ASV Coordinators Reflect on Award and Expansion of Program

Every September, Catholic Charities calls attention to the ongoing problem of hunger in America by participating in HUNGER ACTION MONTH, a national initiative sponsored by Feeding America. Many opportunities are available at http://www.catholiccharities.net. As members of the ASV Program reflect on the award they received this week, their thoughts give powerful witness to how vital this work is and how rewarding it can be:

Reverend Wayne F. Watts, Associate Administrator for Catholic Charities and Co-Creator of ASV
“There always will be people who are poor and hungry among us. If we try, we can see the face of Christ in every one of them. It is up to us to find ways to help them find hope in their lives, and ASV does that. We are especially gratified to see how many professionals are getting involved in this program, purchasing photos for their lobbies and following the work of some of the artists, through our website. Amazing things can happen, when people discover that everyone shares the same desire to have their lives matter.”

Katie Tuten, Catholic Charities Project Manager, Program Development
“It is a real privilege and pleasure to work with the photographers in the ASV program. The beauty of ASV is to see the participants grow in confidence. Their sense of self is redefined in a positive manner. We have developed some true artists who will continue to pursue this endeavor. They have learned to look at the world differently and the world looks at them differently now too. Confidence is contagious! The other beautiful thing about ASV is the friendships developed between the artists and the Photo Team, as they all grow in their appreciation of art together.”

Jody O’Connor, Founding Member, ASV Photo Team
“What an honor it is to receive this award. Every year the ASV program humbles me more and more, and makes me grateful for all of the friendships I have developed with the artists. After our most recent gallery opening (in Evanston), one of the artists came up to me and said, “I just had someone come up to me and say, ‘I really enjoy your work. I follow it (on the website and in the Christmas cards and note cards).’ The artist had this look of joy on his face that is hard to explain. The ASV program really does feed the souls of the artists.”

Noreen Russo, Founding Member, ASV Photo Team
“The award to me is a great honor to receive, especially because I know there are so many other people out there doing so much for the hungry. I am honored to be part of the people who are doing this important work. I am hopeful that we can do even more in the future and that more people will get involved and that this program will keep expanding and people will become self-sufficient – that’s the goal, the bottom line …One memory of the program that stands out is when I saw one of the artists on the street, and he was actually in my neighborhood, walking around…I asked him why he was in my neighborhood, as I had never seen him there, and I knew he was from a different neighborhood. He said, “I’m just out looking to take pictures. Right there, I was like, “WOW this is pretty awesome.”

Maureen Kelley, Founding Member, ASV Photo Team
“I am so honored to receive this special award. It has been my pleasure and privilege to be part of the After Supper Visions Program. I hope that we can continue to inspire new participants to share their world through the art of photography. As we expand the program, I hope that all artists experience a sense of pride and joy in sharing their work, and that they gain a much needed financial boost.”

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