Lexi Helburn is putting her awesome talent to good use. The Huntington High School junior will be exhibiting her photographic art at the Cold Spring Harbor Library to benefit the Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society’s program that helps support Maya girls in Guatemala continue their education on the topics of sustainable farming, leadership and environmental conservation.
Ms. Helburn will exhibit her work on Wednesday, November 14 from 6:00-7:15 p.m. The photographs feature scenes highlighting the beauty of fall and of the wildlife in and around Long Island Sound. Photos will be available to take home for those contributing to the Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society’s program.
Huntington High School junior Lexi Helburn.
The teenager came to Huntington High School as a freshman from Westchester. She has been using her photographic skills to explore her new home area and to bring an appreciation for the beauty of nature to others.
“I’m very happy to hold this photography fundraiser to help the Maya girls get a good education and learn how to live a healthy lifestyle,” Ms. Helburn said. “That is very important to me and I believe it will benefit the girls and their whole community.”
An honors student and a member of the Blue Devil varsity girls’ tennis team, Ms. Helburn thoroughly enjoys traveling with her family on vacations. She has been fascinated with photography from a very young age, taking photos on a wide variety of subjects around her home, her neighborhood and when she travels.
Prior to her current high school photograph studies, Ms. Helburn didn’t have any technical training, learning the art of photography through trial and error. She has been praised for her artistic eye and keen sense of composition and use of light. She is interested in studying photography in college.
Ms. Helburn is studying photography with Huntington High School art teacher Pamela Piffard. “I find things that are interesting and want to observe them more by capturing the subject in a creative way,” the junior said.
The teenager has adapted to her new surrounding and new school. “It’s different, but I’ve adjusted nicely and think it’s a good high school with lots of friendly people,” Ms. Helburn said.
Her work with the Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society has seen her working to help others in a faraway land. For most young women in the rural villages of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, education beyond the sixth grade is out of reach. The drop-out rate for girls moving from sixth to seventh grade in these villages is higher than 75 percent. Faced with limited resources, many parents send only their sons away to school.
Ms. Helburn is helping the Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society assist Community Cloud Forest Conservation, a non-profit organization in Guatemala that provides scholarships for the Mayan young women to continue education through the Women in Agroecology Leadership for Conservation program.
Students learn about nutrition, cooking, health and hygiene, family planning, career and educational options, self-esteem and confidence building and a large array of other life-skills. The idea is to equip each participant for a productive, healthy and happy life as well as enabling her to be an agent of positive change in her family, community and village.
The thrust of the initiative is leadership formation. The program seeks to equip young women to be leaders in agroecology and conservation. These young women are expected to help transform the agricultural practices of their villages by being empowered and equipped to lead. The program also helps them stay in school and fulfill their dream of an education.