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The AjA Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization headquartered in San Diego, California. Utilizing participatory photography methods and an assets-based model, AjA’s programs transform youth and communities. Since its founding, AjA has provided long-term, community-based programming for over 3500 individuals, and has shared visual narratives with over 3 million viewers through large-scale public exhibits.

Participatory Programs facilitated with the AjA Project

Project MAP | Spring 2017

The AjA Project partnered with Kaiser Permanente, Multicultural Health Foundation, and Mental Health America (MHA) in this program geared towards supporting mental health through therapy, arts, and patient centered care. Participants worked with MHA receiving one-on-one therapeutic services before attending AjA workshops where healthcare goals were translated into the medium of photography.

Participants joined AjA in 2 content creation workshops exploring the following 2 themes: 1) Visualizing Barriers to Healthcare Goals and 2) Transforming Goals into Reality | A Visual Representation. Lastly, participants joined AjA in a final group celebration under the following theme: Celebrating Strengths and Transformation.

By Lucy

By Lucy

Emergency Youth Shelter | Fall 2016

This program took place in an emergency youth shelter in San Diego, CA. Participants were youth between the ages of 13 - 17 years old staying in the shelter for up to 21 days. This program culminated from 5 workshops which explored various layers of self that culminate to encompass our personality and experiences. The conversations emphasized on positive explorations of character traits and decoding how others may perceive us. Projects included light box photography, long exposures, and symbolic self portraiture. Images created were blown up as vinyl stickers and installed on windows and lights throughout the shelter space.

By Jesus

By Jesus

Court Involved Youth | Fall 2016

This semester long program engaged students from the Juvenile Court and Community Schools in San Diego to reflect on the individual and environmental factors that both inspire them and inhibit them from living out their personal qualities.

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Journey | Spring 2016

Journey is an after-school program that utilizes participatory photography methods to address the behavioral health, linguistic ability and social capacity of middle and high school refugee youth. Each year the program serves approximately 100 youth from over 27 countries.

Along with image creation, participants in this particular Journey program utilized a conversation circle to begin dialogue surrounding old and new home, identity, and personal experience. The yarn was passed around while each participant shared symbolizing the interconnectedness of each individuals experience through a web. The yarn was then cut and placed on a "Symbolic Conversation Branch" as an emblem of the strengths, vulnerabilities, and overall growth that blossomed in these intimate conversations.