I used to dread school pictures. In my tiny, elementary school mind they were but a necessary evil, a drudgery to expect once a year, a disruption well received exclusively because it extracted us from the monstrosity that is long division. We primped and prepped. Mom picked out an outfit that would never lend itself to racing at recess and spent an extra ten minutes teasing and pulling at my hair. Then, I would worry all day long that it would frizz or I would spill on my shirt because if I did, we’d have to go through the big, whole routine all over again. A quick ‘click, click, click’ of the camera and off I’d go – never to think about the process again until next year’s dreaded round up.
Never before have I realized what a gift those pictures are. Honestly, I’ve never even really thought twice about the greater meaning behind the concept of Picture Day. Luckily, the founders of Project Picture Day have. They’re giving children in developing countries who struggle to maintain a steady education, who never get the chance to have their portraits taken, this gift that I have very much taken for granted and the kids, well, they’re loving it.
Think about it. Your collection of school pictures serves as a track record of your education. It is proof of your progression and growth, both mentally and physically. Project Picture Day is on a mission to provide children with a “tangible memory” that will serve as a reminder that education is power. They wholeheartedly believe that the chance to take and keep a school picture will give students a sense of pride, helping them to understand the importance of staying in school and ultimately completing their education. Project Picture Day is spreading hope and fostering determination with every beautiful smile they capture.
Here’s how it works: They arrive at a school and spend a whole day photographing each child, editing and printing pictures, making sure each and every one captures the true personality of the student. Got a huge smile? Let’s see every tooth. More of the stoic, scowling Robert de Niro/Victoria Beckham type? Go ahead, mean mug for us. They want to make sure each portrait stays true to its intelligent, young subject. They work hard, keeping a 24 hour turnaround policy, returning each photo to its owner the very next day along with the the school supplies they worked so hard to collect prior to arrival.
Fantastic, huh? Check out this wonderful video that tells the story of their time in Barrio Cienfuegos, Santiago in the Dominican Republic:
Education is power, education is key. If their mission moved you as much as it moved me, you can help Project Picture Day capture smiles and create hope for a brighter future by donating (it only takes $35 to buy notebooks for an entire class), liking their Facebook page, following them on Twitter and Instagram, or subscribing to their news letter. It’s so easy to give back and make a difference, so go ahead and get involved.
(All pictures were taken from the Project Picture Day Facebook page)