We did it!
Thank you guys for helping us reach our goal in just four days! If you’re a data nerd like me, you might be interested in the specifics of the campaign. Here’s some stats:
-169 people viewed the campaign 521 times
- 22 people donated ($23 average)
- 44% was raised in the first 24 hours.
In short, you guys are incredible. We’re hard at work planning the gallery that you made possible and we’ve got some exciting surprises in store as an added thanks.
We’re keeping the campaign open until the end because more money raised will go directly to the students. Specifically, we’ll work on featuring the photos in other parts of Austin (suggestions? let us know).
Attached is a picture from the last day of camp. The students were incredible leaders of their respective teams, and they’re looking forward to meeting this Thursday to celebrate, share their final photography projects, and plan the gallery.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. We’re honored that you made this possible.
The kids know what how class works - or so they thought.
We’ve been ratcheting up the expectations for their leadership and for their photography. In turn, they’ve responded with bravado and a sense of humor. At times fooling us with their decorum and bringing us to tears with their pranks, over the past four weeks the class has gone from a group of students with nothing else to do this summer to a family with something in common - peers who expect more from themselves than they did before.
To keep everyone on their toes Chelsea divided them into three groups and taught them a game - but instead of playing, they learned the game so they can teach participants in this week’s elementary summer camp. Their not kids, their leaders now (thank you Minute to Win It For consistent doses of inspiration).
Brandon then explained to them about being an advocate, he pressed them on issues they could change and asked for examples of other peers they respected. We read Isaiah 58 and discussed what the Bible says about true advocacy. Then we asked them to make it personal.
Lauren explained the idea of a thesis - a single story worth telling through photography. She talked about her trip to Katrina and showed pictures she’d taken, explaining with each shot how the story was given life through her snapshots.
Then we asked them to do the same. What was the story they could especially tell? Something that moved them - a location, a relationship, a person they respected, a wrong that needed righting. They picked specific topics, we talked about how they might capture the sentiment with photos, and sent them back to practice their craft.
Peers. Leaders. Advocates. Photographers. We can’t wait to show you what they find.
6:30 - 6:45: Pizza. While we put hours into prepping the lessons, Domino’s is still the surest way to get students (from middle to graduate school) to turn out for class. While the kids eat and chat we collect their cameras, start uploading pictures to the computer, and drive to nearby houses to pick up stragglers.
6:40 - 7:00: Minute to Win It. Chelsea pulled it off - by the time she was done explaining the game our students were itching to sort face cards into different piles. Think you can beat Sonny’s time?
7:00 - 7:30: Ongoing leadership training. Next week Side by Side’s hosting a summer camp for elementary students. We’ll put our leadership skills to practice as our students serve as counselors for the week.
7:30 - 8:15: Story-telling. Is a picture really worth a thousand words? We compared photos and talked about whether there was a main character and an action in each photo. What does a decaying house tell you? Is a sign just a sign, or does it evoke memories and direction?
8:15 - 8:30: Practice makes John the Baptist. We went outside and shot six photos. Each one was a key moment from when John the Baptist baptized Jesus. We’ll use the shots for camp next week, and the kids realized how only a few photos can tell a whole story.
They’ve had all week to tell their own stories. We’ll see what they bring back tonight.
We got their first pictures back!
While we asked them to take a minimum of twenty pictures, most of the students came in well under. We had problems with batteries dying, kids not coming back, memory cards filling up, memory cards that don’t fit our computers, and more. But even so, the early results are gorgeous.
Their homework was to take pictures of their family. We’ve touched up the ones you see here, but the shots are all them. (We’ll also have a Dropbox folder where you can see all the pictures up soon.)
Class this week followed a community mapping exercise. The students learned more about their upcoming camp responsibilities then headed out into the neighborhood to take pictures of their elementary school. We taught them about the rule of thirds (don’t pretend, look it up) and how to use multiple angles.
When the students got back we had their pictures loaded on the projector so they could see each others work and talk about how to improve.
If you contributed a camera, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We’ll be back next week with more pictures and new stories.
Hey there, we’re the teachers. There’s four of us working together to pick up the students, show them the ropes, and help them learn a little more about leadership over the next six weeks. Chelsea leads the leadership development portion of class. Lauren’s the photo and child motivation guru. Brandon keeps everyone on track when the kids start talking about Justin Bieber, and Hudson makes another Bieber joke when we’re already running behind schedule.
But the real story’s the kids. We’ll have their bios up soon.
Today the kiddos learned about candid (they say Canadian) v. posed, how to fill the frame, and why it’s okay if the subject isn’t looking at the camera. Big picture, here’s what to expect.
- Six-week photo class every Thursday night at the For the City Center (thanks Austin Stone).
- One week summer camp where participants serve as counselors
- Culminating gallery and ongoing exhibit (fingers crossed).
St. John’s Neighborhood. Austin, Texas
Summer of 2012 (working on a Bryan Adams single).
Because stories matter. Each student’s been selected for their leadership potential and interest in learning more about where they grew up. Sometimes you walk past a place so many times you stop seeing what’s there. We’re confident these students can catalyze change on their streets and in their schools. We think art’s one of the best ways to see something afresh. Put the two together, and not only can we see what happens, but we can document it along the way.
It all started with the idea of a photo class. What would happen if a dozen middle schoolers who never used cameras got a summer to take pictures of their families and neighborhood?
Then the idea met Chelsea. She works in the neighborhood (St. John’s, to be specific) with Side by Side Kids, an awesome after-school program here in Austin. She’d been pouring over a leadership development program that used a nifty World Vision curriculum.
So the two ideas got together, grabbed coffee, and this project was brewed.
For the next six weeks we’ll teach students about community development. We’ll discuss how they view St. John’s, what they can do to be leaders, and why the positive stories are important and worth telling. Participants will even get to lead elementary students during a week long summer camp. Throughout, the students will learn more about the basics of photography and how to use images to tell a story.
Each week, the students will go back home and to find stories worth spreading. At the end we’re hosting a gallery to display their work - and you’re all invited. Long term, we pray this class helps the students see and explain the incredible strengths of St. John’s.
Some think this neighborhood’s on the wrong side of the tracks, we’re here to help these residents display why that’s not true. So stay tuned, there’s a great adventure ahead.