I recently had the opportunity to help with a portion of the Waiting Travelling Exhibition, through PhotoVoice in Scotland. I participated in one of the excursions to Fairbridge Glasgow, which eventually became part of the exhibition. It was a true joy to meet and work with these young people, most of whom were homeless. Photography was a unique way to reach them. The experience allowed me to take something I’m comfortable with (photography) and combine it with something I’m not comfortable with (disadvantaged youth). It brought me out of my shell. But more importantly, it gave these youngsters something fun to do, and something to think about as they grow up. It also taught them that they don’t have to be rich to do something creative.
If you visit the photo gallery you can see a slideshow of photos at the bottom. (Click on Waiting - Chantelle). Image 8 is my personal favorite. Chantelle was a very fun girl of 16, and while she had never taken a photograph before, she came up with some fun shots. But more so, I was affected by her love of football, her story of what she remembered of her parents, and her dreams of finding a home and working hard to support herself. I tried to encourage her, and gave her a tip that was once given to me regarding photography: Do it because you love it. I told her to follow her passions and not do what people say she "should," but what she wants to. I know that sounds cheesy, but I really meant it.
I was fortunate to get involved with PhotoVoice through my sister-in-law. There are other organizations like them worldwide. I would start by signing up for PhotoVoice's email marketing program, so you can be kept apprised of their goings-on. I know PhotoVoice would be happy to help find similar programs in other parts of the world if you don’t happen to be in the UK. Or start your own program right in your own home town! Chances are you have some homeless people, and they could use some kind interaction.