I have been honored to have been a mentor to a child for the past 8 years in this program. What a pleasant surprise to find that you can learn so much from a child.
Being a mentor consists of spending two very special days with this child. One on one. The first day you will attend a photography workshop given by Linda for the children. The children then work on a list of their hopes and dreams. Afterwards the children are given their own digital camera and you and the child along with their list will come up with a plan to go out and shoot the images they have in mind. Then it's back to the shelter for a pizza lunch.
A few months later there will be a "Meet the Artist" reception (last year it was held at the Tucson Museum of Art). It will be the first time the children get to see the unveiling of the cards that have been made from one of their hopes or dreams. You will have a chance to purchase cards at that time and afterwards. 100% of the proceeds go back to the Shelter.
It is truly a wonderful thing for a child to open up and talk to you about their hopes and dreams. In the beginning so many hesitate. No one has every asked them what they hope for. This program lets them know that their hopes and dreams are so important and that they matter. And that they should have them! Life time friendships have been made. Full ride scholarships have been given. Confidence and hope has been given. This program makes a difference in a child’s life. Has made one in mine too.
I have been a mentor for 6 years. I have mentored in Tucson, Az. and Flynt, Mi. So I have seen first hand what this program does for both the children and their mentors over and over again. And I am hooked.
It truly humbles you when you ask a child what they hope for and what their dreams are and they look at you and don't know what to say. And you realize that no one has ever asked them this before. Eventually they begin to share them with you and you feel so honored that they are doing this. Their hopes and dreams are never for material things for themselves. They hope to make their Mother smile. To have friends. To have a house to live in or food on the table. They want to go to college or be an artist. To have their family together. To help others.
And then we act on them. The children are given cameras and off we go so that they can shoot pictures of those hopes and dreams. Which are then turned into cards.
This program tells them it's okay to hope and dream big. And that their hopes/dreams are important and that they do matter. It gives them a new outlook and builds their confidence. It shows them that they can make a difference in this world. You see it on their smiling faces. And it reminds us mentors that we can also keep hoping and make a difference too. We can all use that reminder.
I've known Linda Solomon for years and expected nothing but success when she started Pictures of Hope. My friend Deb Goodman asked me to volunteer last year and I was lucky enough to team with her to mentor Niyah, a beautiful young girl with a big smile and a great imagination. She came up with great ideas for her desires as well as her photographs.
At the Tucson Museum of Art where the works were displayed, I couldn't help but smile the whole time. There were so many powerful women involved and so many great kids feeling empowered with their works.
Pictures of Hope is a great nonprofit! Mrs. Linda Solomon is an award winning photojournalist who tutors young students to use photographs to express their hopes and dreams for the future. Students are paired with mentors who are leaders in the community and together they go out to photograph their hopes with their new camera given to them by Pictures of Hope.
At Health Leadership High School, Ms. Solomon has come to work with 15 of our senior students for the last two years. Our students were paired with a mentor who is a leader in our community and together their learn about the art of photography, talk about the student's dreams and go out into the community to photograph their dream. Linda takes the photos, prints them and organizes a an exhibitions to highlight the student's dreams.
The students and their families, the mentors, and community members are invited to the exhibition where students talk about their photos and what they mean to them. These is a very emotional moment for our students and our community. Students receive accolades from Linda and are presented with their photo.
Also, at the end of the presentations, Ms. Linda Solomon announces the recipient of a 4 year full ride Dream Scholarship to Blackburn College, a small , liberal arts school in Carlinville Illinois. The scholarship is valued at about $100,000. This is a life changing opportunity for our students and we are happy to report that we are sending our second student to Blackburn College this year.
The kids KNOW. Children know. Especially these kids who have had to navigate some pretty tough waters. They know when someone or something is authentic. I've watched the faces of the homeless children who participate in Pictures of Hope. The minute Linda Solomon, creator of Pictures of Hope, talks to them, they are engaged. As she explains the power of a photograph, they are with her 100%. And as she tells them about the importance of their hopes and dreams, you can actually watch them begin to believe. They write their hopes on a piece of paper and then, with caring mentors, they go out to photograph their deepest desires. Oh, and by the way, each child receives a digital camera they can keep. They don't wish for new Nikes. They hope for the most substantial things: a home where their mom can feel safe, comfort, an education. One photograph taken by each child is printed on greeting cards as well as on a large canvas. Then there is the Grand Reveal where the children will see their hope in print and each will be honored as an artist with real dreams, dreams that matter. I've seen many, many programs that benefit homeless children, but none that has the impact of Pictures of Hope. There's something about the way Linda Solomon and the volunteer mentors believe in them, something about the validation of their dreams, something about how good and valued they feel. It's hard to put into words, but I've been privileged to participate in many Pictures of Hope and I've seen the impact this has on these children, an impact which lasts far beyond the event. Once someone has been validated like that, the effect is empowering for years to come, hopefully forever.
