A collage of pictures of young people and people taking photos with their phones

From photos to action: The power of following up with kids’ voices

At the Rural Renewal Symposium last year, I was stopped in my tracks by a research poster presentation by Rural Scholar Stephanie Harvey on a youth photovoice project. 

Why did it strike me? It featured photos taken by kids ages 7 to 17 about what they wanted in their towns. I think you’d recognize their wants: 

A donut shop for breakfast food. 

A bowling alley for kids to use. 

More playground equipment in the park. 

The poster’s conclusions were that kids want to improve their towns, but they don’t know how to make change. They feel disconnected from their communities. 

WOW, I thought. We need to show these kids how to make those wants happen in an Idea Friendly way. 

So Deb and I made a video for those kids, taking their ideas and helping walk them through small steps to get going. And we sent it through the program to the communities. 

Then we thought you’d like a video like that for your town.  

What if youth in your community showed you what they really want? And then, what if you helped them make it happen? 

Yes we kept it short. It’s 6 minutes. And there’s a guide for adults.

But you know what? I don’t care if you just steal the idea and run with it. Because mostly I want kids to have not just a voice but also their hands in the action.