Tuesday, July 13, 2010

HBCU Graduate Inspires Youth Through Photography

By BlackGivesBack contributor Froswa' Booker-Drew

David Herman is on a mission with a vision to impact the lives of youth in the Dallas area. Herman is the founder of Preservation Link, a local arts in education nonprofit that utilizes audio/visual media to design innovative and exciting opportunities for youth to develop and share thoughts and feelings about the communities in which they live, learn and play. Started in 1999, the organization has evolved from meeting in a local community center into an education agency that now provides a family of programs that offers media arts education, academic enrichment, interpersonal and professional development, and media technology.

Herman, a graduate of Florida A&M University in print management has a unique background. With beginnings as an intern with the Wall Street Journal, he was offered employment with Dow Jones. Transferring to Dallas in 1997, he realized that there was more that he could contribute. In 1998, Dave began serving as an AmeriCorps member and recognized through this opportunity what community engagement should look like. In this role, he developed 3-5 programs for youth, especially for African American males. “I wanted them to take life more seriously and to do that, you have to be aware of where you come from,” Dave shared. These experiences shaped Herman in returning to a conversation he had with a friend and business partner, Shaun A. Wilson.

According to David, “Preservation Link was a starting idea from conversations with Shaun about how to make young folks aware of their surroundings and abilities in a formal way.” With a strong background in photography, Herman created a program that would allow him to use his “God given talent” using photography as a medium. “I believe that photography allows me to serve as a distinct vessel in God’s universe. God blesses me to capture a slice of reality that lives well beyond its present moment. It serves as a form of preservation and instruction for generations ahead.” Preservation Link understands new technology and how it excites youth. “We meet them where they are and how they can use social media which is a global voice that of each of us has.” By combining history, the program allows youth “to learn moving forward by looking back.”

The program started with 35 youth and has grown to nearly 100. Programs include visual literacy, a youth media literacy club, community documentation and a college credit opportunity for students at El Centro College. David has seen students return to volunteer, exhibit their work at the Dallas Museum of Art and the South Dallas Cultural Center. Herman is most proud of the fact that “we have been able to grow and nurture programs and have an impact on students, their parents and the overall community.”

The student's exhibit titled "Through the Eyes of Our Children - Something Beautiful" will be on display until August 29th at the Dallas Museum of Art. Their next tour is Friday, July 16 at 8pm and again on Tuesday, August 3rd at 3pm. Visit HERE for details on the exhibition. For more information on Preservation Link, visit HERE or visit them on Facebook.

To have events covered in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, please contact Froswa’ Booker-Drew at froswa@blackgivesback.com. Froswa’ is a nonprofit consultant providing training, consultations and webinars. Visit www.soulsticeworkshopsonline.com to find out about upcoming webinars you can participate in from your home or office.

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