Apr 192013


By Michael Abramowitz

Friday, April 19, 2013

Attendees at tonight’s Voices of Hope Photovoice photography exhibit at the Third Street Community Center auditorium in west Greenville will see their city from a unique — and possibly surprising — perspective.

Photovoice, sponsored by Faulkner and Associates and hosted by the United Way of Pitt County, Building Hope Community Life Center and Third Street Community Center, is an innovative program that encouraged participants to gather and share information about their community through a photography and voice project.

The results, open to the public, provide a window into the life and experiences of Building Hope’s youth, Melissa Adamson, United Way’s community impact director, said.

purplearrowTwo interns from the East Carolina University School of Social Work were selected by United Way and Building Hope to pick five young men, ages 14-18, from Building Hope’s 300 Men of Standard youth development program to participate in the project, Adamson said.

The 300 Men of Standard program works to create a cohort of 300 at-risk young men in Pitt and Edgecombe counties who commit to a code of conduct that elevates academic, social and physical standards of achievement.

“We’ll be seeing the world through their eyes, the eyes of the youth who are our community’s future,” Rob Lee, executive director of the Building Hope Community Life Center, said. “Their perspective is important and will enlighten all of us.

“I’m proud of the participants and the young men who put this exhibit together.”

The final product of photos and voice narratives turned in by the young men was the biggest surprise for the adult leaders, Lee said.

“I think everybody expected to see the worst of the circumstances and challenges in our community,” Lee said. “If you go to this exhibit, you will see something very different through their eyes.

“These young men have proven themselves and earned the right to be leaders,” Lee said. “They remain positive and hopeful about their future and their community.”

The Third Street Center provided the facilities that Lee’s organization needed to appropriately showcase the young men’s work, center director Walter Strathy said.

“I love these young men that we’re watching grow up,” Strathy said. “We’re blessed with space at Third Street and we’re doing our part to give some of the 300 Men of Standard who have been transformed by Building Hope an opportunity to be voices of hope.”

The project also gives United Way an opportunity to support community groups that might not be receiving direct funding, Adamson said.

“There isn’t enough money in the world to throw at some problems that will solve some of the issues our communities face,” Adamson said. “We consider Building Hope and Third Street community centers as our partners, and our involvement let’s us show we really mean it.”

Strathy also has been busy preparing for Saturday’s Springfest on Third Street, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Games, food, music, athletic activities, gardening demonstrations and other interactive programs will highlight the annual fellowship event that Strathy has hosted in west Greenville for several years.

It will be his first foray at the newly renovated community center that once housed Third Street Elementary School.

“It’s an opportunity for us to meet more of our neighbors, show them the services and fellowship available to them and ask them what they want us to do for them,” Strathy said. “It’s the old block party we used to have on Chestnut Street, but now, it’s a backyard party.”

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com or 252-329-9571.

via The Daily Reflector.


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