H2O Members Participate In Health Improvement Partnership-Cuyahoga Photovoice Project

From their love of the library to their dismay over the lack of public outdoor basketball courts, Lakewood teens have a lot to say about living in this community. During the month of April, seven H2O members took on the challenge of expressing their perspective on life in Lakewood through the medium of photography as part of a Photovoice project with the Health Improvement Partnership-Cuyahoga.

Photovoice is a method of information gathering that allows community residents of all ages to share information about their communities through the use of pictures. Lakewood was selected as one of several sites in the county to participate in this project. H2O's participants were issued cameras and met with a professional photographer to work through photo concepts and compositions. The result is a set of thoughtful images that reflect the participants' personal experiences living, learning and playing in Lakewood. The materials produced as a result of these Photovoice projects will help to inform the development of a community health improvement plan for Cuyahoga County. 

About her participation in the project, ninth grade student Katya Tawasha said, “I really enjoyed doing this. I felt more creative and I didn’t want to stop taking pictures!” Marissa Ruiz, also a ninth grade student at Lakewood High School, said she felt empowered by participating in this project. “Usually in the world adults are the people with the most say,” said Ruiz. “This makes a lot of sense, but you also have to remember that children and teens make up a huge part of the population and sometimes what we think or say can make a big difference.”

A selection of the students’ photographs is currently on display in a storefront in the Curtis Block building on Detroit Ave at Marlowe. This display was made possible by the generous assistance of Lakewood Alive, the Downtown Lakewood Business Alliance, and David Stein of Plantation Home.

H2O, “Help to Others” is a service learning program for middle and high school students in Lakewood, Ohio. The program engages youth in volunteer work, showing them the value of belonging and contributing to their community. In turn, their energy, creativity, and intelligence become an important part of Lakewood’s social structure.

H2O is sponsored by the City of Lakewood, Division of Youth through a strong partnership with Lakewood City Schools. 

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Volume 8, Issue 16, Posted 10:20 PM, 08.07.2012