3 Days of Giving: Day 1

3 Days of Giving: Day 1

I looked at the calendar and suddenly realized that we only have 3 days left until 2016! And as I thought about if I would have any regrets this year, the only thing I could think of was to spend my last few 2015 days giving to others. In that spirit, these next three blog posts will be dedicated to giving.

Each day I will choose one person from the comments to receive a care package from me, including a costume from my collection, a hand-written note, and a little something extra to brighten your new year.

These are the main ways that I chose to give back this year.

  1. Made donations to campaigns. Some of them include a campaign to end gender-based violence, and another was to help a small village in Uganda plant ginger to grow a sustainable income.
  2. Donated time to a cause I care about. I spent time at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary this year to help rescue and take care of animals in need.
  3. Initiative. I started a photography school in India called The Light Space to benefit survivors of human trafficking abuse.
  4. Donated prints to various charities. One was to a print auction for the foundation BeyondBlue – the money goes to helping people who suffer from anxiety and depression to help prevent suicide.
  5. Created educational content. I love releasing videos so much! And in doing so, I can only hope that they have been helpful for someone in some way.

But we’re entering a new year. A new phase. This is how I want to give back next year:

  1. Start a new section of this blog dedicated to making it easy and efficient for YOU to donate your SERVICES to raise money for a cause I care about deeply. We don’t all have money to spare for any cause we care about, and I want to make it possible for anyone to support a charity.
  2. Donate 5 prints next year to important charitable causes.
  3. Conduct 3 photography workshops to children in hospitals to help empower them to tell their stories.
  4. Visit at least two animal sanctuaries to give my time to those adorable little creatures.
  5. Create more educational content for free.

To enter the giveaway to receive a free COSTUME + Surprise, just leave a comment below answering…

How are you going to give back next year?

Have you been able to give back this year?

This is the dress that I’ll be giving away for today’s contest! Winner will be chosen at random and notified by 12pm PST on Wednesday, December 30th. This dress is actually more purple/maroon but can very easily be changed to a vibrant red (or almost any other color!) in Photoshop if need be. It flows really nicely and I’m quite sad to see it go, as I’ve been using it to shoot with for the past 3 years! Time to give someone else a chance to play!

Love and hugs!

109 thoughts on “3 Days of Giving: Day 1

  1. You are a beautifull women, not just by the way you look but also because of your big loving heart.
    Love your work and your look on life!
    Wishing you a happy and joyfull 2016 and may al your dreams come true!

  2. My Mom passed away June 5th of 2011 and since Oct 2011 I have done mini fundraising sessions in her memory. I donate 100% of the proceeds to the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada in her name. I make the session extremely affordable so those that wouldn’t normally be able to afford my session fees are able to grab one of these sessions and get some family portraits done. I have donated around $6000 so far, my goal for 2016 is to donate $2000. I also want to volunteer my time to the brain tumour foundation, in any way I can this coming year, I would love to be able to help others that have lost a loved one or are watching a loved one fight brain cancer.
    I also want to help out at local animal shelters, there are many of them in my area and I would love to help them out.
    And last but definitely not least, I will only be doing the fundraising mini sessions next year, and my fine art no outside sessions, which will give me more time to spend with my family, and help out at my sons school.
    I love this post and how you want to give back next year!!! You are amazing!! <3

  3. I think donating prints is a wonderful idea, I’m going to borrow that one for myself πŸ™‚ Animals have always had a special place In my heart. In 2016 I plan to spend more time volunteering at my local shelter, and working with the Border Collie rescue program. My border collie, Helo, is the light of my life. He is training to be a therapy dog so that he can light up the lives of others as well. All the best to you in 2016 Brooke!

  4. I am constantly inspired by you Brooke, not only professionally but also on a personal level. What a wonderful way to end the year and what gray resolutions for the next

  5. For 2016 we have a set amount per month set aside for Christmas and rather than using it on presents we are going to give back to this charity that helps keep wounded veterans warm as they are stuck in wheel chairs. It hit me how hard it would be to try and cover up and keep warm while being in a wheel chair. Most every option would fall off or get wrapped up in the wheels. These people fought and would continue to fight for us and our country and it breaks my heart that something so simple would be such a struggle for them.

    1. Wow what an amazing thing to do. I was just thinking about how much money I must spend on clothes and silly things, and if I only put that amount in a jar instead of spending it, how much I could do…Thank you for inspiring that train of thought!

  6. Hi Brooke,
    I’m so happy to hear what you have done to give back this year and to hear what you are planning for 2016!
    I’d love to win this competition and get the chance to use this dress in some projects of my own. I’m planning to raise money for the refugees that have been forced out of Syria. I bought one of your dresses earlier this year and created my favourite images form this. I hope I get this opertunity to work with another of your amazing dresses.

    If not, thank you so much for your inspiration throughout the years and bringing a positive influence into my life!

    Many thanks.

  7. How awesome of you Brooke!
    Animal charities are the ones that are closest to my heart and so my greatest contributions are usually to those. I specifically support those that have a no-kill policy. The main one here is Tears as well as Darg. Another charity that is close to my heart is St Luke’s Hospice. This charity organisation was unbelievably and unselfishly helpful to my family and I in my brother’s final days when he was dying from a brain tumour. I cannot even begin to tell you how much their support during this time meant. Then I also support a charity called Rural Child that supports children in underprivileged/rural areas in South Africa.
    All of my contributions to these charities have mostly been financial by making monetary contributions and by supporting their charity shops – which I do often as I’m a sucker for vintage things. I also contribute to these various charities by making donations of items, particularly when I was moving, so I had much unneeded items to pass along to them. However, on my goals list for next year is to do more (particularly for animal charities) and hopefully in a way that involves my passion for art and photography. I am not totally sure what this will be yet, but I will be doing some research to see what is possible. There is a branch of Tears close to where I stay, so I will start with making contact with them next year and see how I can be of assistance.
    I am excited to see what suggestions you will be making as you describe in your blog and will hopefully be able to contribute to those!
    Of course I will also continue to support the charities as I have always done as well πŸ˜‰
    Love & Light

  8. How wonderful! Thank you Brooke!
    One of the ways I plan on giving back in 2016 is creating free online tutorials for my students. Already I work with a non profit that helps inner city and underprivileged kids learn about art, develop portfolios and *hopefully* apply to art colleges and get in on scholarship!
    This year we lost one of my students. She dropped out of high school and began working to help support her family. It breaks my heart but it also made me decide to create content with her, and others like her, in mind. Even if students like her can’t attend class, I want to encourage them to continue their art educations and keep making work that makes their hearts and souls sing!

