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giving back

Being a Part of the Experience {Special Olympics Asheville}


Being a Part of the Experience {Special Olympics Asheville}


I was watching the news on a Sunday morning…oh wait, we’ll back up. Wendy and I had been talking about how we might go about giving back, and doing it in a way that makes a personal impact. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against donating to causes that I believe in. I love to peruse gofundme campaigns, and to participate in fundraising events. However, as much as I know those funds are contributing to the betterment of xyz, they feel a little on the side of indifference. Does that make sense?

We left our conversation to brainstorm on how we might contribute to an effort wherein we could be an integral part of the experience.

So, back to that Sunday morning. I was watching WLOS, our local ABC affiliate here in Asheville and there was a story on a kickball tournament for our local Special Olympics chapter and I spit out my coffee! Literally, down my shirt, onto the couch. My husband turned around and looked at me with the quizzical expression of “Dear lord, what now?” across his face.

I grabbed my cell phone and immediately texted Wendy “I HAVE IT! (insert fireworks and heart emoji here) Special Olympics! What weekends are you free in Jan/Feb?” She was in like Flynn! We mapped out an outline of the best way that we might organize such an event and stay in keeping with the theme of making a difference with the athletes. I didn’t want to turn and burn like you might a photography marathon, but I also wanted more than 2 or 3 people.

The heart of this business is to empower our clients in their own vitality. I can’t think of a better organization to partner with than Special Olympics to meet that purpose. Can you?

When I met with Carla and her team, they were so gracious for the opportunity. One of the things they had mentioned was that so many businesses feel that the only way they CAN contribute to Special Olympics is monetarily, which of course going into the new year is no easy feat for most businesses in Asheville. The real meat of it is they are open to events like this one, wherein all parties not only gain exposure, but help to educate the general public and bring awareness about special needs to the community.

I am thrilled to be making a difference here in Asheville. Not only will we be able to make new friends and create some beautiful portraiture, but French Broad Imaging has agreed to contribute the printing for the athletes (they will each receive a matted print from their session with us), Wendy of Blush Asheville (pictured left) is contributing her artistic services so that every athlete looks their absolute BEST for their portrait and I am chomping at the bit for January 23rd to be NOW! We are going to have so much fun!

I’ll be sure to share all of the funness from our portrait party on the 23rd. Follow our Facebook and Instagram (@catfordcoates) for behind the scenes from 10:00-3:00 on January 23rd!

When asked “Why” our sponsors had this to say:

  • “Those with learning disabilities are so often overlooked as people with thoughts, feelings, and ideas of their own. My job, my purpose, is to not only acknowledge but, to empower them in their own self. It isn’t just about being pretty. It’s about knowing your own grace and owning it.” – Cat Ford-Coates, Studio 828 Photography
  • “I see the beauty within from every girl. If I can make one more smile with a touch of lip gloss and a little blush, then it is one more day I can be blessed by the best job ever.” –Wendy Ballance, Blush Asheville
  • “We are part of this community. We want to help the people in our community, and especially those with special needs. Thank you for the opportunity!” – Tony Hood, French Broad Imaging

Are you interested in sponsoring this event? Reach out below. We’d love to talk!