Back in July I had the blessing of sharing my artistic talents with ten very special families from Camp Smile-A-Mile. These families were part of a larger group which met during the Remembering Their Smiles night which is a new program of Camp SAM that aims to bring families together who have lost a child to cancer. Each family present that night had a child who had attended Camp SAM during his or her struggle with this horrible disease. Through close collaboration with Jennifer Queen, Camp SAM's Program Director, I was able to find a way to gift these families a portrait of their child being remembered that day. Each family who accepted this offer received a 9x12" graphite portrait. The Charleston House gallery in Montgomery, AL was nice enough to provide museum quality framing for each portrait at an unbelievably low cost which was covered by Camp SAM. The final products were sacred offerings and brought the spirit of each child before the viewer.
From this experience I was able to form a unique relationship with these ten children, each of whom I never had the opportunity to meet, yet I feel very much "close" to each child after staring at their visage for several hours during the creation of the portraits. I am positive that someday I will get to meet each child and I am sure that I will not be surprised to see that they now have more energy and good-health than I have ever known possible in my life here on Earth. I look forward to that day very much!
I have asked each family to decide whether or not they want to have their child's portrait posted on this blog. I hope that you will be able to see many, if not all of them soon. Each family will write a post to accompany the image of the portrait. Please be aware that there are many among us who are dealing with trials which we may never come close to fully understanding and it is therefore important that we do what we can to lighten the load of our neighbor; lend a hand or use your talents to bring happiness into their otherwise difficult reality. I hope that each of you may discover your own strengths as well as ways in which you may magnify those gifts. Thanks and God bless - Jared