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Dear South Bend,
A few months ago one of my long time clients posted this on OMG’s Facebook Wall:
“I love your work from all over the country, but have to say that you truly capture our local South Bend-Mishawaka-Notre Dame community in such a meaningful way!!!”
I was floored when I read it. What a compliment! You, South Bend, have given me so much. A place to live, a never ending supply of supportive clients, and a beautiful backdrop to so many of my photo shoots.
After graduating from Notre Dame in 2009, I was asked over and over again where I was going to move and what I was going to do. A lot of people were surprised when I said that I’d be staying in South Bend, but really, I couldn’t think of a better place to start my own business. I love living in a community that encourages a twenty two year old to start her own small business; and I love living in a community that helps a twenty six year old grow that business beyond all of her expectations.
Over the past five years of running OMG, I have gotten to know so many people in our community. You have trusted me to document your weddings and photograph your new babies; I’ve celebrated your graduations and engagements with you and marked anniversaries and birthdays with you. As I have grown, you have grown; we’ve both changed and adapted, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is your unending support. For that, I am forever grateful.
I’m always amazed, but never surprised by the help I receive from the community when I reach out and ask for it. Last year, YOU helped me raise $1,300 for March of Dimes. YOU donated teddy bears, blankets, hats, and outfits to the local NICUs when I mentioned a shortage of supplies for the babies I photograph with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. YOU bought my photos and sessions at local auction fundraisers. YOU constantly remind me how big South Bend’s heart really is.
So, thank you South Bend. Thank you for always being there. For being excited for me and my achievements and supportive and encouraging during my challenges. Thank you for filling our community with energetic, creative, entrepreneurial, and compassionate souls. Thank you for constantly trying to better yourself and encouraging me to do the same. I love you, South Bend… and that’s why I call you Home.