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ag 67 blog Swank Photo Studio teams up with Activate Good to take back 9/11| Team Awesome SauceLast September I had the awesome opportunity to join my good friend Rose Thompson while documenting the 9/11 Day of Service, Activate Raleigh 2013. The day was organized by Activate Good, a volunteer center based in Raleigh that connects individuals, groups and companies to volunteer needs with nonprofits, along with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. Rose is a Volunteer Coordinator for Activate Good and was telling me about how all the hard work was coming together into a day when local businesses, groups, and individuals would unite to honor those lost on 9/11 with volunteerism and acts of kindness around Raleigh and the Triangle. I was hooked and immediately told Rose that I was joining her – all day – in her Routan, affectionately called ‘the Bus’.

“I couldn’t believe that she would donate her entire day and her talents to take this wild ride with me, but she did! Having her jovial-self riding shotgun with her trusty camera, Nelly, in tow was so much fun and it made a long, yet very busy day zoom by.” – Rose

I joined Rose as she checked in with Team Leaders and Project Host’s at a variety of projects to see what progress was being made. My task was documenting those stops along the way. Nearly 1500 volunteers worked on 47 projects in over 70 shifts throughout the day. The following are the projects I encountered. I extend kudos to those individuals and businesses that gave joyfully of themselves that very special day.

–          Raleigh City Farm, shift adopted by Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy

–          Gardening at Bugg Elementary for CONCERT, adopted by Gibbs & Soell Business Communications

–          Moore Square litter pick-up with City of Raleigh Parks & Recreation, shift adopted by French West Vaughan

–          Roberts Park mulching project with City of Raleigh Parks & Recreation, adopted by individuals and Raleigh Shields of Hope

–          Global Hope for India care packages, adopted by Kimley-Horn and Associates

–          Raleigh Rescue Mission, lunch adopted by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance

–          Provide companionship to seniors with SERA, Inc. at the Ralph Campbell Community Center

–          Work day at the Wade Edwards Foundation & Learning Lab, shift adopted by the Redwoods Group

–          BEST Raleigh‘s Post-it Note Mural, adopted by volunteers documenting residents/visitors answers to “What do you love?”

Fellow citizens and volunteers convened that night at the Red Hat Amphitheater for the Evening Commemoration of Activate Raleigh where they enjoyed live music by Mary Selvidge & Doug Casteen and the Chris Hendricks Band, participated in several hands-on service projects, donated non-perishable items for an on-site food drive, and heard Mayor Nancy McFarlane declare Raleigh to be the first “City of Service” in our state.

There is JOY is service. My joy was being able to use the talents God gave me in a way that helped others. I pray the photographs I took that day inspire you to joyfully give of yourself in any way you can.

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Jaime & Lee had a beautiful, intimate ceremony at the Rand-Bryan House with only the wedding party as guests. Jaime’s future step daughter walked her down the aisle of candles and white rose pedals that led to a wall of windows and the groom.

“She looked up at me before we walked down the aisle and she said ‘Let’s do this’ and smiled the biggest smile. It was awesome and it only confirmed that I made the best decision of my life.” – Jaime

Congratulations Jaime & Lee! It was an honor to be a part of your wedding day.

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Denise and her family are a treasure. They are truly committed to each other, enduring separation from one another while awaiting Baby #3. And these two boys are going to be there for their brother or sister, I can just tell.

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Maternity and family hotography sessions can be a bit intimidating, especially for children. I help them relax by being a big goofball myself. We all end of having the best time and it shows in each and every picture.


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When I photograph families, weddings, couples or individuals I don’t just want them to come into my life then leave once the shoot is complete. Getting to know my clients is the joy in the job. Making connections on a personal level is so important to me.

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I had the joy of making such a connection with Emily and Chad on a volunteer basis with the March of Dimes. Emily worked for the March of Dimes and was organizing the 2010 Triangle Signature Chefs Auction to raise money for the mission of fighting premature births. She asked me to photograph the event as well as a family whose twins were born premature. Mission is close to my heart and I jumped at the opportunity.

She took the most beautiful pictures of the host family which we used on our programs and captured the night beautifully. I knew then that if I ever needed a photographer, I would be calling on Stacy.” – Emily

We stayed in touch and when Emily said “I do” to Chad, they asked me to photograph their engagement and wedding. I feel so blessed to know this couple and cannot wait until their summer wedding!

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Christy & Blake’s enchanted forest wedding at the Umstead in October was beautiful. I first met this couple at their engagement session and I knew then that it would be a special day for them both. The flowers by Mel Day were spot on and evoked the fall theme they really wanted.

“Very warm, soft and romantic.” – Christy

ChristyBlake 1 600x399 They Danced All Night | Christy & Blake

A fantastic twist was the surprise flash mob staged by the dancers from Elevate to get the dance party started. And once they started, they danced all night!

Congratulations Christy & Blake! It was an honor to be a part of your wedding day. It’s also an honor to have our photographs of Christy & Blake’s wedding chosen to be featured in an upcoming issue of Southern Bride & Groom Magazine. This trendy NC magazine is always a great ‘go-to’ resource for any bride in the NC wedding market.

Venue – The Umstead Hotel and Spa

Wedding Coordinator – Joy Edwards, A Joyful Occasion

Photography – Swank Photo Studio

Videography – Blueberry Creative

Stationary – Cute Buttons Stationery

Music – DJ Steve Stowe, Joe Bunn DJ Company

Flash Mob – Elevate

Flowers – Mel Day

Cake – Sweet Memories Bakery

Catering – The Umstead Hotel and Spa

Bride’s Gown – Tre Bella Bridal

Bridesmaids’ Gowns – David’s Bridal

Grooms’ Attire – Navy Uniform

Tuxes – Men’s Warehouse

Cookie Favors – Shirley’s Bake Shoppe, Waverly VA

Makeup and Hair – Denise Hutter, Images by Denise

Toss Cones – Invitations by Lou, Etsy

Flower Girl Dresses – Olivia Kate Couture, Etsy

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