Editor’s note: Debbi Robertson, a Help-Portrait volunteer in Fort Worth, Texas, shares their plans for Help-Portrait 2012 in this guest blog post. Have an idea for an event? Share it in the comments below.
Debbi Robertson and one of the Admin Team members (Carol Gray) on the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk in Hico, TX.
This year Help-Portrait Fort Worth, TX is serving the Christ’s Haven for Children located in Keller (a suburb of FW). It is a home for children ages 0-17 along with staff and House Families. The children are there for a multitude of reasons: parents cannot care for the children for whatever reason, possibly no longer living, etc. The home is EXTREMELY excited about our involvement!
We have an Admin Team of 7 and then several committees, each with a committee lead person.
Photographers/Assistants/Lightroom Techs/Behind the Scenes Photographers
Hair & Makeup
Food Catering and Servers (we are having lunch catered for the children, staff and all volunteers)
Arts & Crafts
Shepherds (those who will shepherd the children from one station to another)
Registration and Reception
Children’s After-Event Project
We currently have about 75 COMMITTED volunteers and more and more are joining us daily.
We are printing 3 photos each (“Thank you” to Walmart for their generous donation of the printing.) One will go to the child, another to send to a family member of the child (to be a reminder to those who may have forgotten their child or to bless those who desire to be with them, but for whatever reason cannot), and the third will be used as the Craft project. They will be decorating mats that will show “What Christ’s Haven means to them.” and then giving those to the home to display as they please.
McDonalds is graciously providing food and we will be joining the children and home-staff for lunch. A massage therapist is donating her time and bringing her chair to give 5-10 minute massages to the staff and House Family Parents while the photos and crafts are keeping the children occupied. We are even planning to have an After-Event Project to give the children a taste of photography and then show them what their gifts and talents have produced. We will bring point and shoot cameras to the event and allow the children to take photos of the photographers, then do something with those photos afterwards to give to the Home.) We want them to see their potential and quite possibly spark future photographers.
We are VERY excited and HONORED to be a part of such a wonderful Event. This is our first, but we are already making plans for next year!
Thank you Help-Portrait for this opportunity to serve and love on these children in a unique way!
Help-Portrait Founder Jeremy Cowart, Executive Director Kyle Chowning and volunteers from Help-Portrait gathered in a Times Square studio to provide hair & makeup and free portraits for several victims from Hurricane Sandy. Here’s a look at some photos from the day. Help us replicate this experience for 200+ families on Dec. 15 by helping fund the Help-Portrait Hurricane Sandy Campaign on Indiegogo now.
Help-Portrait volunteer Keely Kernan shares her photos and stories with us as we kick off the Help-Portrait Hurricane Sandy Campaign today to raise money to give FREE portraits and goods to 200+ families affected. Visit HPSandy.com to donate.
This year’s New York Help-Portrait event is special because we are working with families in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Many of these families have lost everything.
I have worked for an extended period of time with All Hands Volunteers, a disaster relief organization that provides assistance to survivors of natural disasters. While working on the ground in New York, I met David Sylvester, a resident in Staten Island. After the storm subsided he and his wife returned home only to be devastated that their home had been completely destroyed by a fire. A power line fell on it during the storm. They began to sort through their belongings in the debris. One of the items his wife found in the ashes was a frame that encased a photo of her father who had passed away.
Joanne Vidal and her family live only a few blocks from David. Her family did not evacuate because her parents did not want to leave; Instead, they stayed upstairs during the storm. The water rose to the top of the first floor leaving her and her family stranded above twelve feet of water. They moved to the attic. She described the situation by saying, “There were fires and houses exploding, the ashes were all coming this way. So now on top of not knowing if we were going to drown we also thought we were going to be set on fire. I don’t know how to swim but my kids know how to swim, I told them if anything happens to grab the baby and just swim until you can reach something and don’t look back for me.” The next day a rescue boat evacuated her and her family. See the video below for more of her story.
Many of the families we are working with during this year’s Help-Portrait event have not only lost everything they own but some have lost each other.
Photos are so important to us because they evoke memories, are a testament to our experiences, and capture the story of life unfolding. This year’s New York Help-Portrait event is about bringing families together in the wake of hurricane Sandy, creating a positive environment and capturing new memories.
Video and editing: Keely Kernan Song: David Cardall / Life and Death
Kathie Lee on The Today Show on NBC featured Help-Portrait on her “Favorite Things” segment (and blog – See the clip below. Our segment is at minute 10:00.), and showed photos from a Help-Portrait Sandy event last week. This kicks off our new Sandy Campaign fundraiser to provide portraits for 200+ more families on Dec. 15. Help us reach our goal and make a difference in the lives affected by the storm. Donate at HPSandy.com.
Committed Photography has chosen Help-Portrait as their cause of the month by helping to raise funds for Help-Portrait through fine art photography. Here’s how you can get involved. Semi-pro and pro photographers are encouraged to showcase their work on the Committed Photography website. Committed Photography markets, sells, manufactures and ships the purchases to its customers worldwide. The funds raised are then collected and delivered to Help-Portrait. It’s that simple. The photographer maintains all ownership and exclusivity of the work and determines the sell price for each photo. All that is required is for you to upload images to www.committedphotography.ca.
This is a great way to support Help-Portrait, and if you don’t have work to share, help us spread the word about this campaign. Here are some sample posts:
Photographer Twitter/Facebook Posts:
#togs – We are part of @CommittedPhoto Photography for Cause. Help us out by uploading a few #photos for us! http://bit.ly/thAceg
#HelpPortrait is @CommittedPhoto cause of the month. See how your photos can help – http://bit.ly/thAceg
Looking for #photographers interested in helping. Support us in #Photography for Cause http://bit.ly/thAceg
We need fine art #photos for the #HelpPortrait Photography for Cause collection – http://bit.ly/Utno3i
Customer Twitter/Facebook Posts:
Did you know you can help out #HelpPortrait through Photography for Cause? See all of the #art that is available for purchase -http://bit.ly/Utno3i
#HelpPortrait is part of @CommittedPhoto #Photography for Cause. See all of the great #art that supports us! http://bit.ly/Utno3i
People can come from lots of places. Here’s a list of where we’ve been most “successful” in serving large groups of people:
Recovery programs < this is very unique experience because so many of them deal with poor self image issues
The best advice I can give you…it’s best to partner with organizations and ministries that have built relationship with the people you want to reach. This connection means less work in gathering and returning pictures…especially if you’re working with homeless people. It also means that they know how to communicate with them. This will save you a ton of time and energy!
Remember: it’s all about finding ONE person, printing A picture and delivering it to them. Really, this is enough. Anything beyond this is icing on the cake.
When you engage with people who are normally avoided or don’t have a positive self image, you are giving them a gift that will mean more than you could ever imagine. Trust me. It’s a surprising experience, AND one of the most rewarding!
It’s no secret we encounter some incredible people and stories at Help-Portrait events around the world. What some don’t realize is that our volunteers are just as courageous and inspirational.
Meet Jaleel King. Jaleel, 36, brought Help-Portrait to the Inglis House in Philadelphia. It’s a home for economically disadvantaged people with disabilities. Jaleel lived at the Inglis House for a year.
“People don’t understand the power a photograph can bring,” he said. “Not so much ‘I was here,’ but, ‘I was happy. For this moment, I was happy.’ ”
At age 8, Jaleel was shot by a neighbor with a shotgun who was annoyed over the sound of fireworks. King was left paralyzed. Overcoming great odds, Jaleel became a photographer and now runs his own photography business, shooting weddings, portraits, and city scenes.
Through Help-Portrait, he’s able to give back in spite of the challenges he’s faced in life. Mike Allebach, a Help-Portrait Philly volunteer, met Jaleel the first year he volunteered with Help-Portrait three years ago. He shared Jaleel’s story with us, and we knew we had to share it with the rest of you. Check out this video to see his story, and this article, which talks about the Inglis House event.