At a foster home in San Carlos de Bar­iloche, Argentina, where chil­dren were placed to recover from abuse or simply to gain some sta­bility in their trou­bled lives, Anna Linck, a North­eastern stu­dent on co-​​op, infused hope and self-​​esteem.

After putting cam­eras in the hands of her young charges and asking them to focus the lens on some ele­ment of their lives, she encour­aged the chil­dren to write about their per­sonal expe­ri­ences for a book project.

Last spring, at the end of her co-​​op as an Eng­lish instructor, Linck and the chil­dren had enough photos and words to fill the pages of “La Com­mu­nidad De La CHacra,” a 64-​​page Spanish alphabet book.

By cre­ating the book, the chil­dren had a chance to describe their com­mu­nity and daily lives, and the project helped them gain a sense of pride and own­er­ship in some­thing they’ve cre­ated,” says Linck, who grad­u­ates from the Uni­ver­sity this month.

The human ser­vices and inter­na­tional affairs major got the idea for the project from the work of well-​​known pho­tog­ra­pher Wendy Ewald, who pio­neered the Lit­eracy through Pho­tog­raphy project. An admirer of Ewald’s methods, Linck says she exchanged an e-​​mail with the pho­tog­ra­pher first, and then cre­ated a cur­riculum with the help of a former pho­tog­raphy instructor at another university.

It took me a few months to plan the classes. Part of the cur­riculum involved having them take their own por­traits, and do some writing before and after they took the pic­tures,” she says.

This was to facil­i­tate writing about the self, family, com­mu­nity and their dreams.”

She knows the book by heart.

One of her favorite entries, found on page 35, is by a 3-​​year-​​old who defines what it means to cry. On the facing page across from a black and white close-​​up of the child, is the sen­tence, “To be sad for some­thing that has hap­pened to you in the day or for some­thing told to you and had put you in a bad mood.”

Smiling as she thumbs pages, Linck says the book project and her other expe­ri­ences on the co-​​op inspired her to pursue a grad­uate pro­gram in education.

I’m applying to pro­grams that inte­grate arts in the cur­riculum, because I think it’s a really effec­tive teaching method that reaches kids by being hands on.”

The Min­nesota native, who first dis­cov­ered Argentina on a six-​​month study abroad in 2008, credits the Uni­ver­sity for an inter­na­tional expe­ri­ence that put her on a path to a mean­ingful career.

This was such a rewarding expe­ri­ence. Seeing the chil­dren through the whole process was amazing,” she says. “It was some­thing we all learned from, together.”