Innovator Photo Sessions

Trips to MissionSAFE & chica project

The Social Innovation Forum (SIF) Communications team kicked off the 2023 Innovator photo sessions in early February! Each of our Innovator groups selected a time for their photo session and received a wonderful collection of photos showcasing their lead Innovator, staff members, and participants in their programs. The photos were taken by our photographer, Leise Jones who has worked on this project with SIF for the past couple of years. We hope you’ll enjoy the photo blog curated by SIF staff members, Jameelah Julien, Program Coordinator, and Radhika Srivastava, Communications and Events Co-op. Jameelah paid a visit to MissionSAFE’s photo session and Radhika went to chica project’s photo session. We hope you enjoy this virtual gallery as well as Jameelah and Radhika’s reflections on their experiences attending the Innovator photo sessions. 

Visiting MissionSAFE by Jameelah Julien 

MissionSAFE is one of the nonprofit organizations in our 2023 Social Innovator cohort. In between the time they are selected as Social Innovators and present at Showcase, the organizations are hard at work developing their written materials, visual materials, and presentation skills. One aspect of this is the photo sessions that all Innovators participate in to have visual representation of their work. I decided to visit MissionSAFE because I grew up in Dorchester, which is where their headquarters is located, and I think the work they’re doing to support young people in their community is so important. 

MissionSAFE provides year round programming to youth ages 14-24. Their mission is to work with Boston's highly at-risk youth and their families to gain the skills and confidence to thrive, not just survive, and to improve their community and their world. Through programs like Explorers Academy, Youth Leadership Service Corps, and Safe City Dorchester, they seek to improve fitness and nutrition, communication and problem-solving skills, self-knowledge, academic effort and performance, job readiness and career exploration, leadership and community engagement, and positive relationships in all areas of young people’s lives. When I visited MissionSAFE for their photo session, I saw some of this great work taking place!

Here Director of Programs and Partnerships, Jumaane Kendrick, embraces two young people that are participating in afterschool programming. 

In a larger community room, young people converse and play the card game, Uno, before after-school programming begins. 

Jumaane helps a student with homework.

A group of student leaders takes turns sharing a presentation they have prepared on different communication methods and what healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships look like while their peers listen and learn attentively.

Following the presentation, young people are split into breakout groups to discuss different healthy relationship scenarios with one another. In the room, MissionSAFE staff help facilitate and provide support and additional perspective when it is needed. 

Visiting chica project by Radhika Srivastava

Similar to Jameelah, I visited our last photo session that took place at Hennigan Community Center in Jamaica Plains, one of chica project’s school based-programs. chica project is also part of this year’s Social Innovator cohort. Their mission is centered around empowering young girls and women of color to build skills, networks, self-confidence, and most importantly joy. Attending this session and seeing these images captured was an extremely rewarding experience – it’s inspiring to know there is a space being built for young girls of color like myself, guiding and supporting them through their journeys!

Meet Annie Jean Baptiste and Kathrine Bonilla, Co-program Facilitators at chica project. 

Annie’s discussion for this session centered on exploring and expressing identity.

Activities under the weekly theme help facilitate the learning for students at chica project. This is one of the students filling out a worksheet that helps explain and identify different parts of your identity.

Annie is helping one of the students understand how the identity circle applies to the self, and the broader community as well.

Jameelah and I truly enjoyed getting to learn more about both MissionSAFE and chica project in person. Feel free to learn more about both of these Innovators, as well as the rest of the 2023 cohort at our upcoming Showcase!

About the Authors: Jameelah Julien is a Program Coordinator at Social Innovation Forum. Her work supports the Alumni & Nonprofit Network program. Radhika Srivastava is a Communications & Events Co-op at Social Innovation Forum. 

Photography credit: Leise Jones Photography