One of my very favorite local organizations to be the volunteer photographer for is EP!C and yesterday I got to photograph the annual cookout for the individuals served by EP!C and their families. Since I was in about 2nd grade I have had a close friend with disabilities and we keep in contact to this date. Every time I serve EP!C as their volunteer photographer I think of my good friend Tim!
EP!C has been serving individuals with developmental disabilities and their families since 1950.
It began as a group of Peoria-area parents wanting to provide their children with education and opportunity, an unprecedented service for individuals with disabilities at the time. This founding group of parents established a school for their children.
They grew and added new programs and services, and in 2013, they changed our name from PARC (Peoria Association of Retarded Citizens) to EP!C, which stands for Empower People, Inspiring Capabilities.
What began as a service for ten has served over 600, enriching the lives of adults with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, epilepsy, and other intellectual or developmental disabilities. They are also a resource for our participant’s families, offering support through care, information, and encouragement.
The following letter is shared with permission from a fellow photographer:
July 2nd, 2011Jeanine –
Today I am writing for a couple of reasons. I have some quiet time at the moment and need to get a couple of things off my mind. I will leave this for my husband to deliver to you when he is ready.
You photographed my wedding, you photographed my first pregnancy and my first baby. I contacted you awhile back to photograph my 2nd child and family. After getting prices and realizing I would want all of the pictures as we love your work – I decided against spending $500+ – which is what I normally spend for portraits and prints with you.. Please know it is not because I don’t value your amazing eye, or how much we love the experience.
That week that I decided to NOT do a session with you, this is how I spent some money.
On Sunday I called and cancelled our session. Monday I went out and got my hair cut ($39+tip), and colored ($65), Thursday I had my nails done ($24), my family went out to dinner at a somewhat expensive restaurant for no particular reason costing us $79 + tip. This was just 4 days since canceling our session, already totaling over $200 for un necessary things. My nails only lasted about 2 weeks, my hair is gone, and seven weeks passed when I got the phone call from our doctor. It was not something I expected and the cancer has spread very quickly. I will be leaving my husband, my 6 year old girl and my now 2 year old – not by choice. It is very hard for me to talk about it which is why I need to write you.
I watch your Facebook page and your posts about the value of a photo and if I could give back all of those things that I purchased this few weeks after I cancelled my session with you, knowing what I know now, and have that session, well… I would do it in a heartbeat.
Now my time is done and there are no more chances for me. The next time someone cancels a session – my wish is that you forward this letter to them. Time is fragile, it is gone before you know you had it. If you charged $200 for one print it wouldn’t be enough for what it is actually worth. I cringe to think that my priorities were a manicure over a memory to pass onto my babies and husband.
My love and thanks for what you have given us from past photos. I am so sorry that I did not see it as more than paper until now.
Jenni Williams Photography is a Certified Professional Family Portrait Photographer in Peoria, Illinois specializing in preserving your family's memories in photographic prints and wall art.