• Pay To Play Paves Road toward Goals

    Pay To Play Paves Road toward Goals

    Pictured at the top: L to R, Tom Cameron Cherokee Senior Softball Association Golf Tournament organizer, and Norm Thiem, Cherokee Senior Softball Association Commissioner look with Dr. Diane Keen, DNS, RN, CNE, and Co-Founder & Chairperson of the Circle of Friends non-profit, at the goals Circle of Friends has for the future.

    L to R, Barista Bryan Nance, Dr. Diane Keen co-founder of Circle of Friends, Kaitie Griggs Coffee Shop Manager, are presented with a fundraiser check from Tom Cameron Cherokee Senior Softball Association Golf Tournament organizer, and Norm Thiem, Cherokee Senior Softball Association Commissioner from the 2022 Charity Golf Tournament June 23, 2022 event raised.

    The Circle of Friends: Living With Purpose non-profit was one of two recipients of the 2022 Cherokee Senior Softball Association (CSSA) Charity Golf Tournament, which took place June 23rd at the Towne Lake Hills Golf Club.

    The voluntary CSSA organization established in 1995, has held several charity events since its formation. According to their blog, the June tournament was its most successful ever, with 64 golfers of all ages who played with gusto and helped raise money for two charities, the Circle of Friends: Living With Purpose and the Cherokee Family Violence Center (CFVC) whose mission is to provide a variety of free services to domestic violence survivors and their families. CFVC seeks to enhance the safety of those impacted by intimate partner violence and empower victims while advocating for a community standard of zero tolerance for violence in the home.

    CSSA organizer Tom Cameron said the charity events were initiated to include all CSSA members. "We had six different leagues at different times and days, it was a way to join all of our leagues for one day and get to know one another and promote fellowship amongst the group. We decided upon golf as we already have two softball seasons per year and golf is much more casual than softball."

    Cameron said most of the CSSA outings have been on or around Veterans Day. "Each Veterans Day outing, we take the opportunity to introduce our veterans and the branch in which they served. In addition, they receive a ceremonial golf ball as a small token of our appreciation. Our next golf outing will be on November 10, 2022." CSSA is currently researching veteran outreach programs to benefit both male and female veterans.

    The golf tournament's creative fundraising methods included mulligans for a fee. A mulligan for those who don’t know is a ‘do-over’ swing when the first attempt didn’t quite land on target. Since the purpose of the tournament was to benefit the selected organizations that work so passionately to help others, charging for a second try was a win-win for all with a net total of $5,260.00 raised.

    The Circle of Friends: Living With Purpose (COF) has a steadfast goal of raising enough money to purchase land in Cherokee County to build an inclusive community to fulfill three needs: socialization, supportive employment, and supportive affordable housing for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), older adults, and college-age students. These goals point to a larger societal need for community support.

    The COF’s co-founder and board chairperson Dr. Diane Keen saw firsthand the benefits of an intergenerational community from her research studies as a doctoral student and seeing her adopted son Haden work through some developmental delays and social challenges he faced.

    Haden experienced full inclusion through his involvement with Hickory Flat United Methodist Church’s youth group.

    Another goal for COF is to secure a second location to have their own coffee shop, “so that everyone has a place and that together we flourish.” The Circle of Friends Coffee Shop provides supportive employment by employing adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a rented spot located in “The Circuit” building, on the Chattahoochee Technical College campus in historic Downtown Woodstock, GA.

    For COF’s history, visit https://circleoffriendsinc.org

    For more information on the Cherokee Senior Softball Association visit: https://teampages.com/organizations/2042

  • Coffee With Purpose

    Circle Of Friends Inc.org met one of their goals and opened Circle of Friends Coffee With Purpose at Circuit Cafe at The Circuit, Cherokee County's first co-working space. Diane Keen, Circle Of Friends founding member, expresses why supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is important.

  • #ICPconcerned


    There's no doubt 2020 is a challenging year and will go down in history as hard times for so many people. The International Center for Photography initialized a call for art using the hashtag #ICPConcerned on Instagram. I submitted this photo in response. The three-month exhibit was available online from Oct 01, 2020 – Dec 31, 2020.

  • Self as story

    Self as story

    An entry from the Southington Community Cultural Arts 'Women Photographers of Connecticut' exhibit May 4-31, 2019 included a series of self-portraits that inspired this 'Self as story' post. I hope it inspires you too.

  • The Recipe I Can't Live Without

    The Recipe I Can't Live Without

    Check out my recipe for image edits in The App Whisperer newly featured content, 'The Recipe I Can't Live Without' Check out the site for inspiration ~ thank you to Joanne Carter for the work you do!

