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Design4Kids Workshop 7 Scheduled for January 14 -22

Design4Kids workshops team talented, yet disadvantaged, youth with art, business, and communication professionals to work with local charities in solving design challenges. We are currently recruiting participants for the next workshop in beautiful Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala this January 2012.

Learn how you can participate by clicking on the Get Involved link. Learn about the January workshop by clicking on the Join the Next Workshop link.

Personal Logotype Design by Kevin

Outside view of trifolio design for Hospitalito Atitlan. When folded the far right vertical third becomes the front cover, the center vertical third is the back cover, and the left vertical third folds to the inside and is revealed when the braochure is opened.

Inside view of the brochure design for Hospitalito Atitlan.


Photos from Honduras Workshop

Fotokids graduate, and Design4Kis alumnus, Werner, instructs twins Danny and Denny in the use of a Nikon DSLR.

Werner Montorosso instructs young student as instructors, Stu and Eric look on.

Students take the bus to visit their client's establishment.

Camilo and another student outside the Guaruma classroom.

Photographs by David Ixbalan

Thanks to our Contributors

Now that that the fourth Design4Kids workshop is complete, we’d like to say thanks to all of you who helped make it successful.

First there are those who traveled to Guatemala to teach classes and mentor the students through the service project. Cathy Shea of the Hewlett Packard company taught marketing basics, and coached the Jakaramba staff through the process of establishing a marketing plan. Stu Estler of Stu Estler Photography taught classes in Seeing and Modifying Light, and HDR photography. Eric Lolkema of Eric Lolkema Fotographia, taught a very thorough overview of Adobe Lightroom. You guys were awesome, and I know you know the students appreciate all you did.

New to this workshop were the online mentors and teachers; Kitty Florido and Vanesa JuarezWorking together via the internet, one in New York State, the other in Mexico City, they prepared a class on social media and delivered it to our students in Guatemala via Skype, and managed to get through 90% of the presentation before we lost power and the internet connection. That did not stop Kitty and Vanesa though. They followed up with the students individually and got them producing content everyday of the workshop. Thanks ladies, your help was tremendous!

Also helping remotely were the online reviewers, a panel of professional designers and photographers who took the time to review the students first draft book cover designs and note their comments for improvement. This work was hugely valuable to our students. Our very warm thanks go out to Phil Borges, Rodrigo Zarco, Von Glitschka, Jacob Cass, Stephen Tiano, Neto Gonzalez, Donovan Beery, Dariela Cruz (http://folkloreye.com), Nate Voss, and Telva Mejía Tefel.

We’re also grateful to the many who donated funds, gave us rides to the airport, helped print and package Design4Kids pen cases, and generally support what we’re doing. Big shoutouts and love to Joyce McClure, Lisa Krause, Lee Hendrickson, Julie Borden, John Reynolds, John and Patty Wall, Courtney Speigner, Jennifer Geist and all our friends at Bridges to Understanding.

Thank you everyone! Without your support, these workshops would not exist.

Workshop Volunteer: Kitty Florido

[Nota: Una versión en español de este mensaje aparece a continuación.]

Hi, I’m Kitty Florido. Born and raised in Guatemala city, but always loved to travel. I’ve been working for the past 12 years as a graphic designer and photographer, working with clients in Central America, USA and Canada. Work has also getting me to travel quite much! Last year I went from New York, Mexico all the way down to Brazil. Even though traveling keeps me away from my beautiful Guatemala, I enjoy it and try to get as much goodness from the world to bring back home.

Last December, I was able to be part of the guest judges to the Design4Kids program, getting some feedback to the kids on their designs for their client, the Atitlán Hospital and the Diabetes campaign. Now, is June 2010 and I’m really happy to be part of Design4Kids once again. Unfortunately I won’t be able to be in Atitlán during the workshop, but I will get to work with the kids, along with Vanesa Juarez, to teach them about blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and what Social Media can mean for them.

The project ahead is big: FotoKids wants to publish a book! Social media can help in so many ways and the kids posting their experiences can make it happen! Thanks so much for this opportunity!


Hola, soy Kitty Florido. Nací y crecí en la ciudad de Guatemala, pero siempre me ha gustado viajar. Por doce años, he trabajado como diseñadora gráfica y fotógrafa, trabajando con clientes de Centroamérica, Estados Unidos y Canadá. Mi trabajo, ¡me ha permitido viajar bastante! Durante el 2009, fui desde Nueva York, pasando por México hasta llegar a Brasil. A pesar que los viajes me tienen lejos de mi linda Guatemala, me encanta estar conociendo todos estos lugares tan increibles y agarrar lo mejor de cada uno de los lugares y llevármelo de regreso para Guatemala.

En Diciembre del 2009, tuve la gran oportunidad de ser una de varios jurados para el programa de Design4Kids, acerca del trabajo que hicieron para su cliente el Hospital Atitlán y el proyecto la campaña de Diabetes. Ahora, es Junio del 2010, y estoy muy contenta de volver a ser parte del programa. Lamentablemente, estoy fuera de Guatemala, pero voy a estar trabajando, junto con Vanesa Juarez, para enseñarle a los chicos acerca de las redes sociales: blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr y lo que estas redes pueden representarles.