    1. Oh Jen what a wonderful idea. SO amazing that you work with those teens. Very needed. You have a big heart. All my love!

  9. Very cool! So this year I hope to continue helping the Mondulkiri project in Cambodia raise funds to rescue elephants. πŸ™‚ When I visited there were two elephants now there are four. I hope I can go back with my son and tell him how it all started as he feeds bananas to the new baby elephants.

  10. I love the approach and will re-emphasize that in my own 2016 plan! Last year, I did a shoot for Alzheimer’s Longest Day which featured a day of free portrait shoots for a donation to the cause. Prints were then provided at cost plus donation if they wanted to a few months later. Finally, I am working on a piece combining all the images along with a session I did with a fellow photographer’s father who is consumed by the disease.

    I continue to love your work and the unique style you bring to the craft!


  11. I would like to make an exposition with my own drawings, to sell them and to donate money to children who need it. πŸ™‚ I also want to continue my volunteering activities.I wish you all the best!

  12. Hi Brooke! Thank you for sharing your PASSION and giving back. I am inspired greatly by your work. I plan to give of myself in 2016. I want to share my enthusiasm and passion to CREATE and SHARE with others to further love of art and photography. My plan is to run a bi-weekly photography club for kids and to give presentations to adults showing the power of following PASSION leading to empowering imagery πŸ˜‰ Happy New Year! Candy

  13. This year I will be doing some mentoring and free workshops for inner city children. I was born and raised in the south Bronx and wasn’t afforded the gift of exposure to art. I wish I did have that…so I think that it will be great to do it for children that will not otherwise get it from schools or their environment. I did it last year where I brought all of my props and created special portraits. The children actually created their own stories and chose their own props. It was amazing…I found my art later in life and I am happy I did. But I would love to be the person that molds the future of potential artists

  14. Thank you Brooke, for shining your brilliant light around the world and into people’s souls. I love this idea, of ways to give in the new year. I give time. I’ve been volunteering at a local non-profit community farm for over a year now that offers classes and workshops to kids in the community (particularly those with less opportunities than others), as well as 4H, animal husbandry, growing food. Love love love. I also have a masters in nutrition therapy and though I no longer have a shingle out for biz, I still use my knowledge to help anyone that asks. Makes life so full and rich, no money needed. Happy Abundant New Year to you!

  15. Next year I’m going to continue donating to WWF (World wide fund for nature) and I’m planning to help local animal shelters too by giving food etc. Plus I’m working at psychiatric acute ward, so each day I’m doing my best to help someone in need.

  16. As a mommy of four, with the economy the way it is right now – this year was tough. I usually donate several full photo sessions to charities each year but my husband was laid off in the spring, re-hired in the fall, then just laid off again before Christmas. On top of all of that we had a huge wedding planned back at his parent’s house we lost thousands of dollars in deposits on when we could no longer go – and plane tickets that were non-refundable, and a honeymoon booked. We wound up getting married in our backyard this summer, with a pot-luck style dinner, then using the plane credits to fly to our honeymoon and gifting the other tickets (for our four kids) to his parents/friends since they were non-refundable – but losing all of that money meant we really, really had to scrimp and save.

    One thing I wouldn’t give up, that I do every year though – were my free Halloween micro-mini sessions. Every year since I have started, for the past 5 years – I have set up a backdrop/lights and taken completely free photos of trick-or-treaters coming to our house. I know it isn’t much, but I absolutely love seeing the little ones in their costumes and their parents look forward to it each year (and each year I see more new faces!). I’ve been told “you really should charge for these” but I am not at all in this business for the money (although it helps!). I won’t ever charge for them and hope to continue to do them every year.

    I also regularly donate all the clothing from my four kids they’ve outgrown (bags upon bags full lol). I have seen tough times, and been homeless for a time with my oldest daughter, and stayed in a shelter – so that is always going to be something I do annually.

    I know it’s not much, but this year it really was the best I could do!

  17. I will be working with a group called CANTER-PA (https://canterusa.org/pennsylvania/) – they are dedicated to providing new homes for Thoroughbred racehorses who are non-competitive or injured on the track, giving them opportunities to find new careers and new homes. I’ll be meeting volunteers once a week at a racetrack to take photos (gratis of course) of the thoroughbreds who are ending their racing careers and needing new homes.

  18. I’m a huge fan of your work. You blend the beauty of fashion, fine art, and portraiture together so beautifully. I even have your book! To have your costume would truly be an honor and I would cherish it and take so much care of it!

  19. i am always giving as much of myself as i can…so right now i don’t have an organized or specific thing in general….but my goal is to always FILL THE GAP wherever something is lacking….so i’ll be doing that this year. smile emoticon I’m a ninja giver. I think my sphere and the people in it…i’ll be more sensitive to hear/see the needs of others. That is about as specific as i’ll get this time. I’ve decided to let this year flow how it goes.

