Cleveland Photographers, Greater Cleveland Salvation Army team up to give “Portraits of Hope” to area families

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

This December 6th, photographers around the world will gather for the sixth annual Help-Portrait event. In 2009, Help-Portrait began as an idea that transformed into a movement in just three months. The idea behind Help-Portrait is simple: 1. Find someone in need 2. Take their portrait 3. Print their portrait and 4.Deliver their portrait.

Local writer and photographer Shelley M. Shockley has brought the movement to Cleveland for the last three years, and once again is partnering with the Greater Cleveland Salvation Army’s Zelma George Family Emergency Shelter to provide portraits to some of Cleveland’s transitional families.

“Help-Portrait is a picture perfect opportunity to offer families living in our shelter a beautiful memento that will last a lifetime. Hopefully it will make them feel special and take their minds off of their worries even if it’s just for a little while. We feel blessed to have been asked to participate.” said Major Lurlene-Kay M. Johnson, Divisional Secretary of The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland.

The enthusiasm from site participants is exactly what Shockley was hoping for when she began organizing this effort, “When I learned of this movement and saw some of the photos from other parts of the world I wanted to bring that same sense of joy to the Cleveland community.”

This Saturday, Shockley and a team of volunteers will gather at Cleveland’s Harbor Light facility, 1710 Prospect Ave. and set up “mini-studios” to bring the Help-Portrait movement to Cleveland. The team of volunteers includes local photographers, graphic designers and other volunteers.

About Help-Portrait:
Celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart formed Help-Portrait, a non-profit organization, in 2009 as he contemplated using his skills and expertise to give back to those who may not have the opportunity for a professional photo. The idea is that a photographer has the unique ability to help someone smile, laugh and return their dignity. It is a movement, a shift in photography.
From Bangalore, India to Ghana, Africa, the language of Help-Portrait crosses cultural and socioeconomic barriers. Even Hollywood has gotten in the act as A-list actors Zachary Levi and Yvette Nicole Brown volunteered at a Help-Portrait event in Los Angeles.

About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States. For more information, go to

Working through Life’s Frustrations

Have you ever had a day when it seemed that everything you touched fell apart? I’m sure you have – well I’ve been having one of those days for that last two days!

Unwilling to let the chaos that has become my life take over I continue to push forward and try to make sense out of the stumbling blocks placed in front of me. Today was moving along smoothly when one obstacle after the other was thrown into my path, but I stood strong and said I would not let them defeat or define my day!

Affirmations like that don’t always work, but today I received the perfect gift to aid me in finding solace while cloaked in chaos. This wonderful tea set, came complete with tea and rock sugar.

A tea lovers delight
My new Tea Pot…friendships are wonderful!

This gift was as much a symbol of friendship as it was a sign to take my current work “tea pot” home for a good scrubbing. Now this doesn’t mean it never gets washed it just means that it has seen A Lot of black tea and it shows!

Tea Lab
James the Tea Technician prepares an afternoon beverage for yours truly.

The barriers and obstacles seeking to upend my spirits apparently weren’t aware of the team of supporters I have amassed, because not thirty minutes after receiving the wonderful gift shown above I received a call about a new shop aptly called “Tea Lab” where I can get all of the best tea ware along with delicious flavors.

So there you have it, the perfect way to work through life’s frustration – a nice cup of tea!

**Note this was written on Monday and as a sign of how frightful this week has been – I just got around to posting today!