We are award-winning photographers, journalists, editors, designers, and writers who have come to together for one mission: To use the power of storytelling to shine an “ongoing” light into the many dark places that affect our most vulnerable children and teens.
Back in 2005, many of us helped launch the Heart Gallery of New Jersey by donating our talent and experience to shoot 346 portraits of foster children who were eligible to be adopted.
Our charge was to help capture the individuality and unique spirit of each of these children—all of who were deemed “unadoptable.” The photographs were then shared via the web and through gallery exhibits in the hope that potential families would be moved to inquire about adoption.
The results were undeniable.
These revealing portraits told a story that a thousand words couldn’t tell. They touched people. So much so, that by 2007, 150 of those children found permanent homes through adoption as a result of the awareness we created.
Inspired by the success of the Heart Gallery, the co-founders, Najlah Hicks and Pim Van Hemmen, started thinking big:
“What if we use this same approach to shine the light on multiple issues impacting children and teens? Not all at the same time. But one at a time, so each issue gets the attention and awareness it deserves.”
“And what if we partner with organizations that support a particular cause, and then reach out to people and corporations to follow our lead and do one thing to help make a difference?”
The “what ifs” turned into “Why not?” And do1thing was born.
There are more homeless people today than at any previous time in U.S. history.
Right now, more than 1.3 million of them are children.
They’re out there alone, and they need our help.
We believe that by focusing on highlighting one cause, while asking people to do one thing for that cause—great change can occur.
More than 32 Pulitzer-winning photojournalists and some of the most recognized names in photojournalism have come together to put a “face” on teenage homelessness while asking you to put a “face” on activism and do
“1 thing” to help.
We’re doing our 1 thing. What’s yours
In January of 2005 freelance photojournalist Najlah Feanny Hicks spotted a small story in Parade Magazine that caught her attention and would not let go.It told the tale of a woman in New Mexico who had launched a photographic effort to capture the spirit of foster children hoping it would help them find permanent homes with adoptive families who would love them.
Hicks felt an overwhelming urge to do the same in New Jersey. In a five month span she recruited more than 100 of the most celebrated photographers in the New York Metropolitan area; had them photograph more than 350 New Jersey foster children who were considered un-adoptable; launched a major exhibit of more than 300 photographs at a major venue that attracted the Governor of New Jersey; and within three years got more than 160 of those children adopted.
That 2005 exhibit, which traveled the state was followed by another exhibit in 2008 called “100 waiting children.”
Between exhibits, Hicks became a foster mom.
But something irked Hicks.
She was disturbed by the plight of the foster children who were not adopted and who “aged out” of a system that had failed to find them permanent homes and forced them to start adulthood on their own with little or no assistance from the state or the guiding hand of capable, caring adults.
The problem of “aging out” is of gigantic proportions. Every year 25,000 kids age out nationwide. Of those, about 6,000 end up homeless. In a nation of plenty, the richest nation on earth, 1.3 million kids live without homes.
But Hicks felt that if one person would do 1 thing on one day, and if thousands of people would do the same, change could come about. By reducing a huge problem to bite sized pieces, it could be more easily digested and conquered.
In the Fall of 2008 she approached Pim Van Hemmen, a former photographer and newspaper editor with whom she had co-founded The Heart Gallery of New Jersey in 2005, and planted the seed for Do1Thing.
A national, non-profit organization, which would use socially conscious photography and videography to highlight ills of society to help foster change.
Our goal is to ask everyone to do 1 thing, for 1 cause.