Friday, August 8, 2014

Pictures of Hope: Children express dreams through a camera lens

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When 10-year-old Kamia's parents separated this past year, she founding herself spending many nights in local shelters along with her mother, sister and brother. With all the uncertainty and changes this past year, Kamia wasn't sure things were ever going to look bright again.

This past Tuesday, however, Kamia and nine other children enrolled in the Tenants Empowerment Network (TEN), had the chance to articulate their hopes and dreams through photography, thanks to the Linda Solomon's and Chevrolet's Pictures of Hope Initiative. 

The Tenant Empowerment Network (TEN)  helps families like Kamia's get back on their feet. A program that includes wraparound services including case management, employment assistance and child care, helps families work towards self-sufficiency.

Linda Solomon, who’s red carpet portfolio includes the likes of Beyoncé Knowles, Justin Bieber and Robert Redford, created Pictures of Hope to teach low-income children that their dreams matter, and how to illustrate them through a camera lens.
The day was a lesson in photography for the youth, but also an exercise in creativity and inspiration.

Pictured: GM CEO Mary Barra mentors Donavan
Here’s how Pictures of Hope worked: 

1. Each child received a mentor to help them throughout the day to help them articulate their dreams. Among the mentors was General Motors CEO Mary Barra (thanks to Chevrolet). Gracious and kind, she took several hours away from her high-powered position and worked with young Donovan.

2. The children then had the assignment of writing down their hopes for the future. Mentors walked them through their hopes as they each wrote down their list. Barra believes that we can transform the world one person--one child--at a time. By spending time with the youth at TEN, jotting down Donovan's dreams as he dictated them to her, was a testament to that.

 3.  Now, the fun part. As a surprise, each received a new digital camera (courtesy of Sport Chevrolet) of his or her very own. Let the snapping begin! Mentors helped with operating the camera, focusing the lens, and suggesting photo opps. 

4. here is where the creative juices flow. Each child was tasked with expressing one dream he or she had written down earlier through a photo. With the help of a mentor, they explored the sights and determined what photo frame would best capture their vision.

 A sampling: 

  • To Grace, an image of vibrant flowers means beauty.
  • To Keonte, an artistic shot of tree leaves signifies health.
  • To Kamia, a snapshot of a book symbolizes education.  

Pictured: Sr. Mary Louise Wessell, Linda Solomon and Grace

This fall, photos and dream statements of the TEN program children will be transformed into greeting cards and then be unveiled at a Meet the Young Artist Reception at Sport Chevrolet. Each card will symbolize the hopes of one child of the TEN program, and how he or she is looking forward to a better tomorrow. Stay tuned for updates!

Check out the media coverage below: