Fotokids helps Central American youth from the poorest barrios develop useful skills to aid self-exploration, expression, and discovery.
I first encountered the Fotokids story in 2007 while researching organizations using photography to teach kids valuable life skills. When I read their story I was moved to tears and vowed that I had to help in some personally meaningful way. Since the requirements for volunteers included a 6 month commitment and Spanish lanquage fluency it looked unlikely that I would be able to make as big an impact as I felt moved to. Then in 2008 I was blessed with an opportunity to travel to Guatemala as a mentor working with Fotokids during a one-week project.
I never felt my skills more meaningfully used than during that brief week. Fotokids teachers translated, as the kids soaked up everything I had to share with them. I found them all to be very grateful for the opportunity to learn, and motivated to better themselves. So, when at the end of the week Nancy McGirr, founder and executive director of Fotokids, suggested that she wanted to teach more graphic design, I readily volunteered to recruit other creative professionals to come back and teach week-long workshops. That moment was the genisis of the Design4Kids Workshops.
As of January 2011, Design4Kids has presented 5 project-based service workshops in Central America, working with more than 35 youth, 10 travelling mentors, 20 plus on-line mentors and helpers, to serve the communication needs of 5 local businesses and charitable organizations. The workshops are win/win/win. The students gain knowledge, experience, and inspiration. The mentors gain the warmth of seeing their skills and knowledge change young lives for the better. And the businesses and charitable organizations gain professionally executed visual communication products to help them spread their message.
Donations can be made in any amount greater than $10, and all funds are appreciated. If you are like me and prefer to make recurring small donations, you can do so on the page that comes up once you click on the Donate link.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and for considering helping us help these amazing kids, Jeff
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1065 CRESTON RD
BERKELEY, CA 94708
The San Carlos Foundation provides minimal living expenses (currently $6000/year) to professional volunteers -- doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, teachers, etc. -- who live in primitive conditions among the people they're working with and train them to take over their jobs when they leave. The Foundation has supported a total of 114 volunteers since 1984, including Ben Linder, the 27-year-old American engineer who was killed by the Contras in Nicaragua in 1987. Volunteers are carefully placed where they will do the most good. A volunteer must be professionally qualified, fluent in the appropriate language, and experienced in Third World work. Their San Carlos stipend should be their sole source of support for living expenses. They must also have secured a volunteer assignment of at least one year's duration. San Carlos is run by an unsalaried board of directors; it has no paid staff. Administrative costs are minor, and they are absorbed by the board members, so 100% of all donated money goes to workers in the field.
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