New city program arms kids with cameras to provide an outlet

Using donated cameras, about a dozen kids will get the opportunity to unearth a new skill through photography.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Shooting pictures, not guns.

Philadelphia's 18th Police District and Community of Compassion CDC are hosting a new program aimed to get cameras into the hands of teens and hopefully develop a new hobby for them.

"Children are quick to use a cell phone, but there's an artistic expression that kids can get used to with a camera," said Capt. Daniel Ginion of the 18th Police District.

Using donated cameras, about a dozen kids will get the opportunity to unearth a new skill through photography.

It's a five week program that starts next month at Community of Compassion CDC.

Anyone can join, but preference would be given to kids 12-18 living in the 18th District.

"Instead of shooting guns, let's shoot cameras," said Terrilynn Donnell, Executive Director of Community of Compassion CDC.

Staying busy is key as warmer months tend to trigger more violent crimes city-wide. Philadelphia has already seen more than 150 murders so far this year and 11 of them have been children.

The less traditional approach allows the kids in the community to build bridges with the officers in the neighborhood.

"The officers are actually going to be teaching the kids, so this is really exciting. And if we had more cameras, we could bring in more kids," said Donnell.

The program hopes to sharpen their eyes and develop a skill that could change their outlook on life.

"They would walk down the street and perhaps see something ordinary or nothing that would even stick, but through an artistic lens, they may be able to view their community through a more aesthetic light," said Capt. Ginion.

Based on the number of cameras available right now, the program can only have 12 kids, but if organizers are able to get more cameras donated from residents or businesses they would be able to accommodate more children.
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