The kids currently participate in either an 8-week after school program or a 3-day camp.  After completing the program, the kids then stay connected and involved through our ongoing PicPals forum and activities.

Each child’s journey begins with the kids receiving a free camera to keep. The kids are mentored by professional photographers and are empowered to reconnect with the world and with themselves. They are taught basic principles of photography, taken out to locations and given weekly shooting assignments. The camera offers a safe aperture through which to look people in the eye again, and to start seeing themselves with renewed excitement and self-esteem.

During the 8-week program, the kids photograph on their own in their home environments as well as with their mentors on various field trips around town each week.  At each 3-day camp, the kids explore alongside their mentors the beauty of the natural environment around them.  Relationships are formed and trust is built as each mentor works closely with 2 to three kids .

The final sessions include preparing for a public exhibit of the kids’ images. The kids write biographies as well as titles and captions to accompany their exhibit images. Their photographs and writings are also included in a hardbound book that they each receive, memorializing their experience and serving as a permanent reminder of the creator they truly are.

The program culminates in an opening night gala where the kids, their families and hundreds from the community gather in celebration. The children see their work on display and are recognized and appreciated by others, igniting a feeling of pride and accomplishment. No less important than the creation of their work is the celebration of it. That night the kids’ creative sparks are turned into flame.

The exhibit remains on public display for several weeks at the Arizona Science Center and then the images travel around town to a variety of locations including the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Sky Harbor Airport, Arizona State Capitol, and various  local businesses.

The kids then join the ongoing community of Kids in Focus, with the mentors and fellow student alumni, who continue to support one another and share their work on into the future through continuing projects. Keeping them connected…. to each other, to themselves and to the exciting new world they’ve discovered.