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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Cameras For Kids Foundation Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Visual Arts

Mission: CFKF provides underprivileged teens living in foster facilities the opportunity to have a camera and learn basic concepts of art and photography while fostering self-esteem, self-confidence and offering a skill set.

Results: CFKF has been so well received that in three years we are running our program in many cities in Florida, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and other areas.

Programs: Workshop days, Photography sessions (6-8 weeks long) and Mentorship programs

Community Stories

54 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 SamKelly

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Cameras for Kids is an incredible organization. As a NYC teacher, I watched my students become so excited about photography. Every week when I walked into the classroom, I had one of my students jump up to show me the photos that he took that week. At our end-of-semester exhibition, I was amazed by the quality of the work that the students created. I can't express enough how wonderful it was to see the students share their work with their friends and family, the students were so proud of themselves. I believe this experience will be something that they will take with them forever, and that most of them will continue to shoot photography.

Additionally, Betsey is such an inspiring leader! Working with her to achieve the goals of the organization was always seamless and fun. CFKF is making an incredible impact on the lives of children through photography, and I'm so glad that I could contribute to this amazing organization.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am genuinely moved by the work Betsey Chesler and Cameras for Kids Foundation does for foster children and at-risk teens. As a professional musician and educator, I had of the immense honor of playing piano for one of CFKF's beautiful "gallery events". I saw firsthand how THRILLED the children were to see their very own photos displayed on the wall: in frames and professionally displayed in a REAL art gallery! The pleasure, joy and self-confidence these children gained from seeing one of their own works of art on the wall is something I will never forget. Betsey truly opens up the horizons for these children, and I am so very impressed with the work she does every day. CFKF is a truly unique charity as I do not know of any other organization that puts cameras directly in the hands of children so their emotions and feelings can be captured and blown up into a true realization of art and soul . God bless Betsey and CFKF! I hope this organization can reach an infinite number of children with its empowering message and uplifting activities.

Kathey M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love seeing the work of these students. They are very gifted and talented. You can tell they put their heart and soul into each piece. It's the little things they also capture; a moment in time. I say, "well done!"

1 Janice J. J.

Donor

Rating: 5

I love that their is a way for kids to express their art through pictures.

1 Kristen76

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love what cameras for kids stands for and everything they do for foster children. What a great organization!

1 Tamara David S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

So blessed to be a part of a wonderful foundation that helps foster kids explore their talents through photography. I've seen them bloom with each lesson and gain a Confidence they never had before.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel so honored to be a part of the Cameras for Kids Foundation in the Dallas area. I have seen firsthand the amazing changes that this foundation has brought to these foster children. It has changed their lives in more ways then I can count and love seeing them excited about photographing life's beauty. Betsey Chesler truly is an earthly angel and has a heart of gold. Please continue to support this wonderful Foundation and help us continue to make a difference! ♡ ♡ ♡

3 Murna G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My cousin Esther Stein was asked to teach some young children about photography for your organization. She loves, loves, loves photography and had been doing it for over fifty years. She has been commissioned to shoot any number of weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, pets, still life, etc. And she is brilliant at the art form because she truly enjoys it. She undertook teaching these wonderful kids with that same joy and knowledge, and was genuinely suprised at the depth of understanding that the children had instinctively. Esther was so pleased to be able to show these children and to share her knowledge with them about the art of shooting a subject. The children responded in kind and developed skills that, even if they never take another picture after the classes, will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. Photography isn't just about point and shoot, it is about composition, patience, understanding how to apply the rule of thirds with respect to a shot. It is also about learning to be silent, be still, be courteous, be unobtrusive, and many more skills that they will need in their lifetimes. This class also took them to places that, in their normal lives they would not have access to for many reasons. Esther showed them about museums, buildings and people that they may never have had access to. She opened their eyes to other lifestyles other venues, to art and other areas. For the children and for Esther it was a win-win situation. This course is very worth while for everyone, children and staff because they all learned valuable lessons.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5




At Risk Children Giving them a visual voice through photography and actually changing their point of view: My friend sent me pics of her children, age 9 and 12 , a boy and a girl.
Their parents get home hours after they do They are lovely in every way and obese.




AT RISK CHILDREN so many definitions. Putting a camera in a child's hand so they can create and interpret with determination is so much more satisfying than cookies or nutter butter.






3

Donor

Rating: 5

I first learned about Cameras for Kids in 2009 through Facebook, and I was instantly intrigued.

I know of no other charitable organization like it.

Through workshops and lessons, Cameras for Kids teaches children to "see" the world and not just "look at" it. Through everyone's support, it's creating artists in many communities across the country and beyond.

Betsey Chesler is truly a visionary leader in the arts. She's also the most large hearted mentor in south Florida.

Through the generosity of donors, she and her team provide cameras to children in foster care whose birth or foster families could never afford them.

Besides the gift of a camera, the children get an education in the art of photography and learn skills that will last a lifetime.

Most important, Cameras for Kids instills in young people skills that can lead them -- later on -- into careers as artists, journalists, or teachers.

It also fosters independence and self-actualization.

Yes, foster care provides stable and nurturing homes for many kids.

But one unfortunate side effect of the foster system is that the children often feel isolated and lonely and have no words to articulate these feelings.

I've attended three exhibits hosted by the Cameras for Kids Foundation. The images are always elegiac, dreamlike, sometimes hauntingly so.

