by DC Prevention Wards 1 & 2 staff
Two amazing young people are the winners of the DC Prevention Center Wards 1 & 2’s PhotoVoice challenge! Joselin Salmeron, 16, is a student at Cesar Chavez Public Charter School, and Jahwill Taylor, 16, attends Benjamin Banneker Academic High School.
PhotoVoice is about youth expressing their voices and opinions and raising awareness about issues in their community through photography. Participants are tasked with capturing the realities of the environment that focus on protective and risk factors that exist within Wards 1 and 2. With this project, and with the effort of our youth group, we are working to reduce underage drinking and marijuana use.
Joselin and Jahwill came to the project knowing very little about photography or about the risk and protective factors associated with underage drinking and marijuana use, yet they put in the effort to learn both. They also invested a lot of creative energy to learn, be involved, and complete the PhotoVoice project. The project was not only about taking pictures or learning about risk and protective factors, but it also meant youth had to explain their point of view behind the images.
Joselin and Jahwill were anonymously selected by judges to be the winners of the photo challenge. The challenge was based on uniqueness and clear message of risk or protective factors for underage drinking and marijuana use. These youth leaders have committed to continue working with the DCPC Wards 1 & 2 throughout the year expecting to find other ways to grow while supporting their communities.
Joselin set out to capture the protective factors in Ward 2. Her image, “A waterfall with kids and young adults,” won the challenge. “I took the picture because I thought it was a good shot to show a protective factor,” said Joselin. “Instead of doing drugs and alcohol youth can come with friends and hang out and do something other than risky behaviors that can get them in trouble.”
Jahwill focused his lens on Ward 1 on National Night Out at Bruce Monroe community Park. His wining photograph, “Cop on the Court,” captures a volunteer, a young boy, and a police officer playing basketball. “I took this picture because it shows a deeper bond between civilians and the police. It highlights a protective factor because of the active police protecting this neighborhood,” said Jahwill.
On the impact PhotoVoice made on their views of underage drinking and marijuana use, the budding photographers said:
I learned a lot. PhotoVoice can be used as a tool to increase knowledge about things that protect and create risk to influence youth on early use of alcohol and marijuana. Before I was not worried about it, but now I am aware of the issue and the negative influence it can be on your life.” Jahwill
I matured and learned a lot about the community. PhotoVoice helped me understand that when some people go through problems, they tend to cope with drugs, especially alcohol and marijuana. I thought this was only a big issue in my community, but then I understood that it is a problem in other communities in Wards 1 and 2.” Joselin
Both Joselin and Jahwill have grown throughout the program, and we look forward to seeing all of the amazing work and ideas they have to create a safer and drug-free environment.
The DC Prevention Center is funded by the DC Department of Behavioral Health. The PhotoVoice 2016 project was funded by the Partnership For Success (PFS) carry over funds.