Students share their ‘Pictures of Hope’ at the Albuquerque Museum

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 8-year-old Arnelliana Washee wants to be the first in her family to go to college.

“My dream is to discover a new creature because I really want to be a scientist real bad,” Arnelliana said.

She took a special snapshot and hasn’t stopped taking pictures with the camera she received.

For her, it’s an escape from reality.

“I’ve experienced lots of fights that I always go to ever since second grade. I’ve been sorting them out, doing all kinds of things, trying to make people nice,” Arnelliana said.

Arnelliana’s photographs are now featured at the Albuquerque Museum. The Pictures of Hope program made all of this possible for her and 17 other students.

13-year-old Matthew Salazar is another. His photograph shows a boy having fun at the playground.

It’s a simple thing but, for Matthew, it’s everything.

“When I was growing up, I had a rough childhood. I had to do a lot of moving and got sick,” he explained.

During most of his childhood, Matthew spent time in a hospital bed, suffering from a rare illness.

“Enterovirus D68. It’s a really rare disease. I caught it when I was four and was the first kid in New Mexico to get it,” he said.

His photograph is a message to his classmates not to take their childhood for granted.

“Make the most of it because you might not get a second chance, you know? You might not be able to relive the experiences that we’ve had,” he said.

Linda Solomon founded Pictures of Hope. She’s traveled from city to city and given students this same opportunity.

“This is the Land of Enchantment, so this is the perfect place for children to share their hearts through photography,” Solomon said.

The money earned through bidding on the photographs will directly benefit the students.

“All the proceeds from the photographs will go right back to the kids. 100% will benefit the scholarship funds for the children we help,” Solomon explained.

To see life, no matter how tough it is, through a different lens. That is the hope.

“You always give someone a second chance,” Arnelliana said.