The People of CEF: John Grant

August 30th, 2014

Leah Yee, Social Media Manager

ice cream JohnJohn Grant is the Associate Director of Simon Fraser University’s Alumni Relations office. When he’s not busy providing services to the university’s 130,000 alumni across the world, he is working hard as the editor of Compassionate Eye Foundation’s internal newsletter, In Focus.

Before John joined CEF, the board was keen to figure out a way to share information and updates with our numerous core volunteers. CEF has always recognized that effective communication is vital and that it is important that volunteers know the direction the organization is moving in. And so, in collaboration with Executive Director Susan McDonald, John created In Focus, a monthly email update sent to volunteers and contributors. First and foremost came figuring out which types of content are of most interest to the group. Each month, following the board meeting, John is sent the high level items that the board wishes to share with volunteers. He then tweaks some of the content, adds links and images, and formats the overall piece before sending it out.

John first encountered CEF at the 2012 Timeraiser Vancouver event. He was instantly drawn to the concept of combining photography with international development projects. As John says, “it seemed like an incredible concept and sure enough it’s turned out to be a really great organization to work with”. Through Timeraiser John pledged to volunteer 100 hours with Vancouver non-profits, including CEF. He has since accomplished this goal but he isn’t stopping there! John plans to continuing working as the In Focus editor in the future. Being so dedicated to this project is not without its unique challenges – namely finding the time to accomplish so much as a full-time SFU employee, recent Master of Education graduate, and enthusiastic volunteer – however it is a challenge he happily accepts.

When asked about what advice he would share with other CEF volunteers, John recommends that others try to attend a photo shoot. John was our behind the scenes correspondent at the 2013 Family – Work, Rest, and Play shoot with Steven Errico, and he named this as his favourite CEF experience thus far: “It was super cool!”

Thank you for all your contributions, John. We are excited to have you as part of the CEF family now and in the future!

Photo of the Week: Back to School!

August 27th, 2014

Sumi Kim, Social Media Coordinator

It’s almost back to school time!  Don’t these kids look excited to go back to school?

This lovely photograph of children is chosen from the Kids from Above photoshoot in London, UK. It was a CEF 2012 Summer Photoshoot campaign with photographer Jasper White and producer Fiona Watson. With our talented photographer and volunteer efforts, we are able to create beautiful photographs to make a difference in the world! Are you looking for a way to contribute? We have more images available for sale on Getty Images and funds generated will support projects around the world.

CEF’s Sierra Leone Teacher Empowerment and Training Program

August 26th, 2014

By Eunice Sotelo,  Social Media Coordinator

Education isn’t just about students acquiring knowledge; it’s about lifelong learners making real-world connections to what they’ve learned in the classroom. It follows that teachers who are properly trained for the job and feel supported in their role would have the confidence and capacity to lead and mentor. Compassionate Eye Foundation’s Teacher Empowerment and Training Program in the Koinadugu District of Sierra Leone, in partnership with CAUSE Kids aims to do exactly that.

CAUSE Canada

CAUSE Canada, an international and development organization founded in Montreal, had been implementing projects in Sierra Leone since 1988. It started CAUSE Kids in 2006 to fund formal education in Koinadugu, as well as promote better health care for students. CAUSE Kids’ layered approach to education meant dealing with the basics first; equip children with daily meals, uniforms and school supplies and we enable them to learn. Four years ago, CAUSE Kids partnered with CEF for the Peer Literacy Program, which trained grades 10 and 11 students to become peer literacy tutors to primary students in after-school reading and phonetics sessions. The chosen tutors received financial support along with weekly computer training and library services at CAUSE Kids Integrated Learning Centre.

Teacher training program

CEF’s teacher training program with CAUSE Kids extends the goal of helping to revitalize the public education system in Sierra Leone. This year, the plan is to improve the skills of rural primary teachers in 17 target schools comprising 5,100 students and 145 teachers. At a two-day conference in November 2014, participating teachers will learn best practices from education professors in Science, Math, Phonics, Information Technology and child-centered teaching techniques (CCTT). The emphasis is on delivering information accurately and addressing the learning needs of the students.

