We distribute our films free of charge, and operate with the help of an outstanding volunteer team. We rely on the philanthropy of businesses, corporations, foundations, sponsors, and individual donors to meet our production, operation and program expenses.
JLY founder, Jen Greenstreet, gave up her law practice in 2003 to dedicate herself to helping children through film. With the assistance of Emmy-winning cinematographer, Isaac Alongi, Jen has produced several compelling, documentary-style films featuring children with burns, cancer and Down syndrome. These poignant films are told from the perspective of courageous individuals who are not defined or limited by their conditions. Instead, they are “just like you.”
In 2006, three ten year old girls set out to make a difference. Caroline O’Brien, who had been severely burned on her leg, and her two friends, Whitney Wendel and Dara O’Connor decided to spearhead a fundraiser for the Children's Mercy Hospital Burn Unit. They teamed up with Nicki Stang, a child life specialist, who had an idea to make a film for burn survivors. Whitney's mom, Jen Greenstreet, jumped in to help fundraise and recruited photographer, Isaac Alongi. The group created Just Like You - Burns that was recognized as a Freddie finalist for international health media. This drew the attention of the CMH Cancer unit and Amanda Woelk that resulted in Just Like You - Cancer. With the gathering momentum and more projects like Down syndrome on the horizon, Jen Greenstreet incorporated the Just Like You Films as a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to educate the world’s first generation, who because of their knowledge and familiarity of individuals’ unique differences are more compassionate and more connected human beings. And, the rest is history.
On November 6, 2009, the first official Just Like You Films board meeting was held. At that meeting, a mission statement was crafted and a vision for what Just Like You Films could become was set into motion. These people were crucial supporters and avid proponents of JLY Films and we’d like to thank them for their years of service.
Jen Greenstreet is the founder and CEO of Just Like You Films. With JLY, Jen has written, directed, and produced four films for kids with unique circumstances. She drew the inspiration for what would become JLY while helping her 10-year-old daughter, Whitney, work with her friends, Caroline and Dara, to raise money for Children’s Mercy Hospital. The hospital had treated Caroline’s severe burns and asked the girls to produce a film to help educate their patients’ classmates about burns upon their return to school. Jen’s goal was to focus on the similarities between the classmates and the burn survivor while understanding the differences - creating acceptance through familiarity. Jen works every day to allow kids to get to know each other so they can understand and accept each other for who they are on the inside.
Amber Heineman is a graduate of the University of Arizona and the University of Kansas School of Law. She worked for the Jackson County Prosecutor from 1999-2005, prosecuting violent crimes. Currently, Amber sells Real Estate for Reece and Nichols and sits on the boards of the Kansas City Soccer Foundation and Child Protection Center, as well as the Independent Review Board for the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph. Amber’s work with JLY Films laid the early foundation for the organization's continued success.
Steve Hans is the founder of HansThink, a strategic brand and marketing consulting company based in San Francisco. Steve has built his career helping global companies build world-class brands. His work now focuses on helping companies (of all sizes) get at the essence of what makes them interesting, relevant, and different. Steve is proud of his association with Just Like You Films and is pleased to have served as one of the original board members.
Brendan Buckley attended Rockhurst College in Kansas City and graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1998. Since 2000, Brendan has practiced as a trial attorney at the law firm of Edelman and Thompson, LLC. Brendan lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with his wife and two children, Ellie and Bobby. Brendan is proud to have joined JLY’s mission to promote our common humanity and to teach our children the virtues of tolerance, understanding, and compassion for all.
William E. Hans is a current board member and officer of Just Like You Films and is a past board member of the Kansas City Free Health Clinic. He has also served with a number of other charitable and civic organizations in the Kansas City area. A co-founder and Principal of the Legacy Settlements Group, Bill has extensive experience settling all types of personal injury claims as a structured settlement expert, trial attorney, and large loss claims specialist for a major reinsurer.
Scott Frigon has lived in Kansas City for 17 years and joined the Just Like You Films board in 2009. Two of his three daughters, Kaleigh and Emily, also sit on the JLY Junior/Teen Advisory Committee. Scott is currently the President of a healthcare company serving nursing homes in the Midwest and brings financial and operational experience from his time at major local companies, Sprint and Black & Veatch.
JLY officers are crucial to the development and daily operations of JLY Films.
Laura Perin is the Chief Operating Officer of Just Like You Films. Laura is a graduate of Denison University and spent 20+ years working in the Life Sciences industry in both sales and operations. Laura brings expertise in helping build strategy and vision as well as financial and operational discipline. Laura has a passion for helping children be heard and feel accepted. She is excited to help develop and grow JLY Films in new and exciting directions.
Amanda Durkin is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in Communications. She began a career in outside sales and film production on the "First 48 Hours” with the A &E Network, corporate training videos and sales with IBT Media and Outside Sales with International Paper. Currently, Amanda volunteers her time for local organizations focusing on bettering the lives of children in her community. She is also actively involved in her children’s school. Amanda and her husband, Dan, have two sons. She is very honored to be a member of the JLY team.