  20. I sponsor 2 kids in Africa so they can go to school and have the basics of life. I volunteer with a dog trainer that specializes in behavior. I help my family and friends as needed.
    Going into the new year I think my theme will be “love more, worry less.” This includes loving myself more. Although this may sound selfish to the onlooker, it really isn’t. I will continue to sponsor my kids in Africa. I am going to support a mission trip to Mexico. I will continue to volunteer to help dogs with issues. I will share my art and skills. And whatever comes up….. Life is an adventure and I can’t wait to see what is next!

  21. What a great idea to do this 3 days of giving.
    For a while now we don’t spend money on christmas cards, instead we give the saved money to some homeless.
    Next year I will try to sell some of my street photography pictures online and the money will go to “Mobile schools” Mobile School works with all children and youth for whom the street has become an important environment for living and learning.
    Allo I will go on helping as a volunteer at the dog shelter. And spreading my passion of photography and photoshop. So the year will be very busy same as 2015.
    We aren’t just on this world for ourselves we are here to help others as good as we can.
    Have a great 2016 Brooke and other people in this community.
    All the best,

  22. I have in the past supported “KIVA.ORG” and will continue this in 2016. I will try to inform more people about “Kiva”. They support micro loans to people trying to improve their lives around the world.

  23. I have been meaning to volunteer in senior homes or with seniors and I will actually have time to do that in the new year. I’ve always had an affinity with seniors and I think it will be a good way to share experiences and maybe it would be nice for them to have some company as well. I also want to make more films that bring awareness to issues in society.

  24. Hey Brooke, as always you inspire me. I just reviewed my year in images thanks to you and it uplifted me -where as before I felt like I have been stuck and treading water trying to keep afloat, doing the review helped me see there has been progress forward and there is a path to follow into 2016.

    How I want to help in 2016 is to tell stories with symbols, locations, props that will help people deal with trauma and ordeals they have faced. I am hoping to make a series of each shoot that helps people navigate through their life path.

    Be kinder and more generous to everyone I encounter. Direct charities to work with I am not sure for 2016 – there is a lot of transition going on for us right now, but I love the idea of helping via your new page…

    Have a great year Brooke, may 2016 see you fly high!! And hopefully I will see you at your convention!! xox Crackle

  25. As a (freshly) turned nineteen year old, I know there isn’t a lot I can do to give back with my limited money and time- but come the holidays when my family tends to go out to eat a lot more, I leave as big a tip I can with my slightly higher than minimum wage pay can afford to brighten the days of the sometimes tear-stricken with stress wait staff. As the new year rolls around I do wish to donate my time to perhaps an animal shelter, despite my wickedly sensitive ears, as well as spend less money in retail shops that fund sweat-shop labor. I’d also like to go on a sock-and-clothes-donating spree to homeless shelters, as well as maybe spend some time at a woman’s shelter- ideas that have ALWAYS lingered in my mind, but I’ve never had the car to get there or the money to pay for it…Now that I’m more independent I’m hoping to fill my debt free years giving to others. I want to spend the majority of my new year, though, helping myself get to a healthier space mentally, emotionally, and physically, as well as be the helping hand to pull my struggling friends onto a platform of love and security where they can feel safe with someone. I’d love to one day open an inexpensive workshop for children for something like painting or photography- and while I’m not at that point in my life right now, it is something I would love to give to kids/teens that might not otherwise get the opportunity to know cameras or computers and software that can help them with their art, and allow their creativity to manifest in the ways they’d like it too- I know I never touched a camera until I was eighteen- out of lack of funds and also a lack of belief in myself due to the voices of some toxic peers I should have quieted long ago. I want to be able to motivate at least one other person the way you, Brooke, have motivated me in the beginning stages of my artistic journey and self-discovery. I want to be able to teach them technique while they develop style, and encourage them as they’re exposed to their own ideas spilled out in front of them either on their own canvas. All that being said, I am SO excited to see what you accomplish this year, Brooke, and I wish you all the luck, love, and learning in the world!

  26. We adopted a newborn son this year and we have two other children and my place in this world is to teach them kindness, gratitude and generosity. We donate regularly to Together we Rise which is an organization that provides foster children with real suitcases and bags so they don’t have to move their belongings between homes in garbage bags which is very meaningful when you don’t have a set place in the world to call home. But as I homeschool our 3 I plan to make giving a tremendous part of what we do together. They are young so we are just getting started. Raising the next generation to be kind and generous is my legacy <3 Thank you for doing this, I admire your heart of goodness even more than your work. <3

  27. You are such an inspiration…my acts of kindness cannot compare…but I do portraits at a womens shelter…often of the Mom and her children…also I am involved with inner city youth learning rugby and teaching those who choose not to play…I teach them how to photograph it…I always think…Brooke cannot get any better…but you always make a liar out of me…All the best in 2016

  28. I haven’t done near enough this year as I wanted to. My giving back is mainly helping as many people as I can with emotional support through my experience with autism (I have 5 boys with autism). We donate to world vision and give to local charities via toys and gifts for women and children escaping abusive homes.

    Next year I hope to be able to add a local cat refuge to my donation list (rather than adopting all the stray cats – call me crazy cat lady!!).

    I also love your idea of print donations….mine aren’t sought after like yours but I’m sure some local charities can benefit from their sale so I shall look into that also! I have also discovered “Samaritans Purse” they deliver shoe boxes full of wonderful items to children in need all over the world, another wonderful organisation that I will add to my list next year. There are so so many who deserve and need help!

    Wishing you a wonderful (and pain free!) New Year Brooke, may it be everything you wish and more. I shall hopefully one day see you again at a workshop if you come back to Perth Australia!

