WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, SportsAt-risk teens heal through the artwork of photography

At-risk teens heal through the artwork of photography


by Brittany Earl

WAUSAU(WAOW)--Inside UW-Marathon County sits artwork produced by at-risk teens, who at one point in their lives either struggled with emotional or physical problems, now through the art of photography, the boys begin to heal.

For 6 months Ben Thwaits taught photography to boys ranging from ages 12 to 17. The boys came to Thwaits when they entered a 90 day program at Northwest passage. As part of their education the boys took part in a photo project called, In A New Light. The program was created last March through a grant from the National Park Foundation run by Northwest Passage in Spooner, Wisconsin.

Ben Thwaits, Northwest Passage teacher says, "The kids at Northwest Passage are their because they have struggled in their lives either at home, in their communities or at school."

Thwaits says, many of these boys come from broken homes or dealt with hard times.  "We had no idea the level they would embrace themselves as story tellers, the quality of photographs they have produced over the last 6 months has really blown everyone away. They come to this project as risk takers and kids who really makes decisions based on emotions and in society that often leads to struggles or problems," said Thwaits.

But Thwaits says emotions lead to great art that's why he believes the kids did so well. He says they are harnessing their natural tendencies and creating something beautiful.

"These kids I think have been told through out their lives the things they can't do and I think this project is probably the first for many of them, given them that feeling of success and that deep belief in themselves that they can do great things," said Thwaits.

Online Reporter: Brittany Earl

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