Artistic area Girl Scout uses talent behind the lens to save shelter dogs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- All over the metro area, longtime Girl Scouts have been putting the finishing touches on impressive service projects they need to earn their Gold Award after the first of the year. The Gold Award is the highest member honor in Girl Scouts. This week’s FOX 4 Young Achiever has put one together that builds on her extraordinary talents and her deep passion for helping animals in need.

“So my project is called Homes For Hounds,” said FOX 4 Young Achiever Natalie Dameron as she takes rapid fire photos of shelter dogs. “Pretty catchy title if I do say so myself. I photograph dogs that are in need of adoption. And I create bios for them and put them on my website in hopes of raising awareness for the dogs that need to be adopted.”

Natalie loves dogs. And she loves writing. And she loves photography. So when she started brainstorming about a service project she needed to do as a capstone to earn her Gold Award in Girl Scouts, Natalie came up with Homes For Hounds and reached out to Unleashed Pet Rescue and Adoption in Mission, KS as a partner.

“I was thinking of a way where I could do something that would benefit my community but also have fun doing it,” said Natalie. “So I figured out this project would be perfect.” Natalie’s life revolves around photography, writing and leadership, in the community, in Girl Scouts.

“Yeah, I’m all about girl power,” and at Pembroke Hill School where she’s in her senior year. Natalie is remarkably accomplished in all three areas and they’ve been her foundation in building a sparkling academic record. At Pembroke Natalie writes two regular columns for the student news magazine, one that has her interviewing and photographing teachers and writing profile pieces on them and another titled Dam Straight that allows her to tackle any subject.

“It’s amazing, said Natalie. “I love having this effect on people, whether it’s my photographs or my writing. I love knowing that people are reading and learning something and feeling something and they’re walking away with something new.” Natalie has won countless awards and recognition in photography and film.

Her work is so good that as a junior she was chosen for the highly selective Scholars Artist Program at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art where she got to learn from masters and have her own exhibit at the famed museum.

“Natalie seeks out challenges,” said Pembroke Hill art teacher Connie Creek. “Some kids rise to them. Natalie seeks them out.” Creek has mentored Natalie in both leadership and art at Pembroke.

“Enthusiastic and a great listener and with an amazing work ethic,” said Creek of Natalie. “And then, she’s very observant. She really pays attention to people, to things. And I think that's what makes her a good photographer because she notices, sometimes, the small, the everyday.”

“I like to take risks,” said Natalie. “And I want to capture a story in just one image. I want the viewers to be able to use their imagination in what the story is behind the photograph. But I want to create connections that otherwise might, may have gone unnoticed.” Connections that are going to save the animals she loves and put them in loving homes.

Natalie wants to work in the movie industry like her older sister Morgan who is now producing a feature film titled Different Flowers that Natalie worked on over the summer. And Natalie also has her focus on working for an organization like National Geographic so she can travel widely to take exciting photographs and produced documentary films.

Check out Natalie’s Homes For Hounds website to see her work to get shelter dogs adopted.

FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Wednesday on FOX 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m. and noon.