Sunday, April 14, 2013

Compassionate Eye

Last Friday afternoon we were busy.  Phyllis came to photograph the kids working on their visual journals for the display at the school board and then Luella came to tell them about Compassionate Eye.  This is a foundation begun by her brother, photographer, Robert Kent.  The foundation's main source of revenue is a photo shoot in a several cities held on the longest day of each year.  Photographers, models, stylists etc. give a free day's work to create stock images that are sold to Getty Images and the profits are put into the foundation's projects. 

The first project was improving a school in a small village in Guatemala and more projects have been added.  At this point the foundation has raised 1.2 million dollars and it all started with a group of friends at a barbecue, including Luella, thinking about how fortunate they were and how they wanted to give back.

Several years ago I attended a Room to Read event (Compassionate Eye has partnered with Room to Read on projects) and met Luella and Sue Dick who is also very involved with the foundation.  They needed a couple of Spanish translators and I recruited a couple of my friends for them, and a friendship began.

Luella heard about the class' fundraising to fight Poverty in the fall and made a financial contribution so that the class regarded her already as a friend.  Having had a good session with Sharon from Room to Read (with $300 raised already for that group), I thought it would be great to invite Luella to the class as well.

Luella is a former teacher but hadn't been in a classroom for 10 years but you can tell how good she must have been.  I mean WOW!  Her presentation was awesome.  The kids were captivated.  And it was good learning for me as well because I realized I hadn't known what stock photography really was.  For instance, a company may want a certain image for an advertisement but doesn't want the expense of doing their own photo shoot so they will buy the image from Getty Images and Compassionate Eye will get money.  The kids loved how Luella's image had been used in several ad campaigns (much to her surprise when she saw them-note she had given her "modeling" for free). 

They also loved the film of the children in Guatemala seeing their new school room and the film of a
photo shoot session.  They learned concrete examples of  how you can use your own talents to give back.  We talked about how they had already done that with Arshpreet's chai and hot chocolate making talents for instance.  We talked about how you really feel better giving your time and it really doesn't take much.

My class already has a few fundraising ideas in the works.  Next up Lemonade and Lemon Bar sale for Room to Read and then I know the kids want to do a fundraiser for Compassionate Eye.  Throughout this article you will see some of their images of their impression of Luella's visit and their perusal of the website.

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