Rachel Schrock presents ‘Celebration of Smiles’ fundraiser Saturday
by Sara Dawson
Apr 03, 2013 | 836 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Celebration of Smiles
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Banner photo, SARA DAWSON LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHER Rachel Schrock will be in Fletcher Park on April 6 for Celebration of Smiles Day. Schrock and photographers across the nation will be raising money for Operation Smile by offering individual mini-sessions and a 5x7 print for a donation of $24. Ten donations of $24 can pay for one life-changing surgery for a child or young adult with a cleft palate or other facial deformity through Operation Smile.
Operation Smile, a fundraising initiative, will be held Saturday at Fletcher Park. Photographer Rachel Schrock will join other professional photographers nationwide in offering individual mini-sessions at the Celebration of smiles. A free 5x7 print will be given with a donation of $24 per person. The event is sponsored by Professional Photographers of America Charities, the philanthropic arm of the PPA.

Schrock will be set up at a pavilion in Fletcher Park from 9:20 a.m. to 6:40 p.m. Saturday offering 15-minute sessions for donors. As a member of Professional Photographers of America, Schrock had the opportunity to sign up for the Celebration of Smiles Day. Anyone interested in contributing is asked to sign up for an appointment for their photo shoot by going to http://torchlightphoto.bookmonline.com.

On the day of the event, donors will receive their 15-minute photo session and set up a viewing appointment a couple of weeks later to select which photo they would like as their free 5x7 print. Other prints can be ordered, as well, at that time if the customer likes.

Electronic versions of those photos will also be marked as Celebration of Smiles photos and made available on Schrock’s online gallery for downloading and use online.

Schrock said she loves making children smile. As a photographer and the owner of Torchlight Photography, she has plenty of chances to bring smiles to faces. Schrock became interested in photography as a child and worked for a studio before moving to Cleveland. When she came to Cleveland 2 1/2 years ago, she decided to start her own studio.

“Photography can be a way that people can see themselves in the light of the beauty that they really are,” Schrock said. “Sometimes when you capture that brief moment in time, something about that is almost magical.”

When she heard about Operation Smile, a worldwide children’s medical charity dedicated to helping children and young adults born with facial deformities, Schrock knew she wanted to help.

“I was astounded to learn that every three minutes, someone in the world is born with a cleft lip, cleft palate or other facial disfigurement,” Schrock said. “But I have learned of a way to give back smiles, real smiles, to those children.”

Schrock is also offering to set up mini-sessions with businesses throughout the month of April to raise additional funds. The business still donates $24 per person photographed, but Schrock would come and set up a small studio in the business and take headshots in the office for them.

Even though PPA Charities has partnered with Operation Smile since 2005, this is only the second year for the annual Celebration of Smiles. In 2012, PPA Charities raised more than $46,500 for Operation Smile.

Because all of the medical staff involved with the surgery are volunteers, each child’s surgery costs $240. For every 10 people Schrock photographs on April 6, another child receives free surgery. Schrock’s goal is to raise enough money to pay for two to four surgeries.

Schrock mentioned that some of her clients have already told her stories about family members or friends who have had corrective surgery for cleft palates and other similar conditions.

“There are people right here in this area that have a personal connection to this very malady, so it means a lot more to the people than I think people might initially realize,” Schrock said.

Schrock, being new to the area, has found it tricky to form connections in a hurry to get the word out about Operation Smile and the fundraising event on Saturday. Schrock is also still looking for volunteers to help her on the day of the event.

“There’s a part of me that says, I am only one person. What can I do?” Schrock said. “But for this, I’m going to do everything I can.”

For more information about the event, volunteering, or signing up for an appointment, visit the Torchlight Photography website (www.torchlightphoto.com) or email Schrock at rachel@torchlightphoto.com.