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Health Topics > Community > Photovoice > 2004 - Pittsburg High School, Empowerment Through Action

2004 - Pittsburg High School, Empowerment Through Action

This project was an eight-week documentary photography project at Pittsburg High School. Youth were recruited through a youth development group called Empowerment Through Action at Pittsburg High, staffed by the TeenAge Program. The participating youth received three disposable cameras during the eight weeks and were encouraged to photograph pressing health issues that they felt affect young people in their community.

Photographs and stories from Picture This were exhibited at a community celebration in June 2004. The photographers attended and received certificates recognizing their contributions. In addition, we created 16-month calendars of the photographs and stories and distributed them at the event. The photographs were also exhibited in Kaiser Permanente Antioch's Teen Clinic.

"Arrested Development"

Brandon Jensen
Age 16

These photos display beautiful open space, green hills and meadows destroyed by urbanization and construction of thousands of homes. These pictures reveal construction equipment, wood, brick and massive homes that have spread all over these beautiful hills. Homebuilders are out of control- they are building too many homes too fast. The property belongs to all the creatures that make it their home.

Life here is crowded and congested. Our roads, schools, water and electric systems can't handle the pressure. These pictures warn against future building of homes until our city builds new schools, repaves the roads, builds more stores and updates the water and sewer systems. Like the sign in my picture, put an ‘END' to urbanization.

"Not Acting, But Interacting"

Melanie Talavera
Age 15

My photo is a picture of my 6th period teacher Mr. Malzahn who teaches science. In this picture Mr. Malzahn is explaining to the students how to do the lab. I took this picture because not a lot of teachers interact with their students; they just sit at their desk and put notes on the board. This picture can help teachers to learn how to be more interactive with their students. I feel that it is a great way of teaching and a good way to get to know your students better.


Akia Rollins
Age 16

This photo is of my house that has bars on every window. The bars on the windows keep perpetrators out, but they also keep families in during a fire or other emergency. I took this picture to show the dangers of bars and to hopefully change some people's view of them. This picture shows a lot of mistrust in the community because some people feel like they need to lock up their houses and they shouldn't have to feel that way. This picture will hopefully convince others to think about alarm systems other than bars and maybe even create more trust.

"Big Screen TV - $2,700.
A Child's Graduation - Priceless"

Akia Rollins
Age 16

My first picture is of a very big television set and the second is a picture of a bookcase. Parents are too busy to sit their children down and read to them. Therefore, more children are watching TV instead of reading and opening up their imagination. I took this picture to try and reach out to parents and let them know that TV is not good for their children and that more quiet and quality time will do them some good.

This picture tells us that more and more children are wasting away in front of TV and failing all their subjects in school because they are so unfocused. This picture can help to better our children. Then not so many would drop out when it gets too hard in high school. More people would go to college.


Jeanette Alarcon
Age 17

This is picture is of a sign advertising the Downtown Pittsburg Improvement Project. Businesses are trying to change the bad things in Pittsburg and make them better. The improvement of the downtown area is important.

"The Youth That Help"

Dominique Harris
Age 16

This photo is a group of Youth Educators. Everyone is smiling; it was taken after school one day. I feel this is an example of how youth can help their community and others by teaching younger students about dugs and alcohol. People are willing to help their community, whether they are young or old. With more programs like these we can get children off the streets and inform them about drugs and alcohol.

"Colorful Graffiti"

Erika McCauley
Age 17

Two junior high students are posing proudly in front of their colorful wall. The wall is a beautiful example of positive graffiti found in the community. It stands out! Not all graffiti is negative. Positive graffiti is not only 'cool' for students to look at but its also eye-catching. Positive graffiti leaves no room for tagging. The picture, hopefully, will encourage more positive graffiti throughout the community.


Alana Gauthier
Age 17

The roots of this tree have come up out of the grass. It represents the past- so much unknown history that we have yet to discover. It is symbolic. The tree lets us know we can't forget our past and where we come from. This picture can provide opportunities for youth everywhere to embrace their past and prepare for the future.

"Fast Food Alley"

Brandon Jensen
Age 16

These photos are of the newly built fast food restaurants in a highly populated area of Antioch. The super-sized sign reveals the number of fast food places located in this center. Long lines of cars wait at the drive through at In-N-Out Burger. It is important to have healthy, affordable, places to dine in a community, instead of fast-food alleys.

Life in Contra Costa is very busy, overcrowded and moves at an extremely fast pace. It reveals the citizens of the county don't have healthy food choices in their community. The builders of fast food alleys need to realize that the people do not only want fast food restaurants, but also a good selection of dining restaurants that will attract a lot more business for the builders.

"Houses and Hills"

Erika McCauley
Age 17

This is a picture of a well-known street in Pittsburg called Crestview. From Crestview you can see the new houses bombarding the cow's grazing land. The companies who are developing communities are building deeper and deeper into the hills. These hills are green, but what color will they turn after the individuals living in those houses have added pollution? The increase in population is having negative effects on the city and the cows that live on the land.

Life in Contra Costa is crowded and an increase in population causes an increase in problems. Instead of taking control of the problems we have, we are adding to them. Our schools are already overcrowded and traffic is bad. The cows love to graze on the rich land, which is why they say, "Happy Cows Come From California". If California creates more problems and tears down the positive aspects of the community, where will happy cows come from?

Content provided by the Family, Maternal & Child Health (FMCH) Programs of Contra Costa Public Health Division. For more information, call 925-313-6254.

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