Youth photographers document Nashua's problems & promise
Jordan Gora, 16, of the Nashua PAL holds a collage of photos he took illustrating problems and promise in his community. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
PhotoVoice Nashua, a visual arts project sponsored by Nashua’s Police Athletic League Youth Safe Haven center, spotlights some of the problems in the urban landscape that’s home for hundreds of city kids. The photos above are by 11-year-old Michael Frith. (BARBARA TAORMINA)
Anthony Belanger, 8, of Nashua shoots pool at the Nashua PAL facility on Monday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Competitive boxer John Xifaras of Nashua works out Nashua PAL boxing center on Monday. He's been boxing at the gym for 10 years. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
A crew of kid photographers from the Police Athletic League's Youth Safe Haven community center and the Boys and Girls Club has been on assignment since last spring documenting some of the city's problems and promise as part of PhotoVoice Nashua, a visual arts project launched to spark conversation — and maybe inspire some change. Their work will be on display at PAL's Youth Safe Haven open house on Nov. 26, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Although adults continually pound home the message that smoking and drinking are destructive, kids are surrounded by advertising and imagery that tout cheap cigarettes and beer. Some of the PhotoVoice photographers captured those conflicting messages with pictures of displays and signs from local stores.
Founded more than 70 years ago, PAL is a national juvenile crime-prevention program with local chapters in more than 400 cities and towns. PAL's central goals are to provide positive youth activities and build relationships between kids and police.
Affiliated with the local Gate City Striders running club, PAL's running program for kids ages 7 to 18 has more than 60 members involved in cross-country, road racing and track and field. The top floor of the Safe Haven center, meanwhile, is a boxing gym with a ring for champs in the making.
One of the problems Safe Haven faces is mustering the community support for more programs and outreach.
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