Can you imagine not attending school because one doesn't exist within walking distance of your home? What if your entire family were to live in a one-room structure without running water? How about if you had never seen a photograph before, let alone an image of yourself?
It's difficult to imagine life without the things we take for granted every day. But for millions of people, this is reality. In 2000, Lifetouch decided to serve communities in need around the world by starting the Lifetouch Memory Mission.
Making a difference and spreading hope
Lifetouch employees have traveled to destinations around the world to spend a week in intensive volunteer service. Through this service they have helped rebuild a village in war-ravaged Kosovo, repair homes in Appalachia, established a children’s center in Jamaica, and constructed a bridge in the land of the Navajo in Arizona.
Understanding the key role education plays in keeping communities strong, they have built 13 schools across Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Memory Mission volunteers have also provided onsite assistance to victims of natural disasters throughout the United States, including Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, floods in the Dakotas, fires in California, and tornadoes across the Midwest.
A life-changing experience for all
The program isn't just helping needy communities; it's changing lives in an unexpected way as well. The people who volunteer are finding the experience to be life changing.
"Go on a mission trip. Build a school, build something — it will change your life," says Mike Lubelfeld with The School Superintendents Association, a partner of Lifetouch Memory Mission. "I think it's helping me grow spiritually. I think it's helping me grow emotionally. I am a much better person for having been here."
“Ask any past Memory Mission volunteer about their experience and they will tell you they got more out of it than they gave," adds Jake Barker, senior executive vice president at Lifetouch. "They will tell you they came back a changed person.”
A picture is worth more than 1,000 words
In addition to bringing their brawn, Lifetouch volunteers bring their craft along on every mission. No week is complete without making time to photograph the families and children, and printed photographs are provided throughout the community. For many, it's the first, and likely only, photograph they'll ever own. It's an emotional keepsake that touches the community members as much as the volunteers who cherish each photo when they return home.
Can you imagine not attending school because one doesn't exist within walking distance? In 2000, Lifetouch decided to serve communities in need around the world by starting the Lifetouch Memory Mission..