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Free photography class for underserved Tampa Bay area kids helps them grow skills and self-esteem

Showing at Florida Museum of Photographic Arts
photography class Prodigy Cultural Arts Program
Posted at 4:13 AM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 06:47:46-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Rebecca Merilus loves to take pictures.

“It helps me express myself,” says Rebecca .

So when the 10-year-old Tampa girl, whose family is from Haiti, heard about a free photography class at the nearby University Area CDC, she asked her parents if she could go.

“They were surprised how many pictures I’ve been taking,” Rebecca says. “But I love it!”

The photography class is presented by the Prodigy Cultural Arts Program, a non-profit venture offering a wide range of art classes to underserved kids in the community.

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Prodigy Director Mike Trepper says the classes teach the arts but also encourage deeper behaviors to help at-risk kids navigate life.

“They’re learning about communication, anger management, problem solving and skills that will assist them in school and the community,” Trepper says.

Prodigy gets professional artists in the Tampa Bay area to teach the classes.

Pierre Dutertre is Rebecca’s photography teacher. He is helping her and all the aspiring shutterbugs put photos together for a gallery show starting this Saturday at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa.