YEP Students Present Photovoice to Springfield City Council

Presenting the photovoice to Springfield City Council were Springfield YEP members (from left): Julia Brents, Kickapoo; Alex Drake, Bailey; Stephanie Holesapple and Kelsey Williams, Hillcrest; and Ashley Ecker, Kickapoo.

Members of the Springfield YEP chapter are taking their show on the road with presentations of their “photovoice” project to several civic groups recently.

Today, it was the Springfield City Council’s turn to see what the high school students like and don’t like about their hometown – factors that might eventually help drive their decisions on whether to make their own homes in Springfield when they complete their educations.

Photovoice is a term used for a process in which people use photo and/or video images to capture aspects of their environment and experiences and share them with others. The pictures can then be used to share with leaders and policy makers to influence decisionmaking or spur change. The CFO invited the Springfield YEP to do a photovoice to share with civic leaders as part of the community’s interest in encouraging talented young people to consider making the Springfield area home.

Each school in the Springfield YEP worked on its own photos and then they put them all together and looked for common themes to put in the joint presentation. The students cited civic events such as Artsfest, public art, parks and trails, great libraries and school activities as things they most like about Springfield. They are disappointed by the homelessness,  litter, graffiti, and abandoned buildings they see around town.

Today’s Council luncheon follows earlier presentations to the CFO Board of Directors and the Good Community Committee. The civic leaders have been receptive to the students’ comments and have asked a number of questions to glean more information on issues such as diversity and jobs.

They also encouraged the students to maintain their enthusiasm and stay engaged in the community after the project ends.

“Don’t lose that interest in the city government and policy process,” Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky said.

The Springfield Photovoice presentation will be on exhibit at The Creamery Arts Center during the latter half of February. It also was featured in a story in the News-Leader on Sunday, Jan. 27.

The photovoice concept and loaned cameras are open to any CFO YEP chapter. For more information, contact YEP Coordinator Bridget Dierks at bdierks@cfozarks.org or (417) 864-6199.

 

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