Youth in Focus began working with the Raikes Foundation in 2010 to participate in the Youth Program Quality Initiative.  Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) scores for Youth in Focus, in the Spring of 2013 and 2014, were consistently higher than comparison scores for 1,262 other National Youth programs.  Our scores were higher in all main categories, and significantly higher in Supportive Environment and Youth Engagement. Through our most recent student surveys ­­­­% of youth said their experience was:

·       90% felt positive or extremely positive about their overall experience in their class

·       100% felt positive or extremely positive about their overall experience with their teacher

·       100% felt it was a positive experience overall with the Youth in Focus program

·       95% felt their experience gave them a chance to help them learn about their own ideas,      and show their talent and skills

·       93% felt they were provided a safe place to take artistic risk 

·       95% felt their teaching artist and mentors listened to what they had to say


We work with youth who face a variety of challenges in their lives on a daily basis, and who struggle with a combination of racial or ethnic discrimination, poverty or homophobia.

At Youth in Focus, we reach at-risk youth at a crucial time – at or before the 9th grade – when 90% of youth that drop out do so at this time.  Studies have found that the majority of kids who drop out of high school do so because of financial pressures, or because they do not believe they can be successful.  High school students living in low-income families drop out of school six times the rate of peers from high-income families, and nearly half of all drop outs, ages 16-24, are unemployed.   It has been estimated that each year’s class of dropouts will cost the country over $200B during their lifetimes, due to lost earnings, public welfare and crime.

Nearly 73% of our students qualify for the free/reduced lunch program, 82% are students of color, and 70% of students live with a single parent or have other living arrangements.

In our 22 years, Youth in Focus has had more than 3,600 youth go through our youth development photography program.



The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities recognized Youth in Focus as a model program in the year 2000, providing “life-changing activities” to youth with limited opportunities. 

Our students have shown their work at the Seattle Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, Frye Art Gallery, Benham Gallery and the Washington State Convention Center, and among other local venues.  The prestige of these locations is a testament to both to the quality of the work our students produce, and their passion for the medium.


·       We are the people who put cameras in the hands of at-risk youth and teach them how to develop negatives into positives.

·       Nobody has as much fun creating a safe community of trust and support for youth through photography better than we do.

·       Our impact is empowering youth to find their voice and gain self-confidence, as they learn life skills and discover who they are, and what matters to them.

Our mission is to empower urban youth, through photography, to experience their world in new ways and to make positive choices for their lives.  We put cameras in the hands of youth and place them in a challenging environment surrounded by high quality talented teachers, nurturing adult mentors, and create a strong community of supportThrough photography our students find their voice, identity, creativity, and gain new confidence in their worth and abilities. 

Winter 2017 will begin in January, 4:30PM - 7:00PM!

We know Seattle Public Schools will have a new bell schedule starting Fall 2016. If you have questions about your youth attending our classes, please contact us.

*applications are accepted year-round, submit yours today!


We offer youth development photography classes in both Digital Photography and traditional Black and White Darkroom Photography throughout the year in 8 week quarters to youth ages 13-19. Classes meet on Monday/Wednesdays or Tuesday/Thursdays from 4:30-7:00pm and the Summer Quarter from 2:00-5:00pm.

Winter 2017 will begin in January! Apply now!
*applications are accepted year-round

Youth can earn service learning by taking a class with us!  See your school counselor for a form, complete our class, and have us complete the form for you!

Please complete the above application and upon review, you will be contacted to set up a 1-on-1 interview. (Application submission and interview do not guarantee admission into our program.) A non-refundable deposit of $25 will be required to hold your placement, if offered a spot in one of our classes. 

Merce L., Youth in Focus portrait (left), Self Portrait (right)

Merce L., Youth in Focus portrait (left), Self Portrait (right)

Contact us:                     206.723.1479                                                                       yif(at)youthinfocus.org                                        2100 24th Avenue South, Suite 310, Seattle, WA 98144