Leawood, Kan.-- As we reach another Thanksgiving Day, we at FOX 4 are expressing our appreciation for the people in our midst who are devoted to helping other people. We spotlight many of the children and teenagers who do that in our weekly Reaching 4 Excellence reports on young achievers.
This week our focus is on sisters Alex and Emily Goldman who have combined their talent, initiative and heart to create an innovative project to do good for others. They are usually extremely busy as outstanding scholars, athletes and leaders at Blue Valley North High School, but when they're not, you are very likely to find Emily and Alex Goldman with camera in hand taking photos. Alex has been doing photography for nine years as a hobby and for school and Emily picked it up in the past couple of years. And now these sisters are putting their top-notch photography skills and passion for community service to very good use taking pictures for not-for-profit organizations.
"We decided, two great photographers, we can produce some quality work and that's what we've been doing," says Alex, a senior at North. "And it's actually turned out pretty professional-looking throughout the process. We've gotten better. I'd say it's pretty comparable to the real deal."
It's not just the occasional job now and then for Alex and Emily, either. The sisters have formed their own not-for-profit enterprise called Photos4Good, doing work for charities and other community organizations free of charge, saving the agencies hundreds of dollars each time out, money they can spend on programs and services.
"A lot of the organizations we've helped have to do with kids and helping kids," says Emily, a sophomore at North. "So I think those are some of the more touching events, where the kids are there."
The Children's Place, a center in Kansas City, MO for abused and neglected kids, was a natural place for Alex and Emily to start their Photos4Good service since their dad is on the volunteer board of directors there. And they proved themselves immediately.
"Their work is amazing, it's professional quality," says Roxane Hill, Vice President of Development for The Children's Place. "And they are just fabulous. We've used them for publications. We've used them for our website. And on our Facebook page. It is a big deal. It's just such a big gift for us whenever we do these events. They understand the pictures that we want. They are right there with us."
The girls now have done work for about a dozen agencies and have several more lined up. They've gotten so busy they've brought in talented friends from the newspaper and yearbook staffs at North High to help.
"Lots of multi-tasking, but it's been pretty effective so far," says Alex, laughing when asked how they get it all done and fit it in to their hectic schedules and demands of school.
Although the girls just launched their project last year, they're already making plans to expand, even though Alex will head off to college next year. They are encouraging their younger brother to get involved. And Alex wants to establish Photos4Good where she ends up going to school. They also are talking to friends in other cities in hopes of exporting the Photos4Good concept to even more places.
"Just helping, doing something we enjoy, taking photos," says Emily. "And also just doing community service is a lot of fun for us. And we enjoy it so much more knowing that we are helping the organizations in what we believe is a small way but actually makes a huge impact on the organization itself."
Sisters as partners -- giving back by taking very good photos for good causes that do a lot of good for all of us.
Photos4Good is a turn-key operation. Alex and Emily do everything, including editing the photos and getting them set for the various uses organizations have for them. The Goldman sisters have a website for their services. Go to http://www.photos4good.org/ for details of their enterprise, samples of their work and a list of organizations that already are satisfied customers.
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 5 p.m.