Donny (not his real name) was a scrappy 8 year old when I first met him and became his mentor. At the time, he barely reached my waist. Today, at 17, he towers over me.
Donny lived in PA for while and was lucky to be in a place where he had many strong supporters. Adults who believed that he was a boy with potential.
We decided to take advantage of his winter break this year and drive up to PA for a visit, our first since 2007. He was introduced to the children currently living there as a true “success story.” He beamed, knowing that it is the truth.
He said a lot over the course of the day about where he is now, where he was then and what made the difference for him. But when asked specifically what the staff could do to better help the kids there today, he responded that they should recognize that all of the kids there may have potential. They should show the kids that they (the staff) believe in them.
One of the ways that Donny has shown his own potential is through the photographs he has taken over the years. In 2007, he had his own photography show at the Sitar Arts Center in DC. He likes to photograph people and places that are important to him. He likes to photograph beauty in his environment.
In February, Donny will be going to the Grand Canyon and he is looking forward to the photo opportunities he knows he will find there. All of his expenses will be paid, but he would love to earn some spending money.
He worked at a Best Buy over the summer and loved it. Unfortunately, they are in a hiring freeze right now. While he is working with the coordinator at his school to try to identify other job opportunities, they appear to be few and far between.
One of the ways Donny is trying to raise spending money is through the sale of his photos. Below are the most popular photographs from his 2007 show, plus some of his more recent work. If you are interested in purchasing a Donny original, they are 8/10 matted and framed photographs and are available for $65, which includes shipping. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with orders.
Whether you are interested in purchasing or not, please enjoy the photographs of a boy who knows first hand how important it is to know that he has people who believe in him.