Abstract: Adapting Photovoice to a Virtual Modality with Latinx Families during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned from Your Family, Your Neighborhood (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

Adapting Photovoice to a Virtual Modality with Latinx Families during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned from Your Family, Your Neighborhood

Sunday, January 16, 2022
Independence BR B, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Stephanie Lechuga-Peña, PhD, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Monica Gutierrez, MSW, Graduate Student, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Nidia Hernandez, MSW, Doctoral Student, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
David Becerra, PhD, Associate Professor, Arizona State University, Phoenix
Lizette Viramontes, MSW, School Social Worker, Arizona State University
Background and Purpose: Your Family, Your Neighborhood (YFYN) supports and strengthens bonds between parents and their children by building parents’ attachment to their child’s school and fostering neighborhood social cohesion to promote positive youth development and improve health and well-being among Latinx families (Lechuga-Peña & Brisson, 2018). Families enrolled in YFYN participate in this 12-week manualized curriculum culminating with a Photovoice project. Photovoice is a community-based participatory research method in which individuals, usually from marginalized communities, use photographs to document their lived experiences and communities (Wang & Burris, 2007). The participant-generated photographs and accompanying narratives illustrate the realities of the participant photographer’s experiences, which can lead to a call for change. YFYN’s Photovoice component is implemented as a group-based project focused on the family unit. Families explore their community as a collective and capture images of the challenges and strengths they encounter in their community, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This paper discusses the virtual adaptation of YFYN and modifications made to conduct the Photovoice project imbedded in YFYN, with bilingual Latinx families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: In spring 2021, YFYN was adapted to a virtual modality and sessions were conducted via Google Meet. Participants lived in a low-income Latinx neighborhood in the Southwest. Parent groups were conducted in Spanish and child groups were conducted in English. Parent participants (n=4) identified as Latinx, female, low-income, and had a high school diploma or less. Child participants (n=11) were primarily female and the average age was 9-years-old. Participants were recruited by the school’s two social workers, who were also lead facilitators for YFYN.

For the Photovoice component, families were instructed to take four photos of the strengths and four photos of the challenges in their community using their cell phones to capture photos. After taking their photos, parent participants forwarded them to the lead facilitator. Each family then selected two photos that represented the strengths and two photos that represented the challenges of living in their community. Once selected, the facilitator asked participants to describe their photos using the PHOTO technique (Catalani & Minkler, 2010). From the images selected, the families identified the overarching themes of strengths and challenges through a facilitated group process. Participants then created virtual power point presentations with their photos and narratives to present their findings to each other and stakeholders in their community.


Community challenges identified included dumping of trash in their alleys, unsafe spaces for their children to play, and dirty water flooding the neighborhood for the past nine years. Community strengths included the neighborhood park for the kids, plants and trees for shade during higher temperatures and their local church to gather together.

Conclusions and Implications:

This paper explores the process of adapting a community-based intervention with Latinx families to a virtual modality and conducting an embedded Photovoice component during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lessons learned and practice implications for a virtual intervention with families are discussed. Findings highlight the range of methodological modifications made to accommodate a virtual platform for Photovoice.