Many teachers will also benefit from weekly professional mentoring by trained educators over the course of a year. Of the 145 participants, 25 will receive bursaries toward one year of their Teachers Education Certificate at the Makeni Polytechnic Institute. Teachers will study on weekends in Kabala and between scholastic terms. As of July 15, 2014, CEF is proud to report 18 female teachers and seven male teachers were enrolled in the teacher certification program. As more female teachers become involved in their professional growth, young girls can continue to look up to professional female role models who see the value in education. The hope is that these students will gradually see better teacher delivery and support in their classrooms.

Empowering teachers in remote areas

As CAUSE Kids has pointed out in its program proposal, there is no “shortage of capable, self-motivated individuals wanting to teach” in Sierra Leone. CEF’s role is to help empower elementary school teachers in remote areas like Koinadugu by giving them the opportunity to thrive in their chosen career through training and mentorship. With guidance and support they can grow as professionals and become a positive influence in their communities.

Photo of the Week: Business Entrepreneur Shoot

August 21st, 2014

Krystele Chavez, Social Media Coordinator

Doesn’t this image perfectly portray the idea of ‘work hard, play hard’? This behind the scenes shot was taken at last Sunday’s Business Entrepreneur shoot in Montreal.  The creation of new imagery will generate funds we will use to support projects in developing communities and we look forward to improving lives around the world. Thanks to talented photographers Julie Francoeur and Renaud Robert for giving their time and efforts! 


Photo of the Week: Upcoming Business Shoot

August 14th, 2014

Krystele Chavez, Social Media Coordinator

This week’s chosen image is a reflection of an upcoming Focus on Change 2014 Photo Shoot Tour event, which will be a business shoot tentatively scheduled for September 13 in Vancouver! This photo was taken by Beau Lark, who, along with a few other photographers from Hero Images, will spend the day creating stock photography. Money earned from the upcoming shoot will help support Compassionate Eye Foundation‘s global projects, such as the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Program in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia, a Partners in the Horn of Africa project we recently funded.

Stay tuned as CEF’s 2014 shoots continue to heat up!

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Photo of the Week: Vancouver Pool Party Shoot

August 6th, 2014

Leah Yee, Social Media Manager

July 29th was a beautiful sunny day and the perfect backdrop for the latest stop on the Focus on Change 2014 Photo Shoot Tour. A talented  cast and crew gathered in Vancouver to put on a successful pool party themed shoot led by photographer Steven Errico. Check out the rest of the behind the scenes collection on Facebook!

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Q&A with Art Director Vicki Schelstraete: Toronto Food Shoot

August 3rd, 2014

Leah Yee, Social Media Manager

CEFThe Focus on Change 2014 Photo Shoot Tour continues: On July 29th, a talented crew of Compassionate Eye Foundation volunteers and contributors come together at a studio in Toronto to put on a successful food themed shoot.

Edward Pond, a commercial advertising photographer, shared his skills free of charge as photographer, and the art direction was led by Vicki Schelstraete and Felicia Cohen. Paige Weir and LeeAnne Wright volunteered their time and expertise as stylists, and Sandra Yang on hair and makeup. We would also like to thank all our fantastic volunteer models from Sherrida Model Management and Orange Models.

We caught up with Vicki to find out more about the mouth-watering theme of the shoot:

CEF: Tell us about the Food theme.

Vicki: We selected a dozen different foods that were seasonal and graphic and shot them in three different set-ups per food. First, there was the ‘hero’ shot of a single food. Next we did a group shot or conceptual shot of the food, and finally, an enjoyment or consumption of the food by a model. For example, the ‘hero’ shot of the strawberry was a close up of a luscious red strawberry. The group shot was various strawberries on a white background or in a bowl or basket. The third shot was a model holding or biting into a strawberry.

