVD cover shows a big jungle that is also shown in the episodes. The backgrounds are whimsical and vast and incorporate small details such as volcanoes and big trees. The visuals most definitely relate to the dinosaurs’ jungle adventures. The user can select any episode they want, fast forward through them, or drag the buffer button across the screen. It also remembers where you left off.

The show focuses on problem-solving and not jumping to conclusions. For example, while planning a party, everything seems to go wrong, but through communication and problem solving, the dinosaurs are able to create a fun party and Giganto makes them realize, all the elements of the party do not matter, it’s being with friends that makes a party. Two takeaways for children are “never judge a book by its cover” and “do not jump to conclusions.” Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Vol.2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 3 to 10. Younger children will enjoy the beautiful visuals and cool, vibrant looking dinosaurs. Older ones will understand the messages, while also appreciating the visuals.

Weeds!

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Empowerment
Weeds!

Camellias in full .jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1504/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Weeds-weeds-and-more-weeds.html

Digging Deep with Goddess Gardener, Cynthia Brian
The hillside is lush with weeds, poppies, calendulas, geraniums, and other plants. Photo Cynthia Brian

“You may know the world is a magical place when Mother Nature creates her own jewelry.” ~ Maya Angelou
 Spring is the most colorful season of the year with a cornucopia of bulbs, flowers, shrubs, and trees in bloom. It is also the time when Mother Nature shares the ornaments that most gardeners loathe . weeds!
 Although I am aware that a weed is just a plant growing where I don’t want it, this year those plants are in profusion everywhere. My garden is bursting with blooms, blossoms and weeds. For the past month, I have spent hours on my knees pulling the roots of numerous unwanted characters to edit my beds to my definition of beauty. Three types of weeds in my landscape are the most egregious: black medic, Carolina geranium, and common grasses that have blown in from the surrounding hills.
 The best method to eradicate and control weeds organically involves several steps. First, it is essential to pull the weeds with the roots attached as they develop. The goal is to get rid of the weeds when they are sprouting and, definitely before they set and scatter seeds. Second, enrich the soil with compost. You will find more weeds will emerge because of the nutrient-rich soil.
 Third, go back to step one and remove the second batch of weeds. Fourth, top-dress with three inches of organic mulch which can be bark, straw, cocoa chips, shredded leaves, or even grass clippings.
 I am always experimenting with how best to accomplish a weed-free garden. Here are some things I discovered this year:
 1. The most densely growing patches of weeds, especially Carolina geranium and hill grasses, were in areas where I had only amended with shredded leaves or had done nothing at all.
 2. Where I added two inches of enriched soil without any top dressing, weeds grew lush and full but were easily pulled by hand.
 3. In beds where I only added wood chips, a smattering of weeds emerged, mostly black medic.
 4. In places where I had brought in new soil and topped it with wood chips, there were fewer weeds easily yanked by hand.
 5. In areas where I did a two-step mulch of shredded newspaper and cardboard topped with bark, there were minimal to no weeds. My observations indicate that a two-step mulching procedure worked the best. It is more labor-intensive yet effective.
 Carolina geranium (Geranium carolinianum), also known as cranesbill because of its profusion of half-inch beaks after flowering, is a very dainty and pretty weed when it is young. The palmate leaves are lacy, fern-like, with hairy petiole stalks and tiny five-petaled pink flowers.
 For the first month, after it sprouts, it resembles a ground cover. As the weather warms, it seeks the sunlight while branching out two feet or more. The seed has a hard core which allows it to withstand a long dormancy in the soil. Carolina geranium is not edible, but its roots, considered anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and astringent, are used as an external medicinal herb to stop bleeding and as a gargle for sore throats. Hand pulling while it is still young is the best control method.
 Black medic (Medicago lupulina), also known as yellow trefoil or hop medic, is a broadleaf plant that looks like clover with yellow flowers. It establishes itself in areas that have endured drought, in disturbed soils, or those in need of increased irrigation. As a legume, it fixes its own nitrogen which helps it to overcome lawn grasses in nutrient-poor soils. When the flowers mature, they form a black seedpod which lends itself to the name. A friend of mine informed me about its nutritional value as an herb. In Mexico, black medic is highly desired as an edible green and is expensive to buy. The leaves are bitter when eaten raw, but when cooked, taste like spinach or collards with a high amount of protein and fiber. It does have antibacterial qualities and is also considered a mild laxative. Bees are attracted to this plant. It makes marvelous green manure. To control black medic, it is critical to hand-weed making sure to pull out the taproot.
 Many of the hillsides are experiencing a super bloom of California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) mixed with purple vetch. Having grown up with these beautiful orange globes and vetch, when I witness them growing as natives, I am overjoyed by nature’s jewelry. California poppies are the state flower of California. Purple vetch, also known as American vetch (Vicia americana) or hairy vetch, is a native nitrogen-fixing cover crop that our family used to feed our cattle on our ranch. It is considered a weed, but I think of it as a valuable wildflower because it is great fodder for wildlife while adding biomass to the soil. The plant attracts beneficial insects to the garden and the flowers entice bees. Growing alongside vegetables, it acts as a living mulch. Vetch is a climber to about two feet and spreads through rhizomes. To control it, cut and leave on the surface of the soil to suppress other weeds. Native Americans consumed vetch as a food and used it for poultices.
 Make sure to consult a medical professional before consuming or externally applying any plant that you are unfamiliar with. Although many plants are herbs and helpful, individuals could have conditions that could make ingesting or topically using the plant reactive and dangerous.
 Once you’ve managed the weeds, you will enjoy the bounty of blooms erupting in our neighborhoods. Lilacs, wisteria, hyacinths, tulips, bluebells, calendulas, freesias, Chinese fringe flowers, Dutch iris, bearded iris, Santa Barbara daisies, osteospermum, azaleas, camellias, jasmine, redbud, and even roses are bursting with color. (Make sure to pick up fallen camellias to maintain the health of your shrub.) Fruit trees continue their parade of blossoms including cherry, apple, pear, crabapple and Asian pear.
 The grass is green, the weather is mild, and our gardens are the place where we can unwind and connect with the magical natural world. Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 and nurture our planet by protecting and appreciating our natural environment. Recycle, reuse, repurpose, reduce. Weed, seed, feed.
 Your home will shine with Mother Nature’s colorful plant jewelry.