El proyecto que tenemos es grande: ¡FotoKids quiere publicar un libro! Las redes sociales pueden ayudar de tantas maneras diferentes, y los chicos poniendo actualizaciones de los avances van a hacer que todo suceda! ¡Muchas gracias por esta oportunidad!

Workshop Volunteer: Vanesa Juárez

Hi, I’m Vanesa, I will be mentoring the student bloggers of the next D4K workshop from abroad using the Internet to connect.

[Nota: Una versión en español de este mensaje aparece a continuación.]

I’m a graphic designer, born and raised in Guatemala. Two years ago  I moved to Mexico City, thanks to a scholarship I was granted from the Mexican goverment to guatemalan citizens,  to continue my education at Universidad Iberoamericana and I’m glad to be almost ending the graduate program on Design Strategy and Innovation.

As a graphic designer, I’ve worked mostly on press printed materials: branding, packaging, editorial, promotional and publicity.

During my last year at college i was a junior graphic designer at Tipos Diseño, and later I worked at Klaro Comunicación, as a senior, for over three years.

Right now I’m working on my thesis and my focus is on the link between creative professionals such as designers, and the entrepreneurs that work on social innovation projects such as D4K.  I believe that we have characteristics in common and complementary skills, like holistic thought, empathy, problem solving oriented, team work and much more.

We already know as a fact that design adds value to a Business and brings competitive advantage in the marketplace, but design as a tool for social change is still a not completely understood or applied method.

From my point of view, Design 4 Kids is an organization that understands how design can be applied to generate social change, and through the workshops they bring the tools to the kids, and the options for them to learn, grow and be creative people in charge of their own future. That is why I am so excited to be a virtual volunteer for the next workshop, It will give me the chance to learn from the kids and bring a bit of my knowledge to them.

Besides my thesis, I’ve recently been working on a research project of internet consumption in Mexico, as a part of a multidisciplinary team, where I am lucky to work with professionals from social sciences: anthropologists, ethnologists, communications and also from design: industrial and graphic.  We are conducting qualitative research, with user centered techniques, with the aim of proposing direct communication strategies on digital platforms.

What I have learned so far, from my experience on a personal and professional level, is that you cannot do things on your own, no matter what, you will always need a helping hand, someone to guide, teach and even ignore you sometimes, because that makes you stronger.

I truly admire the work Fotokids and D4K do together, because through this experience, the participants work as a team and share valuable knowledge, learn and grow. The kids get a lot from the creative professionals that teach them, but I dare to say that they learn too from the kids.

Thank you Jeff and the kids for the opportunity, this will be great!


Hola soy Vanesa, estaré participando como voluntaria virtual para trabajar en equipo con los estudiantes del próximo taller de D4K.  Soy diseñadora gráfica egresada de la Universidad Rafael Landívar. Nací y crecí en la ciudad de Guatemala. Hace dos años me mudé a la ciudad de México, gracias a una beca otorgada por el gobierno mexicano a ciudadanos guatemaltecos, para continuar mis estudios en la Universidad Iberoamericana. Estoy contenta porque recientemente he finalizado los cursos obligatorios de la maestría en Diseño Estratégico e Innovación.

Como diseñadora gráfica me especializo en diseño de imagen corporativa, empaques, editorial, promocional y publicidad. Durante mi último año en la universidad, trabajé como diseñadora junior en el estudio Tipos Diseño, en dónde aprendí muchísimo sobre diseño editorial y de imagen corporativa. Al graduarme de la licenciatura me uní al equipo de Klaro Comunicación, una agencia de relaciones públicas, en la cual desarrollé proyectos de diseño de eventos, promocional, publicitario, editorial y de imagen corporativa.

Ahora me encuentro trabajando en mi tesis, la cual se enfoca en identificar el enlace entre profesionales creativos como los diseñadores, con los emprendedores que realizan proyectos de innovación social, como Design 4 Kids y Fotokids. Pienso que los diseñadores y los promotores de proyectos sociales, contamos con características compartidas y capacidades complementarias, como el pensamiento holístico, la empatía, la orientación a la resolución de problemas al buscar todas las opciones posibles, el trabajo en equipo y mucho más.

Es un hecho que el diseño añade valor desde el punto de vista de negocio y permite que los productos generen ventaja competitiva en el mercado que se traduce en mayores ganancias para las empresas que sí invierten en diseño como parte de su estrategia. Sin embargo el diseño como herramienta de cambio social aún no se comprende o se aplica por completo. De hecho el diseño llega a verse como un lujo para los proyectos de innovación social, cuando en realidad puede ser una herramienta de gran utilidad y de impacto a mayor escala.

Desde mi punto de vista, Design 4 Kids es una organización que entiende cómo el diseño debe ser aplicado para generar cambio social, a través de los talleres que imparten, brindan el conocimiento y técnicas a los niños, les dan la opción de aprender, crecer y ser personas creativas que toman su futuro en sus manos. Es por ello que estoy emocionada y agradecida de participar como voluntaria virtual en el próximo taller a realizarse a finales de junio en Santiago Atitlán.

