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NORFOLK DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH

Photovoice is a creative way to allow youth to share with key stakeholders some of the strengths and concerns in their neighborhood.

A project of Norfolk Department of Public Health and Norfolk Recreation, Parks and Open Space

Photovoice Project


INTRODUCTION

Norfolk Department of Public Health

The Norfolk Photovoice Project is a documentary photography initiative to engage youth in critically thinking about the health of their neighborhoods, in particular the good things, health problems and risk behaviors in their neighborhoods. Led by the Norfolk Department of Public Health (NDPH), the main goal of the project was to involve youth in a creative process to take photographs. The youth then wrote brief descriptions to explain their photography and highlight some of the positive aspects and challenges in their neighborhoods. Through facilitated discussions, youth learned how their photographs would help serve as an effective tool to educate, broaden opinions and raise awareness of important public health issues to help inform key policy and decision makers in our community. PLANNING & ORGANIZATION The Norfolk Recreation, Parks and Open Space (NRPOS) was an ideal partner for this project as NDPH wanted to engage youth from across the city of Norfolk. NDPH planned to implement PhotoVoice in five recreation centers, each strategically located in one of the five voting wards in the city of Norfolk, including Norview, Titustown, Tarrallton, Campostella, and Berkley Centers (Wards 1, 3, 4 and 5.) The Photovoice program was held at a central location, Norview Community Center, and NRPOS provided transportation for youth. NDPH staff developed a program curriculum and timeline, including an easy to follow workbook for each youth that explained the purpose, goals, principles and themes of the Photovoice project. During the planning process, a parental or legal guardian consent form was developed in order for youth to participate in the program and a model release form was created to grant permission for the use of any personal photographic image. Also, a PhotoVoice sign-in sheet was developed to keep track of youth attendance and an evaluation form was prepared to gather personal impressions of youth who participated in the project. Early in the process, a professional photographer from the local newspaper trained youth on the basics of composition and photography techniques. Youth took photos with digital cameras provided by NDPH. 1

Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

OVERVIEW OF THE SESSIONS

Overall, NDPH facilitated three group sessions and several individual meetings with the youth. These sessions included: • An introductory session which emphasized the power of pictures and engaged youth in a vision wall exercise • A photography skills session • Safety and ethics when taking photographs • Ongoing small group and one-on-one sessions to build trust and further support youth in selecting photographs and telling their story In the initial session of the Photovoice Project, NDPH staff informed youth about a popular colloquialism “A Picture Is worth a Thousand Words,” to convey the idea that a single image could have an influential impact on targeted audiences. As an icebreaker activity, thirty sample photographs (e.g., nature, local and national landmarks, professions, etc.) were placed on a table and youth were asked to select a picture. Afterwards, they were asked to introduce themselves and explained why they chose that particular image and how it and made them feel. The goal of the icebreaker was to teach youth the basic principles of the Photovoice process and how their photographs would help to record conditions in their neighborhoods. Facilitators emphasized the power of photographs and their ability to help viewers learn about their neighborhoods. In another exercise, youth were asked to consider three areas of interest: “Good Things in My Neighborhood,” “Health Problems in My Neighborhood,” and “Risky Behavior in My Neighborhood.” Youth used large post-it notes to write down their ideas and displayed their responses on a “vision wall” (as seen in the picture). Table 1 illustrates youth responses to the vision wall exercise. Through this process, youth were encouraged to think about issues that they would like to portray through their photographs. 2

Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

Table 1: Youth Vision Wall Responses Good Things People The People Good Neighbors Friends My “Peeps” Friends

Places and Activities Farm Fresh Grocery Store Food Places McDonalds 7-Eleven Sal’s NY Pizza Recreation Center Baseball Field Park and Water Park “Ballin” Basketball Football Field Skateboarding Swimming Pool Playground Stake Park and Skate Crew Park Computer Lab Early Childhood Development Center School Church Friend’s House “Campo” Campostella Area

Characteristics Good Jobs Making Money Good Place to Live I Live There Good Place to Raise Children Having a Big House WiFi Safe Neighborhood Low Crime

Health Problems Health Behaviors Smoking Alcohol/Drinking Drugs Hygiene Teen Pregnancies STDs Prostitutes

Health Issues and Illnesses High Blood Pressure Cancer Diabetes Kidney Failure HIV/AIDS Obesity

Safety Shootings Littering Domestic Violence Bullying Rape and Sexual Assault Car Crashes Child Abuse and Neglect

People Parents Kids Poor People Friends you hang out with “THOT” That Hoe Over There

Environment Littering Pollution Poor Environment

*Bolded responses are responses that youth wrote multiple times 3

Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project

Risky Behaviors Health Behaviors Unsafe Sex Teen Pregnancies Alcohol/Drinking Smoking/Cigarettes/Tobacco Use Drugs/Drug Use Riding Bikes in the Street Lack of Exercise Poor Eating Habits

Safety and Crime Shootings/Not Getting Shot Gangs Teens Carrying Guns Sale of Marijuana Breaking and Entering Fighting Stealing/Thief Violence Guns Underage Sex Police

