Monday, October 31, 2011

TFFT through the lens of Kaitlin Rogers

Before working for TFFT, I worked as a family portrait photographer. The opportunity to create images for families is a blessing, and I love that
the resulting images become personal artwork and family heirlooms for their children and grandchildren.

I now work for The Foundation For Tomorrow as Director of Communication and Donor Development. My work for TFFT initially began as a photography assignment, but when that project came to a close

I was not ready to walk away from TFFT leaving just the images. The process of making those images changed me. Like during my family portrait sessions, I was photographing adorable children. Unlike my family portrait sessions, I was photographing adorable little children who had been orphaned or abandoned.

Often, when I am behind my camera, focusing on a child, caught up in their spirit, I wonder, “Who will this child become? What are her dreams? What mark will he leave on this world?” As I photographed the children at TFFT’s partner orphanages, the same thoughts flashed through my mind, but this time instead of swelling with joy and hope for their potential, my heart felt heavy with sadness as my “Who will this child become” shifted to, “What will become of this child?”

Photographing TFFT’s Scholarship Students, however, was much more uplifting. These orphaned and abandoned children have the opportunity to receive quality education and benefit from the comfort and support of the family TFFT has created for them. Our sponsors and the many families that contribute to our efforts make it possible for TFFT to provide scholarships to 76 children.

Orphanages are still overflowing with children, though, and it may seem like 76 is not enough.

The Foundation For Tomorrow makes a promise to each of our Scholarship Students. We promise that once part of our Scholarship Program, we will provide each child with support through Secondary School graduation, an average of 12 years. Throughout their 12 years with TFFT, each child costs TFFT approximately $21,000. Therefore, we accept new children slowly so that we can be certain that we will be able to fulfill our promise.

However, orphanages are still overflowing with children. How could we grow faster?

In 2011 TFFT opened a Scholarship Endowment. This fund will act as our safety net, our security blanket, and our parachute. As soon as we significantly grow this reserve, we will be able to more quickly accept the many children who deserve to be part of our program. We have added the option to contribute to our Scholarship Endowment online if you would like to add a stitch to our security blanket.

Now that I have the pleasure of working for TFFT, I look at our Scholarship Students, and I can’t wait to watch who they each become, to cheer as they accomplish their dreams, and to know that TFFT gave them the chance to leave their very special mark on our world.

My involvement with The Foundation For Tomorrow began behind my camera. I was in Tanzania volunteering my time as a photographer, and upon my arrival I quickly realized that The Foundation For Tomorrow was something unique. The time I spent with TFFT’s scholarship children and in TFFT’s partner schools and orphanages profoundly impacted me. The scope of the issue was overwhelming, but TFFT’s approach was brilliant.

I am a photographer who loves children.

What could this possibly have in common?

Photographs represent moments in time, glimpses into someone’s day, and tickets to foreign places.


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