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Kids In Focus; project aimed to help kids get a better view of life

Posted On: 2014-03-16

From FOX 10 News |

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Hundreds of thousands of children live in poverty across Arizona. An unstable start in life makes it hard for a young person to turn things around.

A program called Kids In Focus is aimed at giving kids a better view of life.

When you grow up in poverty; watching your family struggle for food, clothing, and a place to live, your world can turn gray and bleak. It can change who you are, who you become, and it can stunt your growth.

Photographer, Karen Shell knows this.

"When you're going through struggles you have the intensity to get stuck in your head and you cant see outside of yourself you cant see the world around you cant be happy you cant be productive and you cant thrive when you're in that place," said Shell.

Shell wants these kids to thrive and believes the Kids in Focus project can help them. She is the driving force behind the project at a school for homeless children in Phoenix.

She believes photography is the way to reach at-risk kids to motivate and inspire them through the lens of a camera.

"This absolutely changes lives," she said.

All of the students at Children First Academy live below the poverty line. Some students have no where to call home, but in this project there's so much more to focus on.

With donated cameras, Shell and 10 photographers from a group called "Through Each Other's Eye's" meet weekly with the 18 students in the kids in focus project .

The local photographers who donate their time say they love teaching these kids the joy and art of photography.

During the 8 week project, they watch these young people bloom before their eyes.

"When I'm older I want to be an entrepreneur, I want to make my own jobs and create a lot of stuff would you hire me maybe," said James who is in the 7th grade.

James is a 7th grade student at the academy. He has a reputation for getting the unusual angles. James especially loved the fire station photo shoot when FOX 10 spoke with him.

Valley firefighters are just one segment of the community that has embraced this project and these kids.

Thanks to donations and support from companies and individuals in the valley and beyond, Kids In Focus will debut dozens of their pictures at a special exhibit at the Burton Barr library later this month.

For more information on the upcoming exhibit and ways you can help this program visit their website at

Read more: Kids In Focus; project aimed to help kids get a better view - FOX 10 News |
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