Giving back through photos ~Cara Soulia Photography

How precious are these children and amazing these photographs? The photographer, Cara, just happens to be a friend of mine from college, with whom I’m so excited to have to reconnected with recently. Cara Soulia Photography is a Boston-area photography who specializes in photographing babies, children and families. Not only does she make giving back to the community the heart of her business, but she also lives what she says and makes giving back a priority with her kids.

Cara’s heart for giving is such a meaningful reminder that we have all been given gifts and talents that can be used to help others. 

And I can say from personal experience, she is such a pleasure to work with. Cara photographed my Ginger Lane collection. Blog post and photos to come. But you’ll find sneak peek at the end of this post!

Cara Soulia Photography

Cara Soulia Photography

“I donate my photography services to Cradles To Crayons, which provides homeless and low-income children ages 0-12 the essential items they need to thrive. Each December, I photograph the organization’s biggest fundraising event: the Un-Gala. I love this event because kids participate and it is a hands-on family volunteering experience. In 2012, I brought my own family to volunteer, while I photographed the event. It was so fun to be there altogether and it was a fantastic way to introduce my kids to giving back and helping others.

Separate from the Un-Gala, I have also volunteered with my son at the C2C warehouse sorting children’s clothes. It was there that I got the idea to donate a portion of my fall mini-session proceeds to purchasing new socks & underwear for C2C.”

Cara Soulia Photography

Cara Soulia Photography

In addition to donating her time and talent to Cradles to Crayons, Cara also donates her photography to Solutions at Work, a local nonprofit that helps homeless and low-income people break the cycle of poverty by providing resources and opportunities.

“On several occasions, I have photographed participants shopping in the Solutionswear store and in the Children’s Clothing Exchange. I also photograph their annual Vase Glazing event, where Solutions at Work child participants paint vases which are raffled off at their annual gala. My favorite thing about this event is seeing children, who have been helped by Solutions at Work in the past, paying it forward to support the organization.”

Looking for a way to support Solutions at Work? Donate professional attire, computers or children’s gear or make a financial gift.

Cara Soulia Photography

Cara and Wally at Cradles to Crayons

“I love to give back to organizations that have an emphasis on helping children and families, because these are the causes that are closest to my heart. I am always on the lookout for new opportunities for local giving. I am currently brainstorming a Mother’s Day event which will include a charitable component!”

Sign up for the Cara Soulia Photography newsletter to stay in the loop. Or shoot her an email if you’re Interested in learning more about booking a session with her.

Here’s a sneak peek from my Ginger Lane photoshoot with Cara Soulia Photography

Ginger Lane

(All photographs courtesy of Cara Soulia Photography)

Sak Saum

The End it Movement has declared today, February 27, Shine Light on Slavery Day. Love the concept and love that they are raising awareness and money for some incredible organizations to end slavery. But they make a great point that “awareness must lead to action”. Ending human trafficking needs more than drawing a red X on your hand one day out of the year.

“This is how the battle against human trafficking will be won – one person, one family, one community at a time.” (Sak Saum, About)

Sak Saum, located in Cambodia, restores the physical, emotional, spiritual, social needs of those rescued from human trafficking. They are “dedicated to the rescue, restoration, transformation and rehabilitation of vulnerable and exploited women and men.” Daily life includes housing, medical attention, vocational training, counseling, studying, worship, community, friendship. In addition, they run a vocational training center that employs, trains and then sell their bags and handmade goods worldwide to support their ministry.  Shop their beautiful products!

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Leap Tote (it’s even on sale!)

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Freedom Wrap Watch

Sak Saum anna cotton

Anna Wallet

I am in awe of the women God called to Sak Saum to love and restore the exploited.

Daily Advent Gift: Day 13

And just like that, the busy-ness of the Christmas season (hi, shopping & building gingerbread houses) and a sick child turn this “daily gift” into a “mostly daily gift”.

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IJM seeks to make public justice systems work for victims of abuse and oppression who urgently need the protection of the law.

International Justice Mission is the real deal. I’ve had the opportunity to hear the founder, Gary Haugen, speak on a few occasions. The work they are doing is real and so needed: There are currently between 21-30 MILLION slaves. Even if you don’t donate a penny, take a moment to read just one of their many rescue stories: IJM Helps Rescue 35 Girls Enslaved in a Thread Making Factory.

They’re focus is to provide: Victim Relief (immediate relief for the victim), Perpetrator Accountability (through local jurisdiction systems), Survivor Aftercare (help victims rebuild their lives) & Structural Transformation (working with local judicial system to protect future abuse.

International Justice Mission Donation Page

Daily Advent Gift: Day 10

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There is a great organization in the Boston area to help survivors of domestic violence. Each year, a group of moms in my town gather to serve these survivors a Holiday meal. The least I could do was provide a few items for the meal.

The Second Step fosters the ongoing safety, stability, and well-being of survivors of domestic violence. Our comprehensive residential and community-based programs build on the strengths, needs, and values of the individuals and families we serve. Through partnership with survivors and collaboration with the community, we lay a foundation for a future free from abuse and full of possibility.

The Second Step

Donations can be made online to help families get back on their feet. Giving can be made online or donations of goods (household items, clothing, toiletries, etc) can be dropped off.

Daily Advent Gift: Day 9

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Today the boys and I have started filling a cup. The contents of which we are going to donate to World Food Program. Had I planned ahead, I would have ordered a World Food Program Red Cup for the occasion. But I’m sticking with “it’s the thought that counts”, to make up for my lack of planning.

Since 2004, Coins 4 Kids has helped the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) provide over 72,000 school meals to children in nearly 100 schools throughout the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Coins 4 Kids supporters around the country collect bills and change in a red collection cup, modeled after the red cups that WFP fills with nutritious food for these children each day in school.

Every 25 cents you collect in your Coins 4 Kids cup, will feed one hungry child in school for a day. It’s that simple – one quarter, one cup of nutritious food.

World Food Program Coins 4 Kids

Daily Advent Gift: Day 8

Today, one of my boys’ went to a birthday party where they requested we didn’t bring any gifts for the child. Instead, they requested we bring an unwrapped gift for a child through Toys for Tots. What a great way to teach kids to give. Love that!

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The Toys for Tots Mission is…

The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.

Consider buying a toy for a child and dropping it in a Toys for Tots bin. Find locations here.

Daily Advent Gift: Day 7

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The Wounded Warrior Project’s mission is simple, yet so powerful:

To honor and empower Wounded Warriors.

The Wounded Warrior Project…

  • Helps injured service members aid and assist each other.
  • Provides unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
  • Raises awareness and enlists the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.

Want to give time & love? Ways to Give back with the Wounded Warrior Project

Want to give money? Wounded Warrior Secure Donation Page