  29. I have a friend who’s Sister had a baby that was born with a rare lung disease and very small. They did not know if she would make at first but she is a tuff little girl! She had been in and out of the hospital for a year now. She was born on Christmas Eve and sadly was back in the hospital on her Birthday. She is a fighter and I pray she will pull thru this and get better. She has touched me so much that I photograph her for her mother so if that time comes she will have the pictures to remember her! I do this for love and nothing else. I also will be going to our Children’s Hospital in the New Year to donate my time to take pictures of all the beautiful children there. So the parents will have these photos to cherish of there babies.

  30. I’m new to your blog and found you when searching for passion planners. This year my goal is to help someone every month in whatever way they need that help. Between donating, time, clothing, money, food and goods I hope to make 12 lives or groups better off this year than last.

  31. Brooke,
    I just wanted to say hello and mention what an inspiration you are to me. It was a sign when you were encouraging comments and that I could possibly win something from one of my heroes! I am 19 years old and currently studying photography in school. Ever since I was a child I had dreamed of being an adventurer and when I discovered that I could, in fact, do that with photography! I could venture to new places whilst capturing the treasure that I worked so hard to get; a photograph! Anyways, I look at your photos and it keeps me going. I look at you and I remember why I am doing what I am doing. You have so much passion and I see almost a reflection of myself because I feel that I am incredibly passionate about my art. I got one of your books for my birthday and I bring it everywhere with me and read it constantly for inspiration! Your work is just breathtaking and it keeps my dream alive knowing that it is possible to achieve this dream! When I am not in class and taking pictures, I give back to the mentally handicapped. My boyfriend and I play baseball and basketball with them as we both help them feel as if they are a part of normal society and aid them in any way they need. We have made such wonderful friends through this program and I love seeing the smiles on all of their faces! I also want to eventually use my photography for good. I hope to one day take pictures of the mentally disabled and have a modeling day so that they could feel as beautiful as ever! I hope you read this! It would be so amazing to know that my inspiration has heard my story! Thank you for being so amazing!

  32. Thanks for being such a special person. Many are inspired by you, but no one is as special and as unique as you. You are a gift . Thanks for all your beautiful work and lovely spirit. Looking forward to see what you do in 2016. Thanks

  33. Hi Brooke, just wanted to say I have followed your work for years and love what you do. Your photographs are incredibly inspirational.
    In response to ‘what are you giving back’ I am qualifying as a children’s nurse in 6 months. At the minute I am a student nurse and work on the neonatal intensive care unit (babies born under full term). I try and be there for every single patient and family member in my care, ensuring that the family is supported and the neonate is as comfortable as possible. asking a family if they would consider a ‘do not resuscitate order’ is the worst but all you can do is support the family and comfort them. In my spare time I enjoy taking photographs and experimenting with new ideas. My dad recently suggested signing up for some charity walks so that is our goal next year. I put everything I am into everything, people should never do things by half because who knows how much time we have left.

    Hope you had a good Christmas!

  34. Brooke you have been such a inspiration not in just photography but in wanting to be a kinder person. This next year I hope to find to finally help people who been asking me for help for a while with learning their cameras and Photoshop. My friend and I are gonna try to tackle a list of volunteering for DisneyVoluntEARS. Yes that’s what their called haha. I’ll be focusing mine on the animal rescue and beach clean up. I love animals and hope to spend more time helping them. <3

  35. Hey Brooke! This year I worked on an organization that seeks to end malnutrition in indigenous children through community based participatory research. Next year, I am going to travel to Arusha, Tanzania, to teach workshops on the Literacy Through Photography methodology in different schools there. Thank you for inspiring so many people and for believing on photography as an educational tool.

  36. This year I wanted to do a few different things…

    * Volunteer at my local animal shelter. They need people to come in and just play with the animals! I think it will help with my depression too.

    * Also I want to volunteer my services to take pictures of them (fun ones!) to put on the website and hopefully get them forever homes!

  37. Being a student, it’s quite difficult for me to set money aside to help others. However, I’d like to carry out what I’ve wanted to do already last year: help animal shelters by walking and washing their dogs. I’m not allowed to have any pet in my place at my university city, neither am I allowed to have one at home. So next year, I won’t make a huge difference, though I think walking shelter dogs is a huge win-win situation.

    I think it’s amazing that you want to help all those people, Brooke, and I definitly think you can achieve those goals!

  38. Hi Brooke,
    I found out about you last year via Lindsay Adler. I was so inspired by your work and your amazing gift to create art. This year I didn’t make as much time to give back like I should have. I want that to change in 2016. I have had other photographers ask me to teach them some things that can make their art better. So in 2016 I want to reach out to others and help them learn. That is not something noone done for me when I started so I want to be able to give back that way. Also I lost my Grandma, My Heart and soul in August to Lung Cancer and in 2014 My Granddaddy to Kidney Cancer. So in 2016 I want to do more things to help raise awareness to Cancer and help donate money to Cancer Research. Thank you for inspiring me to live my life better and happier. <3 <3 much Love from a Small Town in Coastal South Carolina.

  39. My plan to give back this year…..we just got a new puppy. I am planning on training him as a therapy dog and take him to children’s hospitals, assisted living and nursing homes. That’s my plan hopefully for this year, not sure of the timeline since he’s just a pup.

    On a side note, the dress and this photo are both stunning!!

  40. Hi Brooke!
    I think its incredible, all the ways you find to spread love around the world. I admire that in you.

    I have only one small intention for the upcoming year. I just want to do a lott of ‘random-acts-of-kindness’ and ask the person I’m doing it for, to offer an act of kindness for somebody else. Just hoping to spread a little joy or hope with people in that way.

    Love 2 you


  41. Hi Brooke,
    You are a wonderful person and a great inspiration to so many. I love reading how you chose to give back this year. I too, went out to Best Friends for the first time this year after hearing so many wonderful stories about it. I think it was also fate that I clicked on your beyond blue link as I was unfamiliar with it but, my daughter who suffers and battles with this is soon to be going to Australia at the end of January. I’ll be sharing this with her as well. I do support a number of charities including behind the scenes, http://behindthescenescharity.org/bts_org.htm
    I also donate time and photo opportunities to a local dance studio. Thank you for a great year, and I wish you continued success in all you do.
    Happy New Year!