Aparte de mi tesis, recientemente he estado trabajando en un proyecto de investigación del consumo de Internet en México, participando en un equipo multidisciplinario con antropólogos, etnólogos, comunicólogos y diseñadores (gráficos e industriales). Estamos realizando investigación cualitativa con técnicas de diseño centrado en el usuario, con el objetivo de proponer estrategias de comunicación directa en medios digitales.

Lo que he aprendido hasta ahora, en mi experiencia profesional y personal, es que no puedes hacer las cosas sólo, sin importar la situación que sea, siempre necesitarás de alguien que te ayude, te apoye, oriente, eduque e incluso ignore porque esto te hace más fuerte. Saber dar y pedir es importante para obtener tus metas.

Admiro el trabajo que D4K y Fotokids realizan, porque a través de la experiencia, los participantes trabajan en equipo, comparten conocimientos valiosos, aprenden y crecen mutuamente. Estoy segura que los niños aprenden muchísimo de los profesionales que les visitan y enseñan, pero me atrevo a decir que también éstos aprenden de los niños y sus vivencias.

Gracias Jeff y a los niños por la oportunidad de apoyar a la distancia, esto será una experiencia genial.

Vanesa Juárez



Twitter: @vane481

Workshop 3 Day 1

Photo of Students

Students meet on the lawn to prepare for their client interview. Photo by Stu Estler

Today we gathered together, students from Guatemala City, Honduras, and Santiago Atitlan, and began getting to know each other through a little game. The volunteers presented examples of their work so the kids knew where they were coming from. Then we introduced the project – a small local hospital wanting to produce a diabetes health campaign. The format of every Design4Kids workshop begins with meeting a client and learning what their communication needs are, and ends with presenting a design solution on the last day of the workshop. In between we develop creative ideas and produce the artwork. The best part about it is that the kids do all the work!

We finished the day writing up the questions for the clients and if we hadn’t have stopped them, they would have kept working for hours. Below are the kids impressions from the first day of the workshop.

It’s great because we’re learning to work together as teams with kids from Guatemala City along with kids from Santiago Atitlán and to work with real clients.

Its great because, especially coming from the city, we don’t normally get to have the kind of specialized expertise that we get in these workshops.

It’s a great opportunity not only to learn tricks and techniques but to work with new people not always from the same group. As human beings we’re not always going to work with the same people in life so it’s good to learn to work together.

Besides learning the graphic design skills, we are learning about a disease that could affect us. Many of us have relatives who have diabetes but we don’t know how it affects them.

I’m new to Fotokids so for me I’m happy for the opportunity to learn what graphic design is, how to inspire others with it, and how to practice it.

I’ve had the privilege to be in all three Design4Kids workshops, and have learned a lot. In the start I knew nothing. I’m not saying that I know everything, but I now know a little bit about a lot of things. To me it’s a great to see how you can use graphic design to help other people, like what we’re doing now, helping people to take better care of their health.

Meet Nancy McGirr – Inspiration Behind Design4Kids

Portrait of Nancy McGirr

Nancy McGirr with several of the Santiago Fotokids.

On the eve of the 3rd Design4Kids workshop, and after a week of running bio’s of the volunteers and founder, it seems fitting to feature the woman who inspired, and enables the work we do.

Photographer, journalist, educator, and for much of the 1980s, war correspondent, Nancy McGirr is no stranger to anguish. Covering the conflicts in Central America for the Reuters news agency, she saw her fair share of suffering. Going from barrio to barrio to tell the unfolding drama of conflict, she often noticed deplorable conditions and “thought someone needs to do something about that.”

Then in the early 1990s she was in Guatemala covering a different kind of war. Aware that the Guatemala City dump was home to an entire community of people who subsisted entirely off what they could gather there and decided to do a story and bring the situation into the light. Working on her story she met many of the deeply impoverished residents. And naturally she met their children. It was heartbreaking to see the conditions these kids faced. Born into generations of extreme poverty, their opportunities looked bleak.

With the encouragement of local nuns Nancy decided to teach these kids something that she herself knew very well, photography. By putting cameras in their hands and teaching them how to use them, she gave them a different way of seeing, and a way of expressing what they saw. And they saw a lot, relatives sniffing glue, rooms torn up after a drunken rampage. Without exposure to television or other media they shot without preconceived notions, or self censorship. Their raw and powerful work soon won the group recognition. Their photography began to be shown in international exhibits, and a book was published entitled “Out of the Dump.”

Photo of Nancy Working

Nancy working during D4K2

What began in 1991 as a 6 month photo project is still thriving 18 years later. Hundreds of very poor kids have been profoundly affected by their involvement with Nancy’s group now known as Fotokids. Many of the kids from the original group have now graduated from college and now volunteer teaching the younger ones.

Learn much more about Fotokids by visiting their website or by watching this terrific 17 minute documentary video..

Ed. Note: Beginning Monday December 7th, we will be blogging student content once-a-day, every day during Design4Kids Workshop 3 which runs through Saturday the 13th.