Lindsay Heights Lens: Neighborhood Challenges

This is the first of a series of four Neighborhood Lens galleries of photos taken by the Running Rebels Youth Advisory Council (YAC) as part of an adapted photovoice project. Photovoice is a participatory action research method where individuals and/or communities determine community challenges and strengths through photographic documentation. The photos are analyzed, discussed and categorized by the residents into themes that highlight areas of importance. Often used as a tool for community empowerment and for raising awareness to bring about social change, photovoice reinforces the importance of allowing residents and communities to determine what’s important and why through their own photos, discussions and words.

Half of the YAC members grew up in Lindsay Heights, and all of them spend significant time in Lindsay Heights through their proud affiliation with Running Rebels. The youth who grew up in Lindsay Heights served as our leaders, and picked specific neighborhood areas to visit. The youth were then allowed to wander and take photos. Later, the photos were printed and the youth reflected on questions from the first half of the Photovoice “SHOWED” analysis method, writing photo captions to highlight 1) what you first see in the photo 2) the deeper story behind the photo and 3) what this says about the community and why this is happening. The YAC members then shared the thought processes behind their photos with each other and determined bigger themes that connect the photos within categories of “neighborhood challenges,” “neighborhood improvement” and “neighborhood strengths.”

The YAC asked us to first feature the “Neighborhood Challenges” gallery and end with the “Neighborhood Strengths” gallery (a fourth gallery will focus on the YAC).

In the Neighborhood Challenges gallery, the youth came up with themes: “Broken,” “People don’t care how it looks — so it looks like we’re an uncaring community,” “Abandoned” and “Gang Territory.” They spoke to how the gallery of neighborhood challenges, while indicative of problems, also reflects how they hear Lindsay Heights described over and over again in the media. They hope that together, the galleries will educate people about challenges and motivate action, and also highlight neighborhood strengths that should be better publicized. After seeing the galleries, Running Rebels director Victor Barnett echoed the youths’ call to action and noted that the photos also suggest a need for greater communication between city officials and youth.

We hope you will check back each week to see the galleries that show other ways that YAC members see Lindsay Heights: as home, as a neighborhood with strong community organizations and vibrant beauty, and a neighborhood where the optimism of youth is one of its greatest strengths.

Lindsay Heights Lens! Rebels behind the camera

The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is made up of eight bright and creative youth leaders from Running Rebels Community Organization in Lindsay Heights. Through a Community-Based Participatory Research partnership between Rebels and the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), the YAC is helping to create, analyze and share the findings of a study exploring youths’ environmental health perspectives and priorities. Started in spring 2015 and ongoing through the summer of 2016, the YAC focuses on building youth research and problem-solving capacity through four core modules:

Research Methods Development. The YAC helped to develop survey and focus group tools to explore Rebel youths’ environmental health knowledge and perspectives on strengths and challenges of their neighborhood environments.

Community Site Visits. Over the summer, the YAC visited the Milwaukee Health Department, Walnut Way Conservation Corp., and Sixteenth Street Community Health Center to learn about and observe how different sectors and organizations in Milwaukee are using research to address local environmental health concerns.

Research Application. The YAC completed a mini photo voice project (featured here on NNS) and will complete a GIS mapping activity to build research leadership skills and visually explore relationships between environmental health issues of concern to them.

Research Analysis, Translation, and Dissemination. The study findings will be shared through a youth-driven arts-based presentation led by the YAC next summer.

The YAC would like to thank Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service for lending us their wonderful cameras and publishing their mini photo voice project, with a special shout out to Adam Carr for his beautiful compiling of the photo galleries.

BMAGive – Spirit of Giving

A lof of us walk away after a donation and don’t know how that money was used. Check out our link below, we show you what your money is put towards. ‪#‎BMAGive‬ is kind enough to match us dollar for dollar on every donation! We are grateful today, and every day, for your continued support and generosity. We would like to announce Running Rebels participation in ‪#‎BMAGive‬, hosted by the Campaign for Black Male Achievement! Join us in sparking a generosity movement for Black men and boys by taking a moment to donate. BMAGive – Spirit of Giving