After The Bell: Photography classes for West Dallas students

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by CHRIS FLANAGAN

WFAA

Posted on February 28, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 28 at 3:22 PM

DALLAS-  With school budgets about to be slashed, many students likely won't have the opportunity to learn about photography in class.  But that is not stopping one group of teenagers from losing their focus.

Sara Sweny-Smith is helping teenagers learn the art of photography. 

"I was raise that in order to move forward you always have to give back, so what better way to give back to the kids to give back right now to teach them what I know and what I love," said Sweney-Smith.

Gabriel Martinez, 15, is focused.  Through an after school program at the Wesley Rankin Center, Martinez is able to get hands-on experience that he might not otherwise get in school. 

"I knew how to work cameras," said Martinez. "I wanted what more to do with the camera than just take a picture."

The Dallas skyline is the focus, but life is not always picture perfect. 

The neighborhood is one of the poorest areas in West Dallas, but Anica Leitch,  the site coordinator for Project Transformation,  said learning photography teaches the kids discipline, which they can carry with them forever. 

"But it's a life-lesson they need that will help them gain the character skills they need to graduate and go out into the workforce,"  said Leitch.

Thanks to Sara Sweny-Smith,  perhaps someday these teenagers will be taking pictures for a living.

Email: cflanagan@wfaa.com

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