Voices in Photos

by Talia Waxman, Family Matters Intern

This fall, That Goddess Power (Family Matters’ Teen Girls Program) conducted a Photovoice project: a community-based participatory research project about the ways that we respond to, resist, and heal from the impacts of violence. The purpose of the project was to discuss different issues and solutions surrounding how violence has impacted our lives, what we see, and why we think these things happen. TGP worked on the Photovoice project every Monday for six weeks.

Photovoice has three main goals: to enable people to record and reflect on their community’s strengths and concerns, to promote dialogue, and to reach policy makers. We took photos to represent how we felt about these different discussions. In our final workshop, we came up with six themes that capture our findings: Feelings, Every Picture Has A Message Behind It, Memories & Loved Ones To Be Remembered, Beauty is Everywhere / Overlooked World, Life Continues & We Move Forward, and Friend Support, Sister Bond, Love. Each photo connects to our themes in many different ways.

At the end of the project, we organized a photo exhibit at Willye B. White to share our work with the community. We decorated unique frames for each one of our photos, and hung them alongside captions that explained the meaning behind the photo. We wanted everyone to see a different perspective of Rogers Park through our eyes. Our photo exhibit showed the unique talents each one of the photographers captured. We celebrated with food, music, and lots of friends and family from the community. Everyone who attended had the chance to respond our exhibit by hanging up a sticky note with their thoughts. The responses talked about how the exhibit was inspiring, how teen girls are resilient, and how our photos gave them hope and appreciation for youth in Rogers Park!

Thank you to everyone who supported us and our Photovoice project. We are proud of our work and excited about the impact it had on us and our community.


Partner Spotlight: Specialty Print Communications

In a conversation with Adam LeFebvre, the President of Specialty Print Communications (SPC), his deep compassion from which the organization operates was immediately apparent. SPC’s six-year relationship with Family Matters speaks for itself. As the marketing and communications business grew, so did its engagement with Family Matters—sponsoring the Annual Gala, supporting teens in summer internships, and encouraging alumni of our programs to apply for positions.

According to Adam, the company’s track record of giving back extends even further. Adam remembers his upbringing in a modest and hardworking family. As the roots of the family business took hold, he recalls how he was raised to be altruistic. His father led by example rather than by setting expectations. He watched his father consistently and quietly step up whenever and wherever support was needed. For the Lefebvres at that time, it often meant providing free print services, because that is what they had to offer. The family has taken this spirit with them from generation to generation. It is a legacy that Adam and his wife instill in their two children today.

Adam, far right, with friends at Family Matters’ 2014 Gala.

There are two primary criteria that SPC look for when they extend their services and support to organizations: 1) a proven track record of success and 2) a direct impact. The business prefers to partner with people who demonstrate drive and motivation. Family Matters meets all of SPC’s criteria. Time and time again SPC has seen the youth come through our programming as achievers—graduating high school and going into the next phase of life, overcoming many obstacles along the way. From his perspective as an individual supporter and company sponsor, Adam surmises that there must be some magic for anyone who enters Family Matters’ doors and has the commitment to see the programs through. He believes that there are self-perpetuating opportunities and unlimited potentials to be had: the mentorships, the real-life exposure, the small victories. These are all components of the magic.

Family Matters teens visiting SPC in July 2018

Given his, and SPC’s exponential belief in the youths’ futures, and the effectiveness of Family Matters’ programming, SPC encourages all youth who have graduated from Family Matters to explore working at SPC. They are guaranteed an interview. SPC seeks employees who have the type of commitment, drive, and motivation that Family Matters develops. In addition to this generosity through his company, Adam is eager for the day when his schedule will allow him to tutor-mentor a youth one-to-one. As he puts it, “The truth is, it’s all going to pay us all back because it’s going to make the world a better place.”

Thank you to Adam and all at SPC for supporting Family Matters – we are incredibly grateful for your partnership!

If your company is interested in a partnership with Family Matters, please contact Amanda Reuter at amanda@familymatterschicago.org.