Giving Back and local organizations

I know a LOT of us live in places where we don’t have the perfect weather part of the year.  I know a lot of us are not arctic explorers either…so what do we do in the winter time when it gets tougher to find subjects to photograph?  Sure you can shoot indoors, studio subjects, travel somewhere else, etc…  I want to propose another way to use your talents.  Get involved with a local organization and offer your services to help those who can sure use it.  I am a working photographer…that means people pay for my time to photograph.  Running a business is tough, and takes a lot of time.  I NEED to get paid for my time.  If I want to keep the lights on and keep eating that is.  (don’t even ask how I manage this site and afford it!…lol…its all for you!)

Anyways, despite all that I still find time to offer my time and service.  Especially now in the slower seasons due to winter weather.  I have a local organization I really connect with and shoot their video and photos for events regularly.  It is good to get out there and give service gladly and willingly.  I want to highlight two opportunities that are unique and I thought could definitely use a shout out.

First, I volunteer photographed a benefit concert the other night called XChange which was headed up by rock band “Band of Us.” (they are awesome, you should check them out too!)  All ticket sales and revenues that evening went to an organization called “Guitars Not Guns.”  This organization helps at-risk youth have an option.  A good option.  Music kept myself, and many people I know personally out of trouble.  It also brought people I know that were seriously walking a dangerous path out and back on track.  I’ve seen music heal people of addictions and other destructive behaviors.  I’ve seen music blossom children into amazing people.  I highly recommend you check them out.  Basically kids get into a lessons program to learn guitar.  If they pass the course they get to keep the instrument and continue taking another advanced course of study.  This is all volunteer and even the guitar is free to the child.  The turnout for the benefit concert was amazing and several classrooms were fully funded.  People really came out and showed support.  Guitars Not Guns has chapters in many different locations.  I highly recommend you check them out, donate something, or even get involved if your services can be used.

The second opportunity is one slightly closer to home for me.  And I will be totally transparent.  There is an organization called Donors Choose that helps teachers get projects or needs funded.  Teachers have a hard job, and in many places resources are SCARCE.  Unfortunately.  I mean…it is humbling to think that someone can pay me a crazy amount of money to make an image so they can sell their product over and over and make a lot of money.  But the people in charge of educating our children and underpaid, overworked, and don’t even get the tools they need in most cases to do their jobs and cater to the needs of their children.  I know how this is…my sister is an elementary school teacher.  And having 30 children that each have real needs is tough.  I know i’de never be able to do that work!  Anyways, she launched a campaign via Donors Choose to get her classroom some technology.  I know first hand they lack funds and resources.  Why?  Because her home is like an office supply store and our friends and family routinely help prepare materials for her classroom since the school can’t provide what is needed.  Her school has a majority of students from very underprivileged homes and the stories I hear are quite heavy.

If you have a company looking donate for tax reasons, or just to be locally conscious, or even if you do so yourself, consider checking out Donors Choose.  You can find teachers in your area that need support.  Anything helps.  Here is my sister’s campaign.

I have no incentive if you donate to her project, I get nothing from it.  She doesn’t either. (except for having some better tools to help her students)  All funds go through Donors Choose and a funded campaign gets the goods disbursed directly to the classroom.  She, or any other teacher you help out will definitely appreciate.

And there are SOOOO many other organizations within your very own community.  You don’t even have to go far to find organizations you can relate to, believe in, and connect with.  You would be surprised how useful your skills and time could be to these organizations.  So for 2018, I urge you to open up and use your skills to help someone.  Not just to impress the internet community on forums, or to sell images, or to hang images in galleries…but to make a difference in someone’s life because there is a need.  And if you can’t donate your time or skills…sometimes just donating the cost of a cup of coffee can go a long way.



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