June 7, 2020:
What a tremendous success this project was! I cannot thank the many wonderful families who participated enough for their generosity - without YOU, this could not have happened.
I am waiting on a final total and will announce very soon the TOTAL FUNDS raised for Open Arms Mission!!!! STAY TUNED!
I am forever grateful, forever changed by the kindness of others...after spending time on this project, I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts with you:
3 months under a stay at home quarantine and it still hardly feels real. The world shut down. No one could have predicted that we would experience something so significant, something so devastating, something so surreal. But, in darkness there is always light....you just need to look for it. For me, that light was being able to lean on my passion for people and photography. Grateful doesn't begin to describe my appreciation for The Front Steps Project. It's always the right time to be part of building community and helping those in need and certainly no one would argue that in the midst of a pandemic, it wasn't just right, it was required. This "thing", this unseen, unforgiving, unrelentless, indiscriminate virus was taking us over but it would not take us under. With each and every stop I made, every home I pulled up to, I experienced kindness, genuine concern and was given a privileged look into the lives of hundreds of local families. I never imagined how truly special meeting everyone would be and how incredibly connected we would feel immediately upon "hello". They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I've always believed that as a photographer it's my job not only to provide the story but also to provide the feeling. I want people to look back on an image and to be able to relive that moment in time. I learned through my participation in this project that not only will the Front Steps images provide an account of what people looked like, where they lived, what they were doing but these images will also stand as a testament of the love, goodwill and unwavering support we have for one another..., in a world where so many will be quick to tell you such attributes hardly exist. From my side of the lens I see..., I see that compassion isn't hard to find, you just need to be part of the solution and then the problem starts to disappear. The world shut down. We were told to stay apart. But, the people came together.
I will not soon forget the light of the people, the light in the darkness, the light that shone through.
Jodie Schaefer Photography
May 14, 2020:
In light of the COVID 19 restrictions easing up a bit to include non-essential travel BUT in keeping with the SOCIAL DISTANCING MANDATE, the Front Steps Project to support the Open Arms Mission Welland is back on! Please click the link to the right to sign up!
Important note - the project outline remains the same: 5 minute Front Steps Portrait session (1 or more digital files sent electronically) with your immediate family with whom you have been in quarantine with in exchange for a donation to Open Arms Mission Welland. For more details see the original post below from March 23, 2020.
April 3, 2020:
I started this project on March 23rd and we ran straight through to April 3. Over 200 families took part!! The response was simply overwhelming. My heart was full meeting so many amazing people (from afar) who were willing to step out and help their community. With Niagara declaring a STATE OF EMERGENCY today, the project will be paused indefinitely.
Regardless that this project has always been in compliance with the mandate to maintain social distancing, as a community we need to stand strong in this - we are mandated to stay home....I can't get to you unless I drive to you. While driving to you isn't the same as driving in and out of public buildings and participating in gatherings etc, I want to ensure, best I can, for this project to be viewed in the positive light that was the intent from the onset.
HOWEVER, I WILL EXTEND the offer for you to participate in the FRONT STEPS PROJECT WELLAND...just in a different way. You can make donation to the OPEN ARMS MISSION now (as they will be in GREAT NEED over the coming weeks) and we will look to schedule a date for your Front Steps Portrait at a later time (several weeks from now).
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, you can make your donation online via the website below (noting the Front Steps Project) and send me a screen shot (it will not show an amount as that is left to your discretion) and I will include you on the list for a future FRONT STEPS meeting date!
I realize it's not quite the same but I do hope you will consider this as an alternate way to participate in what has been an amazing project.
Use the link to the right to click through to the request form!
I will extend this alternate offer for a limited time - don't wait, let me know if you are interested!!
March 23, 2020:
I am launching the “Front Steps Portraits” for Welland Residents. This project was dreamed up by a talented photographer in Boston Massachusetts named Cara Soulia, and she encourages other photographers in other cities to use her idea - so here goes!
I am offering to take a five minute, “Front Steps Portrait” at your home of you and/or you and your family who live with you and whom you have been in isolation with. After your quick session, within a day, I will email you the digital file of your family (or single) portrait. IN EXCHANGE, I am asking that you make a donation to the OPEN ARMS MISSION here in Welland. The Open Arms Mission does such great work to help local families in need and I just think this is a great time to come together and support one another. I will be posting images to my website, Jodie Schaefer Photography Facebook page and Instagram Account using the following hashtags: #thefrontstepsprojectwelland, #promotesocialdistancingniagara, #supportopenarmsmissionwelland and #jodieschaeferphotography. I ask that you do the same so that we can help promote this project and help our community!
The purpose of this project is to bring us together when we might be feeling isolated and to document this time spent at home with your family. I want to highlight the faces of our community and neighbours and show that we really are all in this together, from our own homes. Participating in this project is also an opportunity to help some of those who need it most right now.
I will be taking images OUTSIDE ONLY and from at least 30 feet away. Our session will be brief, likely just 5 minutes. I will text you when I arrive to ensure to maintain all social distancing advisement. This is not a typical photo session where you need to get dressed-up and look your best. And besides, no business's open to get something new - I encourage you to come outside to your steps dressed as you really are at home. Pets welcome!
This is the link to make your online donation to The Open Arms Mission in Welland. A suggestion would be $25-$50 BUT every bit helps and please give more if you can! Be sure to come back here after our session and click through and support our local community!! PLEASE BE SURE TO INDICATE "The Front Steps Project Welland" with your donation and then that way we can track our success!!! THANK YOU!