It all started with Kathyrine Hankin, a rising eleventh-grader at Charlotte Country Day School, who had started “Mind to Heart,” a community service organization for peer to peer academic tutoring at the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club on Marsh Road. “I saw a need for 1 on 1, kept coming back and since then I have seen a tremendous improvement. I have formed a lot of personal relationships; they can look up to me and connect with me.”
Kathyrine noticed that members would doodle or draw when they were done with their homework. Kathyrine, being artistic herself, went to the Unit Director, Charles Smith, and they came up with starting a photography club to give the members a creative outlet.
Kathyrine then approached the Mint Museum’s educators to propose offering a summer photography program to provide creative expression for members at the Club. Cynthia Moreno, Director of Learning & Engagement for the Mint, said: "We are delighted to be offering this introductory photography program with help from Kathyrine, the local teen who helped inspire the project." Resident artist for the program was Nicolle Driscoll, a local photographer and videographer. The 10-session program was offered on Monday and Tuesday afternoons through July.
Each session teaches the members different creative and technical skills using fun activities such as, scavenger hunts and taking pictures of their favorite part about themselves. “The kids are really excited, upbeat and giving off good energy towards the program,” Kathyrine said after just a few sessions.
Around 20 youth participated in the program each week, some with no experience using a camera and others who had grown up taking pictures. Then there is UNCG-bound, Brandon, who hasn’t had much experience with photography but plans on following up with what he has learned and taking photography classes at college. “I have enjoyed this program; it has made me think of looking into classes when I go to college in a few months.”
The final project is going to be a portfolio including a self-portrait and the kids favorite five pictures they took throughout the summer. All parties involved are hoping to be able to set up a gallery with the photos as well.
We would like to thank The Mint Museum, Kathyrine and Nicole for showing our members how they can use photography as a creative outlet and express their emotions using a camera.