A group of seven young women were the focus of a photo shoot on Thursday as part of a two year project to develop hidden talents and break down barriers to success for aboriginal women.

“24 months ago I was kind of not really good in school, hanging out with the wrong crowd, not going into positive things that I really wanted to do,” said 19-year-old Jayna Moise. “

[The program] has made me realize there is much, much more out there.”

The project, dubbed, “Building Leaders in Women of Tomorrow,” has spent two years working with the young women to address issues like poverty and violence as well as provide training and mentorship.

The training involves expression through everything from art and culture to community involvement.

“It’s about identifying the obstacles and the barriers that young aboriginal women face in our community,” said program director Jana Gauthier. “And really, just overcoming those barriers and issues and rising up in empowerment.”

The project, funded by Status of Women Canada, is in the last few months of its first round.

Part of the two-year project coming to an end was a photo shoot with professional photographer Ian McCausland on Thursday.

“I hope when they look at these photos they see themselves as the leaders that we all know they have the potential of becoming,” said McCausland, who volunteered his time for the shoot.

Moise is now considering a program in culinary arts and wants to get her peers thinking about what they can do in the future.

“[There] is much more out there that a woman can do too,” she said.

Moise’s photo and a self-written bio will be on display with six others at Wahbung Abinoonjiiag in October, when the girls graduate from the program.