Photovoice is a strengths-based research-supported empowerment tool that uses creativity to build resilience and community belonging. PBCHP uses Photovoice with middle school youth to
• Give teens a voice and make them feel heard
• Highlight the positive community activities and places teens enjoy
• Reinforce the concept that fun can be substance-free
We cover all costs of the disposable cameras and photo development. We have done photovoice projects with The Landing Place, Homeless Coalition, Center for Maine Contemporary Art, St. George School, and Trekkers. These projects also involve creating displays in the community to showcase work done by participating youth.
The project begins by selecting a specific theme or topic that participants want to focus on. Allowing participants to help choose the theme creates more buy-in in the overall project. PBCHP buys the cameras needed.
Participants are provided with disposable camera training, which can lead to a discussion about photography. They also learn about ethical considerations, like obtaining consent.
Participants are given cameras and a timeline for capturing images is laid out. Participants take photos together, with adults, or alone.
Development & display planning
Participants give their cameras back for development. Discussions begin about what sort of display they might like to make with the print images. Discussions about mixed media art, displays, galleries, etc. (PBCHP mails film out for development, and participants start determining materials they might need for displays)
Participants review and choose their favorite images together, and discuss successes and challenges. Participants explain why they took the images they did.
(PBCHP provides digital copies of the images when available and participants decide what images they want printed, how many, how big, etc.)
Participants work together to create separate or collaborative displays or art projects with their printed images. (PBCHP delivers prints and materials needed to create displays and coordinates where displays will be shown)
Displays are exhibited in public spaces, such as YMCAs, libraries, or community centers. This exhibition allows participants to share their success.
Time to reflect and celebrate!!
PBCHP believes in strengthening families, communities, and youth through resilience building. Projects like this employ youth's unique characteristics, goals, and inner strength to positively meet challenges, manage adversities, and thrive.
Youth who feel connected to their community are more likely to thrive and seek help when needed. In 2021, 35.9% of Maine's roughly 55,000 high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless. Increasing hope and expectation for the future is important in encouraging youth as they navigate daily challenges.
Risk Factors for Child/TeenSubstance Use Include
•Abuse (in all its forms)
•Low levels of attachment to parents
•Family Substance Use
•Low levels of connectedness to peers
•Poor parental monitoring
What Builds Resilience?
Prioritizing positive relationships
Strengthening connectedness to community
This resilience can delay the initiation of substance use, and overall reduce the likelihood of dependence or misuse.
Why disposable cameras?
Not every teen has access to the same quality technology to take images. Disposable or film offers an opportunity for all participants to learn how to use a new photography tool.
The nature of film offers unique challenges, such as having a limited number of images to capture, not having the ability to edit images freely, and the time delays of development. These challenges offer learning opportunities supporting intentionality, patience, and mindfulness. Disposable cameras are not as frequently used by today's youth, and often waiting to see how their images came out is exciting for participants.