The collaborative initiative supports twenty high school students who are enrolled in the YMCA Young Achievers program and who come from some of the most under-resourced neighborhoods in the city. The students have committed to an 8-month program learning photography, documenting their communities, and expressing themselves visually. The YMCA Achievers Program’s mission is to help teens discover and pursue higher education and career goals by equipping them with the skills and community role models they need to get there.
Mentors Ben Brody, Tsar Fedorsky, Alison Morley, and Nina Robinson will lead the class through four modules: the first focuses on team-building and photography fundamentals; the second looks inwards and engages the students in creating a personal family album; the third looks outward at a documentary project about their community; and the fourth focuses on creating books, an exhibition, and a community event in Boston to share their work with a broad audience. The program will begin virtually but will transition to in-person learning as conditions allow. The students will have a dedicated media center at the YMCA for their use, equipped with computers, projectors, and a Fujifilm print kiosk.
The students were selected through a competitive application and interview process at the YMCA. The program is made possible by our sponsors, including Fujifilm, who provided X-A5 cameras and zoom lenses to the 20 students. Adobe provided software licenses, and significant support is also provided by PhotoWings, Digital Silver Imaging, the VII Foundation, and the YMCA.
“I think the program has a tremendous amount to offer our students, regardless of whether they decide to pursue a career in photography,” said Ben Brody. “The essential skills that make a good photographer will help you whatever you decide to do – creativity, problem-solving, confidence, advocating for yourself, and advocating for your community.”