I often get asked about our I Belong Project ™ video shoot days and I always say the same thing: “they are the heaviest and most rewarding days you could experience.”
The day begins with timid and unsure kids walking through the doors. They’re soon greeted by one of our amazing volunteers and quickly reassured that the day ahead will be a fun one.
First on the agenda is shopping! We have clothes racks filled with brand new clothes with tags. The kids get to pick out an outfit that makes them feel good. Who doesn’t love a new outfit?!
Next, the kids move on to photography. A professional photographer snaps beautiful headshots for Heart Gallery, and then prints them off that day for the kids to take. To see the glow in their eyes and smiles on their faces when they look back at a beautiful photo of themselves brings tears to our eyes.
After photography is b-roll, which is where the action is. Professional videographers capture kids playing basketball games, singing karaoke, strumming the guitar, and doing arts & crafts. This is where the fun happens, and the kids are always bummed when it’s over.
Finally, the kids move on to the interview, or “chat” as we like to call it. Our goal in the chat is to capture their personalities and to give them a face and a voice. We want the world to get a glimpse of just how wonderful they are!
And throughout all of the bustling activity, lunch is catered in, donated snacks and homemade treats are enjoyed, special guest appearances are made, and friendships are formed.
When the day is over, the kids have left, and the space is cleared, our team begins to process the day. We will think about these kids a lot over the days and weeks to come, and we will be praying that just the right family will see their video at just the right time. And when their video is finally ready to be sent out for all the world to see, hope fills the air and our hearts…hope that these kids will soon know what it feels like to truly belong.