Being thankful for the gifts we have

A Quote: The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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When I read the Wider Angle from Liz Seymour this week, it prompted me to add my own small note about a charity that I believe in.  A while back I had the opportunity to photograph an event at the Atlanta Children’s Shelter.  I didn’t really know what it was all about until I did some research.  This organization provides daycare / preschool to children whose families (usually a single mom) do not have a home.  Even though they do not have a home at night, I can tell you that during the day, ACS provides these children with food, shelter, a safe place to nap, and most importantly, love.  I know you might be picturing the homeless people walking aimlessly along the streets, but that is not the population that ACS is striving to help.  It is the men, women, and children who have fallen into homelessness for many reasons beyond their own control.  ACS works with the parent to provide job-search services (resumes, interview skills, professional clothing) and they also provide after care to get these families into their own home.  They assist with security deposits and basic household needs to get the family started.

Thinking it would be very special to give each parent a professionally printed  5×7 of their child, I offered to deliver these to the shelter.   My heart was broken when they asked if I had anything smaller because the parents didn’t have anywhere to keep a 5×7.  The thought of these parents not having any pictures of their beautiful children, or worse, the children growing up and not having pictures of their own childhood — heartbreaking.  The good news is that ACS has celebrated so much success with getting these parents into a job AND a home.  Last year they had a 100% success rate in their after-care program, meaning every family that moved into a home STAYED in the home for that year.  A big step towards “curing” homelessness for these children.

Can you imagine that this could be the face of homelessness, right here in our backyard?

I just attended the 25th Anniversary Fundraising Breakfast for the Atlanta Children’s Shelter, and it was truly inspiring.  I have also signed up for their 5K Walk on June 11th – anyone want to join me???  :)

Without further ado, the Wider Angle by Liz Seymour:

A while back I read a post from a woman who, somewhat facetiously, lamented that she wished she could be in an accident that would require a good week or so of rest in bed – a cold or flu wouldn’t quite suffice, as she wanted more than a day off. A recent bout with a stomach bug reminded me of this, and of how bittersweet illness can be for we moms. On the one hand, total license to rest in bed all day is a marvelous thing. Unfortunately, we usually feel so lousy that we need it but can’t enjoy it. And try as we might, the sounds of the household attempting to carry on without us are hard to ignore.

Every time I recover, I tell myself to appreciate my health more. Talk about not knowing what you have until it’s gone! I have been very, very blessed as far as health is concerned, both for myself and my family. But I know several people who haven’t been so lucky. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask you to consider supporting some of the many admirable organizations devoted to finding cures for some truly terrible afflictions. We’ve all experienced what happens to our households when mommy, or daddy, is sick for a day or two. Just imagine what life would be like if that was your every day reality?

The following are causes that directly affect people I know and love – but of course there are many more, too. In the meantime, to our health!

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: http://www.nationalmssociety.org

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America: http://www.ccfa.org

National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/

ALS Association: http://www.alsa.org/

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