Landmark Education Self Expression & Leadership Project Uses Photography to Help Children Living in a Tough Neighborhood Find Beauty in Everyday Life

Uplifiting Images Of Tenderloin CommunityStudents Help Change Perception Of Tough Neighborhood

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From ABC7 KGO-TV/DT San Francisco
By Carolyn Tyler
Mar. 28 – KGO – We want to take you to a school in a tough San Francisco neighborhood that’s helping their students rise above their environment in a very creative way.

De Marillac Academy sits in the heart of the Tenderloin, a neighborhood plagued by chronic homelessness, drugs and despair.

Sufian Yahya, Student: “I live across the street and when some people ask me for spare change and they’re smoking in my face, so then I just have to walk away.”

Most of the students here live nearby. De Marillac is a Catholic elementary school founded in 2001 specifically to meet the needs of inner-city kids. Once they enter the classroom, the chaos outside is left behind.

Mike Daniels, De Marillac Academy: “We believe that we are really serving as a beacon of hope for the families and the students of the Tenderloin.”

Today, these fourth graders who are sometimes overwhelmed by the negatives of the neighborhood will focus literally on the positive. They’re partnering with high school students from Sacred Heart to learn digital photography.

It’s Sally Allen’s idea. She’s with a program called Artseed and says the purpose is to bring joy.

Sally Allen, Artseed: “Also, to help them with their self-image and to give them a sense of their community.”

The Civic Center Farmer’s Market presented a vibrant backdrop for the young photographers to try their hand at capturing images around them.

Precious Listana, Student: “Pigeons, buildings and a fountain.”

They had no problems finding things of beauty in their own backyard — uplifting pictures and inspiring photos that might help change their perception of where they live.

The children’s photos will eventually become part of a permanent display at school — another view of their neighborhood.

Copyright 2007, ABC7/KGO-TV/DT.

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