Category Archives: UPenn

Katie Kerl: Tis the Season for Giving

 

Photography and Text by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2019

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Tis’ the Season for Giving

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This year I took a different approach to the holidays. I packed an entire townhouse and moved two times in November (yes again). If you have followed my previous year in writing I felt like a nomad; finally feeling like I’m at HOME in my new PERMANENT space. Through the two moves I was able to complete my small food drive before Thanksgiving. Being short on time I wanted to do more. Realizing life could be much worse in many ways; I did not want my hectic personal life to change my demeanor, but enhance it. Let me tell you, if you are struggling mentally the best thing you can do is keep busy. Doing nice things for people who are REALLY STRUGGLING improves your overall well being.

 I also joined The Philly Influencer Mixer during that time run by Davida JanaeThey cover everything exciting going on in Philly while looking fabulous. I never really considered myself an influencer, but I guess promoting my lifestyle ,interviews, & blogging qualifies as such. If I can influence people to just be themselves despite criticism & stigma; I am doing what I set out to do.  

Once accepted to the group, I noticed there was a charity event that needed to be covered. The Black Tie Gala with Sneakers, benefiting the Trauma Survivors Foundation. The event took place at The Queen concert hall in Delaware. The evening included Two VIP tickets to the event and hotel accommodations. The curator of this event and head of The Trauma Survivors Foundation, Dennis Carradin is an angel of the trauma survivors.

I spoke with him briefly on the phone before the event and got a few tips to promote it. Dennis is a licensed therapist and goes into crisis situations to help the people in need. He also teaches a class training people to become crisis internationalists all over the country. This event had been running for a number of years with a traditional sit down banquet Hall event. 

This year they wanted to make it less stuffy, and that it was.

The Queen is a really cool event space and everyone looked amazing. I brought Rob Li with me my acro friend I previously interviewed as well. Rob is a great date for events. He comes ready to have a good time, and takes photos with the bomb lighting. Doing mini photo shoots through the night was also really fun. 

There were MANY chances to win cool prizes. Two awards for the best sneakers his and hers, 50/50 raffles, silent auction, and at least 5 major vacations that were given away through the night.   

The Trauma Survivors foundation runs many events through the year. You can find this information, and the link to sign up for the crisis intervention training program listed on their web site. This year’s proceeds from the Taste of Philly went to the organization as well.

This charity really hit home for me because I have been through hell and back; yet would not change a thing because I am completely different person now. When you leave a part of you behind that felt dead; it is a large weight lifted off your soul. That is what I call healing, and I did it on my own mentally, and with the support of really good friends helping me through the last few months.  

The world needs more caring people like Dennis and his whole crew that put the event together. The thing with trauma is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  It’s easy to feel defeated and give up, it’s not easy to change life and fight for what you really want.

That is what they are here to help survivors do.

For information on the Philly Influencer Mixer and Davita Janae visit:

https://phillyinfluencermixer.com/

For more information about Dennis and the Trauma Survivors Foundation please visit:

https://www.denniscarradin.com/

https://www.thetraumasurvivorsfoundation.com/

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 The second event I was invited to was The Ronald McDonald House Lighting. This was really a cute event for families, kids, sponsors, and employees there. The evening was filled with a catered buffet, The University of Pennsylvania band playing holiday music, beautiful house lights, Philly sports mascots entertaining everyone, history characters, Lego Land experience, face painting, Disney princesses, and all the positive holiday joy one could ask for.

 I took my girlfriend Aimee with me and we brought a bunch of unwrapped toys. When leaving, we both felt like the families there are very fortunate to have such a positive place to recover. Seeing all of the kids having a great time with the band and mascots was really heartwarming. After being there I wanted to let people know about their mission.

Ronald McDonald House History:

 Dr. Audrey E. Evans saw families spend night after night in the hospital while their children received life-saving medical treatment. She knew there had to be a better way and envisioned a house where families could stay during these stressful and uncertain times.

At the same time, the Philadelphia Eagles were raising funds in support of player Fred Hill, whose daughter, Kim, was in treatment for leukemia at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. Eagles’ General Manager Jimmy Murray approached St. Christopher’s about making a donation, Dr. Lawrence Naiman suggested there was an even greater need for funds resting with Dr. Evans. Mr. Murray met Dr. Evans and became a champion for her cause. He reached out to Eagles advertiser, McDonald’s, with the idea that they could offer the proceeds from their Shamrock Shake sales to benefit this new house. McDonald’s agreed, and the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House was born on October 15, 1974.

