EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – There is something special about a picture that often captures more than just what we see through a lens, and through the eyes of a child, it can be even more magical.

“Sandee is a photographer,” Amy Mullen said. “Her passion is teaching kids.”

The Children’s Visual Arts Academy in Edmond is tucked away off 3500 South Blvd., in suite B16. However, it started in 2009 with photography classes in city parks to connect children in a positive way. Throughout the years, Sandee Hunt-Brady has shared her gift and cultivated it within countless children, but today Sandee is the one who is receiving a gift. Amy Mullen nominated her for Pay It 4Ward.

“She just has so much fun,” Mullen said. “She has a great network of people who help her teach the kids other skills besides just photography and through art. She does field trips. She has a themed camp every week that she has them through the summer, and now she’s grown to a little school bus that she takes them out. Sandee’s passion is really just amazing.”

“First Fidelity Bank loves to recognize those who give back to the community, and Sandee represents exactly what Pay it 4ward is all about,” Kenneth Miles of First Fidelity Bank said.

With $400 in hand, we make our way inside the academy to surprise Sandee.

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Sandee Hunt-Brady beaming while being presented the Pay it 4ward Award.

“Hi. You must be Sandee. I’m Joleen with News 4. We have a program called Pay It 4ward, and Amy nominated you, and she has something for you.”

“Oh, my gosh. Thank you.”

“You know I love everything that you do, and I’m so proud of you,” Amy Mullen said. “I know you’ll do so much with all of that for the kids.”

“We’re about to go on a field trip this afternoon. We’re going to see Pop’s and the round barn and take pictures,” Sandee said. “It empowers them and inspires them.”

Photography helps them not only see the world with a more detailed eye but also themselves. Some of Sandee’s students have graduated from college.

“There are a lot of really great students who have come through the program, and their parents try to say thank you and thank me, but I really feel like it’s just the photography and the arts,” she said. “It lets them know that they can be something. It’s a beautiful thing.”

The arts academy is always accepting donated cameras and chargers. For more information, visit the Children’s Visual Arts Academy website.