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This is Worth 1,000+ Words

Published on January 7, 2013 by Staff Writer

The holidays can be a stressful time of year. From shopping sprees to party planning to travel arrangements, the spirit of giving can get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season. One of Broadview-Orem’s students, Melanee Peterson, was able to capture the spirit of giving in a unique way: from behind the lens of a camera.

By providing professional quality portraits to families in need, Melanee gave back to the community in a way she wishes someone would have done for her.

“When I was a single mom,” Melanee said, now remarried, “that’s what I wanted more than anything–a picture on my wall. You want to look back and remember. You want to have tangible proof that you are part of a family, that you are loved, that you are important to someone.”

In today’s economy, it is difficult for many families to make ends meet, let alone afford professional family portraits. When assigned a service project for one of heBroadview Universityr classes, Melanee seized the opportunity to give a gift that would last a whole lot longer than pumpkin pie.

“You want a picture every year to show, ‘I’m here; I’m a part of something,'” Melanee said. “I wish I had that for my own kids to look back and see where we were and what we were like.”

In early December, Melanee and her classmates began to spread the word about their upcoming service project, even creating a blog about it where people could get information or donate to the cause. The project resonated with the community, and companies such as Vivint and RCWilley lended their sponsorship.

Volunteers poured in to help with the hair, makeup and photography for the portrait sessions. With two session times available (December 6 and December 8 at the Broadview-Orem campus), more than 20 families signed up. Even popular Utah news outlet, KSL, heard the buzz surrounding the project and published an article highlighting the project’s success.

Although the project was indeed a success, Melanee says this is only the beginning. She wants to turn her school project into something bigger, something long-term.

“I want to keep doing this. Maybe we’ll turn it into something bigger; maybe it will just be a couple families a week. It would be something they could hang on their wall … I think everyone deserves that.”

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