Inspiring us with a vision for something better

I’ve recently been introduced to the term “social practice” or “social engagement” art – artists seeing something in their own community and responding to it, by reflecting it back in some way. I love this idea and it’s why I initially got into photography, I wanted to comment on what I saw, and say “Hey, take a look! Do you see what I see?”

I’ve had a long time admiration for people who have been able to take note, stand up, and come together in social justice movements. These can be non-profit organizations or individuals with an idea to change, effect, or completely re-envision a model that no longer serves the common good. They are masters at inspiring us with a vision for something better.

Youth Shelters, The Galisteo Basin Preserve, and The Global Warming Express in Santa Fe, New Mexico and FRESC in Denver, Colorado are organizations that StoryPortrait Media has had the honor to partner with this year to help tell their story of making a difference on big issues; youth homelessness, ecological preservation and community building, climate change through youth activism, and protecting and advocating for worker and family rights.

In the time of Thanksgiving, I’d like to give thanks to people who make a difference!

Youth Shelters, delivers life-changing services to homeless, runaway and in-crisis youth. One of Youth Shelters greatest needs right now is recruiting new mentors for the youth and securing financial contributions during the holiday season and winter months when the youth on the street are even more vulnerable.

FRESC ensures working in families in Colorado, especially low income people, communities of color and immigrants, have the maximum opportunity for a good quality of life, livable wages, family-supporting benefits and housing that is affordable. Earlier this year, Shelene Bridge and I traveled to Denver, Colorado and in two days we visited a mobile home community, union offices, community organizer headquarters and the state capitol to interview twelve folks who are united through FRESC and a common goal of equity in the workplace. This video was shown at FRESC’s annual fundraising and celebration dinner. FRESC continues to work on issues that matter.

The Global Warming Express is a climate change advocacy organization started by two nine-year-old girls in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Marina Weber and Joanna Whysner. Together they have created a fast-growing movement and their climate change club and camp and venturing out into the world as activists with a voice. They are leading the way, and having an impact on their future in the present, and hopefully carrying the adults along with them.

The Galisteo Basin Preserve is a land conservation and a community development project of the Commonweal Conservancy, located in Santa Fe County’s Galisteo Basin. It is truly special.Going against the grain of traditional development, the vision of the Galisteo Basin is to develop ecologically, with green building and land preservation at the heart of it. Conservation development lots are still available. You can be part of this important and rare community.

The Galisteo Basin Preserve is open to our community– for hiking, biking, and just learning about this magical landscape. As a continual commitment to community building, five additional miles of trails was developed this Fall. Go visit! The trail map is attached.

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