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The Mission Behind the Omni Center

Updated: Jun 26

At NWYS, we have observed two issues within the Whatcom community. Firstly, Bellingham lacks engagement services for BIPOC youth outside of work, school, or home that foster healing, passion, career advancement, and alternative life-affirming care. Secondly, diversion services and programs often target individuals at later stages in the criminal legal system, missing crucial opportunities for early intervention.

To address these challenges, the Omni Center offers art-based radical services to BIPOC youth, focusing on developing job and life skills essential for resume building, college applications, and cultural affirmation and exploration. By advocating for community care over self-care and emphasizing youth centering and empowerment, the Omni Center practices proactive diversion. This approach places resources back in the hands of youth, creating early pathways to economic mobility. The Omni Center is an intentional movement, responding to history rather than merely reacting to it.

The Omni Center's Photojournalism Course

The Omni Center holds a photography studio complete with an editing room. The Photojournalism Course is a three-month cohort designed to use documentary photography and journalism as catalysts for healing and processing among Black, Indigenous, and Brown (BIB) young people. Participants in this course gain invaluable skills that are transferable to resume building, job applications, and college applications. Upon completion, they receive a $3,000 stipend, along with letters of recommendation and references as needed. Their achievements are recognized with high school and/or college credit, and they are provided with employment opportunities at Children of the Setting Sun Productions.

Over the course of three months, participants plan, create, edit, curate, and present a photo gallery exhibit inspired by projects like "Humans of New York." Their capstone project culminates in a full gallery show, where they present their body of work to the public.

At the end of the course, the pieces created by participants will become part of a traveling art museum, showcasing their work in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Snohomish County, and King County. This traveling exhibit ensures that the young artists' work reaches a broad audience, providing them with exposure and recognition for their efforts.

Join Us

The Omni Center is dedicated to fostering a supportive and empowering environment for BIPOC youth. We aim to build a brighter, more equitable future by offering opportunities for artistic expression, skill development, and community engagement. If you are passionate about storytelling through photography and meet the prerequisites—basic knowledge and experience with digital photography, an interest in pursuing a career or college path in journalism or photography, and identification as Black, Indigenous, or Brown—we encourage you to apply for our Photojournalism Course.


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