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inspire me

March 16, 2010

Amy Wenzel, an amazing photographer, is giving away a seat at one of her workshops via I *heart* faces.  To say that I’d love to go is the understatement of the year.  Her photos are gorgeous and inspiring, and it would be an amazing way to continue my little photography journey.  To enter the contest, I have to “Tell how you love, serve or inspire other people in your life, and what attending the workshop might mean for your photography journey.”  And I thought I’d throw in some pictures, because every blog post needs pictures.

So, I’ve been thinking (for weeks).  How do I serve others?  How could I better serve others?
I think that “serving others” means using your time and talents to make someone else’s life better.  Whether it’s a kiss to a lonely old lady in line at the grocery store (true story; I was 2!), helping a busy mom carry packages out to her car, or smiling at a stranger – any little daily bit of cheer counts.  One of my favorite little ways to help is asking strangers if they want me to take their picture (using their camera) when I’m on vacation.  Jason rolls his eyes every. single. time I do this, but who doesn’t want pictures of themselves on vacation!?

Beyond that, it’s always been really important to me to serve others in more concrete ways.  One of the most challenging AND rewarding experiences of the past year has been teaching fun after-school science lessons to low-income students in the local inner city elementary schools.  At best, I’ve had large groups of kids who just want to chat with each other while I’m there.  At worst, I’ve had two students start a fist-fight in class.  Harnessing the energy of 25 K-5 students who have just spent the day sitting in school is challenging, exhausting, and sometimes frustrating.  BUT, after almost every class, at least one student comes over to give me a hug and say thank you!  It’s touching, really touching, to look at the smiles and happy eyes of the students and know that they appreciated my time there.  And that’s the minute that my time there, no matter how chaotic and stressful, really becomes special.  Because I could stand up on my soapbox and tell you how important I think it is for young children – and especially girls – to have positive experiences with science.  But to be able to be the one to provide it for them?  Warms my heart by about a million degrees.
And, actually, this experience has made me want to reach out and help in other ways, too.  I’m going to volunteer at a homeless shelter during summer break.  I’ve read about amazing programs that provide homeless children with cameras and a quick photography lesson and let them shoot pictures of their lives.  My aunt told me about a program where photographers capture photos of homeless children and their loved ones and then provide them with their very own photo album.  Providing cameras would give the kids a healthy outlet to share their voice – and giving them pictures of themselves and their loved ones would provide them with memories and identity (for example, see here).  I think this would be an amazing way to serve others while sharing my passion for photography – a passion that would undoubtedly be fueled by attendance at Amy’s workshop.  That, plus the skills that I would gain could really make a difference not only in my own photography, but in the ways that I could continue to serve others.

How do you serve others?
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One Comment leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    March 16, 2010 11:30 pm

    You left out coaching kids on the ski hill! I remember the time you brought a human brain to Trevor’s class to show the 4th graders what brains looked like and to do some crazy eye hand coordination experiments. You always were willing to volunteer…didn’t you teach Safety Town too? And VBS? I am sure I am not recalling everything…you always loved doing things with kids…babysitting, setting up a “summer fun camp” at our house, etc. The neighbors still bring it up from time to time! Especially the mom of Kendall, the special needs girl you babysat for.

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