Browsing Tag

Fundraiser

Cheers for Children

I have a really awesome job. Really. I love it for a lot of reasons - capturing moments, documenting emotion – and one of them is the fact that I never know where it’s going to take me next. Literally. Last Saturday, I woke up and had a garage sale at my house in the morning… and later that afternoon, I traded my flip-flops for my glamorous black “shooting shoes” (ugly yet functional) and found myself walking through the ballroom at the W Hotel in Buckhead, prepping to shoot an event I’d long been looking forward to: the Cheers for Children Ball, put on by the Friends Junior Committee to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. See? I also get to meet incredible people and be involved in the best events and goings-on around Atlanta. Awesome job indeed.

There are a lot (and by a lot, I mean over thirty) organizations under the Friends umbrella who host events and fundraisers to benefit CHOA. And that’s amazing. But Friends Junior Committee is unique in that it’s specifically dedicated to and comprised of young professionals in their twenties and thirties, a fact apparent when I admired how wonderful a sight it was to see young people, people that check the same age demographic box at the DMV that I do, organized together to throw a party for such an important cause as a children’s hospital. And, naturally, a bunch of twenty- and thirty-somethings are going to know how to throw a party.

I walked up and down the silent auction tables, shooting and reading, and I decided something: when you’re getting donations for your charity’s auction from the best spots in Atlanta – and beyond: everything from VIP tickets to the Daily Show with Jon Stewart to no-holds-barred luxury vacations to, um, a painting by Salvador Dali(!) – you know it’s going to be a pretty amazing auction. The dancing, the food, the red Moscato… well. It was quite a party, and for one of the single best causes I know. Tremendous. Also, the food and desserts were sublime. I brought a gaggle of Interns with me (Andrew, Christine, and Christina) who can attest to that. (They also rocked my face off with their hard work. To my own little team of awesomeness: thank you, guys!) 

I’m a mom- to two young children, specifically. And we’re lucky. Incredibly lucky and so very grateful that our children are healthy, happy, and here… because we should all remind ourselves more often that there’s nothing more important than having our children be those three things. When they struggle, and it doesn’t just come easy, we fight for our children- to have a life free of pain or struggles of their own, to walk or run or speak or kick a soccer ball or to become more independent. We fight for them to have a better life. Or a chance at life. And the greatest part of all is that you don’t even have to be a parent to help give a child a chance. So why not go do something good for someone who can’t ever repay you? You can volunteer. Read books. Bring flowers. Write letters. Help with homework. Donate toys. Rock babies. Give money. Go check out both CHOA and the Friends Junior Committee to see exactly how you can help too.

Thank you to Julianna, Kathy, Audrey, and Cristina for the honor of being involved in something as important as what you’re doing for the children and families at CHOA. You. Are. Awesome.

“I brought children into this dark world because it needed the light that only a child can bring.”

Prom Night

– Posted by Krista

Once upon a time, I didn’t like high school. I got good grades and managed to avoid the shame of riding the bus once my friends and I could drive, but mostly, high school sucked. I couldn’t wait to break out and move on, away from the math classes I loathed and the mean girls that teased me. (And now, the lessons of adulthood: I really don’t ever need to differentiate functions or find the points of tangency in a right triangle, and while some of those mean girls have changed, some haven’t changed a bit.)

But what I did like about high school- loved, in fact, more than just about anything else but graduation- was the Prom. I always loved the Prom. Dress-shopping and corsage-wearing and boutenniere-pinning and limo-riding and awkward-photo-posing and dancing the night away. It was just FUN. I got to dress up, dance with this tall, handsome guy that I ended up marrying, and have a night out on the town. And almost ten years later, those are the date nights I still like the best.

 

Not everyone can take something like the Prom for granted.

That’s where Athena’s Warehouse comes in. They’re a nonprofit charity organization devoted to improving the lives of teenage girls in the Atlanta area and beyond, and one of their specialties is the Prom Project, where they distribute donated prom dresses to young women in need. Little things like that have an enormous impact on the lives of teenage girls, and that impact fuels self-empowerment where it belongs the most: in our youth.

Athena’s Warehouse had their 3rd annual adult prom fundraiser at Sutra Lounge a few weekends ago. My fellow Intern Alum Edwin (ha- say that one ten times fast) and I covered the event, mostly manning the Photo Booth but also sneaking off for some event photos here and there. (Check out Edwin’s post about it here.)

This year, the theme was “A Night in Paris”, which translates into Awesomeness of Exponential Proportions when you’re adding French-themed props to a Photo Booth. Berets, roses, mustaches, feather boas, and baguettes. REAL BAGUETTES. They don’t mess around with props, people. I WANTED TO EAT THE PROPS.

Thank you to Athena’s Warehouse founder Bee for having us be a part of the night. It was a tremendous honor to be involved in something so important as granting a young girl her dream of dancing at her prom.

Local Love

Check out the Gallery Here.

“SunSilvestri presents Local Love, a summer evening fashion benefit showcasing an amazing all-local cast of emerging designers, musicians, and artists! Featured fashion designers include Sarahlou Designs, Rock Cherry Bomb, So She Sews, and Patina. Music will be provided by native Atlanta DJ, black Sunshine. Additional performances will feature members of the breakdancing group Burn Unit, accompanied by Atlanta-based TSD – all taking place at Kai Lin Art Gallery.

Atlanta’s own LeahAndMark.com will be setting up a Portrait Booth at Local Love and snapping portraits. Attendees can also enjoy complimentary beer from 5 Seasons Brewing.

Proceeds will benefit Hats for Hearts, a local cause for baby Eliavah born with a heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot.”

