Help-Portrait events happen across the globe. And sometimes photographers and volunteers combine Help-Portrait with other outreaches. Such is the case with photographer Michael Thelen of Bridgeport, CT. “I went to the Dominican Republic to distribute toys to needy children,” he said. “Once I was there, I remembered my affiliation with Help-Portrait and decided to photograph families and children for the community. With the Help-Portrait mission in focus I began, what would be, my favorite visit to the Dominican Republic interior.

“The children there are, by American standards, impoverished. They seemed drawn to the camera, and although my spoken Spanish isn’t what it could be, I did understand when they asked if they could see their picture.”

“I realized how much I have even if it’s only around my neck. I realized how easy it is to make a smile and to smile back.”

“I also did a featured shoot for a local Dominican woman that distributes hundreds of toys (all paid for out of her own pocket) to children in the surrounding villages where she grew up. She lives in NY, but makes an annual visit to distribute the toys. She has a boutique that I did photographs for to give back to her for all she has done for her community.”

See all the photos at under the Galleries tab on the top of the page.

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After three years, the Help-Portrait community of 25,000+ photographers, in 56 countries, at over 700 events, have given away nearly 170,000 portraits to those who are less fortunate. Help us give more this season by giving $10 for a $20 corporate-matched donation to your local Help-Portrait event.

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