About Us

Play is a child’s “job”, and we believe every child in the world should have the opportunity to do their job: to play and create.

Play is a right, not a privilege.

Leela International is a San Francisco-based NGO that helps build playgrounds and create art education programs for children in underdeveloped areas locally and abroad.

What We Do from Baxter Smith on Vimeo.

Can you imagine you or your child growing up without the opportunity to play and create?

We can’t.

The opportunities for children to play and create are essential to their healthy development and overall well-being. Unfortunately, millions of children worldwide are not given these opportunities. For many it is a struggle to find just the basic necessities in life: food, shelter, medical care, and an education. The chance to play and to express themselves artistically is usually never even a thought.

Even though play is an integral part of a child’s development, we believe it is often overlooked when providing the necessities for underprivileged kids. Play is essential because it contributes to a child’s physical, cognitive, social, and emotional well-being. Play helps develop a child’s crucial life skills. When children do not have the chance to play they don’t learn how to share, work together, negotiate, problem-solve, and stand-up for themselves. The lack of these skills has dramatic long-term effects. Children not given the opportunity to play show increased problems with socialization, including a greater likelihood of criminal activity by young adulthood.

Another thing that is often overlooked is the opportunity to create and artistic expression. Art programs are usually the first thing to be cut or the last to be funded; they are often considered a luxury. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Artistic expression is another critical part of a child’s development. Learning and being encouraged to express themselves artistically helps children develop communication, problem-solving, social, emotional, and fine motor skills. Art also teaches a child self-expression through creation. And last but possibly the most important, it encourages creativity, a skill vital in all facets of life.

Leela International helps provide children in underserved communities the opportunities to play and create by enriching the programs of organizations already providing the necessities for these children. We provide these opportunities to children in two simple ways: we build them playgrounds and teach them art.

We are a San Francisco based organization and are located in the heart of the Silicon Valley. As a result, we are exposed to the incredible advances in technology being created today. We incorporate these advances in technology to play a vital role in our art programs. We expose kids to technology that they might not get a chance to use otherwise in order to connect them with the outside world, expose their art to the global community, and give them tools to further their creative expression.




Kendra Pinkerton  Founder, CEO

Baxter Smith  Founder, CFO

Trisha Cassidy  Founder, Secretary


Board Members

Doug Lambert

Brian Kwok