Today, I was blessed with the opportunity to shoot free headshots for over twenty New Yorkers with cognitive disabilities ranging from mild to severe. It was amazing to work with these wonderful people, helping them each get a great LinkedIn photo that can help them find employment opportunities.
The shoot took place downtown at a non-profit called CGS. Contemporary Guidance Services, Inc. (CGS) offers "creative, personalized programs and services to help individuals with special needs learn, grow and thrive in all aspects of their lives.” CGS also helps them find job opportunities and get along successfully in everyday life. After being invited as a guest speaker about a month ago to talk about what it’s like being a photographer in New York City, I came up with the idea of offering free headshots for their students to hopefully help them all land jobs.
A week after emailing Veronica from CGS with my idea, it was scheduled and confirmed. This morning, Damion and I brought our studio to their office and shot headshots for thirty people (students and CGS teachers alike). There was plenty of laughter, music, and candy to go around, and everyone had a great time.
It was truly inspiring to see so many people with special needs having such a blast at CGS while finding direction in their lives. CGS enables them to make their dreams a reality, and I was honored to be a part of it, if only for a day. But I know I’ll be going back soon, and hopefully other inspiring organizations like this will reach out to me for free headshots to help their disabled and/or homeless as well. I know the power of a great headshot in helping someone land a job, and I feel like doing this can help put so many deserving people to work in jobs they'll enjoy.
Not only was it inspiring and moving, but it was also eye-opening for me when I thought of how each student was so focused on the positive in their lives instead of the negative.
So many of us give up when something bad happens. We feel like the world is crumbling when we lose our job or break up with our partners. I'm guilty of this too! When my business slows down, it feels like the world is ending and I start stressing and worrying. But today has changed me.
I think the takeaway is that we all need to stop for a moment and look at the things we do have. We need to realize that no matter how bad things seem, we can all find something to be grateful for. The students at CGS have found it. The teachers at CGS have found it. I have now found it. I hope you find it too.
Whether we’re thankful for our families, our friends, our talents, our ability to love, or even just the fact that we are breathing, we do have something. If everyone stepped out of their box for a moment and looked at what they have instead of what they don't, I think the world would be a better place.
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