Not all heroes wear capes, goes the saying. And this heartwarming story just goes to show that there are still many, many good generous people out there in the world who want to give back and make a difference.
Music and celebrity photographer Raven B. Varona answered the plea to help out a New York City school that couldn’t afford to go ahead with their annual school photos because of a lack of funds.
Varona has photographed stars such as Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Adele. She has spent the past seven years shooting professionally and mentioned on her Instagram feed that she “still enjoyed doing small jobs” and still feels as though she is “scratching the surface” and “learning something new with each job.”
A mutual friend with children at the school reached out to Varona, asking if she might be able to help. The Public School 25 in Brooklyn is a Title One school. This means that at least 40% of the pupils qualify for free lunches and come from low-income households.
The school was about to cancel the school photos when Varona agreed to help. The photographer told PBS that it reminded her that professional photography was a luxury that isn’t afforded to everyone. However, capturing these memories is a privilege. Varona herself went to a Title One school, and there were some years that she missed out on keeping the school photos because her family couldn’t afford them.
The photographer has since set up a non-profit, the Best Side Foundation so that other Title One schools and their families can benefit from the initiative and enjoy recording the memories of their children growing up.
As a parent, I understand just how expensive these little extras can be. School photos, school trips, uniforms… You don’t want your child to miss out, but the reality of today is that in many so-called rich countries, children are going without heating and regular meals.
Varona has collaborated with Canon to offset printing costs so that all families can savor the memory of their children growing over the years.
It’s these seemingly small things that really help to make a difference. They may seem inconsequential, but you never know how far kindnesses such as these reach. Perhaps there’s a grandparent across the country that doesn’t get to see their grandchildren and would love a photo, or a child with an illness that may not be lucky enough to reach adulthood. The power of photography really can reach far and wide.