 PLANT SALE: The Orinda Garden Club is holding a plant sale on April 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Orinda Library Plaza with members propagated plants plus over 30 varieties of tomato seeds, a Firewise demonstration table, and a garden marketplace. The event will be socially distanced and well-spaced outdoors throughout the Orinda Library Plaza. Look for your special seedlings at this local plant sale. Proceeds will benefit educational projects.
 Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.
A favorite of the April garden, wisteria springs into bloom. Photo Cynthia Brian
After the wind, the camellia blooms carpet the ground and must be removed. Photo Cynthia Brian
The pretty palmate leaves and pink buds of Carolina geranium weed look like a ground cover. Photo Cynthia Brian
The hillside is a bit barren after the weeds have been pulled. Photo Cynthia Brian
The clover-like tendrils of Black medic weed entwine around the Naked Lady fronds.
Without enriched soil, thistles and other weeds thrive.
A hillside of California poppies and purple vetch look like Impressionistic art.
Gorgeous lilacs perfume the garden.
The delicate orange petals of a California poppy are elegant.
Cynthia Brian reminds gardeners to pick up fallen camellia flowers to avoid disease to the mother tree.
Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!r 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyler Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com. Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD. Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures. Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com



Empowering Women for the Prosperity of Nations: Findings on Gender Equality by Country

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Business
Empowering Women for the Prosperity of Nations: Findings on Gender Equality by Country

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This blog is an excerpt from The Gender Equality and Governance Index.  It is the Executive Summary and is provided to supplement the interview with Amanda Ellis and Augusto Lopez-Claros, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  It is a companion to their interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled GEGI: Empowering Women for the Prosperity of Nations that aired on Tuesday, April 13th, 2021.

Gender inequality has myriad faces: archaic laws that codify sexism, male control of joint income and household assets, exclusion from governance, trafficking and violence against women, denial of education and adequate health care, and gender segregation in the workforce, to name a few. The scope of inequality is vast and its costs to society are mounting.

COVID-19 has prompted new awareness around this topic, as the effects of the pandemic have exacerbated existing gender inequalities and revealed the importance of female inclusion in governance and decision-making. The evidence linking gender equality to economic and social well-being and prosperity is clear. Now more than ever, we must prioritize the role of women in fostering communities’ and countries’ well-being and economic health by developing policies that guard against gender discrimination.

The Gender Equality and Governance Index (GEGI; Figure 1 provides the index structure and its various components) was built with the understanding that indexes—despite their limitations—are tools to generate debate on key policy issues, to precipitate remedial actions, and to track progress. A well-designed composite indicator thus provides a useful frame of reference for evaluation, both between countries and over time. The GEGI analyzes data from a variety of international organizations and valuable survey data to achieve a broad-based and comparative understanding of gender discrimination on a global scale, using five critical “pillars”: governance, education, work, entrepreneurship, and violence. By breaking scores down into pillars, the GEGI allows policymakers to pinpoint specific areas for improvement.

The GEGI rankings for 2020 indicate a clear correlation between gender equality, economic prosperity, and inclusive leadership. Iceland ranks first in the world among the 158 countries included in the index, followed by Spain and Belgium. Canada (9) and New Zealand (16) are the only non-European countries to rank in the top 20. The highest-ranking country in East Asia is Taiwan (21), and Canada scores highest in the Americas. (See Appendix II for the rankings for the 158 countries included). Much further down the rankings, we find China (82) and India (100). Given that one out of three women on the planet lives in these two countries, gender inequality there is particularly troublesome. Sub-Saharan Africa makes up nearly one-half of the 50 lowest-ranking countries, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) comprise another one-third. Gender equality correlates strongly with higher levels of economic prosperity per capita, as 47 of the countries in the top 50 are either high or upper middle income. Rwanda (55) is the highest-scoring low-income country.

