Innovating, Inspiring, Impacting
Teenagers from the Spot Valley High School and youngsters who reside in the community of Granville were among a group of 23 students who participated in the JN Foundation’s Advocacy Through Photography, Resolution Project.
“The student photographs highlight issues of concern in their communities that either go unnoticed, or are sometimes taken for granted,” said Earl Jarrett, General Manager of Jamaica National and Chairman of the JNBS Foundation. “This programme has facilitated youth advocacy, by giving empowering young people to voice their concerns and express themselves through the art form of photography.”
Mr. Jarrett, who conceptualised the programme in 2004, said the exhibition is a means of promoting the thought-provoking work of youth advocates from the parish. He pointed out that it would coincide with the official opening of JN Financial Services, the Society’s second location in St. James.
Alicia Glasgow, JNBS Foundation’s Arts and Media Officer, said that approximately 20 photographs has been mounted as part of the exhibition, some of which, she said will be permanently displayed at the Catherine Hall complex. She also pointed out that all photographs generated from the project are available on special order from the JN Foundation.
The Advocacy through Photography programme was developed eight years ago as Youth Zoom, in response to the need to inspire young people to become change agents within their communities. The programme equips students enrolled in secondary schools outside of the Kingston and St. Andrew Metropolitan Area with cameras, and provides training in basic photography and advocacy.
The programme has not only provided participants with a productive avenue to develop their creative talent; but it has also empowered them to identify and seek solutions to problems, as well as highlight and champion positive features within their communities. The programme has prompted change in many of the situations highlighted through the students’ photographs.
“A few years go ago, a student of the Manning’s School in Westmoreland photographed the graffiti which covered a number of walls at the institution,” Ms. Glasgow recalled. “When the pictures were published, immediate action was taken to rectify the problem. Manning’s, as well as Spot Valley High continue to be the two top Western schools in the project today,” she added.
Miss Glasgow stated that the programme has further evolved from a school-based project, adding a special community in volatile, underserved areas across the island. Seventeen residents of Granville, between the ages of 12 and 21 received four full days of training during August 2011, and have become youth leaders in their community.
“The aim of the Resolution Project is to inspire young people to understand their own power as well as instill a sense of ownership for creating the change needed. The process allows them to see themselves as stakeholders, who are not just bystanders but active participants in improving their own lives and those of members of their shared communities,” she said.
The JN Financial Services at Catherine Hall was officially opened on February 29, and provides a mix of financial services to meet the needs of the St. James community.
In photo: “Mama and Son”, done by Jodi-Ann Gooden, Odane McLean and Milton Hanson of Spot Valley High School, St. James.