Exclusive: YPI KIDS – Making dreams come true through Photography

We have all heard the expression that “a photograph is worth a thousand words”. But have you ever wondered when exactly is a photograph worth a thousand words? Is it when you take a photo of a kid and a mother cherishes it for life? Is it when you photograph a wedding and give someone beautiful memories? Is it when a journalist photographs dying people in a war? Or is it something that gets printed in National Geographic? In my mind the answer to this is that it’s any photograph that touches your soul and speaks out to you – a photograph that is meaningful and you can form a connection with. YPI KIDS or Young Photographers Initiative is a therapeutic photography program that enables children who are at “at-risk” or suffering from cancer live their dreams through the magic of photography.

The Young Photographers Initiative (YPI KIDS) was started by Paul Denckla in 2006. The purpose of the program is to introduce children to the magical world of photography. YPI KIDS works on different projects and through those projects lets children capture beautiful memories. Paul explains the mission of YPI KIDS and states that, “Its mission is to expose children to the magic of photography and the ability one has to capture his/her feelings, aspirations and dreams in an image while instilling a sense of empowerment, fulfillment and self-confidence in each participant.”

I met Paul at the Boston Pecha Kucha where he introduced the audience to the projects at YPI KIDS. I have never seen anything as captivating as his presentation. The photographs revealed the stories, passion, pain and joy of kids who had endured so much. They reflected hopes and dreams and the desire to hold onto so much in life. These photographs showed the courage that these young photographers had and the brave smiles they had put on for the camera. The YPI KIDS initiative is definitely one of a kind and it does make a huge impact in our society. Often we neglect the little things in life but the lens of these young photographers captured the essence of small, mundane everyday things and presented them in a new light. YPI KIDS gives everyone hope – it gives the kids an opportunity to hold onto their beautiful memories, it gives us (the audience) an opportunity to see their world and appreciate it.

images from http://www.ypikids.com Project Tomorrow 2008

image on top right corner taken by  14 year old Max Carrasco

Second image by 16 year old Caitlee Carrier of her mom & siblings

Third image by 12 year old Kate Smith of her mom Sarah Snyder

Written for and published on the Amvona Blog

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