For the countries included in the index, higher levels of discrimination against women coincide with lower rates of labor force participation for women, lower rates of school enrolment for girls at the secondary level, lower numbers of women-owned businesses, and larger wage gaps between women and men. These findings should come as no surprise. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has argued that decreasing work-related gender inequalities can make “a positive contribution in adding force to women’s voice and agency,” thereby empowering women within both the public and private spheres.1 Countries that have integrated women into the workforce more rapidly have improved their international competitiveness.

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, which envisioned gender equality in all dimensions of life – and yet not a single country has yet achieved it. Worse still, only eight countries have a legal framework that does not discriminate against women in some way, with a body of legislation supporting women’s economic equality, which benefits everyone. Achieving gender equality requires more than simply removing barriers to opportunity. Many decades after the women’s suffrage movement, women are still grossly underrepresented in executive and policymaking bodies. For gender equality to become a reality, with all its attendant benefits, the first step is ensuring women are equally represented at the highest levels of decision-making across a country.

Gender equality in governance requires both de jure and de facto progress. The GEGI evaluates the legal framework of a country and measures the extent of female inclusion in governance. Less than 5% of countries have gender balance in political governance. Female leadership in the justice system, the central bank, and the ministerial and executive levels of government is crucial, but notably lacking. Only 21 countries currently have a female head of state or government; only 14 have female central bank governors. Only one in four Parliamentarians is female and one in five a Minister. In the private sector, despite well-documented research on the financial benefits of the diversity dividend, a third of global boards have no women at all. To remedy this, countries have begun implementing quotas, often as temporary special measures, that reserve representation for women. For instance, after Argentina saw success with a quota requiring a minimum number of female candidates in national elections, many other Latin American countries followed suit.

While attempts to solve gender inequality through legislation, inclusion in decision-making, and quotas are necessary, they are by no means sufficient. A critical prerequisite for female leadership in governance is education. Since inequalities in education artificially reduce the pool of talent from which companies and governments can draw, a direct way to boost economic growth is to improve both the quality and quantity of human capital by expanding educational opportunities for girls. Cultural attitudes against female education continue to prevail, and investment in girls’ education is still far below that of boys. For instance, the World Bank reports that only 38 percent of girls in low-income countries enroll in secondary school, and nearly 500 million women remain illiterate. Research has conclusively proven the importance of education in expanding opportunities for women outside the home and the positive multiplier impact for families, communities and economies. The most competitive economies in the world are those where the educational system does not put women and girls at a disadvantage.

Gender inequalities in employment are also toxic to economic growth because they constrain the labor market, making it difficult for firms and businesses to scale up efficiently. Globally, only 47 percent of women are employed in the labor force, compared to over 70 percent of men. This gap is most stark in South Asia and the MENA region, where just over 20 percent of women are in formal employment. Including women in the work force requires a multifaceted approach. Incentives to work, including paid parental leave and childcare services, have proven effective in increasing female labor force participation. However, many working women remain segregated in female-dominated fields that tend to be lower paid and have fewer opportunities for advancement. Women continue to be excluded from managerial positions, and no country has succeeded in ensuring equal renumeration for work of equal value.

Given that just 7 percent of women in low income countries are employed as wage workers, entrepreneurship and self-employment is an equally important avenue for female empowerment. Women entrepreneurs could contribute significantly to economic innovation and growth if given access to the same training, capital, credit, and rights as men. Women face severe difficulty accessing financial accounts and securing credit; in fact, estimates from the International Finance Corporation suggest that women entrepreneurs face a financing deficit of $1.5 trillion. Because women tend to earn less and have fewer property rights than men, they have a harder time providing collateral to obtain a loan. Restrictions on mobility and cultural disapproval of women in business further discourage women from pursuing entrepreneurship.

Despite—and perhaps in response to—the progress that women have made in governance, education, and employment, they are experiencing violence at staggering rates. Women are most vulnerable to violence in cultures where long-held customs and fundamental prejudices place the culpability for violence on the women themselves. The cost that society incurs from violence against women is high. Gendercide has become an epidemic enacted through sex-selective abortions, female infanticide, and neglect and abuse of women throughout their lives. The result is a destabilizing gender imbalance in many countries—in India and China alone, men outnumber women by around 70 million. Furthermore, abuse of women has direct economic consequences, as it increases absenteeism and lowers productivity. Domestic violence is estimated to cost the United States $460 billion annually, more than any other crime. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this phenomenon, as reports of intimate partner violence have risen exponentially under mandatory lockdowns and quarantine.

COVID-19 has shone an uncompromising search light on global gender inequality, reminding us that gender discrimination has been undermining economic growth and wasting our human and planetary resources for far too long. The Gender Equality and Governance Index provides a scientifically evidence based, objectively verifiable diagnosis—now, action can no longer be delayed.

You can read the full report here.

1 Sen (1999), Development as Freedom, p. 191.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Authors

Amanda Ellis leads Global Partnerships for the exciting new ASU Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory. Previously New Zealand Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva (2013-16), Ms. Ellis also served as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy, playing a key role in New Zealand’s successful UN Security Council bid. The author of two best-selling Random House business books and five research titles on gender and growth in the World Bank Directions in Development series, Ms. Ellis is a founding member of the Global Banking Alliance for Women and the recipient of the TIAW Lifetime Achievement Award for services to women’s economic empowerment. She serves on a number of boards, including the Global Governance Forum.

Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Professor of Law, graduate of Yale Law School, and Founding Head of the Rackman Center at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, is a family law expert in both the civil legal system and traditional Jewish law, and has recently completed three terms as a member (twice Vice President) of the UN Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). She publishes on family law in Israel, legal pluralism, feminism and halacha, and international women’s rights; is a recipient of numerous national and international grants and prizes. Professor Halperin-Kaddari serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Governance Forum.

Augusto Lopez-Claros is Executive Director of the Global Governance Forum. He is an international economist with over 30 years of experience in international organizations, including most recently at the World Bank. For the 2018-2019 academic years Augusto Lopez-Claros was on leave from the World Bank as a Senior Fellow at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Previously he was chief economist and director of the Global Competitiveness Program at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where he was also the editor of the Global Competitiveness Report, the Forum’s flagship publication. Before joining the Forum he worked for several years in the financial sector in London, with a special focus on emerging markets. He was the IMF’s Resident Representative in Russia during the 1990s. Educated in England and the United States, he received a diploma in Mathematical Statistics from Cambridge University and a PhD in Economics from Duke University.

Podcast Review: We Got You *Giving A Voice To Every Kid Who Doesn’t Have Anyone Else To Go To

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Kids
Podcast Review: We Got You *Giving A Voice To Every Kid Who Doesn’t Have Anyone Else To Go To

We Got You is a podcast that gives a voice to every kid out there who doesn’t have anyone to go to, with advice straight from teens who’ve been there before. We Got You is a weekly advice podcast where teens answer questions from middle schoolers across the country on life, loneliness and an uncertain future. We Got You is produced by Sonic Union. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “Have you ever felt like you are experiencing something negative that no one else is? Well, We Got You reassures you that there is someone who has been there and done that before, sharing the perspectives of kids on growing up, thriving and surviving in an uncertain world, and dealing with the darker aspects of life.” Avery P. comments, “The We Got You podcast is an amazing outlet for kids and teens that don’t have a voice or need extra inspiration to help cope with their challenges. This podcast is all about helping others hold onto hope. The podcast covers such topics as dyslexia, anxiety, depression, PTSD, social media, bullying and lots more.” Apurva S. wraps it up with, “In the words of Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, when only one remembers to turn on the light.” This describes the message of the podcast (even though it’s not said in that way), that you should never lose hope.” See their full reviews below.

We Got You By Eshaan Mani, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

A candid and honest look at modern teens’ lives with incisive commentary on mental illness, coping with conflict and other timely topics, We Got You is a great listen for kids looking for answers.

Have you ever felt like you are experiencing something negative that no one else is? Well, We Got You reassures you that there is someone who has been there and done that before, sharing the perspectives of kids on growing up, thriving and surviving in an uncertain world, and dealing with the darker aspects of life. Each episode has two parts. First, a kid speaks about their experiences. For example, one episode centers around a girl named Asha and her experiences with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Second, the floor is opened up for questions about the subject, which are submitted through the show’s Twitter account, and the main speaker is joined by one or two other kids who share their personal experiences and thoughts. The show is hosted by actress Samantha Logan, but she takes a backseat in the podcasts, and it feels like each episode is really hosted by the kid who’s sharing their thoughts.

The kids on the show are truly skilled raconteurs, presenting their experiences in an engaging way that makes you feel for them. Many of the speakers bore their hearts on the podcast, especially in the episodes about mental health, and it is heartwarming to see that they feel confident to share their experiences and thoughts so openly. The podcast is full of earnest perspectives and the roundtable segment features lots of great questions that I would definitely have asked. The sound designer Rob Ballingall also beautifully blends together sound bites with some sound effects and background music to make the podcast even more intricate.

The message of We Got You is quite simple: you don’t have to go through anything alone. It’s a podcast with a purpose, a beautiful one at that, and it’s executed wonderfully.

I would give We Got You 5 stars out of 5, and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. You can listen to We Got You on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/we-got-you We Got You
By Avery Peaslee, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

The We Got You podcast is an amazing outlet for kids and teens that don’t have a voice or need extra inspiration to help cope with their challenges. This podcast is all about helping others hold onto hope.

Writer / creator (Halle Petro) and producer (Sonic Union) proudly presents We Got You. Many episodes have guest speakers that talk about their conflicts. The podcast covers such topics as dyslexia, anxiety, depression, PTSD, social media, bullying and lots more.

I love this podcast series, because it includes so many inspirational stories. I got a sense of thankfulness while listening to the first couple of episodes. Although the podcast is audio only, it makes you take the time to settle down and listen.  The guest speakers are so strong in their ability to speak out and spread awareness. Each episode is about 15 to 20 minutes long. They are full of amazing stories and a Q and A. The Q and A at the end of each episode includes middle-schoolers from around the country that get their questions answered by teens that have been there before. Especially during these tough times due to COVID-19, taking care of our physical and mental health is important. The weekly advice in these podcasts encourages kids and teens to come of age in the world around us. In each episode the real life example is accompanied by music that transports the listener to that space. Listening to these stories can give anyone hope, courage and gratitude.

