BY JAMES HARPER
Photographer Duane Fernandez, Sr. is working to increase appreciation of the arts by helping to expose youth to photography as a hobby or profession.
Fernandez, who also takes photos for the Daytona Times, graduated with a photography degree from Daytona State University.
Along with capturing local events, Fernandez took numerous trips to Sanford during the George Zimmerman trial. His photographs from the coverage were featured in the Times and its sister newspaper, the Florida Courier.
Fernandez also is giving back to young people in the local community through his youth awareness program, Team Hardnotts University.
Works with local partners
Fernandez, who also has been a youth motivational speaker, created the Teaching Youth to Shoot with Cameras Not Guns Youth Awareness Program.
He began partnering with other local youth organizations and programs such as Halifax Health, Stewart-Marchman and other non-profits and youth sports teams.
His therapeutic photography program is located at the new Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural and Educational Center.
“It seemed like a great fit,” said Fernandez. “The goal of the center is to help expose our youth to more arts and culture-based activities and this program is designed to tap into the artistic expressions of our youth.”
Focus on teamwork
Fernandez says running the program at a center located in the heart of the community has been great for the visibility of his program and he expects to benefit significantly from it as participation and interest continues to grow.
Recently, Fernandez shared his program with a group of youth from the Living Faith Jaguars football program as part of their efforts to grow beyond the playing field.
During a recent session, participants were asked to discuss their definition of teamwork. They were then provided cameras and asked to capture an image that represents teamwork. Students later returned to discuss their images with the group.
“It was a great experience,” Fernandez said. “Whenever I have a group like that, I try to make sure the session topic relates to the goals of that particular group.’’
Fernandez is currently working on bringing several other youth groups into the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Cultural and Educational Center to participate in his program.
The youth program takes place Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the Scarlett-Golden center.
The program is funded by Fernandez, funds and donations received from various photography jobs as well as support from Daytona Beach Commissioner Patrick Henry. Henry provided the materials for Hernandez to start the program.
For more information on the program, visit www, HardnottsUniversity.com or contact Fernandez by email at Duane@hardnottsuniversity.com or call 386-756-9504.