(from the Hats for Hearts website, by Annie Sun)

Eliavah Maribel Ogir, born to Aree and Karma Ogir is now 2 months old and has Tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of abnormalities of the heart that requires constant attention and open heart surgery.  As I was talking to Aree and listening to his stories of financial and emotional struggles, I knew I had to do something to help my fellow teacher. So after brainstorming ideas with other teachers, Hats for Hearts was started to raise awareness and funds for Eliavah’s surgery and medical bills. Our future goal is for families with the same heart disease to find comfort and support through our organization.

Me + Interns Claire, Mary & Vania photographed this event and you can see my shots from the portrait booth Here – and then you can check out Claire’s photos Here. Mary & Vania’s shots are coming soon on their own Intern Blogs.

CARE: Share Your Heart

Click Here for the Photo Gallery.

CARE is an amazing organization that I have been fortunate to intern at since August.  What does CARE do?  Here’s our mission statement:

Our mission is to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. Drawing strength from our global diversity, resources and experience, we promote innovative solutions and are advocates for global responsibility. We facilitate lasting change by:

  • Strengthening capacity for self-help
  • Providing economic opportunity
  • Delivering relief in emergencies
  • Influencing policy decisions at all levels
  • Addressing discrimination in all its forms

Guided by the aspirations of local communities, we pursue our mission with both excellence and compassion because the people whom we serve deserve nothing less.

Yeah, that last line is my favorite.  Anyhow – CARE works in over 70 countries around the world, and has been working in Haiti since 1954.  We have over 130 staff members in our Haiti office, all but one of whom is Haitian.  So you can imagine the losses sustained by our staff when the earthquake hit.  Fortunately, none of our staff lost their lives – but they did lose homes, family members, friends, etc.  That didn’t stop them from coming to work every day and assisting with the disaster response.  And even though Haiti is no longer on the front page of our news, the rebuilding is still going on.  It’s a long, slow process.  Many of our staff members are still sleeping in tents – as are thousands of Haitians.

So while CARE USA’s fundraising team was busy raising money to help rebuild Haiti, CARE’s HR team decided to lead the efforts to raise funds for our staff – Share Your Heart.  Park Tavern generously donated the space, community members and Atlanta staff generously donated items for our silent auction, we put our noses to the grindstone and pulled off the event with only a month’s planning – and Mark took photos!

Which you can see.  Here.

Athena’s Warehouse

Athena’s Warehouse is an Atlanta-based non-profit group that provides low-income high school girls with prom dresses. Our goal is to show both girls and women that females can empower each other through personal support and public service. Our icon, Athena, embodies strength, equality, and heroic endeavor; she is accompanied by an owl that marks wisdom. She is our urban version of a fairy tale ending.

We collect cocktail dresses that are in good condition year round. We appreciate your support in helping students who are unable to purchase their own attire.

Okay. I’ll be honest with you – it’s easy to gloss over their mission statement and think “they give prom dresses to underprivileged girls” – yeah. And it’s easy to place that waaaaaay down on the list of ’causes’ that should be supported. I mean, there are lots of truly serious problems in the world and at first glance, giving girls prom dresses hardly seems like it’s anywhere near the top of the list.

But stay with me here – the reason why the work that Athena’s Warehouse does is important, is because of it’s core ideal of empowering young women. In America we have a different understanding, or rather – nearly complete lack of understanding on the true and long term benefits a community receives by simply, empowering their women – especially adolescent females.

Now – there is ‘Absolute Poverty’ and ‘Relative Poverty’.

Absolute poverty being what exists in the third world where they don’t have basics such as clean water and food.

Relative poverty is essentially extreme income inequality. We have a lot of relative poverty in America. While there are clear differences between the two types of poverty – the fact is that in America it’s very difficult for many people who are living in conditions classified as ‘relative poverty’ – to be able to overcome or ‘get out’ of relative poverty. Only recently have we really started understanding that relative poverty can be as detrimental on a psychological level as living in absolute poverty. (maybe I should type ‘poverty’ one more time… oh look, I did.)

There is a ‘Girl Effect’ movement going on – which focuses on empowering young women in third world countries on the basis that there is a ripple effect that ends up vastly improving the living conditions of the communities involved.

Of course it’s a pretty good leap to say that giving prom dresses to young women empowers them and helps to ease the effects of relative poverty for those particular young women.  However – having volunteered at Stand Up for Kids every week for a year – I know that there are many students who have home lives that are far worse than anything we imagine – and yet they somehow continue to make it through high school.

As an adult it’s easy to apply a coat of cynicism to the whole idea of prom – but for so many high school girls – it’s still a big deal and not being able to go because you couldn’t afford a dress is… well it just seems like something we can realistically help with and at the same time make some young women very happy so they can go lead productive lives and save the world. Well – at least the happy part is true.

And we’re all about being happy here at LeahAndMark.com

Now. It might seem like Leah and I support every good cause out there – but we don’t. We obviously can’t help every charitable organization that approaches us ’cause sometimes we have to eat and sleep and watch Weeds or Dexter.

However – when Kim of Athena’s Warehouse wanted to hire us to photograph their charity event next Friday March 12th, we were totally up for that. Sadly, Leah and I already had plans to be in Phoenix at the time. So then Kim asked if we could photograph the young women as they volunteered at Project Open Hand. What? Photographing two non-profits at once?! That’s awesome and efficient!

So we took photographs, we’ve posted them on our blog, and now you know all about Athena’s Warehouse, you totally want to donate your old cocktail dresses, AND you want to attend their charity event next Friday at the StudioPlex lofts. Right? Right.

Hey. It’s Friday. Have a great weekend. We’ll be in Phoenix all next week – and it’s a packed schedule.

Check out the rest of the photos of the girls of Athena’s Warehouse at Project Open Hand. Click Here.