The answer came sooner than I thought and the messenger surprised me. I had booked a family session during the holidays for January…outdoors! I remember thinking “who does a family session in JANUARY when its 20 degrees?” The family was so kind and sweet even though they were quite frozen and through conversation baby Cash came up. I confided in this kind doctors wife that I had no idea what to do when people cried. I had no answers for any of this. And I was heart broken for this family.
She then told me a story…A story of a baby born before her young daughter I met that day she had lost. She told me of photos taken by a photographer and how much they had meant to her. As fate or God or whatever you believe would have it it was the same woman I had heard of from the Women of Faith trip. She told me of one of the darkest saddest times and of a friend she had. The friend said he only wanted to come over and hold her hand. And cry with her. Not talking, not praying. Just be there. She taught me that day that there are not always words for these situations but just to be there and grieve next to someone and have love for them is at times enough.
So that is what I did as best I could. I was there for the tears and the sadness. This family went through so much. I just continued and tried to be there and do little things now and again. Little by little time passed and there came a day came when I learned the daughter was to have a baby girl. Nothing gave me greater joy then to hear those words. To be there to capture her newborn photos, and her one year and see her birthdays come and go. To see the smiles again. To know that these incredible women enrolled in college and one now is complete in a medical field. The other when done plans to go into serving our community. I am so proud of and will always have so much love these strong ladies. This last Friday would have been their little guys 7th birthday and to see them celebrate it even in sadness with some images from my one day with them all makes me know I did everything that I could do.
Cash forever changed me. I think each and every time I shoot of him. I try to make it the happiest light moments even if its brief for families going through such hard times. I try to capture the details of each beautiful child. Their inner beauty as well as little details such as eyelashes, their funny cowlicks and the cute shoes they will grow out of all too fast. I love getting to know their favorite things be it a toy or their a Pink Floyd tee shirt or favorite song. I love getting to know the people who love them. They are all super hero's to me.
Through Sparrow Cubs the last several years I have watched as hundreds of youth in our community rise to their feet at an assembly in support of a child. I've seen them come up after to embrace a child they might otherwise have not. Seen the tears in parents eyes of joy at the support of these kids and schools coming together with an incredible purpose. And I too have cried at literally every one…especially if you ever hear the inspirational music played for them.
Here is what I have learned about the world since buying a camera that day and a quote by Beth Clark says it better than I ever could:
“People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another. And I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world: They hold the unshakeable conviction that individuals are extremely important. That every life matters. They get excited over one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind and treat one wound. They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once. They’re satisfied with small chages. Over time though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world.”
Sparrow Clubs to me is just that. We are reaching these kids on an individual level. Letting them see that they can impact someone else's life in as little as one hour of their time- or in some cases it grows to be many hours… or how about a lifetime? Because for some of these children and families it is just that. Lifetime friendships and bonds are formed. I feel lucky to be one of those. By taking away the money aspect we teach the kids and even ourselves that this is more than just about who has money. It has taught me so much even at an adult level this as well. I didn’t start this with much more than time to give. Sometimes that time was photographs. Sometimes that has been a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes that has been helping someone move or finding something their child needed. Sometimes that has been just hanging out and talking about regular life things during a difficult time. Although at times this journey has been difficult I wouldn't change the path. Below I will post a gallery of a few of the beautiful children and families I have been blessed to get to know and some now I am lucky to call friends.
I hope that my story can help tell just a bit of a tale of what Sparrow Clubs is. What it does. How it brings people together and that it will inspire you all as well to love this organization the way I do.
To learn more about Sparrow Clubs and how then support families through our student bodies of schools in the communities please visit: www.sparrowclubs.org