I got lots of messages from this podcast, although the one that stood out the most is to hold onto hope. Never give up; have courage!

I give the podcast series We Got You series 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 16. The We Got You podcast is currently available on TRAX podcast page at https://www.trax.fm/we-got-you.

We Got You By Apurva Sistla, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

We Got You is such an inspirational podcast. I love it. It shares stories from teens all over the country that have gone through hard times and makes them feel heard. This podcast also makes you feel lots of emotions and is almost as entertaining as a regular TV show.

For example, one of the episodes talks about Jaelin, an 18-year-old boy who lost both of his parents before the age of nine, and went through childhood being abused by his stepfather. His journey continues as Jaelin finds hope through his brothers and friends.

One of the best things about this podcast is the emotions. You can really feel all that Jaelin’s been through, from the death of his first parent to losing his second. His enlightening speech gives you hope that there is always a way out, no matter how much you have been through. Many movies, TV shows and podcasts use music to convey emotions. However, We Got You doesn’t need music to show what these kids are feeling; you only need to hear their stories. To be able to show emotion without music is pretty hard, so that really intrigued me.

In the words of Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, when only one remembers to turn on the light.” This describes the message of the podcast (even though it’s not said in that way), that you should never lose hope. There are no foul words or concepts, but there is some mention of aggressive behavior. An example is Jaelin speaking of his father both verbally and physically abusing him.

I give We Got You 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 and anyone who is going through a hard time. We Got You can be found on Trax at https://www.trax.fm/we-got-you.

When Trust Is Frail: Trust-Building For Leaders

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When Trust Is Frail: Trust-Building For Leaders

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This blog is provided by Mary Jo Burchard, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Building Trust in Uncertainty: A Personal & Professional Journey that aired on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021.

 

Trust is the decision to make something cherished vulnerable to the care of another. When you and your people trust each other – more specifically, when you trust your care for each other – everything you do together is just easier. There’s natural momentum in creativity, curiosity, innovation, and engagement, because suspicion creates drag in any authentic interaction. Building an environment where trust can flourish needs to be a key focus, as leaders and as human beings. Conscious, intentional transfer of vulnerability into each other’s care is the most crucial component of building a trust environment. This exchange creates a very special magic.

Trust is multi-dimensional, always evolving, and necessarily flows both ways. The trust experience can be observed and built-in six dimensions, as observed in the ASC-DOC Trust Model:

Authenticity – “I believe you mean what you say, and you have no hidden agenda.”

Safety – “Your speech and actions make me feel safe and protected, not threatened, defensive, or insecure.”

Consistency – “Your behaviors and responses are predictable; I know what I can expect from you.”

Dependability – “You keep your promises and honor confidentiality.”

Ownership – “You carry the weight of what happens to what I entrust to you.”

Competence – “You have the skills and experience necessary to do what’s expected.”

Upon your initial interaction, you and the other person begin to determine how much you are willing to trust each other in every dimension. The trust experience evolves, growing, or straining with each interaction. Therefore, assessing and building trust needs to be constant and intentional. Here are a few tips to keep trust progressing:

Your (in)ability to trust each other is not necessarily about character or maturity. Everyone enters the trust adventure with a history. Past disappointments, betrayals, personal failures, or lack of experience may make the trust journey more difficult. Especially as a leader, you may bear the brunt of previous leaders’ shortcomings. Resist the urge to interpret negative assumptions about your character or abilities as an attack. Become aware of your contribution to these trust challenges. Listen to each other’s stories, to learn how to mitigate fears and insecurities along the way, and discover how/why this time can be different. The most important gift you can give each other in this process is to assume that you intend good toward each other, and do not intend to cause one another harm.

Power and need do not guarantee trust. If someone needs you (whether as a parent, an employer, or leader), they will do what they must (vis: comply) to get you to meet their need. You cannot assume that their vulnerability/need and your power to address it will automatically translate into a trust relationship. If trust is not built, the best you can hope for is a consistent transactional arrangement. Building trust requires more than meeting needs; it requires letting people in. Your mutual decision to let each other in begins the trust adventure. How can you forge a relationship that brings out the highest and best in everyone, when a shared frame of reference is non-existent beyond surface transactional engagement?

  1. Be the first to model trust and vulnerability. Trust is risky, but if you have the upper hand, you can afford to risk first. When a trust connection is frail, commit in advance to be the first to trust wherever you can, based on the other person’s perceived capacity to handle it. Modeling trust and vulnerability makes room for the other person to do the same.
  2. Focus on the person. How comfortable and confident are they with you? Don’t skip to a solution or directive without pausing to really see and hear the other person. Pay attention to how they are engaging with you. Are they guarded? Distant? Confident? Emotional? Gauge your current rapport with them at this moment; don’t take it for granted.
  3. Ask for input and really listen. Don’t assume that a visible lack of trust is an accusation or assessment about you. The person in front of you has a story, and that story is the lens through which they interpret your interaction. Honor that story. What are they sensing, feeling, perceiving? How do these insights inform their behavior and responses? People respond to things impacting what’s important to them. What can you tell is important to them? How is it being impacted/at risk right now? What is happening at this moment that might explain why they are angry, scared, confused, or suspicious?
  4. Discover and validate current needs. What is making them feel vulnerable right now? Ask probing questions: “It sounds like you need [X]… how can I help?” “You seem [x]… how can I help?” Essential needs include physical and environmental dimensions, but they also transcend the obvious immediate needs. More than food, more than water or air, people need connection, to be seen and valued. Don’t forget to validate the human need to belong.
  5. Affirm trust already present. You know what they need, but what do they already trust you will deliver? How can you protect, reinforce, and continue to earn that trust?
  6. Intentionally build trust. How can you address their current needs and concerns? Get good at listening for clues about current needs. Confirm you understand what you hear and observe. Get creative at addressing these needs and keep adapting as the needs evolve.

