About Us

The Rockland Youth Film Festival (RYFF for short) was created by the kids at Spring Valley Commons and the EELEF Homework Center as a way to showcase the wonderful films that are made by young people worldwide. The EELEF Homework Center, located in Spring Valley, NY, is a licensed 501c(3) nonprofit organization. It offers kids in grades K-12 a homework help center that provides academic support and extended homework enrichment activities after school. The services offered at EELEF are free of charge to all residents of Spring Valley Commons, a community that provides safe and affordable housing, with a prime focus on family development and on-site educational support.

Our story began a few years ago, when our Homework Center received a grant that enabled us to build a film studio for kids. We were so excited to dive into moviemaking and virtually taught ourselves how to make short films. During the first summer, we spent countless hours watching "how to" videos on YouTube and ran around our community playground pretending to be kings and queens from a distant land. "Quiet on the set!" could be heard echoing across the buildings; it was truly a time of endless fun.

After a couple of years of learning how to make movies and some really fun productions under our belt, we realized that we needed a way to showcase and share our films. At the same time, we learned there were other kids like us in our community and around the world... and on one afternoon with our group at the table, the Rockland Youth Film Festival was born.

 

The Table...

Tamara and Stephen
Tamara and Stephen are the Executive Directors of the EELEF Home Work Center and Rockland Youth Film Festival. They have been part of the EELEF program for over 17 years and feel very fortunate to work with such a great group of amazing kids!
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Vershawn
Over the past 25 years of producing fashion shows and founding two of Rockland County's most recognized fashion organizations, I have had the pleasure of working and networking with hundreds of models, designers, hair stylists, makeup artists, photographers, videographers, DJ's, and sponsors. I have worked very hard to bring people together for the purpose of freedom of expression through fashion show production. Many people have been inspired, and most of all, encouraged to become their best because I have shown them that it's okay to believe in themselves and have fun pursuing their passion. Now, as the Community Relations Director of RYFF, I hope to continue to create a platform for youth to showcase their film-making talents, both locally and globally.
Sonia
Sonia is a Spring Valley native and a recent college graduate from Rutgers University and was lucky enough to discover RYFF in her own backyard. She has a strong passion for working with children and introducing them to new things. Working with the RYFF table to make this show a success has been amazing and she is so grateful to have had the opportunity to teach these gifted students.​
Ruth
Hi, my name is Ruth Laguerre and I’m a college student who is still trying to figure life out. I enjoy all things artsy such as photography and drawing. I literally can’t envision my life without a drawing pencil and my headphones. I am currently the Creative Director for the Rockland Youth Film Festival and I love every minute of it. It’s awesome to work alongside my partner in crime (Mark) *knuckle touch*, to make RYFF the most exceptional film festival ever created.

Mark
I have an unhealthy obsession with photography and all things in that area. Yep, that's how I'm going to start this. I do all the graphic design for RYFF along with my partner in crime, Ruth. I am also quite an artist... it's sort of 'emotionally purging' yea know? Also, I manage all the social media content that has to do with RYFF, which comes in handy when I'm trying to come up with graphics. The name’s Mark by the way!

Henry

Hey, I'm Henrry! I'm a 10th grader, and yes, I am 15. I love public speaking, acting, singing, and history. I am the lead in my school's play and I've participated in the "All County Music Festival" and NYSSMA. I am an enthusiastic teenager ready to catch whatever the world throws at me.

Lynne
My name is Lynne Smith. I am a teacher in the East Ramapo School District, and have been a part of the EELEF community for more than 17 years! I have enjoyed watching all the children grow, and feel privileged to be a part of all that goes on here… especially RYFF!

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Nayelhi
Hi everyone, my name is Nayelhi and I am not only a student at Binghamton University but also the Business Coordinator for the Rockland Youth Film Festival. I haven't decided on a major yet, so I'm taking a little bit of everything to see what I like. Right now, I'm leaning towards something with chemistry or sociology. In the fall, I hope to become a group fitness instructor at the gym in my school. RYFF is an amazing organization, and we thank you for taking the time to learn more about us!
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Melissa
Melissa Booker has been working with children all her life from the time she was old enough to babysit. She is passionate about making sure that each child she comes in contact with knows how important they are as individuals and to their community. She is proud to be a part of The ELEEF Center, RYFF and East Ramapo. After hours you will always find her working on her second passion-Jewelry creation.

Lukenson
Lukenson Laguerre is our amazing Systems Administrator. He is our technical genius extraordinaire! He manages all incoming film submissions and helps keep our judges in check. He is the glue that holds all of this together and without him this festival would not be possible.

Leonela

Hi my name is Leonela, but you can call me Lily! I am 12 years old and and I am in the 7th grade this year. I am trying the best I can to study hard and get smarter. Math is my best subject and I love doing it. I also love to draw and help out with RYFF. I want to be an intelligent and a beautiful young lady when I grow up.

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Jazmyne

Bio coming soon!

Klunchi
We are proud to introduce our organization’s mascot, Klunchi.  As you can see, she is a stylish, cool cat with a lot of  attitude!  Klunchi inspires the members of RYFF to explore new horizons and try new things!  She has been known to give the members of RYFF a stern talking-to when things got rough!  Trust us, you do not want to be on her bad side.  Although, judging from the picture below, does Klunchi actually have a bad side?  She’s always ready for her close-up.