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Ms. Pease from Saint Paul MN is requesting Technology through DonorsChoose, the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.

Youth, Truth, Empowerment Photography

My students need 3 digital cameras.

  • $531 goal

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Everybody has a story to tell and everyone wants to be heard. It's with this philosophy that I approach my work in The Lab. The Lab is a program serving urban students in special education. The students with whom I work have the educational label EBD (Emotional- behavioral disorder) and attend school in small self-contained classrooms. They need additional support to find success and engage in school. They are affected by a variety of social and mental health challenges, including post-traumatic stress disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, anxiety and/or depression. For many of our students, their behavioral and mental health struggles are linked to challenging circumstances of living in poverty. 85% of students in our EBD programs receive free and reduced lunch; the majority (80%) are male and youth of color, primarily African-American.

Too often, these youth are only seen for their deficits instead of their strengths. The Lab empowers students to find healthy and creative ways of managing their emotions and lives. The Lab facilitates creativity groups for 11 of our district’s EBD programs each semester. We work with students in grades 7-12 each year. The format is simple: students are given a culturally-relevant prompt (spoken-word poetry, hip-hop song), time to write, and the option to read their poem aloud. Students who initially claim to hate poetry are soon “spitting rhymes” with a renewed sense of self-confidence and improved literacy and public speaking skills. They have a chance at The Lab to record their poetry for a CD, and publish their poetry in a poetry anthology. Now, as The Lab expands, we are including visual art, technology access, and experiential wellness as healthy and creative means of self expression for youth who typically do not have a voice in our world. A survey conducted last year indicated that 86% of students felt that their confidence in writing increased in the group; 85% felt that being in the group helped them express their feelings in a healthy way.

The Lab embraces the artistic expression of all students through a variety of modalities, including visual art, spoken word poetry, technology access and experiential wellness. Last semester, a group of students began using photography to capture their worlds with old, donated digital cameras. We have expanded the Lab's foundation in poetry/spoken word, to include and pair words with photography. They used prompts such as "finding beauty in where it's least expected" and "self-portraits" to describe their feelings and themselves through images. Students took pride in their involvement in the group when their photos were showcased at a celebration at the end of the semester. Yet as the program has grown, the unpredictable donated cameras (2 now broken and unusable) are no longer sufficient. We need 3 cheap digital cameras so more students can make high-quality photographs that represent themselves.

Your donation will truly help further expand my services as I also train volunteers and interns to facilitate experiences with more students who come to The Lab. More supplies means I can bring The Lab experience to more at-risk youth. More youth will have a chance to find their With your help, I can continue to support these students to gain the courage to speak about their lives, gain healthy coping strategies, and find success at school!

Ms. Pease
Grades 6-8
  • Homecroft Elementary School
  • Saint Paul, MN
More than half of students from low‑income households

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15 donors15 donors have given to this project.

This project will reach 30 students.

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Where Your Donation Goes

Materials Cost Quantity Total
CANON POWERSHOT A470, GRAY, 7MP DIGITAL CAMERA Canon Digital Cameras; PowerShot A470, Grey • Quill $116.99 3 $350.97

Materials cost


Vendor shipping charges


State sales tax


3rd party payment processing fee


Fulfillment labor & materials


Total project cost


Suggested donation to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


Total project goal


How we calculate what's needed

Total project goal


15 Donors


Donations toward project cost


Donations to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


Excluded support for DonorsChoose


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Project Activity

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