Description Jestoni G.Advanced Black & White ElectiveWinter 2011Food deserts. It is an issue slithering its way throughout the country, striking the lower class leaving them hungry and distressed. Grocery stores shut down because of low revenue, because of those who are unable to afford the cost to be healthy, and as a result are left with a fast food joint within every few blocks. A single dollar can feed one person a cheeseburger whereas it would cost twice as much to pay for a pound of fruits and vegetables? Healthier food choices are becoming less common in lower class areas and are found predominantly in wealthier areas. People are found stranded, only to think healthier choices are made at their own risk. Seeking the preferable foods can only be seen as a mirage, out of reach, out of touch, or not there at all. Malnourished this nation has become, as we are faced with a drought, dried away from living a lifestyle that are thousands of miles away from what we call healthy.
Youth In Focus, Seattle Member Since May 2009 Artist Statement Youth in Focus’s mission is to empower urban youth, through photography, to experience their world in new ways and to make positive choices for their lives. We put cameras in the hands of low income, at-risk youth and place them in a challenging environment surrounded by high quality talented teachers, nurturing adult volunteer mentors, and create a strong community of support. Through photography our students find their voice, identity, creativity, and gain new confidence in their worth and abilities.
Why Youth in Focus?
(Critical Time) We work with youth, 13-19 years of age, who face a variety of challenges in their lives on a daily basis, and who struggle with a combination of race, poverty or homophobia. At Youth in Focus, we feel that we reach at-risk youth at a crucial time – at or before the 9th grade – when 90% of the majority of youth that drop out of high school do during that year.
(Statistics) Nearly 73% of our students qualify for the free/reduced lunch program, 82% are students of color, and 70% live with a single parent or have other living arrangements. In 19 years, Youth in Focus has had more than 2,800 youth go through our free youth development photography program.
(Exceptional Standards) Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) scores for Youth in Focus, in 2011 and 2012, were consistently higher than comparison scores for 1,216 other National Youth programs.
(Direct Attention) We intentionally keep our classes small to facilitate maximum student-adult interaction and relationship building. Youth in Focus creates a healthy, positive place where diverse students feel they belong.
(Nationally Recognized) The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities recognized Youth in Focus as a model program in 2000, providing “life-changing activities” to youth with limited opportunities. Our students have shown their work at the Seattle Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery and the Washington State Convention Center. Click here to see the feature KING 5 did on us recently.