A New Lens on Life

When kids experience trauma, they disconnect from the world and from themselves. A camera in their hands, with the right guidance and encouragement, can switch the light in their eyes back on, giving them a new lens on life.

Kids in Focus is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering at-risk youth to strengthen their sense of self-worth. Founder Karen Shell spearheads the organization which has transformed the lives of hundreds of kids in need, equipping them with the tools to shift from surviving to thriving.


Kids in Focus programs inspire hope in children ages 10-13 who come from backgrounds of poverty, homelessness, neglect and/or abuse. The trauma can be long lasting. As a result, the kids can find it difficult to trust relationships with others and to remain in touch with their feelings and self-worth.


The kids receive much more than a camera. Mentored by professional photographers, together they take a journey of creativity culminating in a public photography exhibit, a hardbound book, and a new self-confidence for the future. The program empowers the kids to explore, to trust and to see the world in a new light.


Your generous donations go directly to the material needs of the program, with zero spent on administrative overhead. We’re seeking corporate sponsors who share our vision in the community and we need volunteers of all types with various skills and interests to increase our reach and impact on the lives of kids who need it most.

What the Kids Are Saying

“Before Kids in Focus, when I would get mad, I would go in my room and hit the wall. Now I go in there and start taking pictures.


“I used to be a trouble-maker before Kids in Focus but this opportunity makes me step up. I follow directions more and I’ve become a better leader.


“Since I got the camera, I spend more time outside exploring and discovering.”


“I loved the field trips because I not only got to take pictures, I got to meet people and meet the world around me and got to see great things.”


“I learned that if you take your time and you put effort into what you’re doing, good things come out of it.”


“Taking photos is good for my soul.  The camera is kind of my best friend.  With it, I can go with the flow”


“I noticed that I’m not as shy as I used to be. I smile more now.”


“Finally it feels like I’ve accomplished something in life.”


“At the opening, I had a chance to show what I’m worth and what I’m worth doing.”


“It made me feel very proud. Like I could accomplish a lot more.”


“I learned who I really am. It opened my eyes to things around me and to myself.”


I discovered how much beauty there is in the world.”