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What I learned at 9hugs

I normally try to stay unbiased through my writing as possible, nor do I mix my professional life with my personal. Some people who have worked around me professionally did not know I even had a family because I like having the privacy of my family to myself. But this year within the many things that have happened both good and bad we always have our family with us, as unfamiliar as I am with that I started to learn the real concept of that during the development of both Monday Night Rawrr and Katie Kay Photography. But at the same time I might not have been as supportive to my family seeing as I see them when I am not working so I never really had a good look at what my cousins and members of my family really do. More and more this year I learned this lesson and received overwhelming support walking into Republic Pizza Bar for the 9 Hugs Charity Toy Drive Event.

Being the youngest of your cousins is usually the harder part about growing up where you want to be part of everything you do and look up to them and then you want to give up after a while then you let time pass and your like holy crap what did I miss out on, and I learned that lesson this year with my cousins when I got to learn more about what my cousin Christine and my cousin Eleni do on a constant basis for their community. Alongside with their friends Lu, Maria, Mina, and Anna they have successfully started an organization called 9hugs dedicated 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that inspires others to Help, Give & Share by improving their lives through effective action and leadership, targeting arising problems and people in desperate need that will develop and brighten a successful future (via 9hugs website 2017).

Do you know that these women do amazing things all year around? From coat and clothing drives to toy drives for christmas and I seriously sit amazed at how much they have done and what they continue to do. They have raised so many toys not only this years but the previous years for the Edwin Gould Services Blue Child Project and the turnout at each event keeps getting bigger and bigger. They receive numerous amounts of community support from councilmen and assembly members, and lets not forget major companies and huge performance halls. Every time I walked around and talked about my photography and I told them my name, they realized I was related to two of the members of the organization and many of the individuals that were there would tell me so many good things about my cousins that I did not know about, as well as great things about the organization that I did not know about. It made me feel three things super proud, stupid, and inquiring. While at the same time seeing my cousins and their friends so happy over my photography it made the entire night even more rewarding than what I had already been rewarded with.

Ill explain the three

Super proud to see not only my family succeed and to do so well in something that they love to do. But the fact that in a society that is patriarchal, to see women stand up and put an initiative in what they believe in its really inspiring, and i started to realize where I get my yearning from wanting to help others.

Stupid I spent so much time trying to do so much and try to get their approval growing up and the times where I created distance because I gave up I didn't really see what they were doing and what they wanted to do and not thinking we can build together. We talk in our industry how we try to build with each other and not do it. But in order to unite with others why don't I unite with my family and take small steps to make that difference.

Inquiring this is my more interesting of topics, in the indie industry we are in today we see that there are so many cliques and people doing the same exact things and hating on the same exact people and people say they want to make a change and help others. We are mostly helping artists which is great but who are the artist influencing the public, and I am learning maybe we do not take the time out and really reach the public or the things that really affect them. Outside of the Give Back show I never seen many people unite for a cause and I could be wrong of course but seeing what I saw last night changed my perspective. Why can't we take our talents and combine them to do something good, why does it have to be one night where I throw an event and the world notices. Why can;t we help more than one time, I know I will but what about the rest of us.

As humans I say we need to take notes from my cousins and the 9 Hugs Organization and not just because they are related to me but they sacrifice so much to help others, they take time out of their day's with their children to make sure a young girl can have a chance to live. Or make sure these children can have toys on Christmas; While we have been sitting there bickering and infighting within our clicks and not doing the most we should be with our talents.

My beautiful cousin Eleni and Chrissy, I know I haven't been there often and I probably get on your nerves as should a little cousin but last night you guys gave me a Christmas gift of a lifetime that I will never forget, to me it wasn't the fact that I came there to work, I came there hoping to take pictures and have a good time . But I came back with more knowledge and wisdom than I can ever acquire and know. and again thank you to the ladies of the 9 Hugs organization for your amazing hospitality and kindness that you bestowed upon me.




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