Homeless Teens Were Asked About Their Future Aspirations. Their Answers Were Telling.

The future can look remarkably different than a difficult past.

People experiencing homelessness don't want to be defined by their difficult situation. There is so much more to them than meets the eye. 

Hopefully, after you see The Portrait Project, you'll see people affected by homelessness very differently. 

The Portrait Project is a photo series that empowers homeless youth by helping them to envision their dreams through photography. The series was created by Art Start, an organization that uses art to empower and transform the lives of at-risk youth in New York City. 

Homeless youth were interviewed about their goals, dreams and aspirations. They were asked to imagine their futures without boundaries. With the help of amazing photographers and stylists, Art Start created eye-catching portraits of the futures they described.

Through other programs at Art Start, the staff witnessed firsthand how power and vision can be created through art. "We also witnessed very few platforms for Art Start youth to share their true selves, their ideas and dreams, as well as an absence of media giving the public a chance to know and see our kids as who they really are," Johanna De Los Santos, co-executive director at Art Start told A Plus.  

So, they wanted to give teens a chance to envision their futures and the public an opportunity to see homeless youth differently than ever before. 

"This Portrait Project, along with our other portrait projects that focus on homeless families, are all empowerment and platform focused so that the Art Start youth and families can share with the world how they want to be seen and not just be stigmatized," De Los Santos said. "The effects are powerful, from the inside out." 

While all the photos in this project are remarkably beautiful, the video Art Start created during the process is even better. In the video, these teens have a voice they never experienced before. Many of the kids say they've never told anyone about their dreams before. 

"No one has ever asked." 

You can check out both photos from the series and the video below:

1. Miguel Solano photographed by David Johnson

2. "Young Michael" photographed by Tom McKenzie

3. "Fleur" photographed by Natalie Brasington

4. Nadia photographed by Josh Dalsimer

5. Andy Laureano photographed by Ken Pao

6. Glenn photographed by Alina Gozin'a

7. Prince Akeem photographed by Adrien Broom

8. Nicola Photographed by Alina Gozin'a

9. Amber photographed by David Lang

Check out the Art Start video below:

(H/T: Huffington Post)

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