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Tameka Foster, owner of the non-profit organization Kile’s World Foundation is using art to inspire minds. In honor of her highly gifted & artistic son Kile who passed away four years ago after a tragic skiing accident, Foster founded Kile’s World Foundation promoting the arts for children. Her annual youth summer camps seek to bring art back into the lives of children who may not otherwise experience it due to cuts in school or a lack of access due to unaffordability at home. It’s in this spirit, that Kile’s World Foundation is hosting a fundraising 5k race this Sunday, June 5th at Chastain Park (135 W Wieuca Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30342) beginning at 9AM, & need the full support of the community. This 5k will help to raise capital to offer scholarships to children who need them for their 5th annual summer camp program, & to raise awareness of the need for art in schools.

Art is the highest form of intelligence & expression; people who are highly artistic tend to be highly intelligent as well because art opens up your mind to creating new things. Following this line of reasoning I’m sure you can see why it’s such a problem that art is one of the first things to go when schools are doing budget cuts. It completely slams the door in the face of the children who would show more intelligence in the classroom if they also had artistic expression, & the children who already show it but could use a bit of imagination in their thinking.

I sat down with Foster & spoke with her about this & much more. Here’s what she had to say.

What are the goals for the Kile’s World Foundation?

Kile’s World Foundation was founded in honor of my son, Kile, who was 11 when he passed away. He was a highly artistic child who loved to paint, draw, dance, sing, anything artistic he did. With this foundation, I hope to reach other children who have similar interests, but don’t have access. [They offer Fine Arts, Theater, Dance, Chorus, & Creative Writing programs

How have you seen Kile’s World affect change in the lives of the children you work with?

Children come to the summer camp introverted, shy, & some of them won’t even talk. By the end of camp, they’ve become much more outgoing & expressive. We build their confidence, and once that happens it allows them to excel in all aspects of life.

I know you’ve spoken in the past about the negative effects of the school system taking the arts out of schools. Can you highlight some of those and tell me how your organization works to combat those effects?

I don’t think it’s negative in the sense that kids will become criminals. I think it’s negative in the sense that you’re limiting the kids mindsets. For instance, I don’t think that boys should only learn sports. There’s more to life than dribbling a ball, or throwing a football. Art opens them up to a different world and allows their imaginations to be more fluid.

Do you work with a lot of at risk youth?

The camps are very mixed, we have white children, black children, & kids with diverse economic backgrounds. I haven’t had the opportunity to work with a lot of at risk youth, though I’m open to it. The initial goal of the camp was to reach children in underserved communities, but it can’t be done without funding. Funding for something like this is very important because a lot of the parents in those communities want to put their children in summer camps, but they can’t afford it. So if no one is donating money or providing scholarships for the kids then we have to charge tuition. That’s unfortunate because it means that some of the kids who would greatly benefit from the Kile’s World Foundation art camps won’t get to participate.

So it’s race day, what can people expect?

They will show up, register, & get a bottle of water, a t-shirt, & a number. The $35 registration begins promptly at 8AM, & the race begins promptly at 9AM. It’s a once around the park jog, at your own pace.

What should people bring?

A checkbook would be nice (laughing). We really are trying to raise more money to have a successful camp this year. And here’s the thing, if we raise enough, we can offer more scholarships to the kids in underserved communities.

How can a child or someone with children get involved with Kile’s World Foundation?

It’s simple honestly. Register for the camp online. Camp starts June 20th. There will be more instructions closer to the date of course. But that’s step one.

For more information on Kile’s World Foundation & to register for the 5k or to simply donate directly on the site visit them at www.kilesworld.org, on Twitter & Facebook @kilesworld using the hashtag #miles4kile.