Category: Charity

Charity – Food For Kids & Blue Martini Ball

Orange County Family Portrait Photographers - BP 95 (10)Rebecca and I had the honor & privilege to again support a terrific charity organization, Food for Kids, which is serving families in the Long Beach area. You may recall that in September we took a group photo for the initial/founding Team 100 members. This weekend Rebecca and I proudly supported their inaugural Blue Martini Ball held at the Long Beach Yacht Club yesterday. Jim Grubbs, the Director of Development for the South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach chapter of The Volunteer Center was the driving force behind the Blue Martini Ball. That’s a portrait of Jim with his lovely wife. We were able to capture this shot between phone calls (note the cell phone in his right hand) and just before Jim got enmeshed in the evenings activities.

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Food For Kids and Team 100 members deliver non-perishable food to Title One elementary school children and disadvantaged families identified by the school. The food is delivered on Fridays because Title One students often arrive at school on Monday morning without adequate nourishment. This problem impacts students ability to learn and can lead to a lack of self esteem. Team 100 members assemble and deliver shopping bags filled with non-perishable food for the family and children for the weekend.

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Our first assignment was to capture another group photo. It’s clear that not all Team 100 members made it to the group photo but, they certainly all supported the evenings activities.

After taking the group photo we returned to the portrait area we had set up just outside the entrance to the event. Guests began streaming in by 8 PM and kept us busy with portraits until nearly 11 PM.

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The majority of the photos were couples but we got several requests for group photos – they had their own dynamic as you can see below.

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I snuck inside the event for a short time to capture some of the fun going on. There were two bands – this group was playing inside and had its own dance floor.

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But there was plenty of fun going on around the outdoor pool deck. The ladies congregated and enjoyed socializing and hamming it up for the camera.

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Did I mention the second band playing on the pool deck. This band had moves and so did the guests enjoying the music.

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There were hundreds of couples enjoying the band and the beautiful evening inclulding a Marilyn Monroe look alike and a young man serving our country with honor.

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On the way back to the portrait area I took a few shots of folks enjoying the games of chance.

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There were numerous other fundraising events (e.g. silent auction) but Ihad to get back to help with the final portraits.

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One set of couples clearly had some modeling experience and they showed it off in these photos.

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We were busy the entire night but it was great fun and raised money for a great organization. We encourage everyone to visit the Food For Kids website and decide what you can do to help this worthy organization. Food for Kids – what a great cause to be a part of. Join now and be sure to “friend” their Facebook page.

Stay tuned for our next charity event. In the meantime, check back for our weekly Tuesday Photo Tips. Better yet – be updated automatically when we post charity events, Road Trips, Family Happenings or Photo Tips by “friending” our Facebook site.

You may also want to browse the resource articles on our site covering basic and more advanced photography topics. There are also tips covering topics such as preparing for family or infant/child portrait sessions. If you would like a topic covered just jot it down in a comment or send us a note.

Family Happenings – Big Brothers XMAS event

Christmas is just around the corner – three weeks and counting. The holiday parties started off with a fun event sponsored by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County. Yahir, my “little”, and I attended after signing the requisite release of liability.

Why would a release of liability be involved in a non-alcoholic XMAS event? Because the event was held at  Sky High Sports – “The Trampoline Place” in Costa Mesa. Now sky high may be over stating it but some folks did get quite a bit of air.

The event started off with the sign in ceremonies. Waivers were checked, wrist bands were fastened and everyone gathered for the opening of the trampolines.

While we were waiting I prodded Yahir to sit with Santa. I don’t know why children can talk about what they want for XMAS for hours on end at home but come up speechless in Santa’s lap – one of life’s small mysteries.

Yahir had slept in this AM so we started the event with a healthy breakfast – corn dog and strawberry-flavored crushed ice drink.

Yahir was a bit tentative at first. I coaxed him into practicing on the Youth Pad.

Things went well with only a few bumps and spills. Fortunately there was no one available to document my travails on the trampoline.

Other kids started to catch on as well. I wasn’t the only Big that tried to join the fun on the Youth Pad.

But bouncing up and down on a trampoline can lose its appeal after a short time. Fortunately for everyone involved there were other options. The favorite, by far, was the Foam Pit. Yahir had a blast jumping from the trampoline into the pit.

Other “littles” joined in the fun.

There were quite a few brave “bigs” that decided to try their hands at it.

With some having more style than others.

The ladies joined in the fun as well.

This brave young woman was one of the best at the forward flip. Unfortunately she decided to try a back flip and scared everyone when she hit her head on the trampoline frame. To her credit, she got up – gathered herself – and went right back at it with another stylish forward flip.

It was a great start to the XMAS party season. Yahir and I had a great time together, again. He’s such a terrific kid. We headed to the homestead after the party so that Yahir and Benjamin could spend hours playing Mario Bros. video games. After Rebecca fed the crew we took Yahir home after a full day of holiday fun.

