Coming of Age in the Eye of Michael is a photo exhibit created by Bay County, Florida, students who are affected by the housing crisis created by Hurricane Michael, the Category 5 storm that destroyed much of Bay County. The number of homeless students more than tripled after the storm. Families are still living in temporary or substandard housing. Proceeds will be used to create Pop-Up Exhibits that will be taken around the state to share the students' stories.
The homeless student population in Bay County, FL, has more than tripled since Hurricane Michael came ashore there on October 10, 2018. The local NBC affiliate, WJHG-TV, , reported on August 20, 2019, that Bay District Schools reports an increase from averaging 1,500 kids a year in 2018 to more than 5,700 students living in temporary housing situations.
This Photo Voice project has helped 12 teens in Bay County, Florida, share their stories in their own voices, with their own pictures. With their photos, people see the stories that aren't usually covered by traditional media. The exhibit, "Coming of Age in the Eye of Michael," has 52 photographs. https://www.wjhg.com/content/news/Rosenwald-High-School-students-heal-through-pictures-of-Hurricane-Michael-destruction-566100471.html
The life journeys of our youth inform our future, and these teens can bring attention to the problems they face. Lived events shared in personal stories have the power to open hearts and minds, and inspire us to collective action. Initially, their photographs will be shared with the Bay County Community during a special event later this year, and subsequently with other coalitions and organizations via a pop-up exhibit.