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Shutterbug dreams: how 100 Cameras for 100 Kids empowers the youth of Indianapolis

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Photographer and mentor Darnell Scott knows how impactful a mentor and a camera can be in one’s life. In 1998, Scott served as a corrections officer at a women’s prison. During his tenure, Scott was concerned about the prisoners’ idle time during their sentences.

“I wanted to put a camera in the inmates’ hands,” Scott said. “I was ultimately concerned for their [the inmates’] children, wondering who was caring for the kids and mentoring them while their moms, sisters, and aunts were in prison.”

Unfortunately, Scott could not pursue his passion for sharing photography with others from inside the prison walls. However, he could help their children in his own unique way.

Photographer and mentor David Dixon helping one of the kids in the program with their photography skills. (Photo provided/Darnell Scott)

Fast forward to 100 Cameras for 100 Kids.

Led by program coordinator Dennis Jarrett of the Next Generation Initiative, 100 Cameras for 100 Kids believes that photography allows kids and young adults a different perspective, metaphorically and literally.

One apprentice posing for the camera during their time as a part of the 100 Cameras for 100 Kids program, sponsored by Next Generation Initiative. (Photo provided/Darnell Scott)

“From an economic point of view, the majority of these kids would not have had the opportunity to have a $600 camera and equipment,” Jarrett said in an interview with WRTV last month. “That’s where we can step in.”

The cohort lasts six weeks. The program helps kids learn about themes such as perspective, portraiture, landscape photography, lighting, nature, editing, post-processing and more. Each participant receives a free camera during the program.

“Something magical can happen when they [kids and young adults] place their eyes behind the lens of a camera,” according to the Next Generation Initiative staff.

An apprentice doing their best to secure the perfect shot during their time with 100 Cameras for 100 Kids program, sponsored by Next Generation Initiative. (Photo provided/Darnell Scott)

Applicants must complete a short essay. At the end of the program, a final showcase is unveiled in the form of a unique gallery. The showcase happens at P30, located at 3030 North Post Road, on the city’s east side.

Scott says that some of the kids in the program will have a chance to shoot local events. “Kids in the program usually get the opportunity to shoot high school games and youth sporting events,” Scott said.

100 Cameras for 100 Kids also collaborated with the arts and culture creative agency GANGGANG.

An apprentice attempting to secure an amazing shot during their time as a part of the Next Generation Initiative photography cohort 100 Cameras for 100 Kids. (Photo provided/Darnell Scott)

“I am out here to serve God’s children,” Scott said. “Not only will they see their world in a different light, but they see themselves differently. That could make all the difference in their future.”

Lastly, For more information on the 100 Cameras for 100 Kids program, visit Next Generation Initiative’s website at thenxgen.org.


Contact multi-media staff writer Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846 or via email at noralp@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @3Noral. For more news courtesy of the Indianapolis Recorder, click here.

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