Remember, if trust necessarily flows both ways, the other person is never the only one vulnerable. To model trust, you need to let them in. You cannot be authentic without examining your own willingness and ability to trust. Belonging, care, and trust must thrive together in you if you want to create an environment where trust is the norm.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Dr. MaryJo Burchard (Ph.D., Organizational Leadership) is convinced that our greatest depth and meaning often emerge from seasons of disappointment, surprises, and loss. Her own leadership approach has been shaped by the healing journey of their son, Victor, who was adopted from a Ukrainian orphanage. MaryJo’s research and consulting work focus on helping leaders and organizations stay humane and cultivate trust, especially in times of serious disruption and profound change.

Movie Review: The Girl Who Believes In Miracles * A Christian Film About Faith and Miracles

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Movie Review: The Girl Who Believes In Miracles * A Christian Film About Faith and Miracles

Unlike most people, young Sara Hopkins is willing to take God at His word. So when she hears a preacher say faith can move mountains, she starts praying. What begins with a mysteriously healed bird leads to people suddenly cured of their misery and misfortune all over town. But the overwhelming crush of notoriety and press attention soon takes its toll on Sara. Will her family be able to save their miracle girl before it’s too late? KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Heather S. comments, “The moral of this film is to always let faith guide you. Even as Sarah’s health declines, she never loses her faith. She stands by God and understands that everything happens for a reason, unlike her family who try to fight the ticking clock.” See her full review below. 

The Girl Who Believes In Miracles By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

The Girl Who Believes In Miracles is a lukewarm Christian movie with a weak storyline. The few heartwarming scenes aren’t quite enough to keep this film afloat. With a strong performance by the ensemble’s youngest actress, the movie does not have enough storytelling to deliver a wholly satisfying movie experience.

The Girl Who Believes In Miracles centers around a little girl named Sarah (Austyn Johnson) who has seen God and can grant miracles. She helps cancer patients, and even blind and paralyzed teens. All the while, Sarah’s fame increases, with people knocking on her door to grant miracles. Sarah’s health declines, too, but she keeps up her faith.

The movie makes it clear from the beginning that Jesus is praised, and that this is not a modern version of the Messiah’s story. It is unclear, though, why Sarah holds this power to grant miracles as she has done nothing significant except have faith. The Girl Who Believes In Miracles is confusing in this way and may leave the audience wondering, “Can anyone be a Messiah?”  However, the actors deliver empowering performances. In the scenes in which Sarah’s health weakens, her suffering is absolutely heartbreaking. Austyn really has the audience pulling for her. Sarah’s grandfather, Sam (Peter Coyote), also has a heartfelt monologue in which he talks to God and says he would rather die than Sarah. His love shines through, along with his pain, creating a tear-jerking scene.

The moral of this film is to always let faith guide you. Even as Sarah’s health declines, she never loses her faith. She stands by God and understands that everything happens for a reason, unlike her family who try to fight the ticking clock.  As a Christian, I did find the film somewhat offensive in its message that anyone with faith can perform miracles. I give The Girl Who Believes In Miracles 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters April 2, 2021.

Movie Review: Godzilla vs. Kong * Best Action Movie of 2021 So Far! Amazing Graphics

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Movie Review: Godzilla vs. Kong * Best Action Movie of 2021 So Far! Amazing Graphics

Legends collide as Godzilla and Kong, the two most powerful forces of nature, clash on the big screen in a spectacular battle for the ages. As a squadron embarks on a perilous mission into fantastic uncharted terrain, unearthing clues to the Titans’ very origins and mankind’s survival, a conspiracy threatens to wipe the creatures, both good and bad, from the face of the earth forever. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like Godzilla vs. Kong and rate it as the best action movie of 2021 so far. It keeps you sitting on the edge of your seat. I really like the amazing graphics and the computer generated image effects.” Benjamin P. adds, “Godzilla Vs. Kong pits two cinematic titans against each other in a fight for the ages but one that relegates its undercooked human characters to the sidelines, as it should, in favor of spectacular clashes, monster to monster, in all their big-budget glory.” See their full reviews below.

Godzilla vs. Kong
Ethan P., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, Age 12

I like Godzilla vs. Kong and rate it as the best action movie of 2021 so far. It keeps you sitting on the edge of your seat. I really like the amazing graphics and the computer generated image effects.

