Meet Our Volunteers for Workshop 2

A Creative Bunch of Humanitarians

All the reservations are confirmed, all the tickets are purchased, and all the class content is agreed upon. It’s official now, these are the volunteer teachers and mentors for the next Design4Kids workshop running June 17 through June 25th, 2009. Three of us are returning from the fall 2008 workshop, and two are joining us for the first time. I’m excited about the enthusiasm and experience that each member brings to the team and can hardly wait to get started working together. –jeff

STU ESTLERStu_Sepia3959 4x5 150

Hi, I’m Stu Estler, photographer, photography writer and teacher. I’ve been an independent photographer for about 25 years, working with corporate, architectural and real estate clients. I also travel as much as I can and photography is an essential part of that experience.

Isn’t it amazing, the feeling of experiencing new places, new cultures and new people, and the way it stimulates new ways of thinking and opens the mind to new possibilities? By engaging and developing our creativity, we grow our abilities to approach all aspects of life with creative thinking. And for me, photography is the way to create!

I’m committed to helping develop creativity and possibility thinking in people everywhere, young and old. When we travel and work with people from different cultures, we all get to share the insights of our unique cultural perspectives, and see possibilities that we weren’t aware of from within our own experiences and influences.
We begin to see ourselves in new ways, and gain a fuller, richer understanding of both ourselves and the world we’re a part of.

Being invited to participate in the Design4Kids workshop is a tremendous opportunity. I’m excited to be able to share my knowledge and insights with the students, and am looking forward to learning as much from them as they do from me. Que oportunidad tan increible!

Stu Estler



I’m an Australian born, and educated, custom clothing designer and maker.  I call myself an Ausmerican! After working in the arena of health care for 35 years—as a Registered Nurse, Licensed Midwife and health Educator—it’s a huge joy to walk into my studio and “play with fabric” each day. My work is informed by my passion for textiles, my appreciation of Asian clothing, and the good fortune to travel.

After leaving Australia as a young woman, I spent 3 years working my way around the world, but I’d not been to Guatemala until April this year. My husband and I LOVED Guatemala, and its people.

While there I met Bree, the Santiago director of Fotokids.  She and I had a long conversation one night about how might there be an opportunity to set up a cottage industry to help the young people she’s teaching while benefiting the community.

The scourge of many developing countries is plastic bags … it’s horrible, and in Guatemala the plastic bags are black and found everywhere, …. floating on the lakes, hung up on trees and power poles, in puddles along dirt roads, being burned with garbage, … you get the picture.

I thought “what about reusable shopping/tote bags for which the young people in the Fotokids program could create a logo/design/message, and then print on fabric, reusable bags?” Sometimes things take on a life of their own: this is one of those instances!  A “teach Jeff how to block print on fabric” afternoon in my studio turned into “why don’t you come and teach those skills in Guatemala?”   My head is still spinning!  I am coming to spend a few days before the workshop sharing skills with a wonderful local quilt maker who was our guide in April. We will also visit other communities around the lake to share with them the possibility of reusable bags for their towns and the positive impact possible.  The block printing supplies and sample tote bags are packed.

I’m thrilled to be part of this adventure and to be able to give back.

Ann Darling

ERIC LOLKEMA6143_045-Eric

Hi, My name is Eric Lolkema, born and raised in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Married, no kids and live in a town some 20 miles outside of Amsterdam.
I am a professional photographer, with a main interest in topics of a human(itarian) kind.
Not being able to make my living with portraiture and wedding photography alone, a short while ago I accepted a job in a large housing organization in Amsterdam. This provides me with a main income, peace of mind and the means to travel to places like Santiago Atitlan. Which means I am a happy part time photographer now.

In the past few years I have joined three workshops with the Bridges to Understanding organization of American photographer Phil Borges. These were professional as well as personal highlights. The last workshop in Guatemala with the Fotokids organization was a mind blowing, superb and unforgettable experience. I think Nancy and her staff are doing a most remarkable job here and I am proud and honoured to be able to join again and offer them some of my time and skills.

