Joe Ahlquist|Visual Journalist | Unaccompanied Youth

Unaccompanied Youth

Unaccompanied Youth was my senior capstone project at Winona State University. Over the course of my final semester at Winona State University two journalism students, another photojournalism student, and myself put together a transmedia project revolving around unaccompanied youth.

A person categorized as an unaccompanied youth is a youth that is not in physical custody of a parent or guardian. This project grew out of hearing of an unaccompanied youth living in the Winona area.

Essentially what we created with Unaccompanied Youth was a story world, where viewers had the opportunity to engage the story on a multitude of platforms (flyers, mobile, blog, and Facebook). Viewers were also encouraged to share their own story dealing with their own experience regarding being an unaccompanied youth, or knowing someone who is an unaccompanied youth.

Below is a series of my photos from the project documenting a part of the lives of two people. 

The first is Allie Campbell, who despite being 18 and technically an adult, was living in her parent's house alone while finishing high school as it was going through the process of foreclosure. 

Campbell chose to live on her own while finishing her senior year of high school in Winona after her dad moved to the Twin Cities for work and to be with his new significant other.

The second person is Bryce Christopherson, a 22-year-old living and working in Winona, who left his parents house when he was 17-years-old. Christopherson left his parents house after a series of disagreements with his parents, and hasn't moved back since--although his relationship has improved. 

More about this project can be seen at here

Allie

Unaccompanied Youth - Allie

Allie Campbell, 18, poses for a portrait Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at her home near Winona. Campbell's parents separated when she was 15, and she has been living alone since the summer of 2012 when her dad moved to the Twin Cities for work and to be with his girlfriend--she was 17.
Unaccompanied Youth - Allie

Allie Campbell, 18, cleans her kitchen Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at her home near Winona.

Unaccompanied Youth - Allie Allie Campbell, 18, works out Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at her home near Winona.

Unaccompanied Youth - Allie Allie Campbell, 18, works out Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at her home near Winona.

Allie|Unaccompanied Youth Allie Campbell, 18, cuts up an avocado for guacamole Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at her home near Winona.

Allie|Unaccompanied Youth Allie Campbell, 18, packs up some of her belongings Monday, April 1, 2013 at her home near Winona. Campbell was in the process of moving things from her home to a storage unit in town.

Allie|Unaccompanied Youth Allie Campbell, 18, does the dishes Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at her home near Winona.

Allie|Unaccompanied Youth Allie Campbell, 18, sorts papers while cleaning up Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at her home near Winona.

Allie | Unaccompanied Youth Allie Campbell, 18, stalks shelves at Hy-Vee in Winona Thursday, April 25, 2013. Campbell loves her job at Hy-Vee, she said.

Allie | Unaccompanied Youth Allie Campbell, 18, stalks shelves at Hy-Vee in Winona Thursday, April 25, 2013. Campbell had recently been promoted to checker at Hy-Vee, she said.

Allie | Unaccompanied Youth Allie Campbell, 18, checks her things before going on break at Hy-Vee in Winona Thursday, April 25, 2013.

Allie | Unaccompanied Youth Allie Campbell, 18, takes her break at Hy-Vee in Winona Thursday, April 25, 2013. Campbell said that if she gets a raise and promotion at Hy-Vee she will stay, but will look for jobs in Colorado. If she gets a job offer making more money in Colorado she will move, she said.

Bryce

Bryce|Unaccompanied Youth Bryce Christopherson, 22, poses for a portrait Monday, April 1, 2013, near his apartment in Winona. Christopherson has been living on his own since he was 17 and left his parent's house after a series of disagreements, he said.

Bryce|Unaccompanied Youth Bryce Christopherson, 22, looks out from the kitchen at Shydes and What not while working Thursday, April 18, 2013, in Winona.

Bryce|Unaccompanied Youth Bryce Christopherson, 22, smokes a cigarette outside of Shydes and What not while on break Thursday, April 18, 2013, in Winona.