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Devora Kanter Kothari, BayKids
Organization profile
BayKids promotes creative self-expression for kids by providing filmmaking, broadcasting and innovative opportunities to children, many of whom are in need and have disabilities. By offering kids a fun and safe environment to express themselves and work together, BayKids helps build self esteem, teaches new skills, and improves children's lives.

1007 General Kennedy Avenue, Box 10
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 561-6262

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Devora Kanter Kothari

If you've ever been in the hospital before, you know that sometimes the healing process begins with communication. By sharing our feelings and fears, our hopes and dreams, something is triggered inside of us that can kick-start the return to health.

While adults can express themselves, children need help developing the ability to communicate the depth of their emotions. BayKids, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, is working to bring the power of communication to sick kids in the Bay Area, and with the help of a group of dedicated volunteers, its showing that  "help heal through reel."

BayKids  was founded in 1997 as an offshoot of a community outreach program sponsored by the San Francisco Giants.  According to BayKids' Executive Director, Devora Kanter Kothari, the goal of the organization is to bring the exciting and unique opportunity of learning the art of film-making to kids that are in the midst of a trying, and often transformative, time.

The organization works with local film-makers to reach out to kids dealing with life-threatening diseases, such as leukemia, lymphoma, cancer, and organ transplants. 

These kids are often not able to lead a regular life.  By learning the tools to express themselves through film, Kothari says BayKids "can help them transition back to school and help educate other kids about their experiences in the hospital."

Kids are walked through the process from story-boarding to final editing as a way to tell their story.  The videos are kept in hospital libraries for other families to watch as a means of helping them learn about ways to cope with their situation, procedures, and treatments. 

In partnership with Child Life Specialists and hospital school programs, volunteer video editors and film makers staff two hospitals, UCSF Children's Medical Center and Children's Hospital Oakland.  They hope to add Lucile Packard Children's Hospital to the list in the coming year. 

Kothari says that volunteers are essential in all roles of the organization, and as Baykids has grown over the years, many have become part-time staffers. 

Is it difficult to rely so heavily on volunteers?

Sure, says Kothari. She says that while it's "challenging to consistently maintain experienced volunteers," by approaching volunteer projects as job positions with clear expectations, deliverables and maintaining consistent communications, the agency can efficiently find valuable volunteers.

Networking with other non-profit directors can also provide invaluable information, Kothari notes.  By joining a support group of other executive directors, Kothari learned the nuts and bolts of running an organization.

Kothari credits VolunteerMatch with helping her fill numerous skilled volunteer positions and is always looking for more enthusiastic volunteers to help them bring the magic of film making to kids in need. 

VolunteerMatch is proud to support the efforts nonprofits like BayKids to find great volunteers. We can help your organization too: Log in today and update your list of opportunties!

(Written by Priyanka Talwar)

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