  42. My lovely Brooke,

    because of you and your inspiration, i plan to become a creative coach for photography in 2016. My giveback will be, that in every course one person, who is in need (for example a single mother), can participate without pay.

    To find and exercise my creativity was so live changing and liberating for me, I would love to help others to find her own way to express themselves with photography.

    Happy new year, hope to see you in 2016 again!

  43. This coming year I will be focusing on sharing my knowledge about nutrition and exercise/Yoga locally to build and help my community to be able to help themselves. I have donated my services to 2 doctors office and a chiropractic clinic. I am hoping to inspire people to change how they feel by changing how they eat!

  44. Hi Brooke! You have been such a inspiration to me not just in photography but in wanting to be a kinder person!
    This year my friend are going to try tackling a list of DisneyVoluntEARS mostly focusing on animal rescues, shelters and beach clean up. Before photography my first passion was always animals! I hope to spend more time with them and helping them! <3
    (Sorry if I double posted–my phones being wonky)

  45. I wish I could give back more but with my own problems I can’t as much as I like. But next year I’ve already recently started on helping people with mental health. It’s a big problem but a lot of people seem to stigmatise people with these problems but they’re just like everyone else but just need more help.

  46. Hi Brooke,
    I’ve started following your page recently but have heard wonderful things about you prior from other groups. I think this world would be an even more wonderful place if we all develop and understand a true spirit of giving, and I see that you get that. I grew up in war times in my country and have experienced things in this world that only those who have gone through them can relate to. Nonetheless, I’ve been blessed by the giving spirit of people, and believe there are lots of good people still in the world. Anyway, long story short, I plan to give back in 2016 to refugee organizations that help people resettle in the U.S. We have several here in MN. Often times, people don’t have the finances to get professional portraits when they don’t yet have jobs or stable housing. My plan is to offer photography services to these families with children once at least once a year. Another way I plan to give back is to batter women and their children. Nothing brings your self-esteem down more than being physically or mentally abused. Doing these special sessions for this population, I hope to rebuild some of their self-worth as they see themselves through the eyes of my lenses and see themselves as beautiful. Thanks for being an inspiring person.

  47. The ways you have given back are incredible and inspiring. This year I plan on sending a care package every month to the Womens Rescue Mission in SLC.

  48. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I can give back in the coming year. I plan to offer some specially themed sessions at my studio in which a portion of all proceeds will help a cause that I’m passionate about. I am most passionate about helping children in need. So I’d like to give back to as many charities that directly support the children and their families as possible. I need to research where I feel I could make the most impact. I also have a deep love of animals, and I love that I see you too donate your time to an animal rescue. I plan to take more time out to help the animals as well, by donating my time to my local shelters directly. My heart breaks for all the fur babies anxiously awaiting forever homes. And lastly, I would love to go on a mission trip to help people whose situations I may not yet understand. It’s always been a dream of mine to help those in the world who need it most. I am so moved by your work in Kolkata. I would love to visit your school one day, to see first hand how photography (And You!) have changed their lives! I can only strive to do something of that magnitude in the future.
    Lots of love,

  49. This probably sounds silly, but I definitely need to give back in the manner of “my time”. I take care of my children, my mom who is very ill and my grandmother. However, I feel as though I get caught up in the routine, and I’m not allowing them enough time that really counts. I want to give more of my time to really connect with them and all of the people in my life πŸ™‚

  50. Hi Brooke I love your idea of the 3 days of giving, and for all the inspiration you continue to give us throughout the year thank you. I donate to various campaigns throughout the year, cancer research, and children hospital charities. I lost my partner to cancer when we were both in our 30’s so I’ve spent a lot of time in cancer wards and the fight to eradicate all cancers is a cause that is close to my heart. In February of every year I participate in the “Wellington “Run round the Bays” a 10 km run and raise money for my chosen cause the Malaghan Institute. Malaghan does excellent work in the fight against cancer, asthma and other disease, I actively fundraise and blog about the experience to educate people about what Malaghan does, and hopefully inspire them to get out and do their bit because every bit helps. to date I raised over $5000 for Malaghan and will continue this work in 2016. much love to you Darci

  51. First I want to say Thank you for inspiring myself and so many others, and the work you do to help others, It’s hard for me to say how I plan on giving back this year, I always try to give back when I see the chance too, we have the chance to give back everyday, it can be from the smallest thing to something very impacting to someones life, last year for me I can’t really say what all I did, I try to everyday, from opening my home to people, to helping homeless, to rescuing the dog on the road, to giving that mom in line at the store a chance to bag her groceries while you make her little ones laugh, But this year I would like to donate more photo sessions, I would like to be involved in another fundraiser for E.B Epidermolysis bullosa, I really love the foundation, ME TO WE so when a gift needs bought we shop there, it being able to not only give a gift but your giving back. I would like to give more Reiki sessions. we can give back so much, even if we have so little. Thank you I hope you have a blessed day

  52. I really enjoy your work. It is unique & inspiring. I try to be more of a creative model & your work helps me keep going. Thank you for sharing your view of what can be beautiful in this world. Happy new year early!

  53. Hi Brooke, thank you for your inspiration. This coming year I will be giving back in my role as a Volunteer Ambulance Officer, supporting a child in Kenya through through Compassion and providing a free professional photography service through an organisation called Heartfelt to families of terminally ill and stillborn children.

