Nashua youths participate in photography project

Some kids fish. Others like to spend their summers wheeling around city streets on their bikes, playing baseball or heading to the beach.

More than a dozen Nashua children spent a good portion of their summer telling stories with photographs.

They participated in PhotoVoice, which this year sent about 20 children from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua and Nashua Police Athletic League out into the city armed with cameras.

Their mission: capture images that express good public health practices in their community.

"It was fun, actually," said 12-year-old Cedric R., of Nashua, who stood by his display of photos Friday depicting the importance of good dental health.

"I want to put out awareness (for) people to brush their teeth," Cedric said. "I learned that if you’re taking photos, (that’s) a good way to do it."

He was among about 13 children who completed the PhotoVoice photo venture whose works were on exhibit at the city Public Health and Community Services Division at 18 Mulberry St.

Their topics ranged from how to cross a street and read street signs to eating healthy and not smoking.

"It gives them an opportunity to go out and learn positive things about their community" said Lisa Vasquez, substance misuse prevention coordinator for the city’s Public Health and Community Services Division.

The theme for this year’s PhotoVoice project was "Public Health Prevention in the Community." It included professionals discussing good public health practices with the participants, as well as field trips to local parks, pools and Holman Stadium.

"It also provides them with an opportunity to have a positive interaction with other kids and build on their social networks. And it gives them an opportunity to be outside and walk around, so it’s a healthy activity to do, as well," Vasquez said. "It also helps the kids learn about photography. So it’s something that maybe they can develop a passion for."

PhotoVoice is used "around the world to give people without a voice an opportunity to tell their story," she said.

The program has been used in Nashua for several years by Nashua PAL and its youth members.

This year, the city Public Health and Community Services division joined in supporting it, which enabled the program to expand to include the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua.

Vasquez said the intent is to expand the program even further next year so other agencies can participate. Each year, organizers pick a new theme.

Vasquez said she hopes the PhotoVoice Project Gallery will become a traveling exhibition around the city.

Kathryn Marchocki can be reached at 594-6589, or @Tele-graph_KMar.