Frame Central in The Pearl has made our day by announcing that they will once again be the lead sponsor for our fundraising auction. Kelly Carver, who was an honorary Co-Chair of the event last year confirmed the store’s intention to provide us with the same high level of support that we enjoyed last year and it would be hard to exaggerate how valuable that support was to us. Mr. Carver has also suggested some very exciting auxiliary support possibilities. We’ll report on those activities as they come closer to fruition. For the record (because we can’t say it too often), the auction is scheduled for September in the beautiful Eliot Center
The New Avenues for Youth kids enjoyed another great photo safari in mid-May. As expected, they found that not all outdoor photography is the same. There’s quite a dramatic difference between photographing the quiet formal beauty of the tulip fields and imaging water pouring out of hillsides and rushing over boulders. And they took to the difference with corresponding excitement.
The great thing about safaris, in general and this one in particular, is that the positive energy – from the rushing water, the kids’ excitement, and the mentors’ response- leaves everybody smiling, exhilarated, and almost exhausted by the time the class is over. It’s one of the things that keeps the mentors coming back – it’s not just rewarding, often it’s flat-out fun for everybody involved.
We’ve been extremely fortunate this year to have Canon representative Shawn Weishaar join our corps of mentors. Shawn, shown here with one of the great kids from New Avenues for Youth on our Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival safari, has been representing Canon in the Northwest for seven years.
He’s been also been teaching photography classes- including concepts, lighting, printing, and general camera use- in Oregon and Idaho during that time. He’s brought that Canon experience, expertise, and some really great equipment to each of the classes we’ve conducted since he joined us and he’s been a particularly great hit with the New Avenues for Youth kids for his patience and easy unforced respect for them and their capabilities.
There are some really great images of some of the kids from our Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival safari on our Facebook page.
The way the process works is that the kids go out on a photo safari/excursion and then Donna Lee downloads the cameras onto disks. Then we schedule a class where the kids look at their digital images and start work on them on laptops. They learn that sometimes great photos are taken and sometimes great photographs are made. They learn cropping, color manipulation, light balance, grey scale enhancement, and proportion control… and patience, patience, patience.
Thanks to board member Christopher Cabatbat, our IT whiz who’s having a huge impact on our data processing and our level of technological sophistication. This image will begin appearing on our printed materials – starting with the donation forms for our September 29 auction… which, by the way, we’ll begin distributing this month. The QR, shown on the left, will allow anybody with a smart phone (and the proper ap) to scan it and be taken directly to our website. This is a really exciting development. Much, many thanks, Mr. Cabatbat!
Over the years I’ve dealt with an number of auctioneers – professional, semi-professional, and amateur (including myself)- but JillMarie Wiles of Beneficial Auction Services (BAS) is unique in my experience with her combination of honesty, professionalism, and generosity. Her donation of almost an hour of her valuable time to advise us on the challenges of getting a good professional auctioneer for our September 29 auction was more valuable to us than it was for her. In a very short period of time she gave us a dozen bullet points of things we’ve done right and things we’ve done wrong but could correct. Thanks to her, our September 29 auction will be, from a preparation and implementation point of view, the best we’ve ever done. Huge thanks to Ms. Wiles!
The Standard, one of the more successful and generous financial institutions in Oregon, has pledged to continue its support of Focus on Youth into 2012. A sponsor of our 2011 Auction, the corporation confirmed this month that it will provide us with a $2500 grant immediately with the possibility of further support later in the year. Our friends who attended the 2011 auction will remember that Bob Speltz, the general media director for The Standard, not only attended the auction, he purchased a work by our student Roman Nachtigal for $1000, which has generated a matching $1000 scholarship for Roman at PCC.
Michael Shay, the Co-President of the Oregon chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers, contacted us recently to pledge a very welcome $500 donation to Focus on Youth as a token of their support for our work with young people. Shay, who is part of Polara Studio‘s team of seven creative and innovative photographers, was a donor to our 2011 auction. A number of our mentors, current and past, are members of ASMP and we look forward to an enhanced relationship with the Oregon chapter.
One of Focus on Youth‘s best Friends is celebrating an anniversary on February 17 – in case you haven’t guessed, it’s Pearl Bakery and the anniversary is their 15th. On that day, the Lester family will be offering all sorts of specials and sales at the bakery and FOY will have volunteers on the premises. We’ll be offering some of the beautiful work by our students for sale and we’ll be raffling a really beautiful photo donated to us as a fundraiser.
The photo (on the right), by David Greenberg, the executive director of Planned Parenthood – Columbia Willamette, is entitled Tulips. It’s a 13×19″ archival print that has been beautifully matted and framed by another of our very good friends, the pros at Frame Central Pearl.
The bakery will be open regular Saturday winter hours (7 AM-5 PM) for the event. And remember what we always say about about Pearl Bakery: “Some of the nicest people in Portland serving some of the finest baked goods in Portland to some of the savviest customers in Portland.” We sure hope to see you there!
After a very engaged and animated conversation with Bridge Meadows‘ Executive Director, Dr. Derenda Schubert, and Program Director Renée Moseley, a February start for our partnership seems pretty certain.
Bridge Meadows is a remarkable effort adapted from an Illinois effort which converted housing units on an abandoned air force base into a community designed to create nuclear and extended families for children who were already in or were moving toward being in foster care for the remainder of their childhoods. In Portland’s case, the community (the housing and public spaces) had to be created from scratch. In addition to townhouses for newly formed families with adopted kids, the project includes apartments for senior citizens who agree to serve as mentors and surrogate grandparents for the families. It exists because of extraordinary effort on the part of a number of individuals, corporations (including Windermere Cornin & Caplan, who are among our FOY Friends), and government officials – particularly Commissioner Dan Saltzman.
FOY will be tailoring our classes to the needs of the Bridge Meadows families – working with students who are both much younger and much older than most of the youth we’ve dealt with before (some grandparents will be included in the classes so that they become on-site mentors for the kids) – but several of the mentors have already expressed enthusiasm for igniting a passion for photography and creative impulses in kids who haven’t gotten to high school yet.
This is a great new challenge and we’re looking forward to a very successful partnership for some time to come.