TACOMA, Wash. — On Tuesday, October 10, the City Council voted to sponsor the Pictures of Hope program in Tacoma. Pictures of Hope is an award-winning non-profit created in 2005 by photojournalist and author Linda Solomon. The program pairs children experiencing homelessness with volunteer mentors who help the children express their hopes and dreams through the lens of a camera, with the intent of showing each child that their hopes and dreams matter. More than 50 cities have participated in the program, which has received local and national acclaim.
“We have too many children experiencing homelessness in our city,” said Council Member John Hines who sponsored Resolution 41279. “These young people have beautiful hopes and dreams for the future, and we want them to know that we believe in and support them. I am excited for our mentors, our city, and the children who will be part of Pictures of Hope, and dare to encourage every child to dream about their future. One of the things I love about Tacoma is that our community knows that when we all work together and support each other, we can make any dream come true. My dream is that Pictures of Hope is just the beginning and that we will continue to find ways to keep all of our children hopeful and dreaming in Tacoma.”
“Hope is one of the first things stolen from young people who are facing the trauma and uncertainty of homelessness,” stated Tacoma Rescue Mission Deputy Director Myron Bernard. “By connecting these youth with caring adults and mentors who listen well and give young people voices, we can restore hope not just for the young person, but for their family and for the greater community as well.”
For more than 100 years, the Tacoma Rescue Mission has served the homeless community in Tacoma and Pierce County by providing emergency services, such as shelter, food, and other self-sufficiency programs.
The City’s sponsorship of the program will enable Pictures of Hope to work with the Tacoma Rescue Mission to serve 15 children experiencing homelessness. The children will be shown how to use a digital camera and each one will receive their own digital camera and memory card, as well as a camera bag, to keep as gifts. Each participating child will be paired with a volunteer mentor from the community who will work with the child to learn about their hopes and dreams, and then help them take photos that reflect those hopes and dreams. Linda Solomon will evaluate the photographs taken by the children and select one per child to be featured in a celebratory event in early December attended by friends and family. The children will also receive packets of their photos printed on cards to sell, with all proceeds benefitting the Tacoma Rescue Mission.
“It is so important to give kids an opportunity to imagine a future they believe is possible for themselves,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards. “Pictures of Hope is an opportunity for children to creatively explore their future while raising money for the organizations that can make those dreams possible for the families and children who they support.”
“It is often difficult to express something deep within but, through photography, the children will share their heartfelt hopes and dreams,” said Linda Solomon. “Each child will become a young photojournalist on assignment to capture their dreams. Mayor Woodards and the City Council have made this opportunity possible, and Tacoma will become a ‘field of dreams’ for children who deserve hope.”
“The essence of this program lies in the photographs that the children will take, and the bonds that they will form with their mentors,” said Council Member Sarah Rumbaugh. “Linda Solomon will discern from these photographs the ones that truly shine and capture the children’s aspirations. This program has produced truly impactful results, as demonstrated by its previous successes. It empowers children to explore the possibility of transcending their current circumstances and envisioning a brighter future.”
“As someone who experienced homelessness as a child, I know firsthand how important it is to recognize, celebrate, and nurture the hopes and dreams of these young people,” said Council Member Keith Blocker. “I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution and ensure that the children in our city who are experiencing homelessness will not be forgotten.”