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Community Matters: Changing Perceptions on Homeless Through Photography

The wide smile of a boy excited and a tad nervous. The stare of amazement at a strange creature. This is the work of Amanda Woods.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The wide smile of a boy excited and a tad nervous.  The stare of amazement at a strange creature.  This is the work of 33-year-old Amanda Woods.

"My main goal for my photography is to break the stereotypes about homelessness," Woods said.

Looking at her pictures, you'd never know her subjects are homeless.

"You'd think they were just people at work or here with their families,"  Woods said.

Woods is a member VISTA.  It's a federally funded program that pays a small stipend to people who give their time living amongst the poor.  For the past five years, Woods has been a volunteer at Our House, a Little Rock shelter for the working homeless.

"Amanda has recently surpassed 10,000 hours of volunteer service," said Our House director Georgia Mjartan who created a VISTA position especially for Woods, allowing her to showcase her artistic talent to promote the non-profit.

"Amanda's photography is really unique," Mjartan said.

Mjartan says the pictures are great for fundraising, because they allow donors see humanity in the homeless.

"I don't want to be done yet," Woods said.  "If there wasn't a limit I'd keep doing it."

She's reached the end of her eligibility with VISTA but says she has no plans to stop changing minds through her photography.
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