“Don’t wait for people to be kind. Show them how.” — Author Unknown
Some of you may recall before the holidays I posted that I was participating in the “giving is awesome” effort that hundreds of other photographers across the country were doing as a way of giving back to those in need. I was excited to be able to help others through my photography. After receiving a few nominations I found the nomination made by one of my former students, Wendy Johnson, to be the most moving. Wendy told me of a neighbor she had that lost her job in 2008. Her neighbor, Yvette English, is a single mother of two children and has struggled to make ends meet and provide for her children after losing a six figure income. Though Wendy’s nomination was moving I must admit reading an article the Orlando Sentinel wrote after reporters interviewed Yvette last fall only moved me more.
During the holiday break I made contact with Yvette and we began to plan a photoshoot with her and the kids. Both of our schedules have been so demanding that we had to put off the session until last week. We decided to meet at one of their favorite locations, the dog park Pawmosa in Casselberry, so that their dog Polo could join us for a few photos. Yvette mentioned to me that she hadn’t taken photos of her with the kids since they were much younger so I was happy to be able to help capture a few candid moments with her, the kids, and their dog Polo.
I don’t get to photograph preteens and teens as often as babies and toddlers so it was a new challenge. I found myself a few times wishing I could play “peek-a-boo” like I do with the little ones to illicit more genuine smiles. They were both so awesome though and I enjoyed getting to capture a few moments with them for Yvette. As I did I began to think of how much they’ve been affected by all that has happened. Something tells me they’ll both grow that much stronger through the adversity their family has faced recently.
Yvette mentioned that not much has changed since the Orlando Sentinel article in November. She continues to seek employment with medical technology companies and has a couple interviews coming up. The last two years she’s struggled to provide for her children, has faced foreclosure, is in the midst of the final stages of a divorce and as she does she too continues to find it in herself to give back and volunteer. When we met last week that topic came up and we both agreed that by giving of ourselves and helping others we not only felt better because we were able to help others who needed us but it helped take our minds off of all our own challenges. As challenging as things have been for her I admired seeing how much determination she has had and how she refuses to be defeated by all the challanges she’s faced.
Yvette I hope you and your family enjoy the moments I captured last week. It was a pleasure finally getting to meet you and the kids. Best wishes to you and your family…I have faith that better days are ahead. Thank you for reminding me that giving IS awesome.