Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Power, Strength, Dignity and Joy

Sometimes I love my job so much that I am overflowing with emotion. To tell stories through the power of photography is what I live for.

Today was one of those days.

It started with this young lady.


This is Adaora and she is delightful. We met at a photo shoot last year when I did some work for the company that she was then employed with. Since then she has moved on to work for a non-profit here in Cleveland called Towards Employment. Towards Employment empowers individuals to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through employment. I was so excited when Adaora contacted me a while back to see if I would be interested in taking some photographs of some of their TE “graduates”. What could I do but say yes.

Getting the photo shoots set up has been a bit challenging as there are a lot of moving parts and pieces but this morning found me up in Cleveland to spend some time with Adaora and Sarai, a Towards Employment graduate.

Sarai 1

It is a rare thing indeed to meet someone like Sarai, who is so full of joy and brimming over with enthusiasm for life. Her story was amazing and the effort and energy that she has put into taking hold of everything that Towards Employment had to offer her to gain the skills that she needed to be employed in a job that she loves, was truly humbling. Her story is her own to tell. I am sure that she would say I could share it all if I had asked her to, but let me just say that she readily admits to making some mistakes in life before being urged by her sister to contact Towards Employment. She has had to walk through fire to get to where she is now but you would never know it by her joyful take on life.

Sarai 4

Sarai’s grandmother is her inspiration and she let me take two pictures with Sarai before scooting off to take up her day again. Grandmothers are awesome.

Sarai laughter

We had to squeeze in the pictures in between bouts of laughter.

Sarai 2Sarai 3 without hairSarai 5

Thank you, Sarai, for being willing to share your story with me. You are a woman of power and strength, dignity and joy.

And thank you to Towards Employment for asking me in the first place.


  1. Deb, these are beautiful--just like your subjects. Congrats to all.

  2. Debbie - you make these moments happen. Thanks for asking, for listening, for caring.


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