Thanks to the generosity of dedicated donors, the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House has grown from a single idea to the model for over 365 Houses worldwide. 

The Ronald McDonald House Philadelphia care program is also listed on their site, and is as follows:

“Our two Ronald McDonald Houses provide temporary lodging, transportation, meals, and social services to families who travel to Philadelphia for pediatric care. Our three Ronald McDonald Family Rooms extend the support of our Houses into the hospital setting and offer a quiet respite space for families at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. Ronald McDonald Camp is a week-long overnight camp for children with cancer and their siblings held in the Pocono Mountains every August. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, operated in partnership with St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, provides comprehensive and continuous oral healthcare to children in North Philadelphia.

“Proceeds from donations made at local McDonald’s restaurants make up approximately 10% of our annual revenue, with the remaining 90% generated through the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations. It costs the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House $148 a night per family to provide housing and supportive services; however, families are only asked to contribute $15 per night. No one is ever turned away due to inability to pay and the House waives approximately half the nightly fees annually.

For more information on volunteering, donating, or using services for your family please visit:

 https://www.philarmh.org/about-us/mission-history/

Both of these events were really something anyone could get behind. What saddened me was most of the attendees were all baby boomers. I feel like the notion of giving back and service has gone out the window with the home telephone and kids playing outside. It has been replaced with IPhone 11’s, and video game consoles. If you unplug from your own life you might just be able to help someone else. 

The New Year, and decade is approaching 2020!!

Ask yourself, “What change do you want to see?” Make the effort to promote it and stop complaining about the THINGS you do not have. No matter how small the service you are still doing something to promote your passion.

 To me that is much more valuable than any present one could give.

Happy Holidays Friends!! 

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Katie Kerl. December 2019

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Katie Kerl was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is currently living  in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. Katie has a background in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a manager in the commercial/residential design field . Katie can be reached  on Instagram @kerlupwithkate 

For collaboration e-mail: Kate.kerl32@gmail.com

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To access additional articles by Katie Kerl, click here: https://tonyward.com/katie-kerl-derek-bailey-green-car-innovator/

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Friends of TWS, Health Care, lifestyle, Philadelphia, Popular Culture, Student Life, Video, Women

Julian Domanico: The Pursuit of Justice

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Text by Julian Domanico, Copyright 2019

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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Styling: Shirts courtesy of Old School Shirtmakers New York

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Assistant Producer: Anthony Colagreco

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THE PURSUIT OF JUSTICE

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Coming from a small, blue collar town in Michigan, I grew up thinking of myself as a “big fish” in a “small pond.” I was a hard worker in school, a competitive runner, and worked on my grandparent’s small farm. My family was one of the only Caucasian, French-Italian immigrant families in a majority of Middle Eastern families. Yet, although I was biracial and surrounded by races of all hues, my light brown skin afforded me more opportunities than my darker friends from Yemen and Eritrea enjoyed. In the 1990s in Michigan, no one used or appreciated the terminology of ‘birth lottery’ or ‘white privilege.’ Then, I did not understand what made me different, nor that it mattered. In hindsight, although I had similar experiences of poverty and being raised by a single parent as the Middle Eastern kids, we had starkly different outcomes. What I understood at the time was that I was expected to leave my rust belt town for greater challenges while the Middle Eastern kids were expected to stay to work in the steel processing plant across the street from my house.

On a sweltering day in August 2008, I took my first steps into my new life on Penn’s campus as an undergraduate. I reveled in the idea of being surrounded by bright people from across the globe to think and create alongside. I dove in quickly to my Penn experience, but haphazardly. I desperately wanted to throw away my old life in Michigan that seemed out of touch with the sleeker, more academic version I was creating in Philadelphia. I soon learned, however, that — trying to be someone I was not – created an emptiness and did not satisfy my passion to do better.

My realization that I was not finding a meaningful experience caused me to forge my own path and to take a different approach. In the summer of 2010, I worked in the office of the 56th Street Philadelphia Census Bureau. It was my first experience in government and working around highly intelligent people outside of Penn. My census colleagues spoke of activism, advocacy, and systems of oppressions in ways I had never heard. Their integrity and passion for purposeful work that served others made me question my own professional motives. Their mantra, “Why does it have to be like this,” has been forever etched into my memory. When I returned to Penn following that summer, I was thrown a curve ball that altered everything about who I was.

