Kids in Focus relies on volunteers to help organize and facilitate our unique service to kids and the community, as well as to support us through fundraising, marketing, and public relations.
We have volunteer opportunities in:
- Events (planning, opening, annual fundraiser, receptions, volunteer gatherings)
- Exhibits (coordination, images, writing captions/bios, setup, take-downs)
- Fundraising (corporate giving, donor management, grant writing, sponsorships)
- Marketing and Public relations (graphic design, newsletter, social media, video editing, website)
- Programs (afterschool programs, camps, field trips, Grads in Focus, outings, workshops)
- Photography (file management, photo editing)
You can help give kids a new lens on life
We invite photographers to use their talent and knowledge to make a vital difference in the lives of children who need it most. You can help us expand our mission to reach more kids by becoming a mentor. Our programs vary in length and commitment level but all will transform you as well as the kids you mentor.
Photography Experience: Kids in Focus Mentors range in experience from hobbyists to professionals. They love photography and enjoy sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge. Mentors know how to see creatively and see the beauty in the ordinary, and they enjoy hands-on teaching and actively showing the kids how to do the same. Our programs do not teach the kids anything technical; in fact, the kids use point & shoot cameras set on Program. Aperture or Shutter Speed are not even mentioned. The goal is to teach the kids to see creatively, to reconnect with the people and environments around them, and to view the world and themselves with a new outlook.
Other Skills: Our mentors enjoy exploring various environments with a camera, and they also enjoy connecting with kids. They are patient and energetic and come from diverse personal and professional backgrounds. Because our kids come from difficult circumstances, they benefit from time with someone who demonstrates a genuine interest in them, cares about their experiences, is willing to listen and support them, and teaches them new skills both in photography and socially. Mentors are trained to understand how the kids are affected by their experiences, and how they can play a powerful role in bringing joy and new life-skills to their mentee’s lives.
If you feel inspired to help us ensure that this vital work continues to grow, please fill out our online application today to learn how your skills can help make a difference. We would love to have you join us!
Frequently Asked Questions
What volunteer opportunities do you have available?
Kids in Focus volunteer opportunities are diverse. Although we always have a need for photography mentors, we also offer many other volunteer opportunities including coordination, marketing, graphic design, administration, special projects, event planning, coordination, exhibit set-up, and fundraising.
Who is eligible to volunteer?
Kids in Focus volunteer opportunities are designed for adults 18 years of age or older.
To be a Mentor and work with children, you must be at least 21 years of age, successfully pass a criminal background check, and attend mentor training.
What is the volunteer application process?
Prospective volunteers must apply online and submit a complete volunteer application. After applications are screened and processed, you might be required to complete a criminal background check and specialized in-person training depending on the volunteer role you want to play.
How many volunteer hours do I need to commit?
Kids in Focus welcomes volunteers willing to lend us their time and talents for any amount of time. Let us know your availability, and we’ll create a workable position for you.
Do you accept groups of volunteers?
Group volunteer opportunities are rare; however, we do plan events where group volunteers may be helpful. Groups are encouraged to support Kids in Focus by hosting workplace giving campaigns, planning an event that benefits Kids in Focus, or becoming a corporate sponsor. To further discuss group volunteer opportunities, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I have to be a Professional Photographer to mentor?
No, many of our mentors are avid amateurs who are hobbyists.
Do I have to have experience working with kids?
No, but it is highly valued. We can also have you shadow a mentor so that you can get some experience before mentoring on your own and you will learn about working with kids in our training.
If I become a Mentor, what kind of camera do I need?
Mentors should bring whatever DSLR camera they enjoy using. The kids will be using point and shoot cameras that we provide.
What kind of technical expertise do I need?
The kids use point and shoot cameras that are set on auto. We don’t require a great depth of technical knowledge other than to be able to set the cameras basic settings. Also, Mentors are required to bring and use their own laptops and it helps if you are familiar with photo file management. We also provide file management training using Adobe Bridge.
What kind of training do you provide?
All mentors will attend Volunteer Orientation to understand the history and impacts of Kids in Focus as an organization.
They will also attend Mentor Training which includes mentor responsibilities:
- Mentor responsibilities
- Information about Adverse Childhood Experiences and Resiliency building
- How to work with kids in the most positive ways
- The types of programs available for mentors
- A separate file management session is available for those that need it
How many hours do I have to commit to at Kids in Focus?
We have no minimum annual requirements. We have a variety of program lengths ranging from one day to once a week for two weeks to the most in-depth, which is our flagship Afterschool program that requires a once-a-week commitment for 9 weeks the afternoon.
We have programs that meet in the afternoons and/or evenings on weekdays and some morning and afternoon sessions on weekends. In the summer we provide programs to kids at numerous camps around the State which provides a great way to get to cooler temps! We let you know when a new program is being staffed and you choose what works for you. We do require a commitment to the full length of whatever program you choose to provide the continuity of the relationship between you and your kids.
I’ve enjoyed the adventures and building positive memories. Seeing them [the kids] on the night of their exhibition, their smiles and how proud they are of themselves, it’s a beautiful thing.
I get a kick out of being surprised by the kids. Just when I think I know their characters, they drop a concept in their photography that reveals a new branch of their creativity.
It’s been a privilege to work with the kids; some of whom I’m still in touch with after 5+ years. To see them shine and truly benefit from the program beyond the aspect of learning about photography brings me so much joy and a sense of pride.