  54. Wow! What an amazing opportunity it would be to win this. I am a photography teacher in a high school in a low socio economic demographic. We have students who live traumatic lives every day and we are all about normalising hope and that anyone can have a grand life. They are surrounded but generational poverty and government support rather than continuing with school and reaching for the stars. In my photography class I teach them through your videos. They are so inspired by the breadth of you imagination, your ability to try anything and everything, your editing blows their minds. We can’t afford to have a lot of props and costumes and I try and grab little things when I can but to have THE dress…the one that my whole student collection know, that could provide them with more artistic creativity, to know that someone as amazing as yourself cared enough to share it with them? Would be a huge moment for them! We will be looking at how our artistic skills can help others through making connections with our nearby aged care facility and reaching out to families in our community (poverty stricken and refugee status) to photograph their families and provide them with a tangible memory.

  55. This year I plan on offering portraits to low income families, teenage mother’s, senior citizens who in our area don’t even have their basic needs met and families in need. I have had the opportunity to see first hand how many who would love to have a memory that they can cherish but perhaps not afford. So that is not only my plan for this year but something that I plan on continuing throughout my career.

  56. This is such an amazing gift you’re offering everyone a chance at! In this new year I plan on giving back by offering 5 free creative portrait sessions to kids/families less fortunate to bring a bit of magic and memories to their worlds! ❀

  57. I’m launching a scholarship for college-bound students in January! I’ve started a tutoring business after over 7 years freelancing and, like you, I knew that giving back had to be a core part of running my business. I’ll be starting by offering my scholarship as a free 3 month online tutoring package and as my business grows I’ll contribute in a bigger way.

    I’ve been so frustrated by the limitations I have but I know I can do this one thing to help students fall in love with learning.

    Thank you for being such an inspiration, Brooke!

    xo Ximena (he-mena)

  58. Lately inspiration is something I have been severely lacking and as a result the photos I do manage to put out there reflect that. However just the other day a photographer whose work I admire so much reached out to me through social media. We of course started talking about photography and he gave me some lighting tips and encouraged me to try Rembrandt lighting. Which I did and loved it! For the first time in a long time I feel inspired! Which of course led me back to your inspirational blog.

    As to how I gave back this past year, just a couple weeks ago I donated my time to photograph children with Santa for an underprivileged youth program. It was crazy and hectic but seeing the priceless expressions of the kids made it all worth it. I hope to be involved with this same program next year. But the biggest way I would like to give back in the coming year is to help other photographers as you and the photographer I mentioned earlier helped me. I may not be a master photographer but I feel like I could help inspire others, get them out taking photos and get them out of the mucks of depression.

  59. I plan on giving back in two ways next year!
    My first way is something completely new for me and something I’ve wanted to do for quite sometime but never really knew how to go about it. I’m really want to give back to the creative community that has given me so much! I’m going to be focussing on the area I live in first to start off small and hoping to extend larger as time goes on. I’m always meeting people who have had bad experiences with other creatives, sharing their stories with me has made me realise there can be so much negativity in our world and a lot of the time so many people get put down when they need support and guidance. I’m setting up meet ups for creatives where we completely immerse ourselfs into our art and show people who have been miss treated by others that there are people out there willing to spare their time to give support and help others create in a comfortable and open setting.

    My second way of giving back is something that I’ve done for a while now and is extremely personal to me as well. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personaility Disorder and bipolar at a very young age and I have been in out and of hospitals to the point where it’s changed the course of my life drastically and I’ve recently got back it slowly going back on track. I give every year a certain amount back to the charities that focus on dealing with personality disorders and also to mental hospitals that encourage positive rehab. I’m hoping to tie both things I’ve mentioned here together, to share my story with others in my creative community to inspire them to give back to the things they believe in and to help others out, whether it’s family or friends or complete strangers πŸ™‚

  60. Hi Brooke,
    I have obsessed over this dress since I saw it πŸ™‚ I have had a rough year but still remain passionate and inspired about my art. Being a closed off person in real life my work is the way I express everything. Hence this post will also not be a share fest. I only wish I could have afforded the money and time to attend your Melbourne workshop. Anyway happy holidays πŸ™‚

  61. Recently gave a free portrait session to a mom and her children. Hearing her story of this first Christmas as a single parent touched my heart. Wanted her to have images that celebrated her and her children this year. Would like to find similar ways to give back in 2016. Thinking of portraits for people who might be homeless/displaced as they come through a local shelter.

  62. I haven’t given back as much as I would’ve liked to this year, but next year I want to push myself to get more involved in the local community volunteering and act on my initiative when it comes to things I am passionate about.

  63. Next year I will donate my time teaching others how to start journaling. I want to lead some free workshops for people to make a journal and help them feel empowered to learn what kinds of things can fill their pages. Keeping a journal – art or otherwise – can be life-changing, especially for people in turmoil. I know my journals have pulled me out of some pretty dark places and opened me back up to the light. I will also donate some of my artwork and supplies to my local women’s shelter!

  64. Your work is beyond inspirational, thank you! Unfortunately I’m still stuck in my day job, and desperately trying to start my own business. But, I did volunteer for the hour of code (I’m a programmer by day).

    Lack of time from work, family, and health issues kept me from being able to give as much as I would like. I’m hoping for more next year. One of the focus areas for me is going to be opening up ways to work with bullied children, since anti-bullying campaigns have become a passion of mine.

    In 2015 I also discovered Mercy for Animals and the deplorable treatment of animals on farms across the country, prompting me to become mostly vegan and become an advocate for healthy eating. I would love to work with low-income families to educate them and help them to affordably eat more healthy, since poor nutrition has become an epidemic in this country.

  65. In years past, I volunteered with Frederick YOU and Eastern Region YOU to mentor kids/young adults from 14 to 18 in the philosophy of New Thought – that divinity dwells within each of us, that all people are spiritual beings, that the highest spiritual principle is loving one another unconditionally and that our thoughts and attitudes determine our experiences in this life. Over time, I had to give up this rewarding experience due to other pressures and changes in my own life.

