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    Cause Beautiful: Empowering Youth to Cause Change

    by Swikar Patel posted September 25, 2014

    What is the W.H.Y. Project, “I think the best way to sum it up is to let the students sum it up for us!” said Luanne Dietz.

    Hipstamatic, a mobile photography app, launched its philanthropic foundation, Cause Beautiful, earlier this week.

    Cause Beautiful, under the direction of Emmy-award winning photojournalist Luanne Dietz, is a mobile photography project focused on empowering inner-city youth, along with providing grants to fund photographers and their work. “The foundation’s goal is simple,” said Dietz. “We believe that photography has the ability to change the world.”

    Transition These images show a new me. Transitioning for me was a challenge because I thought I would never change the way I live. It was actually one of the hardest things I've accomplished because I couldn't ask nobody for help. Everything was up to me. -- Demond Norma, 18.

    Transition
    These images show a new me. Transitioning for me was a challenge because I thought I would never change the way I live. It was actually one of the hardest thing I’ve accomplished because I couldn’t ask nobody for help. Everything was up to me. — Demond Norma, 18.

    Cause Beautiful’ s first project is a student arts initiative called the W.H.Y. Project, which stands for ‘We Hear You’. Prompted with the question, “If you could tell the world anything, what would you say?” students from Life Learning Academy in San Francisco and KDOL’s Media Enterprise Alliance in Oakland, will spend the semester using mobile photography to capture issues that are important to them and their communities. Dietz started the W.H.Y. Project three years ago after teaching photojournalism in an inner city middle school and seeing what the students are capable of when someone believes in them. “There is an emerging generation that is looking for a way to express themselves and get out of the vicious cycle of unattainable dreams as seen in low-income neighborhoods,” Dietz said. “Their eyes have become their voice, and their voice needs to be heard.”

    I’m looking at the new me. When I was younger I witnessed things no kid should see. It took me getting locked up to change my lifestyle. One day I was in court and the judge called me a “menace to society.” She told me I had two sides of me, and that it’s up to me to decide what kind of guy I want to be. -- Demond Norman, 18.

    I’m looking at the new me. When I was younger I witnessed things no kid should see. It took me getting locked up to change my lifestyle. One day I was in court and the judge called me a “menace to society.” She told me I had two sides of me, and that it’s up to me to decide what kind of guy I want to be. — Demond Norman, 18.

    Acceptance Not being accepted affects people more than you think. To be accepted is to feel comfortable in your environment and your surroundings, to feel like you don't have to act different by changing your appearance or the emotion you show in public. I feel like I have to prove constantly that I’m not this monster. -- Justice Valentine, 17.

    Acceptance
    Not being accepted affects people more than you think. To be accepted is to feel comfortable in your environment and your surroundings, to feel like you don’t have to act different by changing your appearance or the emotion you show in public. I feel like I have to prove constantly that I’m not this monster. — Justice Valentine, 17.

    Swag Swag is the way you present and carry yourself. I guess you can say my generation is more of the flashy type. Where I grew up and live now a lot of people around are all about shoes, it comes off almost mandatory to have the most recent shoes or something better. -- Ar'Juan Mason, 17.

    Swag
    Swag is the way you present and carry yourself. I guess you can say my generation is more of the flashy type. Where I grew up and live now a lot of people around are all about shoes, it comes off almost mandatory to have the most recent shoes or something better. — Ar’Juan Mason, 17.

    Along with the W.H.Y. Project, Cause Beautiful will be sponsoring grants and scholarships for professional photographers to continue to Make Beautiful and hold society accountable through their stories. “From mobile photography to long-term personal projects, professionals need funds to tell the stories they care about, and we want to empower that,” Dietz said.

    For more information visit http://www.causebeautiful.org

     

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