r By Cynthia Coulonr
Most of us walk around with a camera (phone) in our hand capturing multiple pictures a day. Pictures of ourselves. Pictures of our friends. Even pictures of our food. In fact, it’s estimated that 200,000 plus photos are taken and uploaded to social media every minute. We have albums and boxes full of photographic moments from the past. We have thousands of digital photos stored on our computers and online. We honestly have more photos than we know what to do with!
rAnd so, in our photo-filled lives, it’s hard to imagine that there are people around us who haven’t enjoyed the same simple luxury of having pictures. To them, the worth of just a single photo or two can be priceless.
That’s where My Story Matters comes in! This local charitable organization captures the photos and stories of deserving children and families in our communities. Photos and stories are then turned into beautiful custom storybooks that are gifted to these everyday heroes.
My Story Matters founder, Amy Chandler of Springville, explains, “So many of the individuals we work with have never had their photograph taken, or they may own a select few pictures. The photography process at our events helps participants gain confidence, realize their importance, and feel beautiful over and over as talented photographers encourage them to let their inner light shine. These photos allow participants to truly see that their story matters and that they are the heroes on their journey. Of course, we could not do what we do without volunteer photographers sharing their talents so generously!”
Local volunteer photographers who share their time and talents make each custom storybook possible. At a My Story Matters event, each photographer sets up an indoor or outdoor station where participants come for a several-minute photo shoot. There are 12 different photo stations at each event. The goal is to capture the personalities, hopes, dreams, strengths, values, and unique attributes of each person who is photographed. The caring interest shown by the photographers is another very valuable part of the whole experience for the participants.
Photographer, Lisa Chriss of Salt Lake City, has been volunteering with My Story Matters for over a year. She said, “I have never come away from an event without a huge smile on my face. I love it!” Lisa has her own business where she specializes in photographing families, seniors, missionaries, maternity, and performing arts. She is also a Church Service Missionary Photographer for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Jo Warenski, of Spanish Fork, is another photographer who frequently volunteers at My Story Matters events. Jo explained, “My love and compassion continues to grow with each new event as I meet new people from all over Utah and many other parts of the world. It is such a privilege to work with My Story Matters.”
Volunteers like Lisa and Jo make a big difference as they share their time, compassion, and skills! If you’d like to be a part of the My Story Matters process, there’s a place for you! Please visit www.mystorymatters.org and check out all the ways you can get involved in sharing the gift of story.