Homeless D.C. youth capture 'Pictures of Hope'

WASHINGTON (NewsChannel 8) – Kamia Tshibaka is capturing her hopes and dreams through her own lens.

"I tried to take [pictures of] some people that wasn't moving a lot, because I wanted to get the moment," she said.

Kamia has never owned a camera, until now.

"Some kids don't get cameras and some kids don't get the support they need," the young photographer said.

Not too long ago, Kamia spent many days in a shelter with her mother, sister and brother.

"It was the middle of me and their dad … separating, so, you know, it was like one of the hardest times of my life," said Kelvonna Zanders, Kamia's mother.

On Tuesday, award-winning photojournalist Linda Solomon and Chevrolet brought the program "Pictures of Hope" to the Tenants Empowerment Network (TEN) at Catholic Charities in D.C.

The TEN program helps homeless families in transition. "Pictures of Hope" is a 14-city program this year that works to build self-esteem among homeless youth across the country.

"Some have lived in cars, some have traveled around in the city on buses during the day, ‘cause they have nowhere to go with their children," said Sister Mary Louise Wessell, with the TEN program.

More than a dozen homeless children jumped with excitement when they received their own digital cameras, for free.

“That’s why I do this; you create awareness for the children, and to make the kids realize their dreams matter," Solomon said.

Pictures can express what words sometimes can't.

Young photographer Keonte Bowden also has many dreams.

"I would hope to do great stuff; I would definitely hope that I can go to college," Keonte said.

The photographs these children take will be turned into holiday cards to show off their own "Pictures of Hope.” The cards will then be sold to support the local TEN program.

Kamia's mother is one of TEN’s success stories. She has a new degree, a job and place to call home. Her daughter is now ready to capture what's next.

"It can inspire me, and one day I might want to be a photographer," Kamia said.

The "Pictures of Hope” cards will be launched at a "Meet the Young Artist" reception at Sport Chevrolet in the fall.