Local photographer encourages Virden neighbourhood with Front Steps Project

Sharla George, a local photographer, grabbed an idea that was born in Boston, Mass, adding her own twist to a powerful idea to bring the community together.

Front Steps Project began with Cara Soulia, newborn and family photographer in Needham, Massachusetts. With social distancing or complete quarantine required, photographers around the world have latched on to this creative communication.

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For the Virden photographer, the project is similar: to pay an outdoor visit, keeping the social distancing protocol, and give the gift of photography to as many families as would make an appointment through George’s Facebook page.

“My main goal was to help a community in need and pay it forward,” says George, who is among many that are experiencing either layoffs, or time out to comply with health-related sequestering.

She says, “This is free of charge.” She has asked every family to think of how they will pay-it-forward. And to state it in writing.

Some, like Highway Grocery, have offered free pizza. Others have taken on a letter-writing project to seniors, or a donation to a food bank. The possibilities for making a difference within the community are vast.

George’s project started with one hour in an evening. She and husband Dave Challmer and their seven-year-old Bauer ventured out with the photography equipment, thinking that maybe a handful of families would be interested. The results have been more than she could imagine. As of Tuesday evening, March 24, over 30 families were scheduled and there is a waiting list.

“This project pulled us together as a family,” says the photographer. “Dave and Bauer escorted me around.

“While I would capture photos at one yard, they would text ahead to the next family to say we would be there in five minutes.  Bauer would mark off the homes we had been to and helped Dave Google-map the next home.”

The enthusiasm of the participants can be seen on Sharla George Photography Facebook page.

“The highlight of my evening was when we got home and Bauer said to me, ‘Mom it sure was nice to be kind to families.’”

© Virden Empire-Advance