It started in in 1941 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and continues today — the idea of a debutante photographer in New York City to combine her passion for photography and her desire to serve and change her world.
Sometimes the biggest changes start with the smallest acts.
Maureen McNeill, executive director of the Josephine Herrick Project, shares how the volunteerism of a photographer 75 years ago has impacted more than 100,000 americans and how you can use your talents to make a difference as well.
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When the United States joined World War II in December 1941, Josephine Herrick, a New York City photographer, organized a group of fellow volunteers to take photos of soldiers.
They wanted to take snapshots of war bound servicemen at canteens and send the photos home to their families with a personal note. Her gesture made such an impact that she was invited to visit wounded veterans when they returned home for indefinite hospital stays.
Josephine and the volunteers set up portable darkrooms in the veterans hospitals and taught the vets how to take and develop pictures. The photographers wanted to help the vets recover from being "shell shocked" or what we now know as PTSD.
It might not have seemed like a big deal to them at the time, but the work continues 75 years later in the organization that Josephine founded.
The Josephine Herrick Project continues using photography to help veterans, as well as other people in need.
Today, experienced professional photographers give back by teaching photography programs to veterans, children, seniors and people with disabilities.
Watch the video of the JHP mission
If you are near New York City, consider lending your support.
Teaching photographers are experienced professional photographers who give back by teaching photography programs in collaboration with Josephine Herrick Project community partners.
Teaching photographers must make a commitment to attend JHP professional development trainings held monthly, and teach at least one program per year.
Programs range from 6 weeks to 10 weeks approximately 2 hours per week. Programs take place at Community Partners’ locations throughout the 5 boroughs.
Teaching Photographers’ responsibilities include collaborating with the community partner and JHP staff to develop a curriculum; co-teach with another photographer; dump and catalogue program photos for delivery to JHP staff; and organize program- site exhibitions.
Apply to Become a volunteer by contacting Afiya Williams, Program Coordinator