When You Come Home
When You Come Home presents multiple narratives of “at risk” youth from Washington, D.C., who departed on a transformational journey into the Catoctin Mountains for a five-day retreat in the summer of 2014. For many this was the first time they were given an opportunity to escape the city, come to nature, be playful kids, and connect more deeply within themselves.
Through supportive environment, facilitated workshops, performance, movement, and meditation students developed techniques to help them deal with the everyday stresses in their lives. All were encouraged to share their personal experiences in order to begin the process of healing from traumatic past experiences and feel less isolated in their lives. This story is about the beautiful power of, coping skills, unconditional acceptance and belonging that was created on that journey; a power that exists within us all.
Fly By Light is a program developed and run by One Common Unity, a grassroots non-profit focused on teaching their students about peaceful conflict resolution, expression through art, leadership, and activism within community. Fly By Light seeks to keep students away from violence in the city and improve their chances of graduating from high school. On this trip, the youth and adults alike learned how to critically explore factors influencing their lives and contributing to their totality.
These students are considered “at risk.” Different parts of the United States define the term “at risk” in a variety of ways, and there’s no consistent definition making it difficult to compare state policies on the subject. “At risk” is frequently used to describe youth who are viewed as less likely to succeed academically, graduate, or thrive independently during adulthood. It’s critical for society to understand that “at risk” is a concept reflecting probable outcomes, not certain ones, and the implementation of remediation can give youth a fighting chance to succeed in life.
I created a scrapbook of the trip to capture the playful spirit of the retreat and balance out some of the heavier content in the overall project. The images are either taken by myself or by the students using my phone and Instagram account. I included quotes from the trip and interviews with the students once they returned home. I also intend to collect personal more writings from the students (similar to page 8) and include them on the blank left pages.