My life abruptly changed when Penn asked me to take a leave of absence because I was failing academically. My heart, my psyche, and my sanity were frayed. I lost my identity and, with it, my drive. In retrospect, this road of uncertainty gave me the opportunity to commit myself to self-care and my research. I studied the experiences of African Americans with obsessive compulsive disorder and also tested atypically developing children with psychosis. This work showed me a lack of access and understanding of the systems by disadvantaged persons that I – as a person of relative privilege – more easily navigated. I came to understand why so many people were disadvantaged by our power structures and how they lived lives of sustained suffering. This revelation forced me to shed my selfish lens of what I thought I lacked, to see how fortunate my life had always been, and to resolve to live authentically. I returned to Penn with a renewed and laser focus as to what mattered to me: the betterment of other people by concerted efforts to lift others up. Armed with a clear direction of how meaningful a Penn education can assist me with my goals, I graduated with the highest GPA of my undergraduate experience and immediately began working at the Public Defender’s office in Philadelphia.

Understanding mission driven was my calling, I successfully channeled my past difficulties that emerged from being different and feeling “othered.” I chose to give back through youth-centered work and become who I needed as a child. In addition to the full acceptance of my sexual orientation, which I wrestled with during my leave from college, I finally felt as though I could fully exhale. My identity as a queer male of color informed my experience in and passion for advocacy moving forward. As my world broadened through my ability to empathize and spread my compassion for others, I hit a stride that remains a vibrant cornerstone of my brand and career to this day.

Nine years of work and collaboration with top leaders in the fields of the judiciary, psychology, nonprofits, government, and politics has allowed me to deeply commit myself to a life of positive social impact. I have seen the interconnectivity and understand the “through line” that runs across people-centered service. Throughout my working life, I saw how my knowledge of juvenile mental health played a role in the juvenile justice defense work that I did across the state. I was able to tie that criminal justice understanding to the desperation one experiences during bouts of homelessness and poverty. While working at the Catholic Archdiocese, I delved into philanthropic and the direct service world which gave me an understanding of how religious communities create short-term stability, especially for black and brown youth who had contact with the criminal justice system. I then pivoted to learn about the benefits of education and afterschool programming at City Year and the Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) because early educational interventions reduce the potential for poverty, addiction, homelessness and underemployment. All of this work better informed my board work, political volunteerism within Philadelphia, and even my connection with people as a part time barista for the last two years.

This ability to connect has also opened me up to new, creative pursuits. Armed with what I learned as an advocate, by overcoming personal adversities, as well as my self-care routine, I have been able to attract new career opportunities. In June 2019 I was approached by Reinhard Modeling and Talent Agency to begin work as a professional model. Modeling has been a wonderful outlet for my creativity and passions outside of advocacy. However, I want my modeling to be and mean more than the superficiality that plagues the industry. I want my work to be used as a platform for social change and positive acceptance. I’d like to shine a bright light on the power of being genuine in your own skin, believing in what you stand for, and not settling for less than you deserve. Through each of our “birth lotteries” therein lies the ability for a meaningful life that serves others while protecting your individuality. As a kid from the Midwest, modeling was never planned to be the route reveal itself. However, in life I have always been most fortunate on the road less traveled. I hope you will join me in creating your own path.

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Julian Domanico is currently the Public Health Management Corporation’s Director of Community Outreach for the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, Project Leading Youth for Tomorrow (Project L.Y.F.T.). Through his nonprofit career, Julian has advocated for juveniles in placement, marginalized persons (with emphasis on people of color and the LGBTQ+ community), education equity, and on public policy issues impacting millennials.

Julian holds an appointed seat as the Social Justice Chair of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee, serves as the Board Secretary for the LGBTQ+ fundraising nonprofit, the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) and is also a board member of a youth-led, education nonprofit, UrbEd, Inc. Within Philadelphia’s political ward system, Julian is one of two Democratic Committee Person representatives for Ward 5, Division 11 (within the boundaries of 13th St. to 10th St., Walnut St. to Spruce St.). He also professionally models commercially and in fashion for Reinhard Modeling and Talent Agency. This is Julian’s first contribution to Tony Ward Studio.