    Today, I’ve typically found it far easier to make monetary contributions to causes I believe in in lieu of contributions of time. My wife and I typically try to give both locally and globally now. We also try to give to the benefit of both humans and non-humans. Our favorite causes currently include: Heartly House, which provides emergency shelter and services for those surviving or at risk of physical, sexual, or child abuse; the Animal Welfare League of Frederick County, a non-profit no-kill dog and cat rescue that also provides free spay and neuter services and emergency support to pet owners; and Heifer Project, International, addressing hunger and poverty globally in a very unique and creative way. (Def check out Heifer if you’re not already familiar with them!)

    For 2016, I have two major goals: to start a donor-directed philanthropic foundation and to get back to volunteering time, knowledge, and skills in order to experience again the joy of making direct contributions to causes I care about. The foundation has been a dream of mine for a while now but the startup costs are high for an individual of my means. Not only do I need to clearly define a purpose for the foundation, I also need to meet a minimum funding level within two years. To do that I will need the support and participation of family and friends. Using the foundation to start and/or support a concept like NYC SALT or something similar would be incredible! Now I’m getting excited but I’m also getting ahead of myself. Because success is fueled by passion and resolve, not by emotional actions. (If that makes sense… πŸ˜‰ )

    Am I biting off more than I can chew? Maybe. Maybe probably… :-/ I will have a better feel in the mid-summer time frame if all goes well. But with the support and optimism of the folks around me I know I will succeed eventually. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for bringing this to the forefront for me again, Brooke! Perhaps we will collaborate on making the world a better place one day soon! A focused effort means everything to the difference we can make. Just ask Bill Gates… πŸ˜‰

  66. Oops I forgot to say how I’m giving back. In the next year I will be giving back on a small scale. I will focus on my friends and family achieving their dreams and goals for 2016.

  67. Beautiful gestures Brooke! πŸ™‚
    To give back to the environment what I have taken, I plan on reinstating my veganism, campaigning against fur, campaigning against bombs and smashing my Conservation course so I can fight for wildlife forever.


  68. Hi Brooke! You are always beautiful, graceful and with a golden heart. Well! Every year I contribute twice a year to an institution called “Food Bank”. I contribute with food. This association can join some 4,400 tons of food a year and distributed throughout the country in various associations that help poor people. In 2016 I intend to continue to help. As science communicator, in an institution, sometimes, I and my colleagues, we go to schools that cannot afford to pay the entrance to their students, to talk about science and make some scientific experiment, for free. 2016 will be no different! In 2016, I have an important project and unfortunately I cannot anticipate what it is, but I thought, through this project, help in any way an institution of support. Perhaps animals, which also touches me a lot! Or help the association to support the victim of domestic violence… Feel so good when we offer time of our life to help others with some needs without expecting anything in return! So good! Happy New year, people! 

  69. I’m not exactly sure what I will be doing to give back in 2016. I’m usually so busy taking care of others that in 2015 I kind of let myself go health wise. Now, of course, I’m working like crazy to reverse things. I need to concentrate on that before I get lost in other things such as anti-bullying and anti-human trafficking campaigns which I have been involved with in the past. They are what mean the most to me and what I will definitely be involved in for 2016 – but like I said, I really have to concentrate on my health right now – otherwise I won’t be good to anyone :-). This isn’t necessarily and entry to win the dress – it’s more of a thought process that once written for the world to see it becomes an oyster. I think it is wonderful what you are doing and I pray that everyone goes forth with their hopes and dreams for 2016. Pay it forward – always

    All the things you accomplished are things that mean a lot to me personally – especially a few of them. I think it is awesome you give of yourself like you do. You should be proud of yourself.

  70. This year I cut off 12 inches of my hair to donate to cancer council to be made into wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer. I felt like I had to do it because I came close to having cancer myself having found a tumour in my leg. Cutting my hair was a massive challenge because I’ve lived with long hair most of my life. Whilst my mum was crying watching my hair being cut off, I was beaming. It’s the most rewarding experience knowing that your hair is going to make little girls feel beautiful on the outside as well as in.

    Throughout the year I’ve helped some of my friends eliminate suicidal thoughts and have helped them get through hard times. It was a massive challenge for me as I have had a tough year as I was bullied by multiple people (as I’m still in school), I’ve witnessed family violence in my own home and watched as the woman I love most (my mum) fell apart.

    I’ve also donated to Caritas who help build futures for people living in disadvantaged parts of the world by making education possible and giving people the resources that make farming possible.

    I plan to cut my hair again and donate to many causes next year including fibromyalgia. Next year I’ll be old enough to be part of the soup kitchen my school runs so that people in our area don’t go hungry. One day I’d also love to go to Uganda and help communities as one of my close friends did last year. Thanks for reading, Megan

  71. I love that you hold the mirror up to us all regarding giving back. Your inspiration is boundless. πŸ™‚

    I plan to give back by donating to one of my models in her efforts to raise money for mission work in Nepal.

    I will donate my time to mentor other young photography students in my community.

    I like your plan to donate a print for fundraising and I will look for a worthy cause in which I can do the same.

    Thank you, Brooke. Love this image, btw.

  72. I think this is just so wonderful. You do so much for the love of the art. I am very new to the photography world, and I would love to give back more than I have this past year, but I did have at least one person tell me that I made them see themselves in a different light via the photos I took for them, and that little interaction made me realize how much this art affects me, and the affect it can have on other people, and how we can bring beauty to the world through pictures, and I think that’s wonderful. I hope to bring more and give back more to the world this coming year. You are so kind. Much love to you.

  73. I volunteer for our local library, especially during the summer youth programs. Reading and creativity are two important passions that must be paid forward, in my opinion. I also painted a piano for the city to have outside 24/7, to let others share in the joy of music. I hope to paint two more in 2016.

