Central Missouri Community Action in Cooper County has been holding a program known as Photo Voice. Photo Voice is a participatory photography program that teaches middle school aged kids from diverse backgrounds how to advocate for positive social change in their community through pictures. A reception to showcase the photography was scheduled before the Christmas holiday but was cancelled due to a winter storm. The reception has been scheduled for January 17 at 6-7:30 p.m. at Zuzak's Wonder Store and Art Gallery located at 311 Main Street.
Evan Melkersman, who has been instructing the program, said his experiences have been enjoyable and rewarding.
"It is not every day that you get the chance to be a part of such a pivotal and potentially life changing program, like PhotoVoice. This program offers kids a chance to be seen and heard. They each have a specific voice and with this program they are given the chance to express it," Melkersman said.
After talking with community members support was gathered to begin the program.
"I started the PhotoVoice conversations with community partners/members shortly after I started my work with CMCA back in April. According to the early conversations I had with Shelli Adams and Missy Walker at LSE, the school was in need of more after school programs. I knew PhotoVoice could meet this need and I knew I wanted to get it into the community as soon as possible. I received community support in a variety of ways. The Boonville community really liked the concept of the program and believed it could have a long lasting impact on the kids and the community," Melkersman said.
Melkersman said the ultimate goal of the project is to get these kids in front of groups like the school board and city council. These groups, he said, hold the power to assist in making the kids' visions come to fruition.
"I was highly impressed with the commitment the kids gave the program. I remain hopeful that this program will continue to expand in the community and positive community change will be the result," Melkersman said.