Pictures of Hope came to The Salvation Army in Tucson Arizona. Linda Solomon went above and beyond all expectations with helping the homeless children of Tucson. Seeing the faces of these children when they were gifted a camera is unforgettable. Thank you Linda
COTS children participated in Pictures of Hope in January of 2017. The joy on their faces as they open their brand new camera was absolute joy. Linda created such a unique experience for the children to create something tangible, talk openly about their dreams, and witness their arts in lights at the NAICS. We could not have created a more memorable experience for them.
I’ve been a mentor for this very special
Program, Pictures of Hope
It’s amazing, children in shelters that have not had as great a chance to find themselves get the opportunity to hold a camera , are taught how to use it by famous celebrity photographer Linda Solomon , founder, and asked , with a smile , to take photos of things that” make them happy”
I remember one child taking a picture of a bed in the hopes that they may have their very own one day .
This great organization has been able to obtain college scholarships for children in homeless shelters, or for those children that just don’t have very much through no fault of their own,
The best word I can use to describe Linda Solomon and Pictures of Hope is “ good”
Skinnytees has had the pleasure of working and sponsoring some of the Portraits of Hope cities. Linda Solomon has brought such warmth to homeless children and showing that they can make a difference and their dreams can be achieved.
To see the smiles on the children when she gives them their very own camera and a tutorial
on how to use it is priceless.
Pictures of Hope has been a great asset in helping my family succeed in life. When my daughter was nine years old is when we met Pictures of Hope. The program has inspired my daughter through pictures to have a hope for her life that far outweighs what society said a homeless person is worth.
Pictures of Hope helped my daughter See that she was not just a homeless throw away, and provided her the opportunity to dream. You may think that is nothing but when your a mom struggling the way I was the next rent payment is what is important and my daughters dreams fell to the wasteside.
When my daughter was nine she was told to dream, hope for, and wish for what ever she wanted in life and to aim high by the Pictures of Hope program. She was given that time to think about herself when her life had been about "where are we getting money from"
Brittnie wrote things on her list like reunification with her sisters, getting her kittens back that we had to give away because we could not have them at the shelter, and even for world peace.
That year San Diego State University Alumni Association saw her Picture of Hope on a Christmas card made by the program and granted her wish for a scholarship to the college. They said if she maintained a B average, and got good SAT scores they would pay for a four year degree for Brittnie. She did all that hard work and stayed focused through high school. She was excepted to San Diego State and is now in her third year of college because Pictures of Hope gave my daughter I hope she needed to be successful in life.
When my daughter was nine years old she met Linda Solomon. Linda came to the homeless shelter where we lived and taught my daughter how to take pictures of the things that she had hoped for. At that time hope was something that seemed lost in our hopeless situation of homelessness.
My daughter took a picture of the sign at San Diego State University and said I hope for a scholarship. She hoped for many more things such as to be with her sisters (who were my foster kids that we had to give up), she hoped to see her kittens again, she hoped for world peace and things such as this.
Linda Solomon inspired my daughter to dream again, letting her know that her hopes and dreams were attainable. Linda helped my daughter remember that she's just not the homeless girl, she had value.
Later that year my daughter was awarded a four-year college scholarship to San Diego State University because of the pictures of hope program Linda Solomon has where a picture does change lives.
My daughter is now in her third year of college and it would not have been possible without Linda Solomon's pictures of Hope. She gave my daughter a vision at a very young age, and my little girl rose to those occasion. We will forever be grateful to her! Our daughter will be the first in our families to attend a 4 year university.
We love this program and everything it does for each child that meets Linda and Pictures of Hope.
Health Leadership High School is a charter community school in the south side of Albuquerque, NM. We work with students who struggle with poverty, homelessness, drugs, and previous academic failure. 2017 was our first graduating class, and our seniors had the opportunity to participate in the Pictures of Hope program in May of 2017.
Ms. Linda Solomon connected our students with highly respected community mentors that helped them express their hopes for the future through photographs. This connection and Linda's guidance in photography helped our students clarify their own personal hope for their future.
In addition to our students participating in this program, Ms. Solomon brought to the school a full right scholarship to Blackburn College in Carlinville, Ill. Truly a life changing opportunity for our student.
We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Pictures of Hope Program, and hope to continue this partnership in the future.
Watching Linda work with these homeless children has been both inspiring and humbling. Witnessing the children write down their hopes and dreams then seeing the awe come across their faces as Linda explains how to capture these hopes and dreams on film their hopes, is truly amazing. The photos speak for themselves in their heartfelt phrases.