  74. What a wonderful way to start the new year. Your work is amazing btw! I have been thinking about this exact thing myself. I am a self taught photographer, and I am on round two. You see, I suffered a stroke in 2011 and had to relearn everything. Losing the ability to read, or comprehend things was very very hard on me. You don’t realize how its not really a second nature thing, it was learned at some point, and can go away…just like that. So anyways, I volunteer a lot at my kids school. I do all of the event pictures (donated) and I also try to help out in the classroom. I am going to dedicate specific days to go in and help kid with reading and math. It was a gift that I was able to finally start learning it all again and I believe that everything happens for a reason. I am also going to be mentoring some young minds that are taking a photography class in high school. It looks to be an amazing year!

  75. I haven’t really. I meant maybe I have. I don’t know. I really love taking photographs of my friends and turning them into models, and finding a good expression or pose or lighting to make them look fantastic and give them some self confidence. I rarely/never work with actual models, they have enough good photos of themselves. I’ve done a few shoots this year but not nearly as many and I’ve been feeling pretty uninspired and burnt out from paid work and editing so many photos. So I’m hoping next year will be a little easier, more selective, and inspiring.

  76. I admire you so much Brooke, you are such a great inspiration and the amount of love and kindness that you are spreading around the world is so beautiful!
    This year i have been giving money to animal sanctuary and to the red cross and local charity organizations. And i hadn’t thought about doing more, shameful thing to admit, but your excample made me realize that i could do so much more!.
    So next year i’m going to give also my time and do voluntary work in that animal sanctuary and try to find a way to do a free workshop about empowering photography for example teenagers or depression group. Also i’m sure i can think lots of other ways to help too.

  77. We get a volunteer day at work each year and I am spending mine at a dog rescue shelter, taking good photos of the dogs that have been there the longest or are troublesome to home, so that they can have the best opportunity to find new forever homes.

    I also donate to help save the Snow Leopards in Asia, and towards our local animal park, I adopt the otters.

    Love the idea of donating prints for fund raising efforts and now that I am working towards printing my work, I will find opportunities to do that too.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  78. A great initiative to celebrate the end of 2015, Brooke!

    This year a misfortune happened with one of my colleges. As she was at work the fire started in her flat. Hopefully, there were no family members and the firemen came quickly. But the pets (a cat and a tortoise) died. We decided to help and organized a fund at work. We collected money for college’s family, food, clothes, etc. We managed to collect a decent sum and help her to make small repairs in the flat, buy some new furniture and windows as well.

    I also started this year a project dedicated to children and their perception of the world. I invite children to participate in my project β€˜Within their eyes’- http://www.boredpanda.com/i-create-photographic-stories-with-children-within-their-eyes-project/ (it is absolutely for free) and then I also make pictures as they wish for their families. In such a way I can continue on my project and also give family memories with the help of my pictures.

  79. I crochet cat toys and I am planning on making a bunch and donating them to our local animal shelter so the shelter kitties have some fun while their waiting to go to their furever homes!

  80. My nephew/niece (don’t want to spoil the gender!) is being born next year, and I think that I mostly want to be there for them and my sister, helping this new life along the way to grow and give them the best life possible! πŸ™‚

  81. In 2017 I will fulfill my goal of working with at risk youth. Having grown up in foster care and spending 5 years living on the streets, I am painfully aware of the dangers and obstacles out there. I was able to pull myself together and build a career and a family. Now my daughter will never have to experience the pain I went through. I want to help others realize their potential as well. To be the beacon of light for another person who is searching for a way out or looking for a helping hand. Its time for me to give back.

  82. I help out our local library with marketing and promotional material. I am able to use my photography and photoshop skills and it makes me feel good to help out our community. I continue to do this next year. I’d love to get a portfolio together and donate prints, so that’s a goal as well. We shall see. πŸ˜‰

  83. I plan on giving back by helping others understand what the Bible actually teaches, and to help them use what is learned in a way that can benefit them and improve their life. I feel like I’ve been able to improve my quality of life due to this and it would be great to share that with others! (:

  84. First of all, HOLLY MONKEY that is a lot of responses! Which is really cool! πŸ™‚

    You are so right about not needing money to help. A lot of the time I am as broke as a fish! So I help who ever needs it, rich, poor, young, old and it always comes back around. My brother and I have mowed the 2.5 acre yard of a neighbor’s for free, ever since her husband died of cancer 5 years ago. This cost me at most a little gas money and time, yet helps her a lot.
    There is so much to do at there that will cost you so little, and will help someone so much. πŸ™‚

  85. Hello Lovely Lady,
    I have only just seen this post as Christmas time was so busy with me opening my home to friends, family and community to share and celebrate the spirit of Christmas. Regardless, I wanted to thank you for your ongoing inspiration and beautiful heart, it is a pleasure to be a part of this artist community.

    My intention for 2016 is to continue to bring awareness to the serious issue of Domestic Violence and continue to create conversations for change. Furthermore, I am putting together some art therapy programs that we will implement in DV shelters, aged care homes and to assist those suffering with depression. I am also mentoring half a dozen emerging artist on their journeys and have volunteered my time to assist as the second in charge with an arts initiative that will turn a 1.7 kilometre lane way into an outdoor corridor during the Adelaide Fringe Festival making art accessible to everyone and building a sense of community. I will be working with over 100 artists to realise this project….it is going to be a busy few months but my heart is filled with gratitude for these wonderful opportunities. xx

  86. HI BROOKE!!!!
    I know this comment is a bit late, but eh well.
    You have no idea how jumpy I was waking up and found your book under the Christmas tree, I didn’t even dare to believe that Santa could bring me that when I was writing the card two weeks before Christmas! Your works are charmingly beautiful, it changed my point of view, you basically changed my life.
    Thank you.

    p.s. I wish I could win next contest’s dress hehehehehehe

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