Organization gives Albuquerque youth a look at a brighter future through camera lens

Equipped with a camera, a group of New Mexico students are being taught photography and then asked to capture their hopes and dreams. It’s part of a program called Pictures of Hope that caters to homeless youth.

The number of homeless children is at one of the highest in history. The people who helped bring Pictures of Hope, founded by photojournalist Linda Solomon, to the Duke City say they want these students to get a different view of the world.

“They went to various parts of the city to take pictures of what their hopes and dreams are, something they aspire to be, maybe a career they’ve been interested in, maybe a particular setting that gives them some type of peace,” said Anthony Fairley, Director of the Albuquerque Public Schools’ Title I Homeless Project. “Pictures of Hope was an idea that was brought to me by one of the teachers, Micque Broome. It’s a collaboration  with Linda Solomon, a photojournalist, very well-known and renowned, and we wanted to provide opportunities for some of our students.”

Through donations and funding by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, local kids were given cameras and mentors, tasked with going around townsometimes to places they had never been or heard ofand taking pictures of what they are interested in.

“We did background checks on all the mentors beforehand, and they rode with a Title 1 Homeless Project staff member,” said Fairley. “They got a chance to get out of their particular environment where they’re used to, to see what else is out there. Albuquerque has a wealth of opportunities, locations, a wide variety of businesses and individuals who really make a difference in today’s world.”

The Title I Homeless Project also does a lot for Albuquerque students experiencing homelessness. The project provides enrollment assistance, school supplies and uniforms, after-school tutoring and more.

They say the photographs captured by the students will be displayed next month at a special exhibition.

“It’s not a matter of what’s not available,” said Fairley. “It’s, you should have dreams, you should be encouraged, you should be supported.'”

The kids will also be able to enter in a competition for college scholarships. Last year, an Albuquerque high school student was awarded a full ride to Blackburn College in Illinois.

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