Parks in Focus
Parks in Focus, a federal program based at the Morris K. Udall Foundation in Tucson, connects underserved youth to nature through photography. I have been working with Parks in Focus to develop new curricular strategies and to deepen and expand their impact locally and nationally. Since I have a deep passion for nature, photography and youth this has been an exciting opportunity for me.
Story of 05: Youth Voices
In partnership with the Arizona Center for the Study of Children & Families, I have been collaborating with the Creative Photography Group, a photography program for foster youth through La Paloma Services in Tucson. The youth are documenting what they like and want to change about their community located in 85705, an area code known for its high rates of crime, poverty and CPS referrals, as well as prostitution and drug use. The goal is for the photos taken by the youth to inform the larger community and to feed into a zip code wide planning process to identify assets and opportunities for improvement.
Youth In Action Media-Smart Project: Communities Putting Prevention to Work
I have been working with the United Way of Tucson to undertake a media literacy and photovoice project around issues of obesity prevention and nutrition. We have offered train-the-trainer workshops with youth development providers in Pima County to help them incorporate media literacy and youth photography into their programming as a path towards promoting healthy living. Ultimately, the youth will use their photographs to advocate for health-related policy changes and to undertake action projects to address heath issues in their programs, schools and neighborhoods.
Finding Voice Project: Heroes & Community Change
Thanks to support from the Tucson Pima Arts Council, Target, Kids International Neighborhoods, and Kresge Foundation, for a fifth year I have continued working with refugee and immigrant students in ESL classes with teacher Julie Kasper at Catalina Magnet High School. During the first semester of the 2010-2011 school year, the students examined through writing, research and photography their “heroes” and what it means to be a hero. During the second semester, the students focused on applying their skills by building partnerships and undertaking community action projects. Students collaborated with the International Rescue Committee to create the Refugee Youth Coalition to address the needs of refugee youth citywide, with the University of Arizona’s Drachman Institute to redesign our high school campus, and with Imagine Greater Tucson to engage youth and families in a regional visioning process. Throughout these efforts they used photography and writing to identify and discuss what they liked and wanted to change about their school and community. Several of the youth were determined to share photographs and writing “where the people are.” When we asked them what that meant, they said the shopping malls. So we exhibited their work as 4′ x6′ posters in the center of Park Place Shopping Mall, Tucson’s busiest mall.
Southeastern AZ Arts in Academics Residencies
I continue to work as a teaching artist through the Southeastern Arizona Arts in Academics (SAAA) Program. SAAA focuses on providing arts opportunities to elementary, middle school and high school students in rural southeastern Arizona. Throughout 2010-2011, I have been conducting photography residencies in the rural communities of Ask Creek, Wilcox, Ft. Thomas, and the San Carlos Apache Reservation.