Sunday, March 6, 2016

Incredibly Rewarding Experience

By Rebekah Harding
As a part of our Digital Photography program we, the students, are asked to offer our talents to
local organizations as part of a volunteer assignment. Unlike other programs that have their
students participate in co-ops, it’s a little more difficult for photography students to do the same
because there’s a limited number of professional photographers in the area for students to work
with, so a volunteer project was created in place of a co-op. The goal of this task is to give us
real world experience working with clients, and the results are incredibly rewarding. While some
students take this task as an opportunity to photograph various community events, banquets,
sports, etc, I spent my time photographing for a local non-profit organization called Team Hoyt
Team Hoyt Canada athletes racing towards the finish line at the Oktoberfest Fun Run in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario on Monday October 12, 2015.

Team Hoyt Canada is a ride-along program that pairs individuals with disabilities (developmental
or physical) and pairs them up with able bodied individuals. Together the athletes compete in
endurance events such as road races and triathlons with the use of specialized racing chairs.
Their motto of “yes you can” teaches that you can do anything you set your mind to, despite
what others may say. They promote inclusion by demonstrating that “disability doesn’t mean
Brigid poses with her parents Allison and Dale
 at the Bluewater Race for Health in Sarnia, Ontario
 on Sunday September 13, 2015.
(Rebekah Harding/Lambton College)

Throughout 2015, from the time the group was announced at the Boston Marathon in April to
their final race of the season in October, I had the opportunity to photograph several races
throughout Ontario. I even had the opportunity to witness Sarnia’s Cody Daye compete in his
first half-Ironman event in Benton Harbour, Michigan. His amazing feat was nothing short of
spectacular, making him the first individual with Down Syndrome in Canada to compete and
finish an Ironman event. 
Haley poses with her uncle Frank at the Bluewater Race
for Health in Sarnia, Ontario on Sunday September 13, 2015.
(Rebekah Harding/Lambton College)

Thanks to my previous volunteer experiences with Team Hoyt Canada, I was able to continue
and spend my time completing my volunteer project with them throughout the third semester.
The first of the two races that I photographed during the semester were the Bluewater Race for
Health (for Bluewater Health) in September and the second was the Kitchener-Waterloo
Oktoberfest that took place on Thanksgiving weekend. The Oktoberfest race was extra special
as it was the last race of the season as well as it was the first time that the Kitchener-Waterloo
area had ever seen this type of inclusion and the communities reception to it was absolutely amazing.

Event organizers pose with some of the Team Hoyt Canada crew at the Oktoberfest Fun Run in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario on Monday October 12, 2015.  (Rebekah Harding/Lambton College)
Susan and Vicki competing in the Bluewater Race
 for Health in Sarnia, Ontario on Sunday
September 13, 2015.
(Rebekah Harding/Lambton College)
Through these events, I have been able to witness and capture the thrills and smiles
on everyones faces as they compete, receiving their finisher medals and enjoying each others
company. Through these events I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the most incredible
people as well as watching life long friendships form throughout the Team Hoyt community.

Volunteering is an incredibly rewarding experience and I highly encourage others to get out
there and volunteer for organizations that matter to them. I look forward to continuing to
photograph for this wonderful organization.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to post comments on our postings. Please have respect for our students and faculty, any inappropriate remarks will be deleted.