Social Texting and Driving Dropping out of School Some People People you get involved with


Norfolk Department of Public Health

BASIC PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS SESSION

In order to build youth’s photography skills for the project, Stephen Katz, award-winning photographer of The Virginian-Pilot, conducted an engaging photography skills session with youth. Mr. Katz provided instructions on the importance of composing an image and establishing a focal point of interest to add appeal to a photograph. He discussed when to use natural or flash photography and stressed the importance of zooming in or out to crop a picture. He also demonstrated how to take a picture from an elevated or lower position and mentioned it would dramatically impact the appearance of the final photograph. Youth took pictures with digital cameras provided by NDPH. NDPH staff provided instructions to recreation staff members and youth on how to operate the digital cameras and collected cameras from each recreation site after each photo session. ETHICAL AND SAFETY GUIDELINES During this class session, youth were educated on the basic principles of Photovoice photography, ethics and safety guidelines. NDPH staff created and distributed a laminated Photovoice Ethical Guidelines and Safety Tips card for each youth. The ethics card instructed youth to: first ask for permission when taking pictures of people, never take an individual’s picture without their permission or consent, only take group pictures when no faces are recognizable, not to take pictures on private property or show a private company or brand name. The safety card instructed youth to never: go into an area they would not normally go, trespass on private property, and photograph illegal activities. As a safety precaution, Recreation, Parks and Open Space or Norfolk Department of Public Health staff members accompanied youth on photo shoots. PROGRAM ADJUSTMENTS Following the initial sessions of the project, youth were excited about participating in the project, however there were ongoing challenges such as regular program attendance and participation. As the program evolved, adjustments were made to address those challenges. NDPH staff expanded the duration of project from six to twelve weeks. After the first three principal sessions were conducted, NDPH staff went to each of the five recreation centers to work one-on-one and in smaller groups with youth. This strategy built trust and maintained direct involvement with youth during their photography and captions activities.

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

During meetings, NDPH staff asked youth to brainstorm and write down on note cards ideas they wanted to showcase in their photographs. On several occasions, NDPH staff met youth at their recreational sites and went on numerous photography outings. While these meetings were sometimes difficult to schedule given youths’ busy lives, the additional meetings gave staff opportunities to learn more about the youths’ lives and provide encouragement for youth to excel in school and to aspire to become successful in life. PHOTOGRAPH REVIEWS, CAPTIONING AND EXHIBITS On several occasions throughout the project, NDPH staff conducted individual sessions with youth to review and discuss their photographs. The Photovoice workbooks included a section to help youth guide and document the writing process for their captions. Youth determined the focus area (Good Things, Health Problems, Risky Behaviors) of each photograph, why it was selected, how it made them feel, and the importance of sharing their picture to others. Most of the youth tended to choose subjects that were very familiar to them which represented daily life in their neighborhood. The captioning activity gave youth an opportunity to reflect on the significance and personal impact of their photographs. At the end of the Photovoice project, youth could see the powerful impact of their pictures and captures.

The Norfolk Department of Public Health and Norfolk Recreation, Parks and Open Space plan to exhibit the Photovoice project in several venues, including at City Hall and Slover Library. The freestanding display was revealed at the Community Advisory Board (CAB) meeting as part the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) process. In addition, a smaller version of an exhibit will be on display at each of the participating recreation center. 5

Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

EVALUATION & RESULTS

The effectiveness of the Norfolk PhotoVoice project was assessed through different methods. The project was evaluated based on its ability to engage youth in the appreciation of photography, and use it as a documentary tool to inform key stakeholders about our community through the “youth” lens. The evaluative tools used included: 1) surveys completed by participating youth, 2) first-person commentary given by participating youth, and 3) public and policymaker reactions to the culminating exhibit(s). According to the evaluations (12 out of 13 participants), 100% of the youth strongly agreed or agreed that PhotoVoice was a good experience. Youth reported that they liked taking photographs to represent their neighborhoods. When asked what they liked least, half of the participants said “nothing,” three people said “going to the meetings” and one person indicated “the writing” and one other youth admitted that it was “kind of boring.” Youth offered suggestions for improvement including: having food at the meetings, having their own camera, going out more and having fun, visiting other areas to compare and contrast, and telling others about Photovoice. The majority of youth indicated the project made them think more about the strengths and weaknesses in their neighborhoods; however 1 person was not sure. All of the youth strongly agreed or agreed that they believed their pictures and captions would give them a voice to be heard by others. Overall, the majority of the youth who participated in the program indicated positive results in the evaluation and they appeared to be proud of their work during the Photovoice project. YOUTH PICTURES AND CAPTIONS OF THE PHOTOVOICE PROJECT FEATURING THE GOOD THINGS, HEALTH PROBLEMS AND RISKY BEHAVIORS IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS: GOOD THINGS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD

“Norview Community Center is a beautiful recreation center. It’s where I go every day after school to play games, socialize and where I feel safe. Rec centers are local and a good place for kids.” Derrick 6

Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

“It is important to have police in our community to help us stay safe. Police are active in my community. More police will help cut down on drugs and other crimes in our community.” Derrick

I want to share this picture of my school because you need an education to be successful in life. You can’t get nowhere in life without an education. Yon-Yea

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

“This is a picture of our computer lab. It is an important place where you can do your homework.” Alonzo

“The Southside Aquatic Center is the place I love going to swim and for exercise. It’s a good place to go and it’s close to where I live.” Alonzo

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

“At ‘Campo’ you can skateboard anytime. We use these obstacles to do tricks and have fun. ‘Campo’ is awesome and fun. Better skate parks can make my neighborhood better.” Rashad

“Making a new school building in my neighborhood will educate kids. It’s going to be a place for kids to learn.” Rashad

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

“In some neighborhoods, there is a church on every corner. You can get a good word, good atmosphere and don’t have to walk too far if in your neighborhood.” De’Quaja

“I feel safe, knowing I don’t have to worry about getting hit. Keeps children and adults from getting hurt and protects from deadly accidents.” Petrona

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

“Makes me feel thankful, knowing me and my family can have jobs to support one another. Jobs for citizens. Keeps adults off the streets. Help provide for families.” Petrona

“They’re fixing up the community, brings people together. Makes me happy. It shows how others are trying to fix up our neighborhood.” Petrona

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

“Keep our park clean! This initiative to keep our park clean is a good idea.” Ian

“It’s a good thing for people who like art because they feel good when they finish art and people really like art because they enjoy looking at it and it’s something good to have here.” Keshawn

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

“There’s somewhere to eat in the neighborhood.” Jermaine

“I’m working out to stay looking good.” Jermaine

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health HEALTH PROBLEMS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD

“Cigarettes and trash scattered upon the ground shows pollution in my community and smoking is a problem too. Smoking can cause health problems like cancer and trash can make the community look bad too.” Yon-Yea

“This shows someone using a prescribed asthma pump due to the high risk of asthma in my community. A lot of people in my family such as my mom, sister and cousin have asthma.” Andre

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

“There are a lot of people getting cancer and other health problems due to electronic cigarettes because it has nicotine and other dangerous chemicals. Smoking needs to stop because there are many deaths from smoking.” Jocelyn

“A lot of teens are growing up fast and have unprotected sex, which can lead to teen pregnancy. I don’t want my loved one’s to become pregnant. It is important to get your education first, become an adult and have a healthy life.” Malakia

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

“Vending machines have a lot of calories in it, sugar and bad stuff for your body. A lot of junk food can lead to obesity.” Alonzo

“High blood pressure is a health problem and maybe a risk in black families. There are places you can go to check your blood pressure regularly.” De’Quaja

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

“I took this picture because it shows that people will just throw anything away to get rid of it. I think different people threw the bags away and the wind blew them into that spot.” Ashaunte

“I took this picture because it shows that the grass is bad and the cigarettes have been there for a while. There is no one there to pick up the litter. There is no one there to pick up the litter. There are cigarette packs that people that people throw to the ground. It is bad for your health and cigarettes cost a lot of money.” Ashaunte 17

Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

“I took this picture because it represents both people and drinking and littering. Litter is not good for the nature. Drinking is not good because it can mess with your brain cells.” Ashaunte

“A view of the swamp through the trees reveals a hidden blemish in a beautiful place.” Ian

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

Who knocked over the trash? People took the time to throw away their trash, but the trash can was then knocked down. Ian

“The sunset is good for some people because they like to look at the beauty of it and it makes them feel better and relax to take away the stress.� Keshawn

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health RISKY BEHAVIORS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD

“This shows the problem of alcohol and drugs in my community. This flower pot is something pretty, but yet they trashed it with beer cans. You should not drink in public because it could influence teens to drink. And if you drink put beer cans in the trash can.” Derrick

“It is not safe to jay walk. People need to use the cross walk and look both ways before crossing the street.” Yon-Yea 20

Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

Gangs and violence is a serious risk behavior and problem in my community and it is around an area that children play. People can get in serious trouble or killed and gangs need to be stopped. Andre

“I took this picture of teens because if you are with the wrong people that can be a risky behavior. If you hang around people that are trouble makers you can be influenced into that dangerous behavior. Don’t be a problem, solve the problem.” Jocelyn

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

“Texting and driving is dangerous, you could risk your life and harm others.” Malakia

“Gun violence and death is the main risk behavior in my neighborhood. This is a memorial of a wellknown person in the neighborhood and a young father who was murdered. The things that happen on this street and in the neighborhood are unsafe.” Malakia

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

A tree that is free, but locked by chains. Shows how the tables have to be chained. The tree stands tall, but feels enslaved. Makes me feel lonely, due to the fact that the tree may grow, but can never feel free. Petrona

“People come up to the park with their trucks for fun, but it hurts the fields. Doughnuts are destroying the park.� Ian

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project


Norfolk Department of Public Health

“Had to be careful where you step in the water.” Ian

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Norfolk Department of Public Health Photovoice Project

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Norfolk Photovoice Project  

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