Giving Kids a Fighting Chance

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they’re capable of being.
— John Wolfgang von Goethe

I recently had the honor of photographing Fighting Chance Boxing Club in North Minneapolis. 

I got hooked on the place.

The mission is "To effect positive change in North Minneapolis youth through boxing and physical fitness." The gym also partners with Matter and others to feed the kids healthy meals -- something they started doing after noticing they were sending the kids away hungry at the end of the night.

This doesn't just sound good on paper -- it works.

You see, if you start to Google North Minneapolis, it autofills the rest of the search bar with "shooting."

Nearly 50 percent of North Minneapolis lives below the poverty line, according to data from the Minnesota Compass.

But there is so much more to this vibrant community than statistics.

I pulled up to the gym as dusk started to roll in and saw these kids work with their coaches in the dreamy light of the sun setting.

It was an unseasonably warm day, so there was almost as much work being done outside as in.

It smelled like rubber and sweat. Kids were smiling, laughing and shadow boxing with determination. 

I watched as neighborhood kids -- boys AND girls -- helped each other put wraps and gloves on, shadow boxed and got in the ring with coaches.

And I thought, "What if this wasn't here?" This gym that is filled to the brim with kids from 8 to 18...these kids might be on the street with more of a chance to be part of the statistics, the Google autofill.

Every single day, approximately 13 young people in the United States are victims of homicide and an additional 1,642 visit hospital emergency departments because of physical assault-related injuries. Among high school students, 1 in 4 report being in at least one physical fight and 1 in 5 report being bullied in the last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC views this as a public health crisis. Furthermore, they say there is a disproportionate burden on ethnic and racial minority youth. 

Some of the key prevention strategies the CDC has defined are taking place every day at Fighting Chance.

1. Build children’s and adolescents’ skills and competencies to choose nonviolent, safe behaviors. 

2. Build and maintain positive relationships between young people and caring adults in their community. 

3. Improve and sustain a safe physical environment in communities and create spaces to strengthen social relationships. 

And this is all before you even think about the benefits that exercise -- specifically boxing -- has on mental health and wellness.

I hope I did the gym and these kids justice in these photos. 

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A Day in the Life: Gutierrez Family

We do not remember days, we remember moments.
— Cesare Pavese

Watching your closest friends being parents is an indescribable feeling. Karen was my best friend through high school and beyond. I remember daydreaming out loud about each other's futures, and now I get to watch her in her element -- with Sergio and the girls. 

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Contact me to book a special day-in-the-life session for your family. 

Katrina & Josh

Katrina and Josh got married in their favorite place near Duluth, Minnesota. 

The ceremony was perfect. Attended by close family, in a lodge, on a rainy day. 

One of my favorite things was the unity portion of the ceremony.

The couple had each written a letter to be opened on their fifth wedding anniversary.

They placed the letters in a wooden box and hammered it shut.

 

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We Fed Kids at Target Field and it Was Amazing

So, in addition to Koranda Lab, I work full time for Feed My Starving Children. I manage social media and the blog, which means I sometimes get to take photos for products and events.

It's pretty much a dream job. 

We had a packing event at Target Field today! It was one of my favorite events to photograph in my past year at FMSC.

Check out the FMSC blog on Tuesday to see all the photos and final numbers from this event. 

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Evensong

I had the privilege of photographing our Evensong service at St. Paul's United Church of Christ. It's a unique service that I can't describe in my own words, so here is how the church describes it: 

Join us for our meditative Evensong Service with Folk Harp & Dulcimer on the second Sunday of each month, 5:15 to 6:00 pm. Singing the music of Iona and Taizé ~ Accompanied by folk harp and hammered dulcimer ~ Lectio Divina and extended silent meditation ~ Praying for self, our wider circle, and the world. An optional opportunity to ask for and receive prayers for healing and/or anointing with oil follows the service. Light reception afterward. All are welcome!

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Hazel Loses a Tooth

My friend Liz recently came to my house for a bridal shower I hosted for a friend. She brought her two daughters who I want to be like when I grow up. 

They are so smart, spunky, independent and fearless! Kinda like Liz ;)

I shirked my hosting duties to photograph them playing in the backyard with my puppy.

That's when Hazel lost a tooth.

This is my favorite example of documentary photography in my portfolio despite some of the imperfections with the photos. 

Storytelling <3

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Megan's Head Shots

Anyone that knows Megan knows that she is hilarious, spunky, smart and full of life. Now, how do you capture that EXTREME HIRABILITY in a head shot? This afternoon I set out to find the answer.

Sure there were times when Megan asked me if people would think she was wading in a swamp and I tried too hard to make her smize, but I think we did OK.

I may or may not have left my "get it, girl" sign somewhere in a park in Edina.

I hope I did this amazing ball of energy justice. 

Gallery (Click on photo to navigate)