Yes, this helps the community a lot. To summarize, have a look at the review page (in a private browser window, if you dismissed the banner, like most people with review privileges):
That's right: English Language Learners Stack Exchange is moderated by you. The ♦ moderators are just exception handlers with a few more tools at their disposal.
Many people on the Internet are not familiar at all with the way Stack Exchange sites work; they may be used to discussion forums where (generally speaking) different rules apply. The First questions and First answers review queues are intended to help those users with their first (active) experience with this community. A constructive, welcoming feedback may be the difference between them becoming a valuable contributor here or just a one-time visit.
but is it respected?
Yes; perhaps the most visible way are the badges; some of them are rewarded for just reviewing, but it's also a way to increase your vote, flag and comment count (which have their own badges).
It's also necessary to maintain a healthy site and community, where e.g. low-effort, low-quality questions are closed instead of answered. That part is definitely undervalued (I'm speaking general across the SE network), so I get where you're coming from.
if others can do it just as easily.
Well, that's not always the case, as you found out yourself.