YAC Photovoice Project
Baltimore, MD, United States
This study focuses on “love” in the lives of Baltimore youth. Youth who participate in the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) were asked on what topic they would like to focus for a Photovoice project. The youth stated that they were tired of hearing about all the problems in their neighborhoods and instead wanted to focus on the love in their lives. This project has several aims: (1) to describe how adolescents define and describe the construct of “love;” (2) to examine the relationship of love to adolescent health, and (3) to investigate how participating in a Photovoice project impacts youth empowerment. It is expected that in witnessing other people’s responses to their work (via a public exhibit), the youth will see that their voices and opinions are important to others and that they can communicate their truth to people who will listen. The youth will also engage in consciousness raising discussions about the photos and see how their efforts can gain the attention of policymakers and community members. The study intends to uncover how data on adolescents’ perceptions of love and empowerment can be used to help develop interventions to support health-promoting behaviors in urban adolescents.
The study of love through the eyes of low-income urban youth of color fills an important gap in the social science and public health literature. Within policy realms and the social sciences, the lives of urban youth of color are often characterized in terms of teen pregnancy, school drop out, and other social problems. However, providing the positive aspects of the youth’s lives (e.g., love, as they see it) can counter deficit-oriented models that often problematize youth of color. Such perspectives can provide important insights for health interventions (e.g., what is working well in the youth’s lives).
Community-based participatory research principles have been incorporated throughout this project. The project is completely youth-driven and the YAC has been consulted with every step of the process. We are also collaborating Andre Chung, a professional photojournalist with the Baltimore Sun who agreed to be the resident photographer on the project.
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