It's hard to describe the beaming smiles and the wide eyes of the children as people stand in front of their exhibits in wonder.

I'll never forget the look on the face of one particular young lady who was absolutely overflowing with pride in her work as adults she didn't know were telling her how brilliant her photographs were.

I strongly encourage everyone to support CFK. Please attend an exhibit and be amazed.


2 Pearl P.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

My friend, Esther volunteers to work with the children in Toronto. I see some of the work by the students and they are remarkable. I also realise they are having fun with this class and what they learn will give them a groundwork if they choose to get into this field or just be great at seeing what the camera sees for their own pictures.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I don't think there is any other better learning venue than CFKF. Not everyone is privileged to follow their dreams or hobbies of photography yet CFKF provides exactly that. Not only does this non profit organization help youth by providing the necessary equipment, these youngsters also get a fabulous education, chance of exhibition and perhaps even another chance in life. Photography is a real art and having the chance to learn composition and seeing different perspectives opens up numerous possibilities to youth around the country. Hats down to all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of the CFKF.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization cultivates and educates in an empowering manner, allowing participants (both teachers and students) to practice creativity, creation, and value art. No calculable value can be placed on what it means to empower others to express themselves. Cameras For Kids does this.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Cameras For Kids is an organization lovingly dedicated to inspiring young people to find beauty and strength within and beyond themselves. In changing the way we see, they are generating hope and creating a different and more positive world view. Bravo Cameras For Kids. I am proud to be a part of this wonderful organization.

4 EMES

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became aware of Cameras for Kids Foundation while looking over a photo exhibit in the main hall of the Bank of Montreal building end of winter 2016. While chatting with Betsey Chesler, as all the photos were taken by children under 15 years, I asked her more about
the volunteer process.
I've worked free lance in Toronto for years. When Betsey said she could use another volunteer teacher, I told her it would be a dream come true.
I am thrilled to say, my students raised the bar when it came to following suggestions and rules. Best experience ever working with the boys and girls club in Toronto.
Never hesitate to give a child a way to see the world with their owns eyes and communicate their vision back to all of us. You're never alone if you have you camera with you! It's more fun than a basket of puppies.

3 PenelopeL

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

In an age where so many people take cameras for granted with smartphones at their fingertips, it's encouraging to see an organization that supports today's youth to use cameras and the medium of photography consciously, skillfully, artfully, and wisely, in a manner that builds confidence, nurtures intelligence, enhances communication skills, and literally crafts beautiful visions of our world for generations to come. As a supportive follower of CFKF for more than three years now, I am always moved by the students' remarkable photography in exhibits and on social media, as well as by the heartfelt testimonials of those who speak about their transformative experiences at fundraisers each year. It's impressive to see (via the CFKF email list, Facebook, and Instagram) how the foundation is constantly launching new locations across the United States and internationally. At this writing, it's 34 locations, an outstanding accomplishment. Thank you, CFKF, for your unique and significant contribution—I look forward to seeing what great things you accomplish next!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Kiki Baxter and I am a volunteer teacher for Cameras for Kids Foundation. In the course of a 6-8 week photography program, these children gain self-esteem, confidence, and they develop a new awareness of the world around them. Each child can look at the same scene and photograph something completely different, bringing value to their unique vision and creativity. CFKF also arranges opportunities for the students to meet real professionals in the industry and even exhibit their own work in professional settings. I love working with CFKF and cannot wait to begin teaching my new class this Thursday!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

What better way to see the sparkle in the eyes of a foster child than to afford them the opportunity to achieve success through the lens of a camera and their own efforts.
This is the result attained by the "Cameras For Kids Foundation" program.
Imagine beginning with a group of children, who for the most part have only known adversity and eight weeks later at the conclusion of the CFKF photographic program these same children have a smile and a look of achievement on their face and a sparkle in their eyes.

3 Steve149

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When I first met Betsy I was convinced I was meeting someone special.
Being a photography based business, I have become acutely aware of the treasure that is hidden in photos.
For most, it is easy to unlock that joy and for most, they take that joy for granted.
Betsy and CFKF have developed programs that bring that joy to those that would not ordinarily be pricey to it.
I applaud her daily efforts and would recommend those that are looking for a very rewarding endeavor to join her in those efforts.


Steve Nudelberg
PhotoandGO.com

1 Stephanie204

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been traveling with Betsey and observing teaching sessions with the foster children. I get to see how stoked the children are to learn a new skill set, and to feel confident about their work. When we take them out on a photo shoot, their faces instantly light up with excitement. CFKF provides the cameras, teaching sessions, photo shoots, and more often than not, the children's work is displayed and celebrated in a gallery. The kids are so proud of the work that they compose, and they want to share it with others. CFKF aims to raise self-esteem in at-risk teens, and I've seen it happen in real time.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Cameras for Kids has been working with PACE for the past few years. This year, we have formed a Cameras for Kids Club at PACE because the girls are so excited about expanding their knowledge of photography and the hands-on experience that they are obtaining. PACE is a wonderful program for teenage girls in which we work to help the girls develop higher self esteem and protective factors in their lives. By working with Cameras for Kids, the girls actually begin to see the world from a different point of view. They see the beauty in everyday objects and refocus their attention to find the light. By engaging their artistic selves, the girls are transformed into true artisans and photographers. I cannot thank Betsey Chesler enough for bringing this wonderful program to the PACE girls. It is such a gift - as are our girls!