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Why Volunteerism is Important

When I was growing up, I was a proud Girl Scout. In 2012, Girl Scouting is in its 100th year and through that time its mission has remained the same: to empower girls to be good leaders, good stewards, and all around good people.

What Girl Scouting also taught me was the power, and importance, of giving back.

Every year, I work on several pro-bono projects. These projects all provide help to organizations, people, or pets who need a boost. And I do it not only because it’s important to provide support to those who need it, but also because it’s a good thing to do. I don’t do it for the notoriety or because it’s a tax write off. I do it because I believe that it’s important to give back. Karma doesn’t have to be a…. well, you know… It can be beautiful.

Here is a look at some of the projects I supported last year and continue to support.

Deb-LaurasmMaine Greyhound Placement Service: I provide editorial guidance to the Maine Greyhound Placement Service through their calendar, the newsletter, and outreach for the group via meet and greets and annual events. I design both the calendar and the newsletter (flexing the "design" portion of my business). In addition, I provide fun pet oriented photography sessions at the group’s annual open house and holiday open house. A portion of the proceeds from each session at the open houses goes back to the group.

Furry Friends Food Bank: The Furry Friends Food Bank is near and dear to my heart. Located at Eastern Area Agency on Aging (www.eaaa.org), the food bank provides pet food and pet supplies to seniors and people with disabilities to enable them to keep their pet at home. Many of these people will give up part of their meal to keep their pet fed. That’s not healthy for either party. By donating money raised through my annual Pet Portrait event at Green Acres Kennel Shop, my clients help me provide financial support. Last year we donated over $300 to the food bank.

CTC3smChampion the Cure Challenge: The Champion the Cure Challenge (www.ctcchallenge.org) is a fundraising arm of the CancerCare Center of Maine. This center not only treats patients, but also does groundbreaking research into cancer and finding ways of diagnosing, treating, and ultimately eradicating cancer. I have had several family members touched by cancer and it’s a terrible disease. Because this organization keeps 100% of the funds in the state of Maine, when I was asked to provide photographic coverage services I said "yes". Last year, the August 18 event brought in over $225,000. That’s no small feat and it’s due largely to the support of people throughout Maine.

The L Factor’s "Man Up To Cancer Calendar": In 2011, I was asked to be one of four photographers who tackled the L Factor’s first calendar. The calendar is being sold at the L Factor Salon, 258 State Street in Brewer, Maine, and features local men who are survivors, co-survivors, or supporters of those with cancer. This project, spearheaded by co-owner Regina Leonard, was an honor to be part of and I can’t wait to tackle it again for the 2014 calendar. To order a calendar you can go there or call (207) 989-5515.

Other causes I’ve supported in the past have included Operation Smile (provides surgical support for children with cleft lips and cleft palates in the United States and abroad), the Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center in Bangor, Spruce Run Women’s Shelter, the UMaine Alumni Association, and the Bangor Humane Society. I wish I had the money and time to support all the wonderful causes out there.

So what have you done to make a difference in your community?