Food prep

CEF: What went into the art direction?

VickiWe selected foods that were already prepared so that we would save time on food prep. We would switch back and forth from shooting the foods on their own (on a white background or a rustic table top) until models were ready then we switched over to the model with the food – back and forth with a very nice flow going thanks to our food stylist LeeAnne’s great timing. Photographing models while eating is always a challenge and can be somewhat limiting, but of course there are the classic images of hands holding and offering a pile of juicy berries. I don’t think I’ve ever looked so closely or for so long at a single food – you’re always looking for that perfect berry, perfect apple or perfect sprinkly donut for a close-up!

CEF: Can you describe the atmosphere of the shoot?

Vicki: Everyone was very organized so we were able to transition quite smoothly between each food. It was a very relaxed and organic shoot until the twin girls arrived in the afternoon and we fed them every sugary food that was on set – the energy immediately changed and I can only imagine the sugar-high the girls were on during their long car ride home!

Images from the shoot will be sold through the CEF collection on Getty Images and all funds earned will used to fund education, health, and sustainability projects around the globe.

And don’t forget to explore the behind the scenes collection on Facebook!

Photo of the Week

July 24th, 2014

In Hye Lee, Social Media Coordinator

This photo highlights an idea central to Compassionate Eye Foundation‘s growth as an organization: connecting with others. We have managed to fulfill our goals through connecting with other organizations like Kids International Development Society and Getty Images. We have also connected with talented photographers and volunteers worldwide in order to create beautiful stock photography. And, of course, we’ve also been able to connect with communities in Cambodia, Guatemala, and many more. Don’t forget to visit our website and learn more about our international development projects!

A New Look at Stock Photography with Getty Images

July 18th, 2014

Eunice Sotelo,  Social Media Coordinator

On March 6, 2014,  Getty Images redefined the way we look at and use stock photographs. It made freely available 35 million of its images including news, sports, entertainment and archival photographs for non-commercial use. Anyone with a social media profile, a blog or personal website can embed Getty’s stock photographs at no cost through its new embedding tool. For Compassionate Eye Foundation, it means increased visibility of our images and consequently a wider audience of potential buyers whose purchase will help fund our global projects. Getty’s decision was an attempt to stem the rampant right-clicking of images to copy and paste without permission, and the embed player is a way to counter this widespread online behaviour. Even editorial websites can avail of this free-for-all as long as the images are used in an editorial context. Each photograph, shown without a watermark, will include the full metadata, the photographer’s name, collection and Getty’s logo, as well as a link back to the image’s licensing page on the Getty Images website.

The Getty Images embed player, which lets users search over 50 million embeddable images.

The Getty Images embed player, which lets users search over 50 million embeddable images.

The bold move was not without a mixed bag of responses, from cautious optimism to outright rebuke. Independent photographers have bemoaned the loss of potential income with photographs being given away for free. Still, one can argue that the standard for what’s visually appealing can only improve if the public gets exposed to more quality images. It follows that this newfound appreciation adds value to the photographer’s art, hence driving the need for images of a higher calibre; and this is the clincher for us. When you share one of our stock images on social media, both CEF and the photographer receive the proper credit. Since the photo also includes a direct link back to the Getty collection from which it belongs, a viewer with a commercial need for the image can now license it directly from Getty’s website. Through the embed player, the stock agency can also gather information on who is using and viewing that image, in the hopes of improving the collections. We see this as a good thing. We not only get more exposure for our stock photographs on Getty, our photographers get the proper recognition for their hard work. By sharing our stock images online, you not only spread the word about our talented volunteers, you also help promote our cause.

Photo of the Week

July 17th, 2014

In Hye Lee, Social Media Coordinator

Doesn’t this photo get you even more excited about the summer? This week’s Photo of the Week is a throwback to one of our past summer photo shoots with Vancouver-based photographer Noel Hendrickson. As the summer goes on, don’t forget to keep up with our 2014 summer photo shoots!