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Critically Stepping Up (Critical Exposure & S.T.E.P. Up DC) By: Caroline Space

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Published on Apr 28, 2010

www.carolinespacephotography.com

Critical Exposures mission is to teach youth how to use the power of photography and their own voices to become effective advocates for school reform and social change. In pursuit of this mission, Critical Exposure has developed a straightforward but unique approach: give at-risk students cameras and training in documentary photography and writing; encourage them to capture images that show the realities of their lives; and teach them how to use photographs and writing to tell their own stories and to advocate for concrete changes to policies that directly impact them and their communities. We seek to empower youth by encouraging them to explore
their artistic and leadership potential, while at the same time exposing citizens and policy makers to youth-created images and narratives documenting the difficult realities they face both inside and outside of their school walls.
www.criticalexposure.org

S.T.E.P. Up DC is a network of youth and youth-serving organizations committed to improving graduation rates in the District of Columbia. Our goal is to identify and support sound policy solutions to ensure that every student graduates prepared for higher education or meaningful employment. S.T.E.P. Up DC is coordinated by two D.C. nonprofits the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates and Critical Exposure that are convening youth groups and youth from across the city and facilitating discussions around a shared agenda to support students who have dropped out, been pushed out, or are at risk of dropping out. Together we will create a multi-pronged strategy to engage youth in a process of using surveys and photography to document factors that contribute to the dropout/pushout problem, developing a platform of potential solutions, and building the necessary public demand and political will to implement those solutions. Hearing directly from youth, those most impacted by the problem, is essential to identifying practical, experience-based solutions. To increase the academic achievement of all students and to help reengage those who have traditionally found themselves outside of the education system, we must develop policies that are based on an understanding from the youth themselves about what keeps them in school and what causes them to leave. Youth-serving organizations are uniquely situated to provide the necessary relationships, support, and structure for this project.
www.stepupdc.net

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