When I started planning for the Class of 2018 Senior Squad I knew I wanted to do something different this year. Last year was my first year with the Senior Squad and it was great. I loved the girls, got to know them so well and after a year and a half I feel like we are all friends. I look forward to seeing their next adventures in life. And I knew I wanted a small team like last year but I wanted it to be about more than just pretty pictures. I keep coming back to this thought, what else can I do with photography? I can learn new techniques, refine my editing, deliver more customer service but outside of my clients…what can Anna Graf Photography do?
I wanted to get involved in our local community. I wanted to make a difference with the group of girls that join the Senior Squad so they can see there is more to life than high school. The last two years of high school go so fast and I want to help them prepare for what is to come. I want them to know that even if they have nothing, they can help someone that needs it.
I’ve posted about this before but AGP is a tiny business. I photographed 7 seniors for Class of 2017 and have booked 8 for Class of 2018. I’m not a six figure business, heck I’m not even a five figure business but that shouldn’t stop us from doing what we can.
So my goal for the Class of 2018 Senior Squad was two community service projects. I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the first community service project. I wanted to go to Oregon Food Bank to fill boxes. My parents have always given to Oregon Food Bank and I’ve heard amazing things about this organization. They are local and they feed local people in need. At our orientation they said that 1 in 5 people are food insecure. That means they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That’s not globally, thats right here in Oregon.
Two weeks ago the AGP Senior Squad met up to fill boxes. It was the perfect day for it, 100 degrees outside and we were working in the 50 degree cold room with frozen veggies. After instruction on how to put on all our food safety gear… hairnets, gloves, aprons and sleeves we got set up at stations to package up frozen carrots. The main volunteer running the room asked for someone that wanted “a bit of a workout” so I volunteered. (I’m starting to workout again and was excited to get some extra steps in.) There were 3 giant boxes lined in plastic and filled with a solid block of little frozen carrots. I feel like I should explain the size of the boxes….they were easily 4ft tall and 4ft wide. HUGE! With a guy at each box picking away at the frozen carrots and then scooping them into tubs, it was my job to move those tubs of carrots to each station to be bagged, weighed and boxed up. I loved it! The place was a beehive of energy and lots of smiles around the room. They only expected us to finish the frozen carrots but we were able to finish the carrots and two large boxes of green beans in less than 90 minutes.
I loved the experience and can’t wait to put together another team to volunteer again. At the end they told us that we packaged up 6,814 pounds, 5,678 meals with it breaking down to 109 meals per volunteer that was there that day. Amazing work!
Last week I posted about the #projectbeauty2017 that is taking place on July 22nd. This is the second service project that the AGP Senior Squad is taking part of. This is a fundraising event for Lines for Life a local non-profit that does amazing work with teens. I hope that you’ll want to donate, get involved and let me take your portrait if you are 13-19 years old. A minimum donation of $50 will get you a spot for this event. Our goal is to raise $500. Read more on the previous blog post here.
I’m so excited about where Anna Graf Photography is going. When I started my business I wanted to help out a friend that needed senior pictures for her daughter and learn how to take better portraits. Over the years I’ve found myself wanting to customize the experience for each senior and to capture real people. Giving back to our community is the next step that I’m excited to take. It feels good to do good!