For those of you who don’t know, my younger brother Paul was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old. At the time of his diagnosis, in the early 70’s, we were told that he would need to be institutionalized. After many challenging years and unending persistance by both my family and many dedicated professionals, Paul has been able to emerge from his world and come into ours. Though he is now able to lead a comfortable life where he is an active part of his community, it is still a constant struggle for him to keep from withdrawing, and his search for acceptance in our world is a day-to-day journey. Fortunately, the awareness and treatment of autism has come a long way since Paul’s diagnosis. But we need to do more…
And so this month, I want to use my photography as a vehicle to raise both money and awareness for a cause that is near and dear to my heart. To do so, I am very excited to offer the following three ways to help the cause and add some incentive for you as well:
- 1. I want to celebrate the unique beauty that exists within a child with autism. Too often their potential is overshadowed by their disability, but I want to turn that around and shine a light on their true uniqueness with my camera. To do this I am donating a free photo session and print package to a family who has been touched by autism. This free session will go to the winner of a special drawing on April 30th, 2010. Here are the details:
Shine a Light on Autism: Tell me either about your own family or a family that you know that has a child with autism. Tell me about their unique journey and the hurdles that they have confronted along the way. In order to raise as much awareness as possible, we ask that you be willing to share your story on my blog. I will post as many of your stories as I can during my weekly blog posts. Then, on April 30th at 12pm, one story will be randomly chosen as the winner and announced on both my blog and facebook page. The winner will receive a free 2 hour photo session with me, including 25-35 images posted to your own private gallery on my website and my Astoria Portrait Collection which includes a large wall print or storyboard, two 11x14s and 15 gift prints (total value of $1100). To enter the drawing please see my “Shine a Light on Autism Application Form.” All entries must be submitted by April 25th, 2010. I plan to run this promotion again in the future…so anyone who submits this time but doesn’t win, will automatically be entered the next time.
- 2. For those of you who are thinking about booking a session with me but have not yet done so, here is your chance to do so and also contribute to the cause:
Book a photo session with me in the month of April, I will make a $50 donation to your choice of either Autism New Jersey or Eden II Programs of New York. In addition, you will receive a $100 print credit to be used for your shoot anytime before Sept 30, 2010. You need not have a child with autism to take advantage of this promotion. To book, just contact me.
- 3. And one last chance to win…and to raise Autism Awareness…
Leave a comment telling me why you think Autism Awareness matters and you will be entered into a drawing to win various prizes promoting Autism Awareness, including: tote bags, tee shirts, car magnets and pins. To enter just leave a comment on this post, on a Personal Story of Autism post, or on a post on my Facebook Fan Page that pertains to autism and your email address will automatically be put into the drawing. The more dialogue the better, so each time you leave a comment you will be entered into the contest! Let’s hear from you!
And of course if you wish not to take part in any of these promotions that I am offering, you can still give to the cause by donating directly to an organization. New Jersey has one of the highest autism rates in the country so I suggest making a contribution to an organization that will have an impact right here:
For those of you who live in New York, I highly recommend:
And for those of you who live outside of our area, a great place to donate would be:
And one last thing, if you know of anyone who might be interested in raising awareness with me, please pass this post on to them….every voice helps.
Please be sure to leave a comment below…simply by doing so you’ll be spreading love, and helping to raise awareness.