  • The Powerful yet Fragile Exhibition

    The Powerful yet Fragile Exhibition

    Two images are part of the Women Photographers of Connecticut group exhibit centering around Connecticut's waterways, The Powerful yet Fragile: Connecticut Waterways at Stamford Museum, CT.

  • CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

    Had the pleasure of working with Bob Sacha during May'16 workshop through CUNY Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, on Visual Storytelling. This was my 2nd workshop and I'll be back for more!

    The goal: tell a story without the use of 'talking heads,' a phenomenon that occurs all too frequently with video. My partner, journalist Issam Khoury, needed to attend a live demonstration mid-workshop, thus I fell back on familiar ways to complete the project.

    I highly recommend CUNY for skill-set building. Great venue (New York City) and instructors are pros with years of industry experience.

  • Creative Generosity Builds Communities

    October - December 2015
    Completing portrait projects in the name of volunteerism helps people connect, reflect, and put their best face forward in their job hunt.

    Click the link for the story:
    Creativity Generosity Builds Communities

  • WIPI Archive YALE / BEINECKE Library

  • Connecticut Women Photojournalists Group Show

    Westport Connecticut Library April 2015
    Collection of over 80 photographs by twenty journalists showing daily assignment
    works both news and features.

  • Connecticut Women Photojournalists Group Show

    December 2014 - January 2015
    McLevy Hall| - Bridgeport, CT
    Collection by twenty journalists showing daily assignment
    works both news to features. The collection contains over 80 photographs.

  • Ten Questions with Margaret Waage

    February 6, 2014
    Featured post on The Hungry Ghost Collective site (now inactive)

  • Angel


    November 11, 2011
    It's always in the least likely places that I'm inspired. A recent project photographing residents in a nursing home was one such experience. I'd been to Assisted Living facilities before but this one was different.

    Everyone at the Skyview Center Nursing Home smiled - a lot. I got the feeling I was also being cared for by the director Sue Brooks, who I call an Angel as I witnessed her caring for both residents and staff alike.

    There were two photographers involved - myself and Mark Acme. Sue and Skyview staff members curated our images which culminated in an art show reception called 'Stories Through Photography,' that everyone enjoyed.

  • Legacy Landscapes Photo Exhibit at Weir Farm

    September 8, 2011
    Photo exhibit 'Legacy Landscapes' September 8, 2011 - Oct. 9, 2011.
    Weir Farm National Historic Site

  • 'Nature Nourishes' Art Show

    August 20, 2011
    Juried group art exhibit
    'Nature Nourishes' Artspace Hartford, CT

  • W.Hartford, CT

    August 2011
    Worked as Guest Editor, for W. Hartford, CT Patch
    It was sad to cover a suicide symposium for the law enforcement sector.
    Four Connecticut officers took their lives this year and the organizer,
    Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement (CABLE), addressed
    PTSD effects and that effort, I hope will enlighten those who choose a
    profession that helps everyone, realize it's ok to protect themselves.

    I had the pleasure of interviewing an 18-year officer as he said goodbye
    to his partner of nine years, K-9 officer Kora, a beautiful female shepherd.
    The happy part of the story is Kora remains the officer's pet so their relationship
    while different is intact.

  • Wedding Anniversary - Wow

    July 11, 2011
    A twenty-year wedding anniversary doesn't happen every day so I thought I'd mention it. I'm impressed!

  • News Editor

    July 4 - July 10, 2011
    Worked as a local editor on AOL media site:
    Southington Patch

    During the week I saw stories about animal rescue, an outpouring of support for two brothers whose parents died from a domestic violence murder-suicide, debate over a bonding appropriation for school overhauls, and live music performance on the town green.

    What is most telling about unrelated events is they each share a commonality - every one event can be broken down into individual stories. It's great to see people come together to assist others, research the impact of a town budget, or simply enjoy life.

    What you can do today can improve all your tomorrows’ ~ Ralph Marston Author

  • 'Legacy Landscape' CT Historic Garden Photo Exhibit

    June 19, 2011
    A collection of landscape photography on CT Historic Gardens.
    Kellogg Environmental Center - Derby, CT

  • Look3 Festival of The Photograph

    June 3, 2011
    Completed photography workshop: www.look3.org
    What an interesting few days - shooting, critiquing, and digesting
    as much photography related news and imagery as possible.
    The World Press Photo 11 exhibit was truly heart-wrenching.