13 November 2009

Fingerprint Friday

This year's handmade scarves are beginning to roll in...

I do several charity projects throughout the year, but the one at Christmas-time always takes the biggest bite out of my time. But I could never do this project alone. Each year, this particular project demonstrates the amazing generosity of my friends and co-workers.

For about six or seven years now, a bunch of my co-workers and friends have been spending a Saturday or Sunday, usually in November, at a residential treatment center for high-risk teenage girls. My friends and co-workers do the girls' makeup and hair, and then one of my co-workers uses boas, fake furs, jewelry and other fun props to model the girls while I shoot glamor-type portraits. The girls are all showered with attention as we try to bring out the best in them. We call it Makeover Madness.

I then retouch and print the portraits, and then a HUGE group of my friends and co-workers helps assemble the photos into albums we sprinkle with motivational quotes. We stick the albums into gift bags (which are donated and recycled by all kinds of folks) filled with all kinds of gifts (again donated by all kinds of folks). Then a group of us plays Santa and delivers the bags out to the girls in December.

Each girl gets a handmade scarf made by one of my friends or co-workers. I can't even begin to tell you how many people have learned how to knit or crochet specifically for this project. Some of them don't make anything the entire rest of the year. They do just this. They do it for me, because I ask for help, and they do it because it makes them feel good inside.

For hopefully obvious reasons, I can't share pictures of the girls or give any details at all about the bonding I witness each year as we do this. The expressions on the girls' faces when they dive into their bags, hungrily looking for those photo albums, and then their expressions when they see they really can be beautiful are so worth every ounce of time, energy and sacrifice it takes to do this year after year. The girls excitedly share their photos with each other and with their staff. We always include extra photos they can give away as Christmas (or other) gifts. (Yes, we respect the beliefs of those who don't celebrate Christmas.)

I'm very grateful to be allowed to share my talents, and I'm so grateful for my friends and co-workers. I'm grateful we were able to pull it off once again this year, even though this year has been a financial struggle for so many.

***
Steven Curtis Chapman sings:

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with
The fingerprints of God

PamperingBeki challenges bloggers each Friday to discover, recognize and see God's fingerprints and share them with the rest of the world. See instructions to join in here. Also check the other blogs linked there to see more great Fingerprints!

4 comments :

  1. This is a fantastic project, I wish I could hug you for doing this for these girls!! What a beautiful fingerprint of God's love overflowing from your heart to theirs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. that is so generous of you and your co-workers no wonder the girls enjoy it so much, what a star you are : )

    ReplyDelete
  3. Deborah,
    I would like to help with this project in the future. Let me know when we can get together, ok?
    Mel

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have never heard of such a thing as making the girls over and taking their pictures. What a wonderful way to help these girls build self esteem. Low self confidence is often why these kids end up in trouble. They are looking for approval, trying to fit in, and often take the wrong road in search of themselves. I love Steven Curtis Chapman, but haven't listened to him in years. I think I'll get one of his Cds this weekend. Bless you and your friends/co-workers for helping these girls and showing them that people do care about their lives.

    ReplyDelete


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