In 2012 I received an email from Project Place asking if I could donate my services to photograph some of their programs in action. After learning a bit more about the organization, I said sure. Project Place is the epitome of “Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime.” Instead of just providing handouts, they give their clients the real world skills and resources they need to succeed and make a better lives for themselves. The shoot fell on the coldest day of the year, but their clients employed by Clean Corners were still hard at work cleaning the streets around Fenway and thankful to have a job. To say I was awe inspired that day by the work done at Project Place would be a huge understatement. I told the staff at Project Place that from that point forward if they needed anything, I would be there for them.
My relationship with Project Place has continued since then, photographing other campaigns, their annual brunches, and donating photography lessons for their auctions. This year they are celebrating their 50th year of service to our community. In the 50 years since they opened the doors to help youth living on the streets, Project Place has provided more than 67,000 people in need with legal, educational, housing and employment services. Project Place has assisted more than 1000 homeless people in securing permanent housing. Through their social enterprise programs, they have created 1200 job opportunities. Since 1995 they have helped over 2000 individuals work their way out homelessness after graduating from Project Place programs. Now roughly 450 individuals annually enroll in one of their job training programs, which provide education, paid employment experience, and case management; or one of their housing programs, which offer permanent housing for people moving out of homelessness, transitional housing for women, and on-site support to individuals living in single-room occupancy residences.
To celebrate and continue to fund these accomplishments they held the Open Doors Gala and I was honored to photograph it. Governor Charlie Baker and his wife were in attendance as well as Mayor Marty Walsh. The most touching moment of the evening came as one of their graduates shared his story with the room. If it were not for Project Place he was quite sure that he would be back in jail, not have his beautiful daughter, wouldn’t have attended college, and have the job in construction management he has now. There was barely a dry eye in the room by the time he was done speaking.