As our final day of Luck v. Faith, we are sharing with you a wonderful organization that brings foster children to forever families through photography. Barbara Schechter is the Executive Director of Heart Gallery. In addition to sharing about Heart Gallery, Barbara gives her comments on luck, faith and ministering to foster kids.
“I don’t attribute finding a forever family to luck because I do believe that God has a plan for each of us and that the Heart Gallery helps to carry out His plan for these children.” Barbara Schechter
What about Heart Gallery photographers? Tell us about their role in the organization. How do your photographers feel when they become aware that their photo drew a family to a child? Any stories you’d like to share?
The photographers are so dedicated! They love to donate their time and they are a very talented group. The Heart Gallery wants to include any professional photographer who has the desire to participate. Our only rule is that they have to be a professional (although we do use some amateur photographers for event photos). When a local child’s adoption is finalized, we invite the photographer to attend the adoption. It’s a very emotional time and probably the most rewarding part of what we do. A number of the photographers have written about their experiences on their blogs. They tell it better than I do!
The Words of Sandy Levy: I would like to talk about a very touching moment as a result of photographing kids waiting for adoption for the Heart Gallery of Broward. What happened was that a child named Cleveland was one of the kids that I photographed several months ago for the Heart Gallery. I shot Cleveland, just a week or two before he turned 18, he was adopted.
This is particularly special and critical because: Once a child turns 18, they are no longer in the program and are considered adults. Then they are more or less on their own. It is quite unusual for a child that old to get adopted. In some extreme cases, they end up in the streets.
Barbara Schechter Executive Director of The Heart Gallery of Broward County pulled me aside at an awards presentation event on Oct. 14, and told me that my photo was responsible for Cleveland’s new Mom becoming interested in adopting him. Obviously Barbara was very pleased and frankly, it really gave me a very warm feeling as well, as this was also very special for me.
Barbara contacted me a week or two later asking if I could be at the courthouse when the official adoption took place in the Judges chambers. She told me she would understand if I could not be there, but she hoped that I would be able to go. Of course I accepted and I did not mind taking a camera.
The reason that Cleveland’s adoption was rushed in the judge’s chambers before National Adoption Day was that by Nov. 15, Cleveland would be over 18 and therefore ineligible for this type of adoption.
Cleveland and his Mom also thanked me privately and that was very nice to hear. In addition, Cleveland would possibly like to become a photographer. I found out he is already an accomplished amateur photographer as he proudly showed me some of his photos.
I must say that the feeling of satisfaction knowing that an image that you make was in some way at least partly responsible for a difficult-to-adopt child to find a family, is quite amazing and wonderful.
I told NBC 6 that I cannot recall another photo assignment that was as personally satisfying to me in my 40 years as a professional photographer. Not monetarily satisfying of course, but personally satisfying!.
You can find more information about Sandy Levy and his photographic work at his main website www.levyphoto.com or http://asmpflorida.blogspot.com/2009/12/asmp-south-florida-members-spot-light.html.
To hear another photographer ‘s personal experience, check out http://blog.brighthousephotography.com/search/label/personal (Scroll down to August 2 for Ashlee’s Story).
If you are interested in getting involved with Heart Gallery, please visit www.heartgalleryofbroward.org or call or email Barbara Schechter directly. Tel: 954-918-3008 or email@example.com.