This movie is about two strong titans who won’t back down from their throne. It happens that Godzilla’s and Kong’s ancestors were enemies centuries ago. While Kong is captive in a semi-artificial environment dome, Godzilla comes out of the ocean and walks in the city destroying everything that crosses his path. This is not the heroic Godzilla we watched from his last movie. No one understands why Godzilla is so angry. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), who takes care of Kong and Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard) helps Kong find a safe place to live, which is the core of the Earth. While Kong is being transported on a huge ship, Godzilla senses Kong in the ocean. That’s when the first extraordinary and intense battle of these two titans begins.

This film has amazing CGI. Godzilla’s rough skin and red eyes make it look like he is real. Kong looks like an actual gigantic ape. You can sense his soul in his eyes. He surprises the audience by having a special bond with an orphan named Jia (Kaylee Hottle), the only person able to communicate with him. The sound effects are amazing. The cast are all outstanding including a more mature Millie Bobby Brown who plays Madison Russell and a funny Julian Dennison who plays Maddie’s friend Josh.

The moral of this movie is that greed and excessive pride lead to an unnecessary rivalry situation. We need to leave the past in the past and start fresh. Unity is the key in this film.

I give Godzilla vs. Kong 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Godzilla vs. Kong opens March 31, 2021 on HBO Max and in theatres. 

Godzilla Vs. Kong

By Benjamin P., Kids First! Film Critic, Age 15

Godzilla Vs. Kong pits two cinematic titans against each other in a fight for the ages but one that relegates its undercooked human characters to the sidelines, as it should, in favor of spectacular clashes, monster to monster, in all their big-budget glory.

Following the events of 2017’s Kong: Skull Islandand 2019’sGodzilla: King of the Monsters, Godzilla has become the alpha to the similarly-powered titans roaming the earth. Meanwhile, Kong has left his island home with one of its natives, a little girl named Jia (Newcomer Kaylee Hottle), as he is monitored and researched by a team of specialists trying to keep him from Godzilla’s grasp. Well, you read that title, so you know that’s not happening, and indeed it doesn’t! Godzilla begins attacking after years of stability between humanity and skyscraper-sized creatures. Kong’s greatest champion among the researchers, Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), is approached by an old colleague (Alexander Skarsgård) and is convinced to take Kong to an underground world called Hollow Earth. Hopefully, in this habitat he can thrive and find more of his kind, free of the threat of Godzilla and others like him. It’s not before long on this journey that Godzilla senses his primate competitor and arrives to dispatch Kong.

There’ve been several Kong/Godzilla solo efforts in recent years in the lead-up to this face-off, and somehow it is all worth it. Although there are flaws—the two main plotlines feel disconnected and previous story developments abandoned—they don’t compare to the immense joy it is to watch these titans go at it. That would be enough: a mildly enjoyable large-scale romp, the cinematic equivalent of smashing two well-loved action figures together. However, Adam Wingard’s direction elevates the action sequences. Consistently satisfying and, better yet, consistently surprising—watching Kong leap from building to building, dodging Godzilla’s atomic breath, or Godzilla getting Kong’s ax launched at him doesn’t grow stale.

Godzilla Vs. Kong humanizes Kong as someone who’s lost his family and now the home he protected. I didn’t expect to feel emotionally attached to a 400-foot ape, but there you go. Whether you’re team Godzilla or team Kong, I have no doubt, you’ll find some enjoyment in the shenanigans they unleash. I was entertained—and if this matchup means anything to you, I think you will be too!

I give Godzilla Vs. Kong3 out of 5 stars and an age rating of 12 to 18 for mass—and I mean, mass—destruction, some mild language, and the injuries each of the titular creatures sustain. Godzilla Vs. Kong is out March 31, 2021, simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.

Movie Review: Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure * Eventful and Distinctive, Great Plot and Amazing Animation

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Movie Review: Space Dogs:  Tropical Adventure * Eventful and Distinctive, Great Plot and Amazing Animation

When a mysterious and dangerous whirlpool appears in the tropics of the Atlantic Ocean, astronauts Belka and Strelka are sent to investigate. With the help of their good friends, Belka and Strelka must once again act heroically and complete a daring mission to save the planet along with the distant home of their new alien friends. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Maica N. comments, “Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is the final film in the Space Dogs trilogy. It’s an eventful and distinctive movie! When I watched it, what I expected to happen didn’t happen, but it has a great plot that definitely works well. Space Dogs:  Tropical Adventure also represents diversity and has a great message.” Katie F. adds, “Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is the third film of the Space Dogs franchise which includes Space Dogs, and Space Dogs: Return to Earth. This is a fun and up-beat film with amazing animation and catchy songs! The cast are incredible and the story is great. The characters are unique, all in their own way.” See their full reviews below.

Space Dogs:  Tropical Adventure Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is the final film in the Space Dogs trilogy. It’s an eventful and distinctive movie! When I watched it, what I expected to happen didn’t happen, but it has a great plot that definitely works well. Space Dogs:  Tropical Adventure also represents diversity and has a great message.

Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is about two astronaut dogs named Belka (Maria Antonieta Monge) and Strelka (Mauriett Chayeb-Mendez) who are sent to Earth on a mission to investigate a suspicious anomaly in the Atlantic Ocean. Belka always takes control and is the leader of the missions. But with that, she is constantly getting blamed by the General when things go wrong and is always at fault. Now, both Belka and Strelka have to step up and work together with their friends to solve this mysterious case and save the planet.