Nancy, Werner, David, Jeff and of course all the people I haven’t met yet, I can hardly wait to meet (again)!!!


[ed. Eric wrote this bio for the fall 2008 workshop. He’s been so busy clearing his schedule to be able to meet us in Guatemala that he did not get time to update it.]

CATHY SHEACathy_6002_041

Buenos Dias!  I’m Cathy, younger sister of Design4Kids founder, Jeff Speigner. Last October I had the pleasure and privilege of participating in the inaugural D4K workshop.  What an incredible experience! Working alongside a group of highly talented professionals and brilliantly gifted Fotokids students, I was awed by what all was accomplished in just a few short days.  From meeting with to gain an understanding of two different clients’ needs, to creating and formally proposing several different logo options for each client and a professionally produced tri-fold brochure for one of the two, all despite a multi-day power outage was simply amazing.  The food, fun and camaraderie was a bonus!

I love people and enjoy doing what I can to be of service.  I’ve helped raise funds for a variety of causes, have helped build houses through Habitat for Humanity, organized sporting events through Special Olympics and most recently have been volunteering to help feed the homeless and am now training to walk, for the fourth time,  the 60-mile Breast Cancer 3-day in September.

Professionally, I am a global marketing campaign manager for Hewlett-Packard. My entire 30-year career has spanned a variety of roles within this same company – from business development to sales to marketing program management. In my current role, I work closely with agency creative teams to design integrated marketing campaigns for communicating our ‘commercial storage’ message in the marketplace.

I live in Kirkland, Washington and am married to a wonderful man, Ken Van Voorhees.  Thankfully, Ken is very supportive of my desire to travel and participate in opportunities to help others.  While we don’t have children of our own, I am proud to be Auntie and Great Aunt to 10 nieces/nephews, 17 grand nieces/nephews, one great grand niece, and am godmother to 10 year-old triplets.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m thrilled to be returning to Santiago Atitlan for this second D4K workshop.  I look forward to more good times with Eric, Nancy and Brie, and especially the students – among them Werner, Abdias, David, Eleseo, Jennifer, Josefa, Holy, Daisy – and am also very excited to meet each of you, the rest of our team.  What an amazing experience this will be for us!

Safe travels to you and I’ll see you in Antigua!

Cathy Shea

JEFF SPEIGNERJeff_Teaching_Eric_0163-2

Hi, my name is Jeff. I’m employed as a graphic designer for a large aerospace manufacturer in the Pacific Northwest. I produce a wide range of visual communications, including press-printed materials, electronic presentations, and exhibits.

I grew up a vagabond; born in Alabama, moved to Arizona at age 2, then to the Seattle area at age 12.  I’ve had an interest in art and photography all my life. After high school I joined the U.S. army to see the world and learn cinematography.  After my military service I studied art, and photography, then went to work illustrating technical manuals for the Seattle area’s largest corporation.

My foreign travel has been limited mostly to Asian countries; Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, and Viet Nam, mostly for adventure and photography.

A couple of years ago I discovered the joy of volunteering my skills abroad.  November of 2007 I made my first trip to Central America to work with Fotokids as a mentor with Bridges to Understanding in Santiago Atitlan. It was a transformative experience working with the talented young people of Fotokids and the generous adult volunteers.

When Fotokids director Nancy McGirr mentioned she wanted to start a design studio in Santiago, I replied that I’d love to come teach graphic design skills and bring some colleagues with me. To my delight, Nancy has held me to that offer and I was humbled to return in in Fall 2008 with such a talented and accomplished group of volunteers for the first ever Design4Kids workshop.

The experiment was such a hit with both adults and kids, that we were invited back and three of us from the first workshop are returning for the second just 8 months later.  I’m both proud and humbled to be working with such a fine and diverse bunch of creative professionals.

Jeff Speigner
Phone: 206-331-1960


One Response

  1. […] with her and her staff, and I am deeply humbled by her belief in us. Second, I want to thank the volunteers who take time away from their jobs and their families to travel to Guatemala and give of their […]

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