Intro by Skip Cohen
Many years ago I heard Jay Conrad Levinson speak about the top one hundred things guerrilla marketers need to do to build their business and brand awareness. Right near the top of his list was community involvement. I remember him saying, "People like buying products from companies who give back." The reality is, you're looking for the community to be good to you, so you have to find ways to be good to your community!
I've shared a lot of stories about Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS) over the years. I used to think NILMDTS wasn't for everybody, but the longer I've been one of their ambassadors, the more I realize it is for everybody! I've heard so many stories from photographers who panicked over the idea of their emotional involvement photographing a dying or even deceased baby, and later describe their experience as life-changing.
The NILMDTS video below is still one of the very best ways to understand how you can help, and at the same time start to learn how NILMDTS will help you. You'll grow as an artist and more importantly a member of your community with a more significant passion for family values, love and yes, photography.
I wanted to share the short post below by Jennifer Smith about her experience as a NILMDTS volunteer. She does such an excellent job of describing her involvement, especially her last sentence: "I think it’s important the parents know I’m honored to be a part of their child’s life, I’m grateful to have met them and photograph them. I will remember their child, and I was impacted by them."
NILMDTS needs volunteers at all levels, not just photographers. To find out more about how you can help click on the thumbnail to the right.
I volunteer …
Because sometimes I think it’s not fair.
Because I understand the importance of remembering and acknowledging those feelings are there.
I can’t always help with words or cards, but I can help with my gift of art.
I can help with my eye for photography
So, I do.
Jennifer Smith, NILMDTS Volunteer Photographer
My best friend and I were pregnant at the same time, due in October. Only she gave birth at the hospital in July, and didn’t leave until April the next year when he passed away at 9 months old. Meanwhile, another friend of our family was due in September and had her daughter, stillborn. Their grief, their timeline of survival, I was a bystander through it all. I was left in a very awkward position because my baby was healthy.
This past spring, I received a random email from a member of my camera club saying “Cheryl Haggard, the founder of Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, will be in Cincinnati on Monday”. I had never heard of her, or the organization, but I was strongly compelled to do some research. So I took time to learn more and went to the in-person meeting a few days later. I picked up some literature and information, applied to be a volunteer photographer, and here I am.
After going to a handful of sessions, I’m happy I decided to walk this path with the other volunteers. It’s sometimes hard to stop my routine, especially with two small kids, and decide to take a session, but I do decide to have a few hours of stillness in my body and mind and to be present with the baby and family while I’m there. I think it’s important the parents know I’m honored to be a part of their child’s life, I’m grateful to have met them and photograph them. I will remember their child, and I was impacted by them.