Thankful Tuesday: Cleveland’s Portraits of Hope

It’s “Thankful Tuesday” and I’m beyond grateful for the support I have been receiving for this year’s Help-Portrait event! After sending out a letter seeking volunteers and support, I have been inundated with generous folks offering to give their time and skills to aid in making life just a little brighter for those less fortunate.

The bright smiles of youth were captured by Photographer Stephanie Briggs.
The bright smiles of youth were captured by Photographer Stephanie Briggs during Help-Portrait 2012.

If you’re not familiar with Help-Portrait let me give you a little background and I’m sure you will agree that this is a worthwhile cause! This project was founded in 2008 by celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart and Kyle Chowning a marketing guru (my words) as a way to utilize the skills expertise and tools of photographers, stylists, and makeup artists to give back to their communities.

So, how you ask do you do that? Well, you gather up some of the aforementioned folks and choose a local group – church, shelter etc. where you will find a segment of the population unfamiliar with participating in a photo shoot and you set up mini-studios and begin to capture the beauty within these individuals. The best part is – you present them with a professional photo right there on the spot!

Santa visits with children during the 2013 Portraits of Hope at the Greater Cleveland Salvation Army
Santa visits with children during the 2013 Portraits of Hope at the Greater Cleveland Salvation Army

Now to really understand and have your heartstrings tugged in many directions click here, to see an early video that explains this movement much better than I can. After viewing this video, I wanted to see if we could make magic in Cleveland by setting up a Help-Portrait event.

In December 2012, I gathered a group of angels to help pull off our first Help-Portrait event and we have been going strong each year. We partner with the local Salvation Army’s Zelma George Women’s Shelter and provide each of the participants with their very own professional photograph.

This year for the first time we have barbers, stylists and several makeup artists offering their support and I’m certain this will be the best Portraits of Hope we have held in Cleveland as part of Help-Portrait. If you would like to be a part of this fabulous event, please fill out the form below and we will contact you. I guarantee you won’t regret it! Giving brings so much joy!

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Looking for the light – Help-Portrait 2014

 

The smiles say it all. This is the light we seek to find this Saturday during the 3rd Annual Help-Portrait Cleveland event.
The smiles say it all. This is the light we seek to find this Saturday during the 3rd Annual Help-Portrait Cleveland event.

In three short days a few Cleveland area photographers will have the opportunity to look for the light as they participate in the 3rd Annual Help-Portrait Cleveland event.

This annual event is called Portraits of Hope and it is our desire to leave the approximately 20 families we will photograph with a sense of hope. A belief that despite their current situation things will soon turn around for them.

We are looking for that light or sparkle in the eyes of children and parents. The sparkle that says in this moment – Life is good. This is one of my favorite events of the year and I hope they can feel and experience the joy that we are attempting to share with them.

If you would like to share in this experience we will be at the Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland’s Harbor Light facility 1710 Prospect Ave. from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

1st Help-Portrait Cleveland a success!

I am so FULL right now! The joy and sense of accomplishment is overflowing. This past Saturday I had the pleasure of bringing a flash of hope to more than 75 individuals (representing about 20 families) through the Help-Portrait movement.

The bright smiles of youth were captured by Photographer Stephanie Briggs.
The bright smiles of youth were captured by Photographer Stephanie Briggs.

We gathered at the Cleveland Salvation Army’s Harbor Light facility in downtown Cleveland. Joined by five local photographers and a team of volunteers we set up mini-studios in the gymnasium and before we knew it, the eager subjects were packing in and patiently waiting for their turn to shine.

Unfortunately I did not get to experience a lot of the joy that went along with the process as I was buried behind a computer screen printing out photos. I have been reliving the experience vicariously through the words of my friends who gathered to assist with this day.

The accolades have been many, but the true determination of the success of the day is seen in the smiles and the shimmer of light that shines in the eyes of the recipients of these portraits.

Today and over the course of a few days I will share some of that beauty with you. Can’t wait until next year!

~Enjoy

Fantastic Friday to begin 5 on Friday!

Banner for 5 Friday

This has been a Fantastic Friday, and I’m so happy to join the ladies over at Reflection of You had decided to bring this link-up party back to life. They have added a new twist – no longer do you have to share just Facts, but you can share five of ANY little thing you want!

When I received the notice, my plan was to use this opportunity to catch up on some of the photos I have taken in recent weeks, but then my telephone starting ringing and I had to change things up a little.

So here are my 5 on Friday:

Help-Portrait

1. As I have mentioned here, and here I have been working on organizing a Help-Portrait event in Cleveland. Not a simple task I must say, but I decided to persevere and boy has it paid off! I now have three organizations really excited about taking part in this worthwhile project! The glee has to be tempered just a little because there are always challenges, but I am ever so grateful to the agencies that have shown some interest!

2. I have joined the annual Nanowrimo this year, and although I am behind schedule I am proud to say that I have officially completed 2200 words! That’s only a drop in the bucket, but that’s the furthest I have gotten in three years!

Nanowrimo badge

3. I am grateful to the City Mission, in particular, Laura’s Home for their interest in Help-Portrait Cleveland.

4. I am grateful to University Settlement for their interest in Help-Portrait Cleveland

5. I am also grateful to the Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland for their interest in Help-Portrait Cleveland.

So, have a great weekend, and as always,

~Enjoy!