The Neighborly Thing To Do: Making Dreams Come True ~ 01.31.11

(photos by Oscar Ulloa)
Growing up on a tree-lined Minnesota street called Lynn Avenue, my neighborhood buds included a sweet little boy – blond as could be with a heart of gold – named Tom Griggs (I stole this pic from his FB page – too cute!). 

My mom still talks about the time he left a May basket on our doorstep back in kindergarten because she thought it was so sweet. And as I write this, I’m suddenly recalling Tom was the very first boy I danced with – at somebody’s Bar Mitzvah party in junior high. Wow. I can see myself in that very moment – swaying to an 80s tune in a dimly-lit hotel party room. I remember feeling relieved that he was an old and kind-hearted friend, which allowed me to have that first boy-girl dance free of sweaty palms and nervous giggles. 
I think we all knew on some level – even back then – that Tom was destined to make a difference. It was pretty obvious he had that special something – a flickering spark inside – that would guide him to take the road less traveled and do good along the way. It’s no surprise that little guy in the Spider-Man shirt has traveled the world, received awards and accolades for his art and photography, lives in Colombia (a far cry from Lynn Avenue!) and has found a way to help other artists prepare for their great life adventures. 
Last week, Tom launched a brilliant site called Fototazo. Its mission is to highlight and raise funds for young, emerging photographers from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. As a photography teacher at the university in Medellin, Colombia, Tom sees firsthand how a lack of proper equipment holds his students back from reaching their full potential. He says a combination of incredibly low wages and importation taxes on camera equipment make a photography career an impossible dream for many. 
But rather than just shake his head and shrug his shoulders, Tom’s doing something about it with the launch of Fototazo. When I asked him why, he wrote, “Personally, the site combines a passion for photography with the belief that I need to be doing something for the world beyond myself.” Awesome.
His first microgrant recipient will be 24-year-old Oscar Ulloa, who took the photos above with a compact point-and-shoot digital camera. He clearly has an eye – imagine what he could do with the right camera! Right now, you can donate any amount to help Oscar reach his $650 microgrant goal. What a great and easy way to support another’s creative dreams!

Tom hopes these microgrants will give new voice to a community of artists who haven’t yet had a chance to tell us their stories and share their views through the lens of a camera. “We will learn more about the world,” Tom says, “and have our vision broadened by the work of those we support as photographers through the site.”

I’m so happy I can do my small part to help an old friend and spread the word about Fototazo. I know many of you readers are artists, photographers, writers and daydream believers…so I hope you’ll all check it out and pass it along to others! 

Liv Lane

Liv Lane

As an intuitive adviser, author & teacher, I help brave-hearted women illuminate their paths to purpose through powerful classes, individual readings, workshops and writings. This blog, started in 2006, chronicles my journey and offers light for yours. Thrilled you're here!
Liv Lane