November is over. Thanksgiving has passed along with the feasts, the toasts, and the 30 Days of Thanks posts that fill up our Facebook feed all month long. We have new memory cards and external hard drives thanks to Amazon's Black Friday deals, we've switched to our 'Holiday Editing Station' on Pandora, and we're rushing to get those final mini-sessions edited by that Christmas card deadline.
But with the quiet moments amidst the madness that comes at the holiday season, there's also a reminder that WE have so much to be thankful for. So we're starting to think about how we can use our talents to give back. Some of us have traditions or plans, but this year, I needed a few ideas. And if you do, too, it just so happens in my own research, I've come across some great organizations you may not know about.
PMDA Portraits of Love
Portraits of Love is an organization dedicated to sending portraits to military members serving overseas at a time when missing their families is particularly painful. This video does a great job of explaining what they do and how important it is. And for more information, be sure to visit their website, PMDAPortraitsOfLove.com
One Picture Saves A Life
One Picture Saves A Life teams up with The Animal Rescue Site and Petfinder Foundation (as well as photographer Seth Casteel who actually teaches a workshop for shelter workers on photographing shelter pets) to give animals in shelters a fighting chance at finding a new home. At a time when so many families are considering a pet as a holiday gift, perhaps your photograph could be the one to match them up with their perfect new four-legged family member!
There are lots of contacts for our area as well as across the country, and all you need to do to get involved is reach out to the contact listed in the location of your choice.
This video is actually about the recent One Picture Saves A Life workshop tour, but it still gives you a great idea of what the organization is all about.
Help Portrait is an awesome organization that spans the globe, pulling photographers together one day out of the year to commit their time and talents to photograph those less fortunate- as the video says, simply to give them a reason to smile.
Unfortunately Help Portrait is December 7 this year, and it's probably a little too late to jump into Help Portrait Denver for this year. But there's always next year, and the great thing is that this idea doesn't HAVE to only stand within an organization or just one day of the year! We all know families who truly don't have enough money to be able to afford luxury items like a professional photographer. So take the idea and run with it! And next year, be sure to hook up with Help Portrait Denver to be a part of the group!
These are just a few of the amazing organizations helping others during the holiday season and year round. And there are many, many other things you can do!
Think of a nonprofit or cause you respect, and see if there's a holiday fundraising event that needs your photographic talents. Or dedicate a portion of your December portrait sessions to the charity of your choice. Or get your children involved in a charity that has nothing to do with photography like Operation Christmas Child or Toys For Tots.
There are nursing homes to visit with gifts of stuffed animals and Christmas carols. There's a single mothers in line behind you who would be forever grateful if you paid for her groceries- or even her Starbucks! There are millions of things big and small we can do to give back to a world that is paying us to live our dreams.
So what will YOU be doing this holiday season? Let us know in the comments!