CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Silent Images, a Charlotte based non-profit organization, spent the past three years using their cameras to tell the stories of genocide and famine in Africa and human trafficking in South East Asia.
This summer, they refocused their lenses to tell the stories of homeless children in Charlotte. However, this time, Silent Images did not tell the story from their own perspective; instead, Silent Images empowered the youth to tell their own stories. Silent Images’ staff and volunteers taught a five week photography class to homeless youth in Charlotte in order for the youth to remind us of how they see life and the potential that lies in each child.
Silent Images teamed up with A Child’s Place, another Charlotte based non-profit organization, to identify the children and provide them this free photography summer camp. Patrick Cline, site director for A Child’s Place, said, “This summer we have had the benefit of partnering with a Silent Images. This is a first for our students and has proven to be a great fit. Most of these children had never heard the word photography before and many had never taken a picture. “Writing with Light” has opened up a new world to our students. They are not only learning about technical and artistic aspects of photography but are gaining insight about an interesting and productive hobby and potential career. This motivation for them to attend camp is more powerful than the dangerous temptations of the streets. This speaks volumes about the partnership between our camp and Silent Images.”
The children’s photographs will be printed and framed and will be featured in an exhibit called, Through Our Eyes, at Forest Hill Church in the fall. In addition to receiving the prints of their photographs, the students received their own photo album as a gift at the completion of the camp.
The students walked away knowing a new skill, but more importantly, the class empowered the students to tell their stories to the city of Charlotte. The exhibit will be an ongoing reminder to the city to recognize the hidden talents and potential in each child, especially those who are enduring homelessness.
Silent Images is very grateful for Speedway Children’s Charities and their willingness to fund this project that is empowering homeless children in the Charlotte area. This grant restored a voice to homeless children and is educating the city of Charlotte about the realities of child homelessness.