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Dates Set for D4K10 June 20-28, 2015

Deysi and Andres share a laugh during D4K 3

Deysi and Andres share a laugh during D4K 3

This June we’re excited to be conducting our milestone tenth Design4Kids Adventure. After the last two adventures in Antigua (D4K8 and D4K9 both wonderful adventures with awesome kids in a sweet town), it will be nice to be back on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan for D4K10. We’re returning to the village where it all began. However, we will be working with a whole new generation of kids from Fotokids. Averaging about age 13, these are not your average adolescents. They’re all talented and motivated young artists eager to grow make something of themselves using their creativity.

La Pescadora

La Pescadora

If you’re interested in learning more about joining us, first check out the Join the Next Adventure page, then contact the Design4Kids director, Jeff Speigner at info@design4kids.org.

Graphic design professional Jason Campbell teaching computer skills during Design4Kids Workshop 1.

Graphic design professional Jason Campbell teaching computer skills during Design4Kids Workshop 1.


D4K8 Antigua, Guatemala

To celebrate the 8th Design4Kids Adventure, graduate and Fotokids staff member, Gabriela Romero, produced this inspiring two-minute video. She said she “did it for the kids”, and that she wanted the world to see how great this program is.

D4K7 was a big hit!

During January of this year, 2012, advanced students from Fotokids gathered with Design4Kids traveling mentors to tackle the challenge of designing a new website for their own design firm name Jakaramba.

The students were divided into four teams, each competing to have their design chosen by the leader of Jakaramba as the official design of the firm’s new website. The images above are a glimpse of the winning design as presented on the last day of the workshop.

Space is filling up for the June workshop.

There are only eight weeks until our next workshop, and although space is filling up we do have room for one more participant.

Students, Gerardo and Camilo, share a laugh while working on layout concepts for their clients brochure project during Workshop 2.

Besides being project-based learning experiences, our workshops are also a lot of fun for both students and mentors. And why not? We’re on the shores of a deep blue lake, doing creative work with talented people for a worthy cause, living at the lovely Posada de Santiago, on the outskirts of a village steeped in Mayan culture.

On the serene shores of Lake Atitlan, one can see boats that, like the local culture, are a mix of the modern and the traditional.

The village of Santiago Atitlan is so rich in Mayan tradition, that even the Catholic Cathedral acknowledges some of their religious rites in certain ceremonies. Half-way through each week-long workshop we take a little break to tour cultural high-points with a professional guide born and raised in the local customs.

Alter of the Catholic cathedral in Santiago Atitlan - photo by Evelyn Mansilla

Each workshop is unique. Each has different students, different mentors, and a different client for us to serve.  We always plan workshop content around three criteria; the needs of this set of students, the knowledge of this set of mentors, and the needs of this client’s project.

Mentor Stu, a commercial photographer from the U.S., leads the class in high dynamic range photography during Workshop 4, last June.

Soon the participating mentors for Design4Kids 6 will begin meeting via Skype to plan the content for this workshop. So if you are considering joining us, now is a good time to get on board. Begin by emailing Jeff at Design4Kids@ymail.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Design4Kids 6th Workshop Scheduled

La Anitqua | Santiago Atitlan | June 25th – July 1, 2011

Graphic design professional Jason Campbell teaching computer skills during Design4Kids Workshop 1.

This June our 6th Design4Kids workshop returns to Santiago Atilan where we’ll again be working with an amazingly talented group from Fotokids. If you’re an adventurous soul in search of an exceptional international travel encounter, consider joining us.  Each Design4Kids week-long event teams talented youth with seasoned professionals to work on a design project for a local charitable organization. In one short week the students meet their client, define the clients’ communication problem, create a solution, and pitch the solution to the client.

Deysi and Andres share a laugh during workshop 3

The kids get into it because they are using their creativity. More importantly though, they are learning to solve problems with critical, and creative thinking. They are learning teamwork, customer service, and the meaning of deadlines.

Bree and student practice screen printing.

Our mentors love it because they get to experience another culture through the eyes of youth, and form meaningful connections with them and their fellow travelers.  It really is a unique and meaningful experience.

Mentor Cathy, and student, Gaby learn block printing techniques during workshop 2.

We accept mentors with all sorts of professional skills, but we are especially interested in those of you with backgrounds in business, art, design, or photography. Curious to learn more? Read more about the next workshop here.

Gaby and Eric review photos from the "Amazing Foto Race" game while riding the boat back from Panjachel.

Workshop Helps At-Risk Girls

Design4Kids 6 “The Save Girls Workshop”
June 12 – 18, 2011, Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala


Mentors and students collaborating during a Design4Kids workshop.


One of Fotokids new programs is called The Save Girls Project. It is a three year program which addresses the lack of educational and employment opportunities for young women living in some of the poorest most violent urban slums in Guatemala City. It’s designed to reach out to high school girls who in addition to their normal schooling, study digital photography, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, studio lighting, copy writing and advertising with the goal of promoting critical thinking, creativity and giving them skills they can use to get employment in a myriad of occupations.

The first class from the project is graduating this year, and the highest achievers will participate in Design4Kids 6, June 12-18 2011, in Santiago Atitlan. The graduating students have attended earlier Design4Kids workshops, and will act as assistants to our newest group of girls from Tierra Nueva 2, one of the most dangerous gang infested barrios of Guatemala City.

Read here for more information about the workshop and how you can personally make a difference in these young womens’ lives.

Countdown to Workshop 3 – Why We Volunteer

Portrait of Two Girls by David Ixbalán

Portrait of Two Girls by Fotokids student, David Ixbalán

With only two weeks until the next Design4Kids workshop (December 5 – 13) I’ve decided to start blogging to build momentum.

Today’s feature is an award winning photograph by David Ixbalán. David is 17 years old and he wants to be a graphic designer. A student in the Fotokids after-school program he has been nurturing this dream for many years. And, he’s making great progress. In his second year of a professional training high school in Guatemala city David would like to return to his rural village on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan to pursue his profession after he graduates.

That’s where we come in. Fotokids is establishing a design studio on the shores of Lake Atitlan to serve the businesses and non-profits operating there. The Design4Kids project was founded to help by providing twice a year workshops sharing the collective wisdom of experienced creative professionals with talented young teens.


One of the logo designs selected for presentation to the client.

In one week the group goes from meeting each other and a client to brainstorming, creating, developing, producing, and presenting a creative solution to that same client. The kids do all the work, and the volunteers mentor them through the process, teaching them skills aquired from their professional experience along the way. The kids grow not just in their creative and problem solving skills but also in their self awareness and confidence. The volunteers expand their horizons and revitalize their spirits as they see direct benefits from sharing what they’ve worked so hard to learn.

To make this blog more interesting for you the reader please let me know what you want to see–more student features, volunteer profiles, views of life on Lake Atitlan–what interests you?

Leave comments and suggestions in the reply section below. You can also tweet me, or leave a note on the Design4Kids Facebook fan page. Thanks for reading.

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