FLAGSHIP PROJECT 002: New York City
ABOUT THE PROJECT
In 2009, 100cameras partnered with New Life of NYC, an inner-city community center that focuses on improving a kid’s education and plugging them into an extracurricular activity that encourages character development. It is centered on empowering the many students on the Lower East Side that live in low-income housing and therefore may lack access to important resources and proper education. 100cameras supports New Life’s work by helping to provide educational tools for over 40 youth that participate daily in the After-school Learning Center at New Life.
The effects of poverty have been known to hinder a student’s performance in school and to negatively affect mental and physical health. Working together with New Life, our curriculum was able to incorporate various methodologies that enabled our students to use their creative voices to express some of the frustrations and emotions that may have become built up throughout the years. Our classes created a support system and safe space for children to explore their inner thoughts, perspectives and goals, giving them newfound motivation and a heightened sense of self-worth.
Prior to the 100cameras course, our students identified the complicated dichotomy of being surrounded by the extremes found in society. Everything they experience within their city is often in contrast to what they see in their own everyday lives around their neighborhood. From advertisements on billboards to street fashion to television talking about the latest trends, our students can feel pressured to have it all. Yet they can feel limited or alone when it comes to setting desires and dreams into motion. It’s important to note that the disconnect is not that they didn't already know what they would like to change about their current circumstances or what they hope for their future, it was more that they sometimes felt overwhelmed, unsure, or defeated for how to make a plan.
Ownership is a powerful tool to unlock potential and help goals start to feel within reach. One of our students, Danna, went on to get her AA college degree and is the first in her family to do so. She now teaches in the same After-school Learning Center she once benefitted from, and her passion is to show kids that they can do it, too. At her graduation celebration at New Life, she shared, “This is for me, and this is for them.”
100% of proceeds fund new learning equipment and supplies for the students at New Life of NYC.
To date, the sales from the students' photography have raised over $5,000 and funded the purchase of computers, providing countless computer study hours annually to help improve youth education in their Learning Center.