Friends, the Club, and the Housing Authority: How Youth Define Their Community Through Auto-driven Photo Elicitation
The author was a volunteer at a national youth organization located in a low-income housing community, and was given the opportunity to work with the Torch Club, a youth civic engagement club made up of youth members from the Coventry Square club, age 12 or older. At the time, members of the Torch Club were not involved in a service project and they were open to suggestions. The purpose of this action research study was to enable participants to study and define their community through auto-driven photo elicitation. Opportunities to serve one’s community are important factors in helping youth develop the capacity to see themselves as civic actors. Service-learning that is meaningful and action oriented is well suited for work with youth from low-income communities. The benefits and challenges of using auto-driven photo elicitation along with the limitations of this study are also examined. Twelve youth were given disposable cameras and eight participated in the photo elicitation interviews. Through an analysis of the interviews and photos, three themes emerged: friends, the club, and the housing authority. This chapter explores these themes and how they relate to promoting youth civic engagement through community and social justice oriented service-learning.
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