Youth exhibit advocates against violence

Apr. 23—HIGH POINT — Young people from the High Point area will display photos illustrating their impressions of violence in the community and how to counter it during an event today.

The middle and high school students in the inaugural Project Resilience High Point mentoring program will display their photographic designs from 10 a.m. to noon at the Piedmont Environmental Center at 1220 Penny Road in what's called a photovoice advocacy exhibit, said Erica Payton Foh, an assistant professor of public health education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. It is open to the public.

"This will be a community event where youth participants share their experiences and results from the photovoice project and to advocate against violence," said Foh, an organizer of the mentoring program. "Photovoice is a research process in which people use photographs to depict and describe social, environmental and health issues that impact their lives. Photovoice is often used as a method to gain understanding of health issues that impact youth, including community violence."

Ten middle school students from High Point, Greensboro and Kernersville spent eight weeks being mentored by 10 college students from High Point University, UNCG and North Carolina A&T State University. The exhibit culminates the mentorship program. The program was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy High Point in collaboration with the groups Resilience High Point, Change Often and D-Up.

"The goal is to develop our next youth change agents and violence prevention advocates," Foh told The High Point Enterprise.

The mentoring program takes place against the backdrop of increasing youth violence in High Point over the past year, including crimes with firearms.

For the photovoice aspect of the program, young people and their mentors went on assigned "photo missions" around the city for three weeks and were asked to take pictures that represented what they like about their community, the causes and consequences of community violence and what they would like to see more of in the community to promote peace, Foh said.

"The findings from the photovoice project can also be used to advocate for community change by presenting these findings to local decision-makers and policy-makers," Foh said. — 336-888-3528 — @HPEpaul