The AjA Project: Photography Programs for San Diego Youth

Hoover Students “Zoom In| Act Out” with AjA

In partnership with Hoover High School, The AjA Project ran a 10-week-long program called “Zoom In | Act Out,” providing participants a platform to explore, identify and express their perspectives on community-based issues. During the program, participants used their cameras as learning tools to create portraits, abstract and documentary images capturing both the issue and the lived impact of that issue on the community. Turning their research into action, participants worked in groups to develop a “Call to Action,” as a first step to catalyze positive community change. Hoover students worked in three groups to cast a spotlight on trash and vandalism, safety issues in the community, and the effects of cell-phone culture on interpersonal communication.

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Joe, Adam, Annie, and Luis focused their lens on the decrease in interpersonal communication due to social media and electronic devices. The participants’ “Word/Tech” project emphasizes the importance of balance between online and inter-personal interactions.

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Ana, Jocelyn, Janel, and Tamir researched the presence and impact of vandalism and trash in public spaces around City Heights. Students identified an increased need for trashcans in City Hheights and encouraged community investment in their use.

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Allison explored the issues of safety at night on El Cajon Boulevard between Rosa Parks and 42nd street. Allison suggested that the community of City Heights come together to support one another in creating a safer community overall.

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On December 16th, 2015 participants presented their “Zoom-In | Act-Out” Call to Action journalism-style projects in the form of an End-of-Semester showcase in the courtyard of Hoover High School. Participants made public-facing presentations of their work, distributed copies of their literature, and engaged peers, AjA staff and school administrators in conversations around their selected topics.

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