Engaging Youth, Engaging Neighborhoods

South Bend Through the Eyes of Youth Citizens

Exhibition Dates:

August 29 – November 15, 2015| Jerome J. Crowley Community Gallery
Gallery Celebration and “Kids Night Out”: Friday, October 2, 2015 | 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Explore South Bend through the eyes youth participants of the Engaging Youth, Engaging Neighborhoods (EYEN) program in this
captivating photography exhibition.

EYEN2EYEN explores neighborhood and community engagement through photography, art, and literacy based activities with young people ages eleven to seventeen in South Bend. Created in 2011 by the Neighborhood Resources Connection, this ongoing program began with the belief that using photography to explore our city’s successes and challenges with youth would be a powerful means of instilling civic identity, local pride, and developing leadership in young people. Under the guidance of NRC Director, Diana Hess and University of Notre Dame Professors Kevin Burke, Stuart Greene, and Maria McKenna, the program has evolved over five cohorts of young people to include a variety of outlets for young people to engage with the community including a youth leadership council and an annual youth summit. Photography is a central focus of the program using “Photovoice” as a means for youth to document their own and other South Bend neighborhood experiences. Youth also use other mediums such as poetry, blocks, Legos, map making, drawings, readings, and guided discussions to provide opportunities for exploring the significance of taking ownership of their own lives and community and their own interconnectedness with larger social, economic, and political issues.

EYEN3The youth from the EYEN program are responsible for the current renovation of Kelly Park on Howard Street, the repair of a stretch of broken sidewalk in Monroe Park, and the development of a youth leadership council focusing on developing leadership tools in young people through studying demographics and patterns within our community. The youth leadership council recently researched the possible closure of the LaSalle Branch Library, located in the boundaries of the Lincoln Way West Gateway Neighborhood Association and wrote a powerful editorial imploring the Library Board to keep the branch open.

The photography from the Engaging Youth, Engaging Neighborhoods program has been displayed at the Colfax Cultural Center, The Civil Rights Heritage Center, and the DTSB Gallery. Youth from the program have also presented on the program and their work at four different national conferences on education, community based research, and place-based education across the United States.


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