Ode to the Monkey Bars   I picked this picture because I like monkey bars. I like swinging around and I'm pretty acrobatic. They're pretty great.  Don ~ Age 10

Ode to the Monkey Bars

I picked this picture because I like monkey bars. I like swinging around and I'm pretty acrobatic. They're pretty great. 

                                                ~ Don (Age 10)


"Snapshots of Joy" encourages youth to explore and find their voice artistically, orally, and through the written word. FOV purchases disposable cameras to distribute to children who are instructed to take pictures of things that make them happy. Once the film is developed, the children discuss and explore their perspective and motivations for taking the photographs. Finished photos are mounted alongside a personal reflection and an exhibit of these works is held for families, friends, and/or the public. The opportunity for self-discovery through self-expression lays a foundation for the children to develop confidence and the inner fortitude to choose grace, kindness, and compassion as they lead their lives.


The first night I had my camera I never thought I would take such a beautiful picture. I can never forget how much fun I had in this class and how much I learned. I can not wait to share my picture. I hope it inspires others. I hope it can make the world a brighter place like the beautiful sunset.

                          ~ Natalie (Grade 2)                                       


I picked this picture because the colors are so light. I like that the colors are light and beautiful. The waves crash and when they crash, they howl like a wolf. Everything in this picture fits like a little puzzle. I learned so much in this class and it inspires me.

~ Shelby (Grade 3)



My backyard is a place I know very well. It's been with me as long as I could talk, never mind write. This makes me happy because it's part of my home and my heart is proud to call that place home. In this place trees have fallen and grown, rocks have moved and sat, but no matter how it looks it's still my home.

                            ~ Chris (Grade 4)

In "Snapshots of Joy" kids learn to find their voice and express their inner feelings. The course helps them develop patience; they learn to wait and when their photographs don’t turn out as expected, they sort through disappointment. They look at what is in front of them, learning to see something joyful, positive, hopeful. Our belief is that this process develops adults who are kinder, more caring, and better able to withstand the impulsiveness and sense of urgency so prevalent in today’s world. They discover the joy in waiting, slowing down to uncover something deeper than what is visible on the surface or through a sound bite. Students also learn to listen respectfully to one another, no matter how different they might be, while the seed of compassion is planted.

As "Snapshots of Joy" increases its reach, evidence of its value grows. In Oriah’s words:


"Dear Ms. Ann, I thank you for letting me express my feelings through art. The reason I was crying is because not every person does this for us, takes their own time to do this for a school. I am very thankful and grateful that you came."


An independent source offers further confirmation of the transformative power of "Snapshots of Joy." Learn more about how photography can help cultivate mindfulness in elementary school classrooms in Greater Good Magazine.