Rewind a couple of years ago to when I was asked by my friend, Michele to document a story about an Orlando, Florida woman who was a very active volunteer at several charitable organizations throughout the Orlando community.
One of those organizations we visited was the BETA Center. BETA Center’s mission is to give children and parents the knowledge and support needed for strong and healthy families, with a focus on teen moms and at-risk families. Astonishingly, the youngest mom at the facility when I visited was just 11 years old!
I was so inspired by the young ladies at BETA Center that I vowed then and there to someday photograph these amazing young women (most of whom are kids themselves) and their children.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago and the opportunity to photograph the girls of BETA Center finally presented itself. And I can honestly say that photographing these 75 girls was without question the proudest moment of my photography career.
One of the most amazing aspects of the shoot(s) was that none of the 75 photo sessions took longer than three (3) minutes! The love these young moms had for their kids was immediately evident. All I needed to do was ask them to sit with their child (or, in a few cases have them stand with their bun still in the oven), and just click the shutter.
I want to give a very special thanks my friends, Arden Czyzewski, Johnny Damon, and the Johnny Damon Foundation for a special grant that allowed me to provide mounted and framed prints to each of the 75 girls I photographed over the week-long period. The girls’ reactions upon first seeing the prints of themselves with their beautiful little kids was priceless and I know they will cherish these portraits forever. And a special thank you goes out to Xiomara Matos and Michele Plant for helping me bring this dream to fruition.
I hope you enjoy a few of the pictures we captured of these special young ladies…