First Exposures is a San Francisco-based, nationally recognized youth mentoring program that will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2013. Cited as a model program by the State of California, First Exposures strives to make a major long-term difference in the lives of high-need, underserved Bay Area youth by providing an accessible venue for them to enhance their self-confidence, develop their creativity, and gain a passion for learning. Each First Exposures student is matched one to one with a photographer who provides individualized guidance and serves as a volunteer mentor and positive role model. This mentor relationship helps students to develop artistic skills, forge connections, and fulfill their potential. Students use photography to express themselves visually and verbally as they learn science, math and literacy skills that promote academic success. During each session students create projects that are presented to the public, such as bus shelter art, billboard displays, published books, and gallery exhibitions. By sharing their work in public exhibitions and celebratory receptions, students gain pride in their accomplishments and develop strong connections with their communities that help them succeed in other areas of their lives.