Who would have thought that by making a sarcastic remark on a Facebook status would introduce to me a group of amazing people known as "Help Portrait "a group who used their skills as photographers, makeup artists and loving volunteers who shared one goal..to make everyone feel as beautiful on the outside as well as on the inside, to let them forget whatever they were dealing with in life, if only for a few hours and to have a photographic memory of the day.
I was asked to help out with the St.John's chapter of Help Portrait and I couldn't resist so on Dec 7, 2013 I packed up my bag off irons ,bobby pins, combs brushes and everything else I thought would be of use , and my camera....just in case I had a chance to snap a few pics and off to the Janeway I went ..boy was I nervous! I was going outside of my comfort zone to meet new people ..would I be good enough? would I fit in? but as soon as I walked into the room ..I knew this was where I wanted to be ..the room was vibrating from good energy exuding from these people and their spirit.
It was here that I met Brian Carey ,an amazing photographer who had started the "Help Portrait St.John's" group a few years back . Anyone who meets this man is greeted with a big smile and hug and probably one of his jokes so I'm not surprised to see how his love for mankind and photography has brought together a diverse group of individuals over the years ...Gerry,Darien,Eric,Graham,Paul,Garry,Dolores , and many more who share his love for photography , Debbie ,a talented stylists who roped me in from my sarcasm to help with the hairstyling along with the group of makeup artists and volunteers.
As the morning began I watched them turn the room into something beautiful for the kids and their families ,christmas balls and bells were hung ,the lighting put in place and checked ,the hairstyling and makeup tables were organized while Amanda and her father were ready with their big smiles and sign up sheets to greet the families as they walked in and the elves were dressed in their best christmas attire they could find and were ready with bells on. We were ready!
The biggest set of little blue eyes walked in the door and we all knew it was going to be an amazing day of smiles,hidden tears ,wonderful memories, and laughs provided by our fabulous photographers with pink moustaches, green eyebrows ,and multi colored mowhawks (done by the budding children artists).
In the middle of the day I took a break and sat and watched them all ..wow I thought .. here I was yesterday wallowing in my own self pity about the hardships in my life...diagnosed with cancer, car accident, raising my twin grandsons, and so much more...I was supposed to help make these people feel great but in the end it is them who made me feel great, they had put a smile on my face ..I had to hide the tears....I knew this was where I wanted to be . I couldn't wait until the next Help Portrait at the Janeway.
The year flew by and Help Portrait St.John's had a few more opportunities to help out in the community; The Gathering Place,and Margurite Place . This group of amazing people is growing by the day and many want to help out so this year Brian managed to wrangle us all together to pick up our hoodies and tshirts so we can proudly represent and spread the word., and to form a committee of sorts to help keep things running smoothly, add ideas and to figure out where we should look for donations as this is all done voluntarily ..but the biggest question ..who was going to be Santa and the elves
Dec 7 ,2014 we were more than excited, decorations were hung, props layed out, smiles ready, elves were giddy ,cameras were clicking, and energy bouncing...It is an amazing feeling to be in a room filled with the feeling of love, compassion and great attitudes. As the day went on and everyone started to get to know one another ,we became a family of sorts. .all there dealing with life issues and drama but we were all transformed by these beautiful moments of caring about these children and their families into our own happy family...and we have a photo to remind us..
Brian Carey ,Gerry Whelan,Darien Rowsell,Joe Chase, Graham Kennedy ,Perry Howlett ,Tina Dean,Daniel Smith ,Tina Dean and Dolores Harvey
Jimmy Von Riesen..video
Hairstyling and Makeup
Hairstyling and Makeup
Sherree-Lin Davis, Debbie, Erica and Emily Lockyer, and Erica Gosse
Florence Williams and Karen Kean ..ladies from the Janeway who offered any help we needed
Krista Nippard, Koby Nippard, Michele Reneau, Agnes,Amanda and Gord Lake
Karen Humby and Elaine Dunphy
The girls from CBS volunteering ..and Brian Carey
The man behind the mission
The elves and Graham
Debbie framing the masterpiece
(Gerry getting a colorful makeover by a budding artist)
"me' working the camera lol