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Covers, Current Events, Environment, Friends of TWS, lifestyle, Men, Models, News, Philadelphia, Politics, Popular Culture, Portraiture

Rongrong Liu: Light

 

Video and Text by Rongrong Liu, Copyright 2019

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LIGHT

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This video art project is all about light. I started thinking of using light as my main subject when I saw the disco ball installation recently at the Institute of Contemporary Art. What’s most interesting about it is that what I am able to see with my eyes is different from what the camera lens can see, which is iridescent.

There isn’t a strict plan for this piece. Starting from the first clip, each clip is what I associated in my mind with the previous one. The blurry night traffic scene ⇒ the micro bokeh light ⇒ disco ball ⇒ glass light ⇒ underwater light ⇒ projector light ⇒ smoke. After this clip are my interactions with the light, playing with the shadow and the time lapse of traffic. Light is everywhere, and it is different depending on the way we look at it (from a macroscopic or a microscopic view), how close we are, how focused we are, etc..

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Portrait of Rongrong Liu by Alexis Masino. Copyright 2019

Portrait of Rongrong Liu by Alexis Masino. Copyright 2019

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About The Author: Rongrong Liu is a Senior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Rongrong Liu, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/rongrong-liu-me/

 

Also posted in Art, Blog, Cameras, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Light Table, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life, Women

About: TonyWard.com

Self-Portrait With Katie. Copyright 2018

Self-Portrait With Katie. Copyright 2018

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Tony Ward Ward began his professional career in 1980 as a corporate photographer for the pharmaceutical giant, Smithkline Corporation. After several years of working in the department of corporate communications for Smithkline, he opened the Tony Ward Studio in 1984, to service a variety of Fortune 500 companies and smaller business entities.

In 1998, TW achieved global notoriety for his first published book on erotic photography, the controversial and highly praised OBSESSIONS. The monograph was followed by four more challenging, innovative and critically acclaimed volumes on eroticism and photography at the turn of the century. Scholars that specialize in the history and aesthetics of photography such as A.D. Coleman, Rick Wester and Reinhold Misselbeck have written illuminating essays that accompanied the artist published works.

Ward’s  photographs have been widely collected, exhibited and syndicated around the world. His unending quest for inspiring subjects, and new projects compels him to divide his creative time between diverse cosmopolitan centers, including: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Paris, Hamburg/Berlin and his beloved Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Tony Ward has been teaching Photography courses at the University of Pennsylvania since the Fall of 2010, and has published the work of his students in the blog section. The daily blog features articles by Tony Ward and guest contributors who are invited to write on a variety of topics including; Art, Architecture, Photography, Fashion,  Erotica, Politics, Science, Travel and Current Events.

Tony Ward’s online Store is currently open. To access the Store, click herehttp://tonyward.com/shopping-cart/

Also posted in Announcements, Art, Blog, Cameras, Current Events, Documentary, Erotica, Exhibitions, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Men, Popular Culture

Lilibeth Montero: Platonic Soulmate

 

Photography and Text by Lilibeth Montero, Copyright 2018

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Platonic Soulmate

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As I finish my first year at Penn, I have begun to reflect on the events that occurred this year. I have come to the realization that I wouldn’t have been able to survive college without my best friend Abril. This year has been filled with obstacles, and through every single one Abril has helped me.

The first semester at Penn, I was in a bad place. I wasn’t doing well in my classes and I found it difficult to relate to others. Therefore I kept to myself and started to isolate myself from others. There were countless instances I pushed her away, but she stayed. I never thought it was possible to find someone that is so much like oneself. Abril and I share shared experiences we are both daughters of Mexican immigrants, low income first generation students and nursing majors. Therefore, we understand one another and support each other. Something that is incredibly valuable in an environment like Penn.

How do I explain my relationship with Abril?

Abril is my platonic soulmate. Yes I have had best friends before, but never has a friendship developed as smoothly and effortlessly as my friendship with Abril. First of all, I cherish moments with her and long to be at her side. We both support one another, and value the phrase “we succeed together”.

Through my photography, I want to capture my friendship with Abril. I want the audience to see the huge amount of love I have for her. I want the audience to see a trusting and powerful friendship between two women that support one another, and help each other succeed. Essentially,  I want the audience to feel as if Abril is their friend too because I feel everyone needs a friend like “Abril”.

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About The Author: Lilibeth Montero is a freshman enrolled in the School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2021. To access additional articles by Lilibeth Montero, click herehttps://tonywardstudio.com/blog/lilibeth-montero-national-dominican-student-conference/

 

Also posted in Blog, Current Events, Documentary, Environment, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, UPenn Photography, Women