Through ongoing mentoring programs, Kids in Focus inspires hope and fosters positive outcomes in at-risk children starting at age 10. Through the restorative power of photography and with the guidance of dedicated mentors, the kids are inspired to open their eyes to their own potential as they build the resilience they need to overcome the challenges they face. Not only are the kids taught creative problem solving, they learn to “see”, to notice and to explore with curiosity.

The kids’ inspiring images are exhibited at venues such at the Arizona Science Center, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Sky Harbor Airport, Arizona State Capitol, and various restaurants and coffee shops. The children see their work on display and are recognized and appreciated by others, igniting a feeling of pride and accomplishment.

Since 2012, the organization has transformed the lives of several hundred kids in need, equipping them with essential life skills to make the shift from surviving to thriving. Building self-confidence, resilience and healthy relationships, Kids in Focus offers four types of youth programs…

Kids in Focus Afterschool

During the intensive 8 to 9-week KIF Afterschool program, relationships are formed and trust is built as each mentor works closely with two kids. The kids receive much more than a camera to keep. Together the kids and mentors take a journey of discovery through classroom lessons and field-trips all over town, culminating in a public photo exhibit and hardbound book. The exhibit is kicked off with an opening night gala where the kids, their families and hundreds from the community gather in celebration. A child can participate in the afterschool program up to two times before joining fellow alumni students in the ongoing Grads in Focus programs.

Camp Kids in Focus

Kids enjoy overnight camp experiences while exploring the campgrounds with their mentors. Camp KIF is offered as one, two and three-day programs at beautiful campgrounds in the mountains of northern Arizona and Phoenix. The kids discover nature – and themselves. Camp immerses the youth in nature while taking them out of stressful environments, allowing them to practice authentic, confident, playful versions of themselves. The giving becomes full-circle as student alumni of the afterschool programs help other kids when they return to participate as Assistant Mentors at our camps.

Grads in Focus

Kids in Focus strongly believes in staying connected to the alumni kids who have been through one of our programs. The Grads in Focus program provides continuing projects to keep the kids connected to their mentors, to each other, to themselves and to the exciting new world they’ve discovered. A private online forum called PicPals provides a place for mentors and student alumni to support one another and share their work on a daily basis. Not only do the kids earn incentive gifts that encourage the kids’ participation, they have a sense of belonging that encourages them to continue to spend their time in a positive way and to get outside and explore. Team-building field trips are held each quarter, giving the kids something to look forward to and a chance to see their mentors and fellow students again.

Kids in Focus Global

This international photo exchange program connects kids in our community with kids around the world. Kids in Focus Global programs are currently underway in rural China and soon will be implemented in Cuba, with more countries to be added. Arizona photographers team up with photographers in the participating country to provide a curriculum to the kids overseas to help them learn to see creatively. Arizona alumni students are then paired with overseas students their age and together they share their lives through pictures using online platforms. The kids see the world as a much bigger place and learn cultural awareness, understanding and tolerance.