Isaac Alongi is an award-winning cinematographer, photographer, and filmmaker based in Kansas City. In 1991, Isaac began his professional career shooting historical documentaries on 16mm film. Today Isaac Alongi Studios specializes in portrait, wedding, and aerial photography and produces TV commercials, web content, HD aerial video from gyro stabilized helicopter mounts, and corporate trade show and marketing videos.
Our board members play a very important role in planning events, producing videos and spreading the message of JLY Films. We’d like to thank them for all they do to support us.
Jeffery Anderson is a Founder and serves as the COO of Spring Venture Group, a sales and marketing firm specializing
in direct-to-consumer insurance distribution. Jeffery has co-founded
and launched United Medicare Advisors, Open Market Quotes and SelectQuote Auto & Home Insurance Services, holding leadership roles in each of the businesses. In 2013, he was honored by Ingram’s Magazine with their “40 Under 40” distinction, and in 2014 SVG was recognized as one of Kansas City’s Best Companies to Work For.
Gary Brock is a former teacher/ administrator of 31 years at the
Fort Osage School District east of Independence, MO. In 2005 Gary joined KCPT and has completed 10 years of service, for the past 8 years he has been the Director of Education. He works with 30 school districts in both Kansas and Missouri, 90,000 students and
7,000 teachers that access KCPT’s K-12 Media Services. He also coordinates
a literacy program with over 2,500 K-4 students each year and hosts 4 early childhood workshops. As of today the K-4 literacy program has distributed over 17,000 books to high needs children in the Kansas City Metropolitan area. This year the program will be in 12 high needs elementary schools in the metro area.
Board member Kevin Cates is a Kansas City native and has 26 years of experience and achievement in business, primarily in the advertising industry. Kevin is currently a VP & General Manager for Viamedia, overseeing sales and operations for a five-state area in the Midwest. He has served on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers & Big Sisters in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, as well as various professional and civic Boards throughout his career. Kevin joined the Just Like You Films Board in 2013.
Kyle Claypool is the Chief Digital Strategist at Grow Digitally, a web marketing agency. He is also a founder of Lifted Spirits Distillery, a craft distillery opening in the Kansas City Crossroads.
Kyle is a graduate of the University of Illinois, with a degree in business and managing information systems.
Alexis Del Cid anchors KCTV5 News This morning, 4:30-7:00 AM and co-hosts Better Kansas City at 9:00 AM. A Midwest girl at heart, she grew up in Chicago, spent her summers on a water ski team in the north woods of Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Iowa Alexis is also an award winning reporter who cut her chops in Chicago, working at WMAQ Radio. From there she made the transition to television,working at KPLC in Lake Charles, LA; WCIA in Champaign, IL; KOB in Albuquerque, NM and KOIN in Portland, OR.
Sally Williams Ehrich is a lifelong Kansas City resident. She is a graduate
of Denison University and Research College of Nursing. She has spent the
majority of her nursing career in pediatrics, caring for the children of
Kansas City at Children's Mercy Hospital in triage and neurology. She is
currently working on her Doctorate in Nursing Practice at UMKC focusing on pediatrics. Sally and her husband Dennis are the proud parents of 2 teenage
daughters. Sally has also served on the boards of the Children's Place, the Belinder Elementary PTA and Pembroke Hill School Parent's Guild.
Sally is excited to help provide nursing advice and clinical resources to promote JLY film projects.
A board member since 2008, Chris Greenstreet sponsors the Just Like You Youth Advisory Board. Chris helped develop “The Just Like You Experience” educational unit, which includes activities that are used to teach empathy and understanding for children in unique circumstances. A retired elementary classroom teacher, Chris enjoyed 30 years of teaching children from preschool through middle school and continues to work part-time in the public schools.
Laura Jones has always been an advocate for children's issues. Laura has worked for her church, the Junior League, PTA, LINC, Habitat for Humanity, City Union Mission, and KVC. Currently, she serves the community through work with the JLY board and Slammin' Jammin' committee for Genesis Academy; and as co-chair of the first annual Angel Gala, 2014 president of the Angel board of The Children's Place, and 2014 co-chair of the Bridge of Hope event benefitting the Turning Point.
René Meara moved to Kansas City from Dallas in 2006 and retired after 22 years as an active director of Mary Kay Cosmetics. René has always made it a priority to be active in civic and charitable events, including Kids on the Block, Inc. She felt personally connected to JLY's mission from the moment she saw the first film, as her family has been touched by both cancer and a burn injury. René started the first Caddyshack fundraiser in 2010 and hosts the yearly event at her home, which has raised more than $70,000 in just three years. She says, “my goal is to support Jen’s commitment to create films for every unique childhood challenge.”
6320 Brookside Plaza, Suite 293
Kansas City, MO 64113