Changing lives is no small feat. Yet that is what Betsey Chesler set out to do when she launched the Camera For Kids Foundation (CFKF) in 2009, and has since touched the lives of so many.
The nonprofit, CFKF, serves disadvantaged youth through the art of photography. Chesler collaborates with professional photographers and has them teach photography workshops to at-risk youth and kids living in foster care. Once the children complete a series of courses on how to work with a camera, from learning the basics of lighting to capturing a subject, the aspiring photographers graduate and show off their work in a gallery-style exhibition for all to see.
The latest graduates showed their work at Bailey Contemporary Art (BaCA), a reputable gallery space in Pompano Beach. The exhibition Spotlight on Kids, opened on Thursday, November 10, and featured fine art photographs. Images of nature scenes were quite popular in the series. The pieces on display were so impressively done that one would think they were viewing the work of seasoned pros.
“Can you believe this was done by an 8 year old?”
“Wow. Look at all the details in this one!”
At the opening reception, a red carpet warmly welcomed the attendees and a DJ spun a mixed playlist to amp up the atmosphere. There was an inspiring, creative vibe throughout the evening; so palpable that it seemed to warm hearts.
With any organization, like CFKF, it all starts with a concept.
Nearly ten years ago, Chesler came up with the idea for CFKF after she returned from a monthlong trip to South Africa. There, she volunteered at an orphanage, which sparked her desire to help children. She took her passion for photography and the motivation to give back and put the two together. Since then, her nonprofit has put a camera in the hands of 890 at-risk children, locally and in Canada and Haiti.
Working with a camera not only impacts children’s lives, it builds their self-esteem and opens up their freedom for self-expression. Learning about photography can change the way someone observes the world. Perhaps with enough snaps and inspiration, the skills acquired through CFKF will pave the way to a brighter future.
“CFKF is a gift for life to a deserving child,” -Betsey Chesler, Founder