OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — In a place where hope and dreams would seem in short supply, the children of Oklahoma City’s City Rescue Mission sit down on a Saturday morning to fill page after page of them.
“My hope is to be a football player,” says one child.
Another child hopes to be a doctor.
“I want to have a nice car,” says another boy.
“I want to be like my dad,” says a little girl.
There are subtle differences between these children and others though.
For every big dream on their lists there is a simple one.
“My dream is to go to work,” says one boy.
“My hope is to finish school,” says another.
Professional photographer Linda Solomon handed out more than a dozen paper forms to get the gathered children thinking.
But she didn’t stop there.
A few years back she had an idea that became a mission called ‘Pictures of Hope’.
She starts her lesson with a thought.
Then she teaches her students how to put those thoughts into a photograph.
“I want to show those kids their dreams matter,” she says.
“I think if you know that someone cares about your dreams and what you’re hoping for in life, I think it makes a huge difference.”
Linda’s professional experience is in fashion and celebrity.
Her heart lies in visiting homeless shelters around the country.
In a partnership with Chevrolet, she gives digital cameras to ever child in attendance.
Then she sends them out to take a picture from their list of hopes.
Being an Oklahoma City Thunder player was an easy photograph to get.
A huge Thunder logo hangs on the wall of the Mission Gym.
Others took a little more thought.
Two friends Mathew and Mykel talked about what they were going to do with their new cameras.
Mathew said, “If he can, Mykel might take pictures of…”
Mykel interjects, “I can take pictures of anyone.”
“Like Fireman,” suggests Mathew.
The photos they gather will make their way to holiday greeting cards.
Selling them will raise money for the Rescue Mission.
With each card, those simple dreams, and the far off ones too, come into better focus.
For more information on Linda Solomon’s program go to www.lindasolomonphotography.com/PicturesOfHope or to www.cityrescue.org .
There is an unveiling party planned for early December at Hudiburg Chevrolet where the children will get to see their own cards for the first time.