One of the factors that makes Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure special is the diversity in the characters. Even though this film is about animated animals, there are many different types of animals that all play a major role. For example, besides the two main dog characters are a rat and a fly. The settings are well detailed. Everything that surrounds the characters emphasizes and gives context to each situation. So when Belka, and Strelka are trapped in the underwater dump, around them you can see pieces of wood, skeletons and trash. My favorite character is Belka because she reminds me of myself. She loves to be the leader, and always ensures that everything goes according to plan. The voice acting was done very well because it suits the characters. However, sometimes the words don’t align with the movement of the characters’ mouths. Also, if you aren’t paying close enough attention, this movie can be a little hard to follow. Aside from these things, Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is pretty fun.

The message of Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is that teamwork can solve any problem. Belka and Strelka repeatedly attempt to complete assignments their own way, with one trying to take control from the other. But this approach never works. When their friends assist them, they finally realize that the only way they will succeed is if they work together. This movie is totally kid-friendly, and there are no red flags.

Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is an interesting movie. I rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 10.  Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure releases in theaters on April 2, 2021, and on video on demand on April 6, 2021. If you’re having a family movie night, pop some popcorn and check this out!

Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure
By Katie Francis, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is the third film of the Space Dogs franchise which includes Space Dogs, and Space Dogs: Return to Earth. This is a fun and up-beat film with amazing animation and catchy songs! The cast are incredible and the story is great. The characters are unique, all in their own way.

When the water from the Atlantic Ocean suddenly starts disappearing, Space Dogs Belka and Strelka are sent to investigate. With help from their friends they try to discover the cause of this. Will they figure out where all the water is going? Watch Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure to find out.

Written by Mike Disa and directed by Inna Evlannikove, the characters and cast of this film are incredible. Belka (Katerina Shpitsa, Breakfast at Dad’s, Brothel Spites) is the more sensible of the pair of dogs. Belka is very smart and looks before jumping. She always has great plans to get Strelka and herself out of situations. Strelka (Irina Pegova, The Stroll, Super Bobrovs) is a very lovable character. She is funny and definitely jumps before looking. The rat Yenya (Yevgeny Mironov, The Spacewalker, The Idiot) is a very dramatic and funny character. We watch him go on a rollercoaster of emotions, but still come through to help his friends. My favourite character is Thomas the Cricket (Rómulo Bernal). He is Yenya’s assistant and is very lovable and brave. He is my favourite for those reasons. He is also smart and has lots of great ideas. My favourite part of the film is when Yenya is expecting his uncle to be a famous sailor, but he turns out just to be a photographer that takes pictures of famous sailors and famous boats. The animation in the film is amazing and the music is very catchy. 

The message of the story is that sometimes to find the truth it just takes a little leap of faith.

I give Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure  5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12, plus adults.  It comes out in theatres on April 2, 2021, and on VOD April 6, 2021.

Movie Review: Francesco * Wonderfully Complex Film Showcasing Pope Francis’s Thoughts on Modern Issues

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Movie Review: Francesco * Wonderfully Complex Film Showcasing Pope Francis’s Thoughts on Modern Issues

Through his work on climate change, immigration, religious tolerance and other issues, the Pope has embodied the meaning of inspired leadership. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Heather S. comments, “Francesco is a wonderful and complex film that showcases one of the world’s most famous figures. The audience has a clear visual of Pope Francis’s thoughts about modern issues. With exclusive interviews and audio recordings, this documentary is not to be missed.” See her full review below.

Francesco By Heather Suarez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Francesco is a wonderful and complex film that showcases one of the world’s most famous figures. The audience has a clear visual of Pope Francis’s thoughts about modern issues. With exclusive interviews and audio recordings, this documentary is not to be missed.

Francesco is a documentary composed of rare videos, interviews, tweets and audio tape recordings about Pope Francis and his ideas about contemporary problems. The issues addressed are refugee camps in Lesbos, migrants and he also talks about his ideas on homosexual marriage.

There’s so much to learn from this film. It really gives insight on how the Pope thinks and how he has changed ideas for the Catholic religion. Giving his opinion on homosexual marriage is a huge statement; he believes they are entitled to have a family like any other person. This shows how he has come to embrace everyone with open arms. Pope Francis stands out from popes before him, which is why this documentary is so important. He isn’t just a figurehead; this film shows how relatable he is as well. He is well aware of his impact on the world, such as how he helped the Muslim refugees in Greece. The film shows that Pope Francis doesn’t see religion, race or sexual orientation as barriers, he just sees people. I loved seeing so many never before seen videos and recordings in this film. We see the Pope in Lesbos helping out whoever he can, and see how a woman thanks him for his help.

This film shows that not everyone is as they first appear to be. The media often portrays the Pope in a godly manner. In this film we see that he does not think that of himself. He seems to be like any other guy, just doing the work of God. There are no triggers for this film, but mature topics discussed include immigration, religion and homosexual marriage. I give Francesco 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages (13 to) 18 plus adults. It releases on DVD March 28, 2021.

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