We hope your holiday preparations are in full swing and going well. While we both enjoy XMAS and the family events that surround it we’re convinced the holidays are happening sooner each year. For now we’ll just go on enjoying each and every one of them. This year’s will be special – we will celebrate with two new grandchildren.

Charity – Food for Kids

I had the honor & privilege to support a terrific charity – Food for Kids. This worthy organization, piloted by The Volunteer Center, delivers non-perishable food to Title One elementary school children.  The food is delivered to disadvantaged families identified by the school.

Title One students often arrive at school on Monday morning without adequate nourishment. This hinders their ability to learn and will often lead to poor self esteem. Volunteer Center members assemble and deliver shopping bags filled with ten items of non-perishable food to the students’ family for the weekend.

Jim Grubbs, Director of Development for the local chapter of The Volunteer Center, is working to expand the Food for Kids program to Long Beach by servicing International Elementary school. Jim convened the first meeting of Team 100 yesterday and I had the privilege of taking the group photo below.

A friend, Shirlynn, had alerted me to this opportunity. It was my pleasure to help out doing what I love to do for such a worthy cause. Plus it represented a professional challenge. I had never worked with such a large group. The logistics were daunting and we only had a short time to prepare.

The inaugural meeting of Team 100 was held at the Long Beach Yacht Club. Team 100 members were to arrive at 7 PM. Shirlynn and I arrived at 6 PM planning to take set up lights for a group photo in one of the ball rooms. Unfortunately that wasn’t in the cards so we rolled the dice and began a mad rush to beat the looming sunset. We found a very nice outdoor location near the pool. But the light was fading.  Members would only just begin to arrive at 7:00 – sunset occurred at 6:58.

Here’s the spot we chose – Shirlynn is working the phone to “grease the skids” when the members arrive. In the meantime I took the opportunity to photograph some of the youth activities going on which included water polo coaching and some spontaneous kid fun.

At 7:10 PM Jim pulled together the members that had arrived and quickly escorted them to the pool area. We took this photo at 7:14. I was amazed and thrilled – we went from an empty patio to a group of 53 volunteers in just over four minutes.

What a great group of guys. Jim is third from the right in the first row. He’s wearing a big smile and colorful shirt. If you’d like to help you can contact Jim directly at (310) 212-5009 or email him at development@volctr-sobay.org.

I hope to have the opportunity to work with this group in the future. For now I encourage everyone to visit their site and decide what you can do to help. The Volunteer Center is a “one-stop solution for individuals, nonprofit organizations, schools and businesses to enhance their community impact through service.” It includes a list of other charitable ventures including Operation Teddy Bear, Adopt-A-Family and Volunteer Recruitment which refers volunteers to 600+ nonprofit agencies in 43 cities. Check it out and see what best fits for you.

Food for Kids – what a great cause to be a part of. Join now and be sure to “friend” their Facebook page.

Help Portrait Is Coming Soon

Preparations are starting for the third year of Help Portrait, a world-wide movement of photographers using their time, equipment and expertise to give back to those who are less fortunate. If you’d like to get more information or are interested in participating in this year’s event go to the Help Portrait Community site. This started as a world-wide movement in 2009 and has grown exponentially. It will be amazing to watch as the # of groups and the locations served grow over the next couple of months.

Rebecca and I have enjoyed this charity event each of the first two years and we plan to do the same this year. Here’s a group photo of the photographers and stylists that volunteered for the inaugural  event in 2009. The event is scheduled for December 10, 2011. If you’re unfamiliar with the Help Portrait Community we encourage you to check it out the website. If you can’t find a group to connect with on the HP Community site hop over to the HP Facebook page and see if there is anyone from your area posting there.

For 2011 we will once again be working with the Orange County Help Portrait group taking family portraits at the Orange County Rescue Mission. This is where we worked the innagural event back in 2009. We’ll be happy to return.

Wendy Reuter is coordinating the event again this year. She did a marvelous job last year. That’s Wendy working the computer with a big smile. If you are a photographer or hair/makeup specialist we can certainly use your help. Your effort will be rewarded – it’s always such an exhilirating event. You will meet extraordinary families that are fighting to work their way through tough times. The free portraits we provide are always appreciated. It’s just a great day for everone involved – come and join us.

On Sunday September 18 we are meeting in Tustin at The Wedding Pantry (138 Main Street) at 3pm. We will have a short informational/organizational meeting. If you haven’t already, please RSVP for this event either on Facebook or by emailing Wendy at wendyrueter@yahoo.com. Also we are gathering a list of volunteers. If you want to be included please fill out our volunteer form. This will ensure that you receive important event information as the date approaches.

Here are a few examples of the family portraits we’ve provided. We hope you can join the Help Portrait Community.