Dear friends of Colors of Life, we’ve been off the radar screen for a while but still busy - the last exhibition of Colors of Life “Investing in Women and Girls” will be exhibited in Washington DC at the Organization of American States’ F Street Photo Gallery Building from July 9 through October 17, 2014. We are also pleased to announce that this year’s Photo Contest will support the activities of a Washington DC non-profit Life Life Pieces to Masterpieces.
Life Pieces to Masterpieces is a youth development and education organization that uses artistic expression to develop character and leadership, unlock potential, and prepare African American boys and young men (ages 3-25) to transform their lives and communities. LPTM’s youth programs include after-school, weekend and summer components. The organization also actively provides training to school leaders and teachers.
Unfortunately, in the United States, the specter of poverty has long haunted communities of color. Nearly 10 million African-Americans, including 4 in 10 African American youth, live in poverty and around 12% of African Americans are unemployed. Currently, more than 90% of the young men and boys LPTM serves live in Wards 7 or 8 of Washington, DC. It is 4 times more likely for a male living in Ward 7 or 8 to end up in prison than in college. In Washington, DC, Wards 7 and 8 rank highest for violent crime reported; highest in adult unemployment (22.5% in Ward 8 and 19.3% in Ward 7) and high-school drop-out (55% in Ward 8 and 51% in Ward 7). In these neighborhoods, places to exercise are few, unsafe and healthy food options are unavailable or sparse.
These experiences are compounded by a lack of positive male role models—over 70% of households are headed by single women in both wards. These conditions force the boys and young men in the community to move away from academic development and other positive activities. LPTM’s programs and curriculum encourage students to develop positive life skills and reverse the trends of high-school drop-out and high rates of unemployment among Black males living in low income communities.
Along with art, LPTM students participate daily in academic tutoring, mentoring, leadership, youth development as well as character education and life skills building.
The Colors of Life International Photo Contest 2014 will call for photos highlighting courage, strength, leadership, kindness and the value education has for young boys and men living in low income communities worldwide, and will be online soon with dates, rules, awards and deadlines.
We look forward to receiving your images and having a successful, interesting photo contest 2014!