Posts tagged Giving Tuesday
#GivingTuesday - Jennifer Gowers

I think she might be the hardest working person in the entire event industry.  She (and her team, as she will quickly point out) manage multiple venues while being a huge advocate of Birmingham.  It is not uncommon for Jennifer Gowers of GoPro Event Solutions to go home at 2 in the early morning and be back at it by 6:00 a.m. 

In between all of that, Jennifer is constantly volunteering her services for a wide range of missions.  From finding homes for dogs (including serving with the Greater Birmingham Humane Society) to helping with the homeless in Birmingham (working with the Jimmie Hale Mission and countless others), she works tirelessly 7 days a week.  

She is the current board chair for Pathways, which is a Birmingham organization that serves homeless woman and children. Not only do the people at Pathways give these women a place to live, but also teach them life skills so they can transition into other housing. It really is a one of a kind organization.  

Remember how the purpose of this blog series was about #GivingTuesday being #GivingEveryday?  Well, she is a wonderful example of that.  Hats off to you, lady!

Main Street Productions will become Cinepear in January 2016.


#GivingTuesday - Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

(#GivingTuesday is part of a weekly series of blog posts highlight Birmingham wedding vendors that use their time and talents to serve others. Those that go over and beyond so that #GivingTuesday becomes #GivingEveryday.)

"My Child Existed"

There are many photographers, nationwide, that volunteer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. NILMDTS offers "the gift of remembrance" to parents who have just recently lost their newborn baby.  The photographers are contacted by the hospital so that they can serve a family in the most difficult time. 

In the Birmingham area, we have (at least) two photographers that give so selflessly of themselves that they have been volunteering with NILMDTS for 7 years.  Butch and Joy Oglesby (Blue Moon Studios), not only are fantastic wedding photographers, but they also make beautiful images of recently passed infants so that the parents can have priceless professional pictures of their baby forever - pictures without tubes or wires or anything like that - just pictures of the parents loving their baby.    

"It is a hard thing to do sometimes, but always rewarding because we can give the family something to remember their child. One mother told me it says "my child existed."  We were photographing an event downtown and a young woman approached us and said "you don't remember me but, you photographed by child that passed away two years ago, and as she cried she told us how much the photos we took meant to her and her family......that makes it worthwhile." - Joy Oglesby

NOTE: Butch and Joy will be hosting Artists on the Bluff from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon TODAY!!!!! Go check out what they have plus the other artists in the old Bluff Park Elementary School.

Main Street Productions will become Cinepear in January 2016.

#GivingTuesday - Help Portrait

So today is the official day!  We start with Thanksgiving, then Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and then we all get to reflect back on our blessings and promote giving for #GivingTuesday.  If you have read the previous posts about this topic, you understand my frustration with a once a year trend on something that needs to be a daily occurrence - thinking of others.  But I'm still going to take advantage of people's kindness on this day.  'merica

I thought about doing a blog post about all of the difference corporations that are matching donations or if you tweet a selfie about whatever, then someone will do something amazing.  Great.  Perfect. Keep it coming.  Since this post is not covering all of those many items, please refer to our Twitter account as I'm trying to keep the ideas following over there (@mainstreetav). I just encourage you to do something. Anything.

This week's feature is Help Portrait. "Each December, photographers, hairstylists and makeup artists all around the world will find people in need, take their picture, print their picture and then deliver it—free of charge."  (taken from their website) The organization was started in 2008 and is has grown considerably, even including a Birmingham branch.  

This Saturday, December 5 starting at 9:30 a.m. Help Portrait project will start to benefit Birmingham's YWCA.  Butch and Joy Oglesby (Blue Moon Studios), Gretchen Birdwell (Gretchen B Photography), Amber Ford (Amber Ford Photography), Juan Rodriguez (Juan Rodriguez Photography), Keith Rogers (Keith Rogers Photographer) and Barry Altmark (Photographer turned Deep South Rabbi) will team up with makeup artists Laura Eason and Jackie Robinson (Rawwbeauty) to "gift" the perfect gift for those less fortunate.  They are using their time and talents to make a difference in someone's life.  

If you have a way that can benefit this great organization, contact Barry at

You can even read an article that did of last year's event.  

Main Street Productions will become Cinepear in January 2016.

#GivingTuesday - Compassion International

I was so excited to start this blog series highlighting Birmingham wedding professionals that I have found with these amazing, giving hearts. I want to surround myself with them.  I’ve loved researching and talking about their passions.  Each #GivingTuesday, I can’t wait to be able to post what I have found.  You guys all know, that I want everyday to be a “giving day” - why does it just have to be once a year.  You can read my previous post for that rant.  But for now….

Meet Allison Lewis. I want to be her BFF.  She is the kind of person that everyone wants to be around.  She makes you feel good about yourself.  And she is changing the world for the better.  Since 2012, every wedding client that has hired Allison Lewis Photography has actually had a portion of their fee donated to Compassion International on their behalf, specifically, the women and children of Sadamo Genet, Ethiopia. You should read her blog post about the two trips she and her husband, Josh, took during the adoption of their son, Micah.  Extraordinary.  But get this. To date, over $15,000 has been donated.   Wowzeers!!!!!  $15,000!!!! She tells me, "I love that my clients help serve in such an incredible and tangible way!!!!"

This week, Allison and her family will be welcoming a new addition to the Lewis clan.  Boy or girl, they don’t know. They don't know any details.  They just love the child and can’t wait for the birth mom to go into labor. As you would expect, there is a sweet story associated with this adoption, so be on the lookout for it in the coming weeks.  I’m sure it will be accompanied with a TON of pictures!  #SpreadKindness people. We are all capable, sometimes we (me too) just need to be reminded.  I love this family, especially their hearts. 

#GivingTuesday - let's get started

If you have ever had a conversation with me for any extended length of time, you were bound to experience some of my passion for the hashtag, #GivingTuesday.  You see that particular hashtag only "trends" once a year - the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  Because November (the thankful month) is the only time of the year that people reaching out to others is a popular topic.  I feel that people are more giving of their time, talents and money during this season.  But what about the rest of the year?  The hungry still get hungry in January! I would love to see #GivingTuesday to trend each week - wouldn't that be awesome! If Jimmy Fallon can do it for his crazy hashtags, we should be able as well!!!

I really think that when a need is in front of someone, that others will step up.  But we all get busy, don't we?  We get so caught up in our day to day life that we forget about the countless others in the world that might need a little something extra.  

Even though this blog post is being composed in the month that everyone remembers to give, I still want to go ahead with my plan.  (My ideal month would be February or June or some other time when people are less likely to give.)  My plan is to highlight Birmingham wedding vendors that I know are using their talent to serve others.  I brainstormed for about 5 minutes and came up with 10 people off the top of my head.  I'm sure there are others.  A lot of these people don't directly advertise their giving nature, so finding them is hard. Please feel free to suggest to me if you know of someone that is going above and beyond! I would love to showcase their mission to increase awareness for everyone!  I can't wait for this challenge!!!!