Karen Segal, Photo Safe
Children in foster care can live fractured lives due to constant relocation. They lack continuity and a sense of their own history, as a result, they often feel like they’re invisible and that they don’t matter.
In New York City alone, there are approximately 12,000 children in foster care who, because of their circumstances, miss out on the benefits of pictures and photography. As these children grow and mature their changing appearance goes undocumented and major milestones pass without a permanent record. Photo Safe is a New York based, 100% volunteer organization whose mission is to capture, print and preserve photographs of children in foster care in the United States with the sole purpose of creating a historic record for the personal use of the child.
Photo Safe is a mental health initiative, not simply an art project. Every service provided to the children from taking their photos, giving them their photos and letting them know they are forever preserved for them serves to contradict this negative sense of self most youth have.
“I know the service is needed because every agency we’ve approached has eagerly partnered with us. Kids jump in front of our cameras, parents cry when they see the photos for the first time, agency CEOs write us heartfelt letters of thanks. The first Foster Care professional I approached with the concept of Photo Safe was the former deputy director of Foster Care for NYC. Upon hearing the idea, she rose from her desk, took my shoulders in her hands and said, ‘This is important. Promise me you will never stop.’” – Karen Segal
GRANT AWARD DATE: November 25, 2015