Something Ive been wanting to do for a long while, is not only blog about weddings, business and other shoots, but blog about things I care about.  Things that show my heart, or rather the heart of God.   Being a photographer to me isnt just about taking pictures at weddings. Its a gift, given to me by our precious King and God, Jesus.  I want to honor Him with my life, and that means with my business as well.  

  Starting today, I hope to highlight local organizations that help out the community or give back, but also include photography or a photographer in some way.   My hopes in this is to inspire photographers to use their gift to bless others and also to inspire myself as a reminder to what is important in this life. :) 

  The first organization Id like to highlight is The MN Heart Gallery.  I had Alyssa Lund, the coordinator of MNHG explain the details of what goes on there and how you can give back.  I had the opportunity to work with them last summer and it was truly a wonderful experience and something I think is very important. Keep reading to find out what exactly The MN Heart Gallery is, and how you can make a difference in a child’s life.

“My name is Alyssa Lund, and Im the Coordinator of the Minnesota Heart Gallery, an outreach program of Ampersand Families.  Ampersand is a non profit adoption agency in Minneapolis that finds permanent, adoptive families for teens in the Minnesota foster care system.  Older youth and teenagers are not necessarily the demographic that cones to most individuals minds when they think about adoption, but there is a vast demographic of youth in the foster care system in the U.S.  These youth face a world without emotional or financial support of a permanent family, and there are extremely high rates of homelessness, drug abuse, pregnancy, involvement with crime, and unemployment.  Ampersand works to change this by finding adoptive, permanent families for older youth here in Minnesota, and by hosting the Minnesota Heart Gallery as an outreach program.  You can learn more about Ampersand Families at www.ampersandfamilies.org 

Their outreach program, The MN Heart Gallery, coordinates free portrait sessions, wonderfully completed by professional photographers, for youth who are in the Minnesota foster care system.  Having a fun photo session and personality capturing pictures can be really meaningful to youth who often dont have pictures of themselves, and great pictures can help these youth find families!  On an individual basis, these pictures are used by social workers as they search for adoptive families for these youth. On a broader scale, additionally, the Minnesota Heart Gallery uses these images as a way to raise awareness, literally putting a face to the need for adoption of older youth.  We showcase these images on our website, www.minnesotaheartgallery.org, and in out traveling photo gallery, as a way to raise awareness for these issues. 

If you’re interested in helping the MN Heart Gallery, feel free to contact me if you’d like to host out traveling photo gallery at a public location near you or would just like to learn more about what we do.  I am also always looking for more professional photographers from every corner of the state who would be willing to donate their time and a few disks of images to help make a huge difference in the lives of youth!  Just shoot me an email at alyssa@ampersandfamilies.org of youre interested in learning more!”

Alyssa Lund

Minnesota Heart Gallery Coordinator 
Ampersand Families 
cell: 763.843.2541
direct: 612.605.1904
fax: 612. 605.1916

Please contact Alyssa if this is something you’re interested in! 


Until next time, 

Dana J