'I'm a Kid Too' project completes first phase

The "I'm a Kid Too" project developed by the University of Kentucky College of Social Work and the Lexington Arts & Cultural Council (LACC) has completed its first phase of a photo documentation project that provides "medically fragile" young people with a creative outlet to express their stories. The children, their families, and program representatives celebrated their work with a dinner and presentation of their photo-essays on July 28 at the Downtown Arts Center.

"I'm a Kid Too" engages adoptive children with severe medical diagnoses to use photo-documentation as a healing and self-expressive tool. Likewise, the program hopes to educate health care providers, including physicians, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses and other human services professionals through visual story-telling of the unique needs of these children born with significant medical challenges.

A pilot-test of the project, which included a photographer and a 16-year-old young man with cystic fibrosis, told an interesting story. Rather than a photo-essay about living with a severe medical condition, the young man's images illuminated the life and mind of an active 16-year-old. His story was the inspiration for the title of the project,"I'm a Kid Too!" The current project intends to use the photographs to encourage health care professionals to respond to children born with severe medical issues as young people with feelings rather than a diagnosis.

Over the past 8-weeks 14 young people between the ages of four and 22 have learned the creative and technical aspects of making photographs. The youngest children were provided with children's oversized film cameras, while the older cohort was given digital cameras. Throughout the course of the eight week project professional photographers mentored the young people, helped them hone their image making skills, and guided them in crafting their own story.

Utilizing the computer and technological resources of Tubby's Clubhouses, th

Contact: Kathy Johnson
University of Kentucky

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