Monday, September 9, 2013

KK, Photography and Philanthropy

I am celebrating my 20th year of teaching by profiling former students who are doing great things in their field. As I've watched them grow into adults, I have been impressed with an aspect of their lives and want to share them with you. I fully recognize that I was merely a small part in their growth and development, but I can't help to be proud. By highlighting these former students I hope to encourage other teachers that what we do is a noble and worthy cause. We have the ability to boost others to greatness we have never considered. 

Kristin owns her own photography business here in the Cincinnati area. She focuses mostly on senior and wedding photography, but also does incredible portraits.  In fact, we love KK's work so much, she is our family photographer, taking some awesome pictures of our daughter.  While building her own business, she also works part time for another photographer in the area as a studio manager.  What impresses me most about KK is not her awesome photography skills, but the wonderful volunteer work she has done with those skills.

A few years ago, she partnered with her church to photograph underprivileged single moms and their kids free of charge, desiring to give these families a gift that many of us see as a normal part of life. In addition to this, KK has been taking pictures to help her church, LIFT (a gathering of young adults in Cincinnati designed to spur them into action), and various missions trips she's been on.  Always breaking new ground, Kristin has started attending and planning Pursuit 31 Conferences, dedicated to helping women have successful businesses in the creative arts while cultivating a relationship with God, and now works with Delight, a sister organization of Pursuit dedicated to helping young ladies pursue excellence in creative fields. She is even planning a trip to Ecuador next year to work at an orphanage.

In case you haven't realized it already, Kristin has a heart for people and especially those who are less fortunate than her. This love has been cultivated through a few avenues.  She mentioned a missions trip to Brazil after graduating from high school that opened her eyes to the needs of others but also the need for a bigger and bolder life mission.  Kristin also noted that youth leaders had poured into her life and she wanted to be able to do that through leading small groups at Pursuit and Delight. 

In the future, KK would love to be able to broaden that mission by creating photo documentaries highlighting people on the front lines of helping the less fortunate -- whether it be orphans, human trafficking, battered women, or the starving. I can't wait to see what's to come!

I'm finding that many of my former students have trouble remembering much of elementary school, which bursts my bubble a bit.  However, I am finding it interesting what students DO remember about me. I feel the need to just quote Kristin outright on this one. "I have no idea if you remember this, but there was one time you yelled at my class. Like super angry yelled. I don't remember why – we did something (or a lot of little somethings, more likely – ha!) – and you were upset. But what I remember about it is that you came back and apologized to us as a class. That's the first time I think I'd ever seen a teacher do that... own up to making a mistake and just say 'I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that.' It's stuck with me." I'm glad I did something to make mistake right and that it made an impact in someone's life.

I'm very excited that my family gets to stay in contact with Kristin.  She is one of my daughter's favorite babysitters, her photographer, and was our dogsitter before we had to put our dog down recently.  She still comes to visit on occasion and I love catching up.  The best days are ahead for KK and I'm looking forward to where she goes from here. 

Feel free to follow KK on Twitter or Instagram.

I've asked students to share picture of us back in the day and something more current. You'll see some goodies here, including International day, Salute to Sixth Grade, a picture of when we visited KK's sister in Indianapolis, and some promo shots for her business.  Enjoy!

Oh, and I thought I would add a great shot from my daughter's most recent photo shoot.

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