On Thursday, April 21st the Community Service Committee of Professional Women Photographers held a mentoring fieldtrip for children from Women In Need. Founded twenty-seven years ago, WIN operates six shelters in New York City, housing more than 2,500 people each night. It is committed to helping women restart their lives, and to helping their children grow though educational opportunities.
CSC volunteers Andy Mars, Karen Smul, Joan Katz, Joann Frechette and Giselle Chamma met at the WIN Manhattan shelter with nine children who were participating. The plan was for a quick photography lesson, then a quick walk to Central Park. But the day was so bright and beautiful, that cameras were handed out immediately and a slow, unwieldy procession made its way through the streets. Nobody could wait to get to a scenic beauty spot because suddenly everything around them was fascinating and beautiful.
“When you give kids ideas of what to photograph they will surprise you with their creativity,” said Andy Mars. ”A perfect example was when I told them to see different perspectives, not just shooting straight on, but from below looking up or above looking…down.”
Mars also suggested that the students get “really close to a subject and see the detailed textures.”
When the group finally hit Central Park, dogs were a popular subject.
Finally the group returned from the grass and flowers and sunshine to the shelter to download and review the photographs. But the problems of the real world were never far away. Karen Smul recalled that “one of the girls told Joann and me that we were lucky. When I asked her why…she said ‘because you get to take pictures all day and I bet you live in a big house.’ It reminded me how decent housing is very much at the forefront of these kids’ minds, even as they are having a wonderful time with us.”
To expand its mentoring program, the CSC has created a wish list:
- Point & Shoot Cameras
- Memory cards
- Photo paper
- Gift coupon at B&H or Adorama (for printer ink & paper
to print students’ photographs)
If you have updated your photo equipment and have older point & shoot cameras you wish to donate, please contact the Community Service Committee. Any and all donations are welcome! And the CSC gratefully acknowledges those who have already donated to its mentoring